English Faculty Book Gallery

The Tongue


The Tongue



Like a Pop artist, Tom Hunley creates with bright colors and sharp lines. In the face of disaster, he responds with the kind of insouciance praised by Whitman and practiced by a Buster Keaton or Harold Lloyd. "Meet me at the Cafe Nihilism," Hunley writes, and in poem after poem we're there, where the abyss and comedy mix, the poems are both edgy and tender, and Mayakovsky's bad-boy persona gets an American makeover. Some bonuses: Hunley wears his considerable learning on his sleeve lightly; as a formalist, he's the best kind--unsolemn and jazzy. When he asks from his students "mango-like writing" that's "tropical, sun-kissed," he's describing his own aesthetic. As you read this book, enjoy the juice spilling down your chin.
-- Philip Dacey

Though nothing is what it seems in this playful debut by a promising young poet, there is no calculated obscurity here, only a gregarious embracing of the endless possibilities of language and life. Tom Hunley entertains, moves, and surprises us. Caveat lector!
-- Joe Survant



Publication Date



Wind Publications




Tom C. Hunley holds degrees from University of Washington, Eastern Washington University, and Florida State University. He is the author of four full-length poetry collections, most recently PLUNK (Wayne State College Press, 2004); six chapbooks, most recently Scotch Tape World (Accents Publishing, 2014); and two textbooks, most recently The Poetry Gymnasium: 94 Proven Exercises to Shape Your Best Verse (McFarland & Co., Inc., 2012). He is the co-editor, with Alexandria Peary, of Creative Writing Pedagogies for the Twenty-First Century (Southern Illinois University Press, 2015). He has also written for a variety of literary publications such as TriQuarterly, New York Quarterly, Five Points,The Writer, North American Review, New Orleans Review, Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Chronicle, Atlanta Review and Poetry Daily. His poems have been featured several times on Garrison Keillor’s NPR program, The Writer’s Almanac. In addition to writing his own poetry and prose, he is the book review editor for Poemeleon and the director/founder of Steel Toe Books. He and his wife, Ralaina, have been married since 1996, and they have three sons. In his spare time he enjoys playing guitar and bass guitar.

The Tongue