Winner of the 2013 Cider Press Review Editors’ Prize
"These poems by Laura Donnelly--clarity, yes. Grace absolutely. And desire's long shot. But it's their edge that fills us with past unto future and dread's empathy, how a dark brilliant Botticelli hangs in an old-world hospital 'where typhoid once / lingered below the good angel,' or that 'the first half / of the film … sets you up / to feel worse in the end.' Maybe poems are omens, maybe not. But you don't feel worse. You deepen instead, reading this work. Like the fine musician she is, Donnelly makes us listen hard to Bach, to everything because 'the theme/is only the starting point.'"
"Lovely and urgent in their strangeness, the poems in Laura Donnelly's Watershed conjure spaces to dwell in and return to, spaces of astonishment held by a deft ear for inner experience and a numinous power to sense back toward the ancestral, never 'forgetting even our not-knowing,' and calling upon us 'to grasp / barefoot the breakwaters / and fossil ourselves to that wall.' To read these lyrics is to want to flesh out and stay here, woven into her artful and sensitive music."
--Jennifer K. Sweeney
"Reading Watershed, we often get caught up in how impeccably she sees, telling ourselves, Of course that’s how it is. And more frustratingly, we ask, Why didn’t I think of that? Laura Donnelly’s debut is something to be jealous of, yes, but even more, it is something to be grateful for."
--Michael Levan, American Microreviews and Interviews
Nocturne - Schumann's Letters
"Herself a classical pianist, Laura Donnelly has composed her poems with an exquisite ear and a delicate touch. In Nocturne – Schumann’s Letters we are gently led into the soulful wonder of the arrival of music within the mystery of the man, 'everything a song.' With gratitude we listen to this empathic accompaniment to Schumann’s work, music we can hear only in these care-filled poems."
-- Jack Ridl
"In Nocturne – Schumann's Letters, Laura Donnelly explores with delicacy and precision the artist's struggles towards wholeness. Tracing the relationship of composer/musicians Robert and Clara Schumann, Donnelly asks this: when a thing of beauty is made--a form, a love, a marriage, a self--what irretrievables must enter into its making? I deeply admire this lovely, intelligent sequence."
-- Nancy Eimers