Claire Donato

Claire Donato is the author of the novel Burial, from Tarpaulin Sky Press. She grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, holds an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University, and lives in Brooklyn, NY. Her fiction, poetry, and lyric essays have appeared or are forthcoming in the Boston Review, Encyclopedia, Evening Will Come, LIT, Octopus, and 1913: a journal of forms. She is the author of a poetry chapbook, Someone Else’s Body (Cannibal Books), and was a finalist for the National Poetry Series.

She teaches at Fordham University in the Bronx and has taught at The New School, Hunter College, and 826 Valencia/NYC.

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Books by Claire Donato

Claire Donato

ISBN: 9781939460011
Fiction | May 2013
5″x7″, 104 pp., paperback
Cover art: Patte Loper, “The Sky is Burning, the Sea Aflame”

$14 includes shipping in the U.S.
(v. $16 + $3.99 elsewhere)

Set in the mind of a narrator who is grieving the loss of her father, who conflates her hotel room with the morgue, and who encounters characters that may not exist, Burial is a little novel about an immeasurable black hole. Like a 21st century Lispector, Donato grapples with ontology and trades plot for ambience; the result is an elegy in prose at once lyrical and intelligent, with no small amount of rot and vomit and ghosts.

“Poetic, trance-inducing language turns a reckoning with the confusion of mortality into readerly joy at the sensuality of living” (Publishers Weekly ‘Best Summer Reads 2013’); “Claire Donato’s debut is a dark, multivalent, genre-bending book…. Donato has composed with unrelenting, grotesque beauty an exhaustive recursive obsession about the unburiability of the dead, and the incomprehensibility of death” (Publishers Weekly Starred Review); “A harrowing, enlightened first novel…. [S]tartlingly original and effective” (Matthew Jakubowski, Minneapolis Star-Tribune); “A grief-dream, an attempt to un-sew pain from experience and to reveal it in language” (Nick Ripatrazone, HTML Giant); “Claire Donato’s patient, immersive meditation on death and mourning designed in precise urn-like prose, Burial, fledges itself with the poise of Woolf or Loy or Carson; a kind of humming, marbled elegy for the as-yet-extant-alive, and like finding a real river in a dictionary” (Blake Butler); “A gorgeous fugue, an unforgettable progression, a telling I cannot shake” (Heather Christle); “Claire Donato’s assured and poetic debut augurs a promising career” (Benjamin Moser); “Donato makes and unmakes the world with words, and what is left shimmers with pain and delight” (Brian Evenson).



Kind words…

…from Patrick Trotti at JMWW, regarding our three 2013 prose titles, from Claire Donato, Johannes Göransson, and Joyelle McSweeney: “Avant-garde writers of the past are put through a blender topped with equal parts muscle relaxer, speed, acid, and a new, distinct style forcing the reader to down the contents in one giant gulp. It will leave you feeling as though they just went speeding through a backyard makeshift house of mirrors ride that was rigged with no brakes, bending through the maze of tight corners to the point where you can the feel the sharp shards of glass on your forearm if you don’t keep your hand inside the ride that is their minds.”

Claire Donato interviewed at Zing magazine

Burial‘s world came about organically. The more I wrote the book, the more I felt as if its text possessed agency, and the more I recognized the text’s agency, the more my body was a vessel where its language could take root and become what it ended up being. This counteracts the traditional notion that the author’s mind is some grand source where language finds its origins. I was possessed by Burial, as in a fugue; its language was (and is) bigger than ‘I.'”