Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

October 19, 2007

NEXT EXIT: FIVE (KSE #69) by Christopher Cunningham

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 8:35 pm

The newest entry in our Next Exit series—-poems rooted in particular towns and steeped in a deep sense of place—-is also the first solo Next Exit chapbook. When I asked Georgia-based poet Christopher Cunningham to submit some material for a future NE installment, I was assuming I’d pair him with someone else, as we’d done in the first four volumes. However, after reading the poems he sent, I felt they had such power and immediacy and diversity that he deserved an entire chapbook to himself, and here it is: NEXT EXIT: FIVE (KSE #69).

With so much flat-prose-broken-up-into-lines and so many clever-slogans-that-belong-on-a-bumpersticker being passed of as poetry, what a joy it is to read someone whose rich yet lean poetic language seems sculpted, who combines power and passion and rage with sensitivity and understatement. These ten new poems—-never before available anywhere and written especially for this project—-take the reader on a deeply-felt tour of Southern places and we experience the joy and the pain of people trapped in or bravely trying to transcend their environment. The perfectly chosen details in each poem expand in the reader’s mind but retain a sense of mystery and create a feeling of tension. This is a book you will come back to many a time, but that’s true of all Cunningham’s work.

Christopher Cunningham is author of a number of chapbooks, including THRU THE HEART OF THIS ANIMAL LIFE, from Liquid Paper Press ( );  AND STILL THE NIGHT LEFT TO GO (a unique two-volume set, featuring both verse and correspondence that sets forth the philosophy behind the poet’s art and role in society, published by Bottle of Smoke Press —-    ) ; and, most recently, FLOWERS IN THE SHADOW OF THE STORM,  just issued a few months ago by Sunnyoutside ( ). He is also a key player in the Guerilla Poetics Project ( and publishes an excellent blog, UPRIGHT AGAINST THE SAVAGE HEAVENS (

Mr. Cunningham is a complete original—-he owes little to previous poets’ styles. We are proud to have him on the Kendra Steiner Editions team. By the way, Next Exit: Five is probably Kendra’s favorite of the chapbooks we’ve issued since Doug Draime’s EYESTONE. I can’t imagine this book will stay available very long (CC’s other books tend to sell out), so send that four dollar check today, made payable to Bill Shute, 8200 Pat Booker Rd. #399, San Antonio, Texas, 78233—or better yet, get three new releases for $10.00 postpaid in North America: Next Exit: Five; Misti Rainwater-Lites’ LULLABIES FOR JACKSON; and my own BRIDGE TO NOWHERE or DON’T LOOK BACK, whichever you prefer. There’s an offer you can’t refuse!

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