Paula's Reviews > Body Language

Body Language by Mark Cunningham
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Feb 08, 09

bookshelves: poetry
Read in February, 2009, read count: 2

Body Language is a two-part book printed so that it can be read starting from either cover. In one direction, read “Primer,” and in the other direction, “Body.” Each “book” is 59 pages in length and includes its own Table of Contents, Author Bio, and Acknowledgments section. The two books meet in the middle with mirror images of “Tarpaulin Sky Press: Current & Forthcoming Titles.”
“Body” is a series of poems based on human anatomy and things associated with the body, such as “The Bruise” and “The Fart.” “Primer” is a series of poems based on the letters of the alphabet, numbers and mathematical concepts, such as “O as Placeholder” and “Increases without Bound.” (Titles carry weight here.)These poems are amusing (“Lying down you are infinite. Or at least longer.”), often aphoristic (“The one over twelve is either the hero or the one who will die”), and occasionally poignant (“You learned the loneliness of calling those who no longer knew what you’re doing without asking”). Since my math education was limited to high school algebra and geometry along time ago, while reading the “Primer” poems, I learn things, for example, “every prime over three, though sealed in itself, is a form of 6n plus or minus 1.” (Primer indeed!) Although overall I find the poems included in “Body” less engaging than those of “Primer,” intriguing moments do surface throughout, such as, “if you have to show just a few teeth, life is decent. Have to bare a few more, not so decent. If all of them end up exposed? Someone else will have to piece together the bald facts,” from“The Skull” and “the dead seated, elbows wrapped around knees, patient, hugged in, ready no matter what’s waiting on the other side, heaven, hell, or archeologists” from“Ball-and-Socket Joints.” However much they delve into or act out “signs,” Cunningham’s Body Language poems are ultimately not so much informed by linguistics as by sheer giddy humanness. Mathematics? anatomy? perhaps they’re all the same thing.
2 likes · Likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Body Language.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Juanita (new)

Juanita Rice This review intrigued me, especially as a former math major. And I liked the suggestion that mathematics and anatomy are ultimately the same thing. Cool. I'll put it on my possible list.

back to top