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Tim Cunningham excels in the observation of minute particulars in nature. Poems such as “Grass Snake” and “The Lavender Bush Outside No. 19” are organized around them; but they frequently occur as casual details in poems of greater scope, for Cunningham is more than a miniaturist. His keen eye and encompassing imagination range over a large variety of deep and moving subjects, most notably when his focus is on mutability and the loss of friends and loved ones. Prominent in this collection are poems such as “Gethsemane”, “White Water” and “Ghost Writer”, which deal with the untimely death of his father, who died at war when Cunningham was still a small child.
But serious as Cunningham’s poems frequently are, they can also be very funny. Take, for example, the sophisticated humour of “Where to Hide the Goldfish?” or the good-natured humour of “Page 17”. There is also the rollicking exuberance of “Amazing Grace”, a poem celebrating Mayo’s legendary Grace O’Malley.
All of these poems – and the generous supply of other poems in this book – display Tim Cunningham’s command of tone, his apt and striking figurative language, and his musical ear. I have long admired his work, and this collection simply strengthens my regard. Cunningham is, I feel, among the very best English-language poets of his generation. My congratulations to Revival Press for this publication.