Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Christopher Cunningham's A Sound To Drive Away The Coming Darkness

Chris Cunningham delivers an excellent collection of poems in this chapbook which challenges the idea of “darkness.” While the subjects he speaks of are dark, the poems do not make any subject appear weak or wilting. I have several poems I’d like to share. The last one I will not be leaving any comments with, I think it is a poem that can inspire anyone to run to their desk to create their next piece of writing.


we drive along
there are many
old buildings
with their
front doors
glassless windows

they wait
final reckoning.

gagged and blind

making way

we see this
are glad
we move past

such grim reminders

that everything


Not only does the structure of the poem show the breaking-away of buildings in disrepair it also seems to punctuate each point by providing just one or two words per line as the emphasis for each point. I also enjoy the poem because we are witnessing this in action all over the country as stores close up during this downturn and houses being boarded up because they have sat empty for so long. However, there’s that stanza rising up out of entire poem that says “making way/for/progress.” The poet and his companion(s) are happy to see that these failing structures will someday be replaced with something else, something better. That is better news than what the media posts these days and so I wanted to share this poem with all of you.

nobody does it that way anymore

typewriters and analog tape
cannot compete,
can letters folded

smaller footprints
in an overcrowded world
go unnoticed.

a plate of food
near a window
on a saturday morning
in the sunshine.

of anticipation.

the discovery
of acceptance.

I sigh after I read this poem. I find it sentimental and truthful because I feel the same way. The small joys in life are quickly disappearing with new technology such as fast computer printers and e-mail, the idea of eating on the run instead of sitting down at the table to chat and dine… All of the things that took thought + kindness to prepare are becoming difficult to hold onto. I have some friends that still send me letters in envelopes decorated with drawings and stickers and I love them for it because they took real time and thought to send me something. I have also always preferred to sit down at a table for breakfast rather than run out the door with a breakfast bar and cup of coffee. How about you? Do you miss being able to slow down and take in the quiet joys in life?

everything beautiful burning to live

a murder
four crows
on a
cold cloudy
in autumn


up thru the gloom

I think the imagery in this poem is fantastic! Crows are often found to be an ominous and dark form but here they glisten and rise like the sun. Instead of a sign of a bad omen, the crows are “rising/up thru the gloom/like/a/black/sun” like a sign of hope. I also love the image of a black sun, it reminds me of a solar eclipse where the sun is still so powerful you cannot look directly at it while it is being blocked. Just a beautiful poem, I have to say.

And this last one I simply want to leave with you without comment because I hope it inspires you to dash to your desk and create your next piece of writing:

the pistol

sits next to
the typewriter.

there is a pen
and sheets of
clean white paper.

the machine hums,


I think this is a solid collection of poems which you can purchase for $3.00 from Alternating Current’s Propaganda Press. If you need any further prodding towards Mr. Cunningham’s work or if you’d like to view more poems from this collection, by all means click the link below to Julie Buff’s review featured below:

Thanks always for readings, please drop in tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…


christopher cunningham said...


thanks so much for the kind words and continued support. I'm really glad you liked the collection. leah at prop press does really great work.

take care and hope you and your man are doing well..

j.b said...

great review of one of my favorite writers. this collection is a great one. as good as any of Cunningham's collections.

good job, ms. hound and thanks for the continued support of the small press.

Poet Hound said...

It's always a pleasure to read your poems, Chris and j.b., I always look forward to reading more of them.
I also hope that with continued poetry reviews I can drum up even more support for poets and all presses that support them.