Poetry is strange stuff. I mean think about it. Publishers don’t want to publish the stuff because there’s very little profit margin, which is a polite way of saying the stuff doesn’t sell. When was the last time you saw a poetry book on the New York Times bestseller list? So-called boutique publishers and university presses are about the only ones that will touch the stuff. And they publish it because it gives them “literary credibility,” which is a nice way of saying that poetry has a certain snob appeal.
That being said, you’d think poets would simply stop writing the stuff. Because no one’s going to publish it, right? But they don’t. They keep pumping the stuff out at an alarming rate. And what’s even more astonishing is the fact that oodles and oodles of people write poetry. Every time I go on Facebook, somebody’s announcing the release of their latest volume of poetry. And the sheer number of ‘poetry slams’ I get invited to is mind-boggling.
It probably sounds as if I don’t care for poetry. You see that’s my problem. I actually enjoy the stuff. Of course, I admit that much of the poetry I read goes – Zing! – right by me. I have no clue what the poet is talking about or trying to convey or intimate or suggest or allegorize. Every once in a while, though, I’ll pick up something that thumps me on the chest, makes me blink and think and/or gives me what I call “an aquamarine moment.”
Which brings me to Timothy Donnelly, who, as you may have already guessed, is a poet. His latest volume of poetry is called The Cloud Corporation, which, although I don’t know what the title means, is catchy nonetheless. And I’m a sucker for catchy titles.
The Cloud Corporation is good stuff. At the risk of coming across as a buffoon, I have to admit most of the ‘deep, meaningful stuff’ escapes me. You know, the allegories and the metaphors and the similes and “the linguistic surfaces” and the “dark wordplay” and the rhythmic syntax and lots of the imagery. Yet even though all that eludes me, something is getting through, because I really, really like Donnelly’s poetry. It plucks a string somewhere in my soul and speaks to me on some subconscious level.