Publication Date: 09-Nov-11 | ISBN: 9781844717385 | Trim Size: 198 x 129 mm | Extent: 96pp | Format: Paperback
UK Distribution: | USA Distribution: | Publishing Status: Active
We live in an age of terror, literally and metaphorically. Old dependables have been shaken loose and to free us from the terror comes the poetry of The Rapture — poetry with a tangible exultance and joy tinged with the dark matter of End Times and the pinching fear of what’s up ahead wrestling with the pleasures and shelter of the moment — our internal clocks striking the hours of the age of anxiety in us all.
The Rapture is divided into three parts, each exploring sensation, identity, immersion and memory in its own way. Chapel of Carbon includes love poems, lyrics, outrageous metaphors and narratives alongside wide-screen, more open-field works that probe at our very sense of self and perception.
The central Improvisations section tests language and meaning’s outer reaches and its most intimate fumblings. These are poems that tear down the fences and break open the windows and doors. This is not the hand-me-down formalism of the writing workshop, but in the power and sudden impact in the work’s vivid mosaic of image, character, narrative and metaphor conspiring together to make you seriously question assumptions of what form and meaning actually are.
The final First Music is the most autobiographical of Cumming’s published work, an exploration of the matter of memory, and the act of remembering as well as the experience of returning to the landscape of one’s past. It evokes the way of life and of imagination on a remote Dartmoor farm in the 60s and 70s, a study of memory and the process of remembering and perception as well as of capturing the landscape and aura of England’s wildest landscape, littered with ghosts and strange tokens, stranger tales and prehistoric artefacts.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. CHAPEL OF CARBON; For the Record; Impact; Pigment; Two Part Harmony; Following the Bloom; The Knowledge; Cairo Sonnets; Yield; Late Picasso; Flicker; Time Piece; Storm; The Bath; Penthouse Sonnet; Second Sky; Danebury Ring; Thin Air; The New Distance; Erratic Transmissions from Oklahoma; The Dolls’ House; His Visitor; Blue; II. IMPROVISATIONS; Brighton Improvisation; Tarot Improvisation; Glass Improvisation; Fever Improvisation; Running Improvisation; White City Improvisation; Solstice Improvisation; Belgrade Tram; Surveillance Improvisation; Slow Motion; White Border; Low Tide; III. FIRST MUSIC; Bird Music ; B3212; Familiars; Water Crossing; Crossing Water; Cherry Brook; Powdermills; Drinking at The East Dart Hotel; Alder; Cupole; Father's Day; The Blue Cottage; Three Dartmoor Tales; Ruins; Impasto; Underlay; Sheep Shearing; Ghost Fox; Nocturne; The Ripe Charge; Nocturne II; Red Flags; A Dartmoor Ghost Story
PRAISE FOR THIS BOOK
“Tim Cumming's The Rapture is a feast of juxtapositions. Through this most painterly of lenses, the reader finds vast panoramas and wonderfully observed detail, turbulences and stillnessness, pasts and present, the ordinary and the magnificent. In these poems, all five senses are engaged; no constellation escapes their ambitious sweep. These poems convince and delight by their extraordinary naturalness, inventiveness, cadence and intimacy. ” —
“Tim Cumming’s urban landscapes are original, dreamy, surefooted with an intense filmic narrative. An acute sense of time and nature burns through these inspired poems.” —
“Tim Cumming is a brilliant poet in many senses of the word: his poems are urbane, intimately well-observed, and evince a true wit in the sense that would have been understood by Swift or Pope: for instance as with his celebrated one-liners. The poems in The Rapture shine with an aesthetic that is pure in itself and pure satisfaction for the reader. But his work is nearly unique amongst contemporary poets in that, within this artistry, his subject matters, as they consider how a person may deal with a range of experience, are sensitive and profoundly humane. His is a perfect voice of the new times where art meets the heart.” —
“Tim Cumming is a brilliant poet in many senses of the word: his poems are urbane, intimately well-observed, and evince a true wit in the sense that would have been understood by Swift or Pope: for instance, with his celebrated one-liners. The poems in The Rapture shine with an aesthetic that is pure in itself and pure satisfaction for the reader. But his work is nearly unique amongst contemporary poets in that, within this artistry, his subject matters, as they consider how a person may deal with a range of experience, are sensitive and profoundly humane. His is a perfect voice of the new times where art meets the heart.” —
“Cumming’s metaphysic, a blending of the quasi-scientific with the planetary and the geological, occasionally lends itself to a prophetic solemnity as the world drown in a ‘cosmic hiss.’ I think the collection comes into its own in the second section, which is called ‘Improvisations’. These single-block pieces enjoy a heuristic urgency as they pile phrase upon phrase, bang image against image. The drive of the writing is impressive, a series of jamming sessions with no shortage of figurative brio and aphoristic intensity.” —Poetry London
Tim Cumming was born in Solihull and was brought up in the West Country. His poetry collections include The Miniature Estate (1991), Apocalypso (1992, 1999), Contact Print (2002) and The Rumour (2004). His work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Forward’s Poems of the Decade, and Bloodaxe Books’ major 2010 anthology of poetry from Ireland and the British Isles, Identity Parade.