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Paul Cunningham

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
Graduate Teaching Assistant

Paul Cunningham is the recipient of the 2021 Diann Blakely Poetry Prize and the 2015 Sparks Prize Fellowship. He is the author of Fall Garment (forthcoming from Schism Press in 2022) and The House of the Tree of Sores (Schism Press, 2020). His most recent poetry chapbook is The Inmost (Carrion Bloom Books, 2020). His interests include literary translation in theory and practice, decadent poetics, and ecocritical studies. He holds a M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Notre Dame and he co-manages Action Books, an international press for poetry and translation. Action Books seeks to move poetry and poetics from other literary cultures into the center of US poetry discussions, undermining nationalist rubrics under which literature is marketed and discussed.

From the Swedish, he is the translator of Helena Österlund's Words (OOMPH! Press, 2019). He has also translated two chapbooks by Sara Tuss Efrik: Automanias: Selected Poems (winner of the 2015 Goodmorning Menagerie chapbook contest) and The Night's Belly (Toad Press, 2016). His writing has appeared in Poem-a-Day, Denver QuarterlyThe Fourth RiverBat City ReviewQuarterly WestOmniVerseYalobusha ReviewDIAGRAMSporkLIT: The Journal of The New SchoolTarpaulin Sky, and many others. His book reviews have appeared in Transmotion: An Online Journal of Indigenous Studies, Harvard Review, Heavy Feather Review, Kenyon Review, Fanzine, and DIAGRAM

With artist Sam Shoemaker, he completed Evidence from Lunar Rocks, a collaboration. In 2018, Sarah E. Brook featured one of his poems in "Viewfinding," a public sculpture formerly located in Manhattan's Riverside Park. In 2019, he collaborated with artist Chris Xavier on an interpretation of "Feast Green and Stained." His short film It Is Announced (a collaboration with poet/painter Valerie Mejer Caso and photographer Barry Shapiro) premiered in the 2016 Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Other poem-films have appeared in the MAKE Magazine Lit & Luz Festival, Seattle’s INCA (The Institute for New Connotative Action), the Museo Universitario del Chopo in Mexico City, and the 2021 Prague Microfestival.

Cunningham founded Radioactive Moat Press in 2009 and its online journal Deluge in 2012. With Jake Syersak, he co-edits a micro-press called Radioactive CloudHe is a PhD candidate at the University of Georgia and an invited member of the International Network for Comparative Studies.

Recent scholarly activity:

"Visualizing Prose Poetry: Landscape, Dream Machines, and Transformation," 2021 NOLA Poetry Festival

"Annual Alexis Levitin Bilingual Reading Series: Helena Österlund & Paul Cunningham," 2020 American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) Conference

"Crypto-Poiesis: Reimagining the Real through the Non-Human," 2018 &Now Conference, University of Notre Dame

"Toad Press International Chapbook Series Celebrates 15 Years of Translation," 2018 AWP Conference

"We Are Still Here: The Future of Horror in Contemporary Poetics," 2017 NOLA Poetry Festival

Recent public screenings and lectures:

Blade Runner (1982)

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Annihilation (2018)


M.F.A., Poetry (2015) University of Notre Dame

B.A., English (2011) Slippery Rock University

Research Interests:

Creative Writing

Translation Studies

Victorian Studies 

Anthropocene Studies


Selected Publications:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer    Goal/Tender Meat/Tender    The Night's Belly    Automanias 

Words  The House of the Tree of Sores  The Inmost


Of note:

2021: Diann Blakely Poetry Prize

2020: Outstanding Teacher Assistant, University of Georgia 

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