Martina Evans on Tim Cumming’s Knuckle

Profile Martina Evans LE P&W Sept 2019

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Knuckle from Pitt Street Poetry is Tim Cumming’s eighth collection. The book begins with a stunning sequence on the planets, each one different, each suffused with humour, eroticism and Cumming’s trademark scientific focus. The title poem ‘The Knuckle End’ comes from the sweetest meat on a leg of lamb and it is equally sweet in the way that great music is sweet. There are no wrong notes, no sentimentality, “I am struck by how little/ food waste there is in Mum’s/slops bucket…’. A wider sense of waste returns with great force in his fine poem, ‘Bag’, “Nothing says forever like plastic.” All of Cummings’ preoccupations are here— music, destiny, love, travel and history enhanced by his terrific ‘End Note’ which reads like a manifesto, an essay or a lesson for poetry. Cumming’s clear, cerebral poetry has never been finer while his short poem ‘Stylus’ operates like a coda, ‘The only diamond I ever owned/was set in the stylus of a turntable,/its arm falling into the groove/of one great album after/another. I held them close/as I would a lover.’

Martina Evans is an Irish poet, novelist and teacher.

Knuckle poetry collection by Tim Cumming

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Martina Evans is an Irish poet, novelist and teacher. She grew up in County Cork in a country pub, shop and petrol station and is the youngest of ten children, and the author of eleven books of prose and poetry. Her latest collection Now We Can Talk Openly About Men was published by Carcanet in May 2018, and shortlisted for the 2019 Irish Times Poetry Now Award as well as the Pigott Poetry Award.