In her latest collection of poems, Elizabeth Cunningham takes an imaginative leap into a magical world that is also palpably real, a once-upon-a-time place that could exist just after our own time or long ago. Here we meet a motley assortment of people, a temple sweeper, a sword woman, a morose fool, a merry drunk, an enigmatic ancient dreamer, among a host of others. Human voices mingle with those of animals–the mouse who thinks it’s an elephant, a flying pig–and also the voices of river, rain, tree, and stone. Through songs, dreams, and conversations, a story emerges, or many stories woven into one. Cunningham’s hypnotically beautiful language draws us into this story, one we may dimly remember and long to hear again.
In 1990, novelist Elizabeth Cunningham found herself engaged with an outspoken, irreverent, hand-drawn character who called herself Madge and demanded her own book of cartoons. Together, Madge and Elizabeth graphically (in every sense!) protested the first Gulf War, and The Book of Madge took form. This collaboration led them to write The Maeve Chronicles, a series of award-winning novels featuring a feisty Celtic Magdalen.
I recently completed a poem collection, Tell Me the Story Again. The poems are song-like, set in a future (or possibly ancient) world. The narrative voices …