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
Hunley, Tom, "The Tongue" (2004). English Faculty Book Gallery. 33.