Please Trespass Here

I read both novels and poetry. Sometimes I combine the two and read a verse-novel (a rare find). An excellent example of a full-length verse-novel that I recently reread is Darlington’s Fall by Brad Leithauser. It leaves me wondering why it did not receive more acclaim than it did.  The novel I just finished reading is 2666 by Roberto Bolaño. Wanting to know about this writer, I read that he died before the novel was published and that he wrote poetry first, but turned to novels to earn money when he had children to feed. That got me to thinking about other novelists who also wrote poetry. Margaret Atwood, D.H. Lawrence, Erica Jong, Herman Melville, John Updike, and Sherman Alexie come to mind. If my readers can suggest others, please share them and offer your opinion of how well they do in each genre. There is also Sylvia Plath, primarily a poet, who wrote her one novel The Bell Jar. And, of course, Tolkien included verse in the form of songs in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy.

From writing poetry, I trespassed into the land of fiction, writing novels and short stories.  In my latest poetry book, Please Trespass Here, I have collected all the poetry I have written since 2001. The collection is divided into five sections: Settings, Characters, Motifs, Novenas for Grandmother, and Playground. The topics span world events in the first decade of the 21st century mixed with humorous takes on daily life and nature. Themes turn to the criminal mind and to literary figures. The title invites the reader to trespass into the poet’s territory and be rewarded, among other things, with sightings of moose, a great grey owl, and a bear.  After completing this poetry book, I have set poetry aside for the time being to begin a new novel. I will never entirely abandon poetry, for I get great pleasure from crafting a poem’s lines and stanzas.

I invite those who only read novels or anyone who left poetry behind when they left school to trespass on the territory of poetry. The rhythm and imagery that jump out at you in your favorite prose passages thrive in the concision of poetry. I offer here the title piece:

 Please Trespass Here

Please Trespass Here Book Cover

The tempo of summer simply slows

Like subtle flutter of warbler wings.

A grasshopper lurches in the lawn,

While I loll, open book, on the deck.

Nothing as serene as a printed page

Spread to the sun in perfect marriage

Of mind and matter—the world soul

Emerson thought of long ages ago

Before my mountain home was born.

Unwelcome cowbird lands on the feeder.

Today I am content to see the intruder.

There’s room for crossbill and grosbeak,

Prettier by far than this dusky wayfarer

Who neither reads nor admits of signs.

Ample is the hour, ample is the sky

For vagrant cloud and flagrant crow.

No circle more sacred than black soil

And no world larger than this moment.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Anthony Burgess? He has a verse novel called Byrne I believe. Very cool though I attempted reading that when I was a wee lad and most of it went over my head. I’ve been licking my lips in anticipation of Bolona’s 2666 ever since I came across a review of it on Time. Ordered my copy a few weeks back from a local book store along with David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. Speaking of, didn’t Wallace also indulge in some poetry?

    On topic: I started out my writing writing poetry. As a non-native speaker of the English language, I’ve always found myself drawn to a poet’s ability to say much with little; economy of language is a poet’s greatest strength.

    My current book is an anthology of sorts, four poems and four short stories, all thematically bound (its one of the themes that really struck me about Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude). I’d almost given up on poetry until I came across Sylvia Plath’s collected poems and this piece – – in particular is a towering embodiment of everything that is great about poetry and great poets.


    • Thanks for suggesting Byrne. After reading about Anthony Burgess’s verse novel, I ordered it. Ottava rima no less ala Byron; it sounds interesting to me. I have never read any Burgess’ before, so I am looking forward to it. In my research of his books, I found another verse novel that he wrote–Moses. I ordered that one too. I don’t know about Wallace indulging in poetry too. I will have to look into it, but I have read reviews of his Infinite Jest, which everyone thinks is great. I hope to get around to it eventually. 2666 is a fascinating read, a highly literary work despite the fact Bolona did not spend his life as an academic, but mainly doing odd jobs. I have a theory about the title. Please give me your thoughts about the book after you finish reading it. There is a lot to absorb in the five parts of the book. It is one of those great novels that require more than one reading.

      Shouldn’t you classify yourself as bilingual as your English is that of a native? Since you have chosen to write in English, I am supposing one reason for doing so is the opportunity to reach a larger audience, or maybe there are other reasons. Do you also write in your other language? Thanks for the link to Sylvia Plath’s poem. It has been some time since I have read her. She is a prime example of the playfulness with language and the concision of expression that make me love poetry so much..


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