In The Tumbling Box, Allison Funk offers us an exquisite accomplishment: elegant, subtle poems that confront the painful and complex enormity we call love, in particular, parental love. In spite of the best of intentions, in giving birth, we give birth not only to love but to suffering; born, we are borne not only toward love but toward suffering. Rigorously and scrupulously crafted, these lyrics move us with their hard-won wisdom, awe us with their persistent lucidity, and redeem us with their enduring grace. --Eric Pankey
“Free as one crossing a tightrope,” Allison Funk says in one poem, and that is the freedom of this beautiful book—gracefully poised, perfectly balanced between grief and transformation. These poems are luminous as the paintings and sunlit prairie grass they observe, and piercing as the ancient tales of entrapment and release they re-imagine. In The Tumbling Box, Allison Funk gives us the miracle of attention embodied in supple and vivid language. Like the most serious artists, she walks the high wire as one intimate with gravity, and these poems are all the more crucial for their exquisite restraint. --Betsy Sholl
The Tumbling Box is a work of astonishing intimacy and power: subtly crafted, yet emotionally raw, honest and deeply felt, yet never merely confessional. This brave collection travels the darkest of places to emerge, at the last, in clear-sighted, undeceived grace. Allison Funk's journey is both profoundly moving and genuinely uplifting; reading these poems, I felt extraordinarily grateful for their heart-rending and heartening quest—not for a solution, or an escape from pain, but for the hard amen of fellow feeling that the long work of healing reveals. --John Burnside
Allison Funk is the author of three previous collections of poetry, The Knot Garden, Living at the Epicenter, and Forms of Conversion. She has received the Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize and awards from the Society of Midland Authors, the Poetry Society of America, Poetry, and the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Cover art: Georg Baselitz,
a print from the series Gothic Maidens © Georg Baselitz
Photo © 2008 Tate, London