Ugly Duckling Presse

Bird & Forest
Bird & Forest

Brent Cunningham

Poetry $10
Out of Print"Bird & Forest is clear, beautiful writing."

For a special edition broadside featuring "The Sea," a poem by Brent Cunningham (letterpress printed, signed by the author) click here.

Excerpt ˇ


Truth is the Flaw

then there was a bell
that warned for ourses town

it'll rung by uses idiot
mothered in ourses town

an there we had moreover was
ours bronzed an casted bell

daily rung by idiotes was
whenever townes was bad

Close ˆ

About the Author

Brent Cunningham
Brent Cunningham is a writer and publisher living in Oakland. He has worked for Small Press Distribution in Berkeley since 1999 and currently serves as their Operations Director.  His first book of poetry, Bird & Forest, was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2005; his second, Journey to the Sun, was published in early 2012 by Atelos Press. Over the last decade he has served on the board of Small Press Traffic in San Francisco, helped found the annual SPT Poets Theater festival, and helped coordinate the Artifact Reading Series in San Francisco and Oakland. In 2005 he and Neil Alger founded Hooke Press, a chapbook press dedicated to publishing short runs of poetry, criticism, theory, writing and ephemera.

Advance Praise

"Ancient Roman rhetoric meets post-modern angst and continental philosophy in this ambitious, intentionally self-conscious and verbose debut. A lineated 'prelude' and closing 'reprise' notwithstanding, Cunningham arranges the volume into four sequences composed largely in clever, disorienting, poetic prose. The first, a series of 12 'orations,' shuffles urbane contemporary contents into a pastiche of Ciceronian style: 'Let's therefore speak directly and plainly, O my community," it opines. 'Would it kill me to simply say: I have never understood others, my father was in management, and it is 5:15 in the evening?' The next sequence follows a representative 'bird' through challenges and questions about the shape of history and the contradictions behind any idea of individual voice. Cunningham's searching intelligence may lead some readers to cherish this book directly and intensely; others may find it cerebral and byzantine, like an avian mind within a darkened wood."—PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
"Bird & Forest is clear, beautiful writing. There is a simple quality of the well-told-tale to these fractured fables. This is a patient, wise, and hilarious work whose intimate tone insinuates itself into your psyche only to have its way with you and then suddenly vanish. What more could you want?"—LAURA MORIARITY
"With orations, fables, axioms, proofs, journals, and letters, Brent Cunningham offers a riposte to the confounding realities of empire just when we need it most. The repeated 'awakenings' of Bird & Forest suggest the wonder of conversion narrative without the ideological baggage. Engaging myriad rhetorical 'types,' he exhausts their function to disclose the backstory of creation, romantic love, and the curious permanence of warfare while gorgeously demonstrating the resilience of the imagination." —PETER GIZZI