Tim Cumming

Tim Cumming

Tim Cumming is a poet and journalist from London. 

He was born in Solihull and was brought up in the West Country. His poetry collections include The Miniature Estate (1991), Apocalypso (1992, 1999), Contact Print (2002) and The Rumour (2004). His work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including The Forward’s Poems of the Decade, and Bloodaxe Books’ 2010 anthology of poetry from Ireland and the British Isles, Identity Parade.

He made the acclaimed Hawkwind: Do Not Panic documentary for the BBC in 2007, has shown his film poems at cinemas and festivals in the United Kingdom and writes regularly about music and the arts for the British and international press.

The Miniature Estate was published by Smith/Doorstop in 1991.


Reviews

'Tim Cumming is a brilliant poet in many senses of the word: his poems are urbane, intimately well-observed, and evince a true wit in the sense that would have been understood by Swift or Pope' — John Stammers


'Tim Cumming’s urban landscapes are original, dreamy, surefooted with an intense filmic narrative. An acute sense of time and nature burns through these inspired poems.' — Martina Evans


A 'Film Poem' by Tim Cumming

See here for "A new film poem by Tim Cumming written on a walk from Hampstead Heath station to the Steeles in Belsize Park where he was offered snuff laced with cocaine and heard the story of Moll King, good mixer of Georgian London, a famous bawd and the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders. Includes footage of witch dolls, amulets, mandrakes and more from the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, birds on the wire at Bodmin, Lord Byron and the waters of the Thames from Woolwich Dockyard, the paintings of Austin Osman Spare from the 2010 exhibition at the Cuming Museum in south London, 8mm archive film of The Towers in Corfe Mullen in the 1960s and wooden figurines carved in the 1980s by the hand of Peter Cumming."

BREAK-IN

I slipped past the cenotaph,
the exchequer, the safety barrier,
I drugged the policeman,
cut the wires, tricked the dogs
with short-term government futures
and crept upstairs
through the tradesman’s entrance
to the first floor,
where machines clacked and hummed,
angelic telegraphs.
I heard movement, voices
in the servants’ rooms.
Shrill talk of groceries
and no answering back.
I was doing well,
the house was awake.
I made for the bedroom
and using government tactics
looked for a place to hide;
in bottom drawers, handbags,
handkerchiefs, dossiers,
a variety of statistics-
in freight, in miles, meters,
of anger, poverty, abandonment.
I wound back the clock
and destroyed the evidence,
twisted telephones and memos
to a tight knot of voices
each the more pressing, various,
distant, and cut them
at the throat.
I broke the safe,
broke out in rumour,
vanished from photographs.
I became lies, vague promises;
history and myth.
Changed my accent
changed my suit
shredded the evidence
spread across the bed
hung in the curtains
was trodden underfoot
was smashed in the ribs
was bludgeoned to death
was present and correct.
I broke out in perfumed sweat
and was never so sober
as then in her bed
when she came to rest
across the land
over the years
I was inside her
and I tell you
she stank.

Titles by this author

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