BLUE HERON RISING (2015) spans work written between 1985 and 2005. Two separate collections of individual incidental poems are distinguished by candor and wonder; the rest are long segmented poems or poem sequences that accumulate, each telling a story. The spirit that unites these chapters is the theme of being haunted by an elusive memory of past glory and shame, and the will to lift one’s Neolithic soul from Butcher Bean Creek and lyrically take wing.*
*Cover painting by George Inness "The Home of the Heron"
THE POETRY OF TAD CORNELL
THE NEEDLE'S EYE: SONNETS TO CRISTOS (2016) is a volume of 109 sonnets threading together a menagerie of themes—from Native American legends, early US history, and classic Hollywood films, to contemporary disasters and human delinquency. Tempted to provide a warning label, the author instead offers unapologetic insights like found objects that ultimately point to a longing for an abiding home.
11th Annual National Indie Excellence Award FINALIST in POETRY
"Tad Cornell's beautifully crafted and sonorous poems create a high formal music that explores mysteries, sacred and secular. He is a Catholic poet of substance and originality."
~Dana Gioia, Laetare Medal the American Book Award winner, and former chair, National Endowment for the Arts
“Tad Cornell’s resourceful Imagist poems are often satirical—laced with insights and playfulness—about theology, philosophy, literature, and pop culture. The aperture into his poetry is the delight in writing one’s way through thinking. His sequences are seamlessly fused into one grand book by the variations of a witty voice. . . As readers “drift” through the musing texts, Cornell’s images will be unforgettable.”
~Roberto Bonazzi, San Antonio Express-News
Tad Cornell’s resourceful Imagist poems are often satirical—laced with insights and playfulness—about theology, philosophy, literature, and pop culture. The aperture into his poetry is the delight in writing one’s way through thinking. Five sequences are seamlessly fused into one grand book (In Whom Is My Delight, Juggling Teacups Press, 2015) by the variations of his witty voice. The first section is a narration of incarnation, reflecting Chesterton’s views. The second section narrates a social worker’s monologue of ethical crisis. “Today I am an ‘on call’ worker, and so/ the phone may ring, and I be majestically shot/ into my own denial before the cock’s crow./ ‘Welcome to the historical present,’ I say/ to St. Mark, or anyone who may know/ his use of Greek in that gospel where he’ll play/ with language at life’s core./ All this before my foot even touched the floor./ Go figure. He also serves who doesn’t care.” Yet a reprieve, as the patient’s “eyes searching mine and not mine into his soul/ is what drives me though the rain to his side, to undo/ my own hollow, loveless acts of control,/ hoping for Sam’s childlike verdict reading into/ my soul the star of Bethlehem, the songs of hope. . .”
The third part peers into the brain of poetry, where Cornell has “staked my life/ on an obsolete craft,” discovering that “It’s only when you can’t find the last thread that clarity/ and mystery can occupy the same space at the same time.” A clever “Suite” sings as confessional poetics in the fourth section: “Compelling as/ masterful origami, the point is fragile, elegant pointlessness.” The last reminds of Shakespeare in sonnets to the body, where “The garden of the moon is utter gift/ like heart to heart and spousal loin to loin/ or sighting land when all you had was drift.” As readers “drift” through the musing texts, Cornell’s images will be unforgettable.
~Robert Bonazzi, Outside the Margins: Literary Commentaries, Wings Press, San Antonio, Texas, 2015.
IN WHOM IS MY DELIGHT (2015) is a collection of five chapbooks written between 2007 and 2015 by underground poet, and sometimes performer, Tad Cornell (T. H. Cornell).*
These modern sagas exalt reality and exult in the unity of goodness, truth, and beauty. Combining a Catholic sensibility, in the spirit of G. K. Chesterton, with a contemporary idiom, this narrative adventure celebrates the mystery of Christ and the glory of the English language.
* Cover image is a detail of a painting “Christ Among the Doctors”
by Bernardino Luini