Donato Mancini

Same Diff

Griffin Poetry Prize 2018
Canadian Shortlist

Book: Same Diff

Poet: Donato Mancini

Publisher: Talonbooks

Click here to read an excerpt.

Donato Mancini


The interdisciplinary practice of Donato Mancini focuses mainly on poetry, bookworks, text-based visual art and cultural criticism. His books and chapbooks include Snowline (2015), Loitersack (2014), Buffet World (2011), Fact ‘N’ Value (2011), Hell Passport no.22 (2008), Æthel (2007), 58 Free Coffees (2006), and Ligatures (2005). Ligatures and Æthel were each nominated for the ReLit Poetry Award, and Ligatures received honourable mention in the Alcuin Society book design awards. Mancini’s published critical writing includes work on the archive, time, and memory in Anamnesia: Unforgetting (2011), and a discourse analysis of poetry reviews in You Must Work Harder to Write Poetry of Excellence (2012). He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of British Columbia.

Judges’ Citation

“Donato Mancini’s Same Diff crosses pre-existing texts with a strong design impulse to assemble a work of unusual beauty, resonance, and timelessness. In “Snowline,” a famous French phrase about snow is translated over centuries; translations snow down the pages until the original phrase is buried; they fall through different hands until they turn from snow into a meditation on time. Mancini’s primary methods are curatorial (he assembles), orchestral (he co-ordinates), mechanical (he repeats), and archaeological (he excavates language rather than the world for his materials). He fractures words to let out their yolk. Same Diff is a monument to Mancini’s accomplishments: he uses the words of others without appropriation; he negotiates self-effacement, humility, and invisibility; he offers a way to recover a self, not through self-assertion, but by attending to the voices and needs of others. What belongs to any of us? Even Mancini’s words never seem to be his. He is a custodian of language who returns it to us cleaned.”

Bottom of the Pot

Each woman received a ladleful.


Hand-made utensils (author’s drawing): (a) bowl made from a turtle’s shell, (b) spoon made from half a coconut, (c) cup made from a gourd, (d) lamp using coconut oil, (e) cooking stove made from scrap aluminum.


By this time we had all acquired soup containers – a round tin with two holes punched near the top through which a string or narrow piece of material or wire was threaded.


Not having any utensils, he fashioned a fork from one of the dog’s ribs.


“This is good wire for spoons,” she said. “Will you teach me how to make a spoon?”


I made a spoon from a piece of drainage pipe.

From Same Diff by Donato Mancini
Copyright © 2017 by Donato Mancini

More about Donato Mancini

The following are links to other Web sites with information about poet Donato Mancini.

Have you read Same Diff by Donato Mancini? Add your comments to this page and let us know what you think.

PHoto credit:
Donato Mancini, by Byron Dauncey