Book Report: Thoughts in Verse by Bernice Marie Cockrell-Petrie (1989)

Book coverThis is a chapbook from a little old lady who wrote poems about her home, her friends, and her family in the 1970s and 1980s. Its pages are typewritten (and, in some places, corrected with correction fluid and hand printing), and it’s bound by a comb binder, probably something provided by Kinko’s or the like (my chapbooks from five and six years later were saddle-stapled, which is a more professional look, I think, but this book might have been to thick for that treatment).

So I could have gone into the book with a sense of literary superiority (I’m concurrently reading Kipling’s poetry and some more by Ogden Nash), but somehow I developed a little affection for the book as I read it.

Her prolific period comes in the early 1970s, and as each poem is dated, one can read the poems she was writing up to the date of one’s own birth (if one is about forty years old) and through historical periods of one’s life. So it has that effect on one like me.

The topics of the poems are her friends and family, as I mentioned, so at times it’s like flipping through someone else’s photo album.

Other poems deal with her home, animals around them, herself, and her relationship to God. It’s pretty lightweight stuff, except it was meaningful enough to her to put to verse.

And the poems aren’t very good, but they’re not especially bad either. She has a fair sense of rhythm, relying on iambs a bunch, and she end rhymes. So she put some thought into them, unlike a lot of free versers who just blat out anything and think it’s profound.

So I enjoyed the book for what it was: an amateur writing what she thought. The copy I have is a second edition, which could very well mean there were more copies of it in the wild in 1990 than there are copies of John Donnelly’s Gold out there. Fancy that.