cover image The Cloud Corporation

The Cloud Corporation

Timothy Donnelly, Wave (Consortium, dist.), $16 (144p) ISBN 978-1-93351-747-6

Donnelly’s formally rigorous and ambitious, not to mention highly anticipated, second book follows up on the many projects of his debut, Twenty-Seven Props for a Production of Ein Liebenzeit, and extends his powers in poems that encompass a wider emotional range. Still here are the gorgeous linguistic surfaces, but also glimpses of a new intimacy: “when I fell you fell beside me and the concrete refused to apologize.” Throughout is a kind of dark wordplay—”Demonstrate to yourself a resistance to feeling/ unqualified despair by attempting something like/ perfect despair embellished with hand gestures”—that pokes fun at language while remembering how dangerous words truly are. Procedural poems, such as one that repurposes language from the Patriot Act (“New obstacles shall be established by the Chairman of Failure./ Authorized language drones shall implement and expand/ written combat”) portray the dark underbelly of official rhetoric. A pair of beautiful and frustrated long poems introduce a mind agoraphobicly trapped in its vast vocabulary: “the adverb here refers to my person/ and all its outskirts.” These poems are a strange and powerful force to be reckoned with. (Oct.)