A poem by Dean of Faculty/English Master Chris Cunningham, "Rapunzel’s Mother," has been published in the most recent issue of the Michigan Quarterly Review.
She sent her husband to steal morsels
of strangeness from the night. He poached
dew from roses, plucked wings
from lady bugs, climbed trees
to borrow robins’ eggs, which she
licked, craving the taste of blue.
The night he returned burdened
with the witch’s bitter herb, his wife
began the list of names she’d call
the child she knew she’d never know.
Lettered with ink of blood, spit, bile,
the list ran on for pages, a parade
of words bizarre, banal—outlandish
place-names sifted from atlases,
names of household items, animals
exotic, domestic, and fantastic,
names of kings, trees, clouds, and gods,
every fruit, star, and constellation.
The final pages wandered into nonsense,
strings of consonants, grinding
against each other like shifting ice,
then melting into vowels, pages
of keening, formless, lipless words
spelling the name of lamentation,
sounding out the raw, full throat of loss.
Cunningham has been the School's Third Form English Curriculum Coordinator, Acting Chair of the English department, Chair of the Discipline Committee, and a member of numerous other School committees during his ten years at Lawrenceville. His efforts as head coach of the Big Red girls' varsity cross country team earned him Coach of the Year awards from the Trenton Times, Trentonian, and Star-Ledger in 2011.
Cunningham received his A.B. in Modern Thought and Literature, Phi Beta Kappa, from Stanford University and his Ph.D. in Literature from Duke University. His poetry, criticism, and reviews have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including Slate, Iowa Review, Best New Poets 2006, Southwest Review, Ninth Letter, Black Warrior Review, Court Green, Cincinnati Review, Poetry International, Meridian, River Styx, Notre Dame Review, Smartish Pace, Western Humanities Review, Cimarron Review, Arizona Quarterly, Mississippi Quarterly. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Cunningham has completed a collection of poetry, "No Stranger but Ourself, "and is working on a book-length sequence, "Mr. Anderson."
Before joining Lawrenceville, Cunningham taught at Princeton Day School, Stuart Country Day School, and Montclair Kimberly Academy. He was also an adjunct professor at Rider University and Mercer County Community College.
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