Poems as objects of production: Jacket2 reviews The Cloud Corporation

By Harriet Staff

Over at Jacket2, Drew Dillhunt reviews The Cloud Corporation, Timothy Donnelly's second collection of poetry. The book, he writes, is "chock-full of feverish strings of iambs and strictly measured stanzas that deftly lilt their way into the subconscious." He continues:

The poems in The Cloud Corporation are fundamentally aware of themselves as objects of production. Donnelly frames each poetic art-object as an aesthetic commodity with the reflective capacity to wonder “why clouds we manufacture / provoke in an audience more positive, lasting / response than do comparable clouds occurring in nature” (31). This approach frees Donnelly to embrace the role of aesthete even as he dissects poetry’s inevitable complicity in the construct of capitalism.

Donnelly's poems cover terrains ranging from ancient Mesopotamia to the 9/11 Commission Report, quoting Osama Bin Laden, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Marxist theory along the way. Dillhunt writes:

These are not propagandistic poems of revolution, but neither are they a battle cry for the disillusioned. Rather than simply identify the ills of society, Donnelly deliberately exposes the systems, both internal and external, that prevent us from righting them. These poems are fundamentally disinterested in oversimplification; they strive to expand their net of introspection “to know the world’s big backslap // unhampered by the stream of this or any downpour.”

Read the whole thing here.

Originally Published: January 9th, 2012