The House of the Tree of Sores
Author: Paul Cunningham
Publisher: Schism Press (2020)
"Paul Cunningham has an absolute page-turner here—maybe the rarest of things in poetry. The repetition is EXQUISITELY and MASTERFULLY executed. It's one of the best things I have read in a long time."
“To enter Paul Cunningham's insidious home environment is to enter as a stranger, into his own perverse version of normalcy. With an equally deranged and seamless mix of Swedish and English, he reveals both the reader and the IKEA department store as eerie card houses or scenes, as mirror-rooms and kaleidoscopes. A madly beautiful and deeply disturbing book!”
"The House of the Tree of Sores is made of experimental, fable-like poems tightly woven with Swedish-English translingual word plays that mock and counter-weave America’s imperial English, its values and lifestyle so deeply entrenched in global economy and violence. It’s a stunning debut that only a translator-poet could have written—Paul Cunningham."
–Don Mee Choi
"Isolation is rife in Cunningham’s rooms (internal and external) dominated by decay and faltering voices. As the isolation creeps into more populated zones, a cacophony of systemic gore and dismemberment overtakes the reader right before it settles back down for readerly digestion. Furniture is grotesque. Transportation spits at you. Heads of cabbage, coconuts, and onions smile at the reader before it’s chopping time. The House of the Tree of Sores portrays a nightmarish world of the known, and it’s the one we live in. Honestly, this book scares me, and I cherish that fear."
"In the mega-store, our desires are transposed into places of access. To want milk is to look for a kitchen first. Cunningham furnishes a more liminal space as he draws the idealized shopper back into the bullet-torn bodies of war, an assistant manager learning how to lucid dream, or the confused children through which commodities speak: 'My son screams, I am a fall hazard. My daughter screams, I am a strangulation hazard.' A pointed derangement of the built world and its cultures."