Cunningham, J. V. Interview by Timothy Steele. Iowa Review 15 (Fall, 1985): 1-24. In this delightful and revealing look at Cunningham’s life and ideas about poetry, the poet describes writing poetry as a “professional task,” not a mystical act. He defends the practice of meter and abhors its decline in recent poetry.
Kerrigan, William. “J. V. Cunningham’s Meditation on Method.” Sewanee Review 109, no. 1 (Winter, 2001): 65. Praises Cunningham as the greatest writer of English epigrams since Ben Jonson.
Pinsky, Robert. “Two Examples of Poetic Discursiveness.” Chicago Review 27 (Fall, 1975): 133-141. Pinsky sees Cunningham’s “discursiveness” as a positive quality. It is “concise and accurate” and without the usual poetic devices of imagery and irony. He claims that this leads to poetry that has the power and authority found in Ben Jonson’s poetry.
Rathmann, Andrew. Review of The Poems of J. V. Cunningham. Chicago Review 43, no. 3 (Summer, 1997): 107-103. Rathmann gives a critical analysis of Cunningham’s work and laments the fact that Cunningham is not more widely known despite the admiration of many contemporary poet-critics.
Shapiro, Alan. “’Far Lamps at Night’: The Poetry of J. V. Cunningham,” and “The Early Seventies and J. V. Cunningham.” In In Praise of the Impure: Poetry and the Ethical Imagination: Essays, 1980-1991. Evanston, Ill.: TriQuarterly Books, 1993. Shapiro, a former student of Cunningham at Brandeis University, believes that Cunningham deserves to be more “highly esteemed.” He analyzes a few poems and shows that Cunningham did not blindly follow traditions but set his poetry against them to create a fruitful intertextuality.
Stall, Lindon. “The Trivial, Vulgar, and Exalted: The Poems of J. V. Cunningham.” Southern Review 9 (Spring, 1973): 1044-1048. Stall claims that Cunningham’s “intelligibility” is responsible for his lack of fame. Stall states that Cunningham has restored the epigram to seriousness and brought that ancient form a new power.
Stein, Robert A. “The Collected Poems and Epigrams of J. V. Cunningham.” Western Humanities Review 27 (Fall, 1973): 23-25. An evenhanded review of Cunningham’s poems. Stein states flatly that Cunningham has written some great poems. He also sees some liabilities, especially Cunningham’s use of too many clever paradoxes.