"This world tries to bore me to death, but not hard enough."
-- Timothy Donnelly, "Chapter for Being Transformed into a Sparrow"
Timothy Donnelly this week won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award for his second book, The Cloud Corporation. This award brings with it a prize of $100,000. Yup, there are the right number of zeroes there. A hundred grand, like the candy bar. For a book of poems. Every poet in America secretly thinks they will win this prize some day (or maybe that's just me).
At any rate, I'm taking this opportunity to proclaim here my love and respect for this book. I bought it at AWP* last year and I've read the whole thing probably three times by now. It's long (150ish pages) and more than a little challenging, which I mean in a good way. It challenges readers, and it challenges societal power structures.
At a time when "occupy" was one of those words of the year, when we're all talking about the 99 percent and the 1 percent, when people might just maybe be paying a little more attention to just how powerful the powerful are, The Cloud Corporation is a great choice for a major award. It's not preachy or dogmatic, or even really devoted to a particular message, but its language is infused with an awareness of the power dynamic in contemporary America. It is at times conversational, colloquial -- but also entirely formal in terms of its control over line and diction. ... »Read more »