Unequal Thirds

Belinda Cooke:  “There are some superb poems in Tim Cunningham’s Unequal Thirds  –clear, well-crafted, self-contained and making a point.”  (Acumen)

R.V. Bailey:  “The poet of good endings becomes a poet you can’t put down.

“He writes tenderly about the human condition:  his consistently generous attitude to experience is not sentimental, just refreshingly positive.  Unequal Thirds has the wisdom of a grown-up poet – without any of the callow pretensions of youth, it has all of youth’s enthusiasm.”  (Envoi)


Issue 66/67  (Spring/Summer 2007)

Wayne Burrows


Books & Magazines Roundup

Unequal Thirds by Tim Cunningham (Peterloo Poets, £7.95) 108pp.
Available from 

In his second collection, which follows the 2001 debut Don Marcelino’s Daughter, Irish-born, Essex-based poet Tim Cunningham turns his attention to all manner of subjects, though music and memory are the binding threads that seem to run through the whole collection. The opening poem, ‘Mouse’ contrasts a first stanza about trying to rid a home of its rodents and a second that misses the “tenement skin” of a building now turned over to a “smart address”, where the “only mouse sends arrows/ scurrying around the VDU” with “never a panic/ in its plastic breast”. ‘Gone With The Wind’ looks back on a wartime parting where the love letters kept in an empty chocolate box end with notes from “the chaplain and an Irish nurse/ and then the telegram”. ‘Hedge School’ invokes Heaney’s The Haw Lantern with its invitation to “read the pages of bramble and briar/…watch the breeze’s fingers flick the score/ for blackbirds in smart jackets and pressed tails” and “by the light/ of the flickering haws, come sit, come look/ Before they make a bonfire of the books”. There are tributes to the late classical cellist Jacqueline du Pré, poems on ‘Cezanne’s Coins’, ‘The Bronte Sisters’ and ‘Bresson’s Women’.


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