James Vincent Cunningham

[J. V. Cunningham] (1911-1985 / Cumberland, Maryland)

James Vincent Cunningham
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James Vincent Cunningham (August 23, 1911 – March 30, 1985) was an American poet, literary critic, and teacher. Sometimes described as a neo-classicist or anti-modernist, his poetry was distinguished by its clarity, its brevity, and its traditional formality of rhyme and rhythm at a time when many American poets were breaking away from traditional fixed meters. His finely crafted epigrams in the style of Latin poets were much praised and frequently anthologized. But he also wrote spare, mature poems about love and estrangement, most notably the 15-poem sequence entitled To What Strangers, What Welcome (1964).

Poetry

Cunningham's output was as spare as his style. He ... more »

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Best Poem of James Vincent Cunningham

Choice

Allegiance is assigned
Forever when the mind
Chooses and stamps the will.
Thus, I must love you still
Through good and ill.

But though we cannot part
We may retract the heart
And build such privacies
As self-regard agrees
Conduce to ease.

So manners will repair
The ravage of despair
Which generous love invites,
Preferring quiet nights
To vain delights.

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