Fellow Michigander L.S. Klatt's newest collection of poems, Cloud of Ink, showcases his abilities with words and his enormous arsenal of them. Without a doubt, my favorite thing about this collection is the surprising diction that shows up in every poem. Given a poem's topic and Klatt's writing style, one can never know what string of exciting and beautiful words might come next. In “Nocturnal Movements of the Porcupine,” we see this in action:
The spiny pigskin flinches.
Winged seeds land on the curvature
like a football
& on these quills they quiesce.
The silly yet accurate comparison of a porcupine to a football also serves to illustrate Klatt's remarkable, subtle sense of humor present throughout the collection. He also is able to be an intellectual conversationalist, while still constructing memorable imagery, as in “Affliction”:
I am painting this house with water,
dipping my brush
in clarity, & if I told you the house
is an aquarium
& if I told you the house
is buoyant, would you see
Though the collection is a bit random and scatterbrained, one theme I picked up is that of life being taken too seriously too often. This is illustrated and brought to the surface via the strange mix of Klatt's superb vocabulary and a focus on the mundane, like painting a house with water or, as in “Transit of the Beautiful,” the never-ending fight against the presence of cockroaches. The poems are stern and serious on the surface but lighthearted and skeptical in substance, which, with Klatt's impressive and surprising diction use, makes for an exciting read.