Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Cynthia Lowen's the Cloud That Contained the Lightning: The National Poetry Series

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

Cynthia Lowen's the Cloud That Contained the Lightning: The National Poetry Series

Article excerpt

Cynthia Lowen's The Cloud That Contained the Lightning: The National Poetry Series The University of Georgia Press (2013) ISBN-13: 978-0-8203-4564-2

This is narrative free poetry with a string of political and cultural messages. Many of the statements are satirical, as they ridicule the subject matters, which include parenthood, scientific method, war, and relationships.

The cover design uses the juxtaposition of bright-colored images that are similar to Andy Warhol's "Marilyn Monroe Nine" painting, but instead of a single face reproduced in multiple color variations, this is a series of drawings of a little girl drying her hair, of a U.S. Air Force poster and the image of a bomb explosion from a 1933 painting by James Rosenquist. The title and the author's name are rotated to crisscross with the slanted image and are done in colors similar to those used in the image. Overall, the cover design reflects the mixture of pop art and social message that the poems in the collection represent.

The poems frequently have a punch line sarcastic meaning at the end, as in "Quantum Mechanics", which begins with, "I tried to pass through her like a ghost through a wall", and ends with the frustration of a ghost hoping to cause the object of its affection pain in order to cause any emotional reaction, even if it is anger in response to its admiration and observation.

Many of the poems are angry, as eggs look like two halves of an ass to one speaker, and another speaker begins a first-person poem with, "For fuckssake". The latter phrase is from the last poem in the collection, which meditates on the passing nature of life, and the insignificance of death and moving, as it sees people as rivers that shift places as all of nature does. …

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