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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Review of Shore Lines by Philip E. Burnham Jr.

Philip Burnham murmurs his subdued poems to us as if they were delicate miracles of nature or intricate tidal secrets. And many of them are. His poetic techniques, although traditional, are never overbearing and Burnham’s rhymes, off-rhymes, and near rhymes flow easily and unforced. The poet’s persona captures you with his likeability and does a masterful job conveying love, loss, and mortality through images of the natural world and an extraordinary perception of the ordinary and touchable implements of time and place.

The sonnet, Fog at Round Pond, Maine, fittingly introduces this collection. Boats become personified vessels of dreams, which either strain at life’s moorings or lay low in hibernation. Burnham begins this way,

See how the boats are compass to the wind,

Bows pointed east toward Muscongus Bay,

Taut on their moorings, slipped against the play

Of tides, their line as of a single mind…

A bit of color can change everything. So the poet seems to suggest in his poem, Waiting for the Red-winged Blackbirds. We leave the dark and passive monotony of winter and enter into the staccato of rebirth. And with this rebirth comes a subtle intimation of danger. Burnham describes the commotion,
For more of my review of Shore Lines by Philip E. Burnham Jr. go here:  http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2013/01/poems-from-waters-edge-by-philip.html

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