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Poetry Books by James R. Scrimgeour – and What other Writers Say about Them

 



Dikel, Your Hands

Dikel, Your Hands

My first book of poems, (Spoon River Press, 1979) – a collection of poems written between 1967 and 1979 (included in the permanent collection of Connecticut authors in the Governor’s residence) -- features the title poem (about my maternal grandfather), a sequence of Bill Wantling poems, a sequence of “Benjamin” poems, and some of my first love poems.

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The Route

The Route

My second book of poems, (Pikestaff Press, 1996) -- a collection of poems written between 1980 and 1996 – features the long title poem (about my ancestress, Mary Towne Estey who was hanged as a witch in Salem in 1692), my mother poem (my long day’s journey into night), a sequence of Block Island poems, some first grandchild poems, some ekphrastic poems based on Monet paintings, my first Rockport, MA poems, and more love poems.

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Scrimgeour’s poems are landscapes and portraits becoming each other. In them there seems a faith that the everyday details of this world, like an intricate seashell or pieces of tide worn glass, contain within them marvelous discoveries. These journeys into the heart of the moment are Scrimgeour’s love poems to life.
-- John Briggs

Scrimgeour’s poems are unpretentious, commonsensical.  No fancy curlicues in the language. No elegant foreign phrases to show off his learning. But keen observation of, and reflection on, our mutual human condition.  Much of his work reminds me of the Spanish poet, Antonio Machado. Stark realism, ample description, control of the subject matter. Seemingly trivial facets of life, but … de profundus.
-- J. W.  Rivers

 



We Are What We Have Loved

We Are What We Have Loved

My third full length book of poems (Hanover Press, 2001) – a collection of poems written between 1996-2001 -- features a sequence of Martha’s Vineyard poems, a sequence of Scotland poems, more Rockport poems, and “Athens Pizza,” a long poem celebrating the life of my Greek immigrant father-in-law.

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Greatest Hits

James R. Scrimgeour: Greatest Hits

This chapbook (Pudding House Press, 2001) is a collection of my greatest hits from 1970-2000. Note: the Pudding House Greatest Hits series features some of the best poets in America and is by invitation only. Features “Dikel, Your Hands,” “The Route,” and ten other poems.

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James Scrimgeour’s poems simmer with images of hawks, horses, lily ponds, beaches, and children in the sun with forays into subways and pizza parlors, all blended into reasoned and sensible music that is a pleasure to the ear and a reassurance to the heart..
-- Nicholas Rinaldi                

Scrimgeour knows the secret that so many self-appointed leaders in our country do not.  He knows how to transform guilt and complicity into responsibility for the future and there is no need for elaborate games with point of view in his poems.  He calls them the way he sees them and we, his readers, are the richer for it.
-- Bill Tremblay



Monet in the 20th Century

Monet in the 20th Century

This chapbook (Pudding House Press, 2002) consists of poems written during and after my visit to the exhibit, “Monet in the 20th Century “ at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, Fall 1998. First drafts of these ekphrastic poems were written while standing (or sitting) in front of the paintings, themselves.

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Brushstrokes of the Millennium

Brushstrokes of the Millennium Another major work (Western Connecticut State University Foundation, 2004) – a collection of poems written between 2001-2004 – features contrasting sequences (poems written while walking in a cemetery and poems written while on family vacations at Hills Beach , Maine), more Monet poems, more Rockport poems, more love poems, and long poems on Kafka’s Father and on the life of my wife’s grandmother in a village in Greece.

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James Scrimgeour's poems celebrate the daily world, its loves and losses, even when one day happens to be September 11, 2001.  I'm reminded at times of the good cheer of Isaac Walton, at other times of the insistence on the everyday that we see in William Carlos Williams. These poems grow naturally out of a lifelong and what feels like a daily practice of looking at the world with unflinching clarity and love.
-- Roger Mitchell

Scrimgeour helps us accept the mystery of the human heart. Aware of the isolation inherent in being human,  his poems do not ignore evil or our inability to bring sense and order to our world, but by offering poems that define particular moments, Scrimgeour brings balance to our vision and urges us to celebrate rare moments of communion. 
-- Vivian Shipley

 



Balloons over Stockholm

Balloons Over Stockholm

An interrelated collection of poems (Fine Tooth Press, 2005) written when my wife and I went to Stockholm, Sweden to visit my sister-in-law who was dying of a malignant brain tumor – features poems on “The Earth from Above” (photographs by Yann Arthus-Bertrand displayed on large kiosks near Stockholm harbor) a sequence written on an afternoon stroll through Djurgarden, and poems written on trips to various islands and walks through Old Town, and, of course, a few more love poems.

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On Thacher island

On Thacher Island

Another chapbook (Last Automat Press, 2008) written on trips to Thacher Island in 2006 and 2007 – the storm and shipwreck in 1635 hovers behind my strolls over this quaint picturesque island and my climbs up the spiral staircases of its two lighthouses.

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People enjoy Jim Scrimgeour’s poems because of their evocative use of nature, their political bite, their exploration of creativity and their understanding of the way the spiritual grows out of the sensual. More than anything else, however, I am coming to think of my friend as a great love poet. Few speak about Scrimgeour the love poet, but some of the strongest poems in the new collection [Balloons Over Stockholm] convince me that he should be considered more frequently in this light.
-- Oscar DeLosSantos

Jim Scrimgeour’s poems are an affirmation of what sustains us: art, nature, and above all love in the face of loss.  His poems wind their way through history, art, and inevitably out to a shore where each life alone faces the sea. Scrimgeour’s poems penetrate the veneer of daily life and exclaim that seeing, seeing clearly is a form of celebration.
-- Peter Marcus

 

 


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