Timothy Donnelly’s fourth collection of poems, Chariot, ferries the reader toward an endless horizon of questioning that is both philosophical and deeply embodied. “How did we get here?” he asks in his title poem—one of several in conversation with French symbolist Odilon Redon—to which he responds, “Unclear, if it matters; what matters // is we stay—aloft in possible color.” With a similar sensibility to previous collections The Problem of the Many and The Cloud Corporation (winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award), Chariot deepens Donnelly’s inquiry into artistic histories, from Jean Cocteau to The Cocteau Twins, while celebrating the power of poetic imagination to transport us to new zones of meaning and textual bliss. The collection also marks an exciting shift in form for Donnelly, who confines these new poems to twenty lines each, so that to read Chariot is to look through a many-paned, future-facing window, refracting and reflecting, letting all the light in.
As twenty years ago Twenty-Seven Props seemed almost the archetype of a brilliant young poet’s debut book, a dazzling surface that kept its secrets closely guarded, so Chariot seems the work of a mature one, with its subtler music, deeper resonances, and—without being confessional, in the familiar sense—a deeper transparency, a greater openness.
Paul Scott Stanfield, Hong Kong Review of Books
If you don’t associate twenty-first-century poetry with joyrides, try hopping on Timothy Donnelly’s trains of thought. They run on unpredictable tracks, given to unpunctuated accelerations, slapstick Freudian slips, shortcuts through slang, throwbacks into archaism, and frequent detours through English’s baggiest, least redeemable registers—followed, just as frequently, by conclusions of epigrammatic crispness.
Christopher Spaide, Poetry Foundation
Chariot pursues the future while prying into the past, all with Donnelly’s signature wit and variousness.
New England Review
Donnelly appears as the almost-unwilling captain of the ship of absurdity which all sail upon, and that poetry attempts to clarify. These layered poems are full of worthy questions.
Timothy Donnelly is the author of Chariot (Wave Books, 2023), The Problem of the Many (Wave Books, 2019), The Cloud Corporation (Wave Books, 2010), which won the 2012 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and Twenty-seven Props for a Production of Eine Lebenszeit (Grove, 2003). His chapbook Hymn to Life was recently published by Factory Hollow Press and with John Ashbery and Geoffrey G. O’Brien he is the co-author of Three Poets published by Minus A Press in 2012. He is a recipient of The Paris Review’s Bernard F. Conners Prize and the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award as well as fellowships from the New York State Writers Institute and the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He is Director of Poetry in the Writing Program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and lives in Brooklyn with his family.
Publication: May 2023
ISBN# 9781950268771 (6.12 x 9.25, 112pp, paperback)
ISBN# 9781950268818 (6.12 x 9.25, 112pp, limited edition hardcover)