The Problem of the Many

The Problem of the Many

by Timothy Donnelly


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Winner of the Big Other Book Award for poetry and finalist for the Believer Book Award.

If The Cloud Corporation is, as John Ashbery called it, “the poetry of the future, here, today,” then Timothy Donnelly’s third collection, The Problem of the Many, is the poetry of the future yet further pressed to the end of history. In astonishingly textured poems powerful and adroit in their negotiation of a seeming totality of human experience, Donnelly confronts—from a contemporary vantage—the clutter (and devastation) that civilization has left us with, enlisting agents as far flung as Prometheus, Flaming Hot Cheetos, Jonah, NyQuil, and Alexander the Great.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781940696492
Publisher: Wave Books
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 616,724
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Timothy Donnelly is the author of The Problem of the Many (Wave Books, 2019); The Cloud Corporation (Wave, 2010; Picador, 2011), which won the 2012 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award; and Twenty-seven Props for a Production of Eine Lebenszeit (Grove, 2003). 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.

Read an Excerpt


As darkness dissolves

the forms of things

they appear to merge

into the one

unbroken substance

they have been

all along, no single

component of which

can be said to exist

by necessity, but with

such continuous

relation to all other

components, it’s as if

nothing can be

lost without change

to everything, nothing

can be lost without

losing everything.

Table of Contents


The Stars Down to Earth
All Through the War
The Endless
Apologies from the Ground Up
Unlimited Soup and Salad
Diet Mountain Dew
Solvitur Ambulando
The Problem of the Many

Arrows from the Sun
By Night with Torch and Spear
A Habitation of Jackals, a Court for Ostriches
Chemical Life
The Radiance of a Thousand Suns
All the Shrimp I Can Eat
Lunch in a Town Named After a Company Slowly Poisoning Its Residents After Callimachus

The Earth Itself
Hymn to Edmund Albius
Escape into Time
The Death of Print Culture
The Death of the Author
The Death of Truth
November Paraphrase
Mutual Life

Lycopodium Obscurum
Lapis Lazuli
Some Comforts at the Expense of Others Poem Interrupted by Whitesnake
Poem on a Stair
Poem Written with a Pinecone in My Hand Poem Written with an Arrowhead in My Mouth Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
The Lighthouse of Alexandria
Burning Lichen from a Bronze Age Megalith Insomnia
Hymn to Life

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