Tag Archives: Poetry

12: The Cottage Builder’s Letter

The Cottage Builder's LetterThe Cottage Builder’s Letter by George Murray

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From the Book Shop in Penticton.

Read in April 2013.

View all my reviews

Since it was poetry month, I thought I’d read some poetry. This one’s been on my to-read shelf for a while (how long? not sure. I think it’s probably from my 2009 trip to the Book Shop). You may be familiar with George Murray as the proprietor of the (sadly no-longer-updated) book blog Bookninja.

Most of the poems in The Cottage Builder’s Letter are narrative poems (stories in poetry), many of them multi-part. A number of the poems are semi-formal in construction, e.g. poems consisting of all 3-line stanzas or all 2-line stanzas, poems where a phrase/word sequence is repeated in each line or stanza.

This was one of those books that I wanted to like more than I did. The writing was good; the poems skillfully composed, but for whatever reason, I didn’t really connect with them. Maybe it was that there were too many unfamiliar references. I’m not sure.

I did like this one, especially the last stanza:

LIBRARY

Maybe you know how
to live in a way
that isn’t just about breathing,
but I don’t —
so please: reserve this
space for me.

(Rest here a moment
without thinking)

In what manner you choose
to keep your books:
I know this little part of you,
hold it sacred —
it’s your other secrets,
if any, that are not safe with me.

The Cottage Builder’s Letter, 55

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Project 366 – Week 52

358/366
week 52! and
so, at long (very long) last,
we approach ‘the end’

359/366
what started out fun
has become daily torture
(slight hyperbole)

360/366
eggnog coffee and
The Log crackling on TV
peaceful quiet calm

361/366
reading, puttering
at the end of each chapter
savoring a book

362/366
new rule! no starting
a new book till I’ve read this
stack of magazines.

363/366
the grocery store
is always out of sourdough
…something I should know?

364/366
I wish The Log was
available all year or
at least all winter…

Project 366 – Week 51

351/366
Sunday at five, all
errands and chores done. wait, the
weekend is over

352/366
ok, I’m going
to do this: powering through
one more article.

353/366
does coolness outweigh
tedium of formatting?
I cannot decide.

354/366
annual snow day
slushy ruts, giant puddles
squishy-soaky feet

355/366
it’s a very good
thing this is almost over
I’m boring myself

356/366
it’s the end of the
world as we know it and I
feel fine! (not dead yet)

357/366
the days are short but
feel even shorter when the
sun hides behind clouds

Project 366 – Week 50

344/366
birthday shopping in
December is always a
strange experience

345/366
hello post office
aren’t you an exciting place
on December 10?

346/366
warning: this “express”
lane is only express if
you’re tortoise, not hare

347/366
running in the dark?
beware of inattentive
drivers running reds

348/366
apparently this week
I’m addicted to pudding.
I guess that’s ok.

349/366
an unstated goal:
1,000 tweets by year-end
reached on 12/14.

350/366
down the street, made of
Christmas lights, a menorah.
tonight, all aglow.

Project 366 – Week 49

337/366
too many things to
do — just keep swimming — the list
it is bottomless

338/366
that first time you dig
your thumb into the peel of
a mandarin orange

339/366
sometimes tv in
the background can be good for
productivity

340/366
December issue
done by Friday? I think I
can I think I can…

341/366
promptly at 8, the
noise begins, a whirring sound
like a leaf blower

342/366 omg, it does exist…
slanted rain, darkness.
then, sun comes out; the mountains
wear coats of fresh snow

343/366
someone’s having a
party people spilling in
to the street laughing

Project 366 – Week 48

330/366
terrible tv
movies are so much better
when watched with twitter

331/366
something’s different
this time and, regardless of
wordcount, that’s a win.

332/366
look out the window
to see a crane swinging past
snow-dusted mountains

333/366
struggling to finish
absolute blank article
before end of month

334/366
“do you need any
holiday stamps?” the clerk at
the post office asks

335/366
article: complete.
“keeping a commonplace book”
will sleep well tonight

336/366 NONSENSE HAIKU!*
pose, frozen river
pink lemonade with cherries
sulky kitty preys

*inspired by this random line: kitty pink lemonade river poses prayers cherries sulky frozen