Fractions of the Muse by Lawrence Cottrell


Fractions Of The Muse is the author’s belling of forgetting, that so long as this book exists so shall his muse not have been, to paraphrase Thomas Gray, a flower  born to blush unseen, a sweetness wasted on the desert air, but be wondered of, the poet’s resurrection song, a tribute to that gauntlet she was, to where, in the evening of each day, weary from his winging, he found her love awaiting…the unexpected gift of 130 seasons.


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 70
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: April 2024
  • ISBN 978-1-962847-08-7


Fractions of the Muse presents itself as a eulogy, offering “analecta” or excerpts of the poet’s late wife’s love, her virtues, and her life. Their memory is represented as offering the bereaved husband some consolation, especially in recalling that she had “known joy” in life, “when time was hers to braid.” Cottrell’s collection is at its heart, though, a lament, compelling and original. Unsure of how to face a future without his dearest companion, the poet recounts his sorrow in terms of how even the most quotidian things appear different in her absence. In this collection, to a greater extent than in some of his earlier work, Cottrell couches his feelings in elevated, often archaic diction, creating a prosody that casts his grief outside the ordinary and yet reminds us of the universality of loss—reminiscent, in this way, of the community of sorrow that all classic elegiac poetry creates. Despite such consolations as the memory of his loved one’s blowing a kiss to him when she was dying, the deepest consolations of this collection are in this aura of timelessness and in the music of  the poet’s phrasing, music that threads through even his bleakest passages. —EDWINA PENDARVIS

In Fractions of the Muse Larry Cottrell lifts his distinct and compelling poetic voice in a lamentation; an elegiac collection of poems written around the loss of a beloved friend, companion, lover, life partner.  Cottrell mourns deeply, and his sorrow is palpable but never hopeless.  In the poem remembering the date of death, he says in a remarkable insight, “For God, who in His blindness dreamt of us, awaits the poet’s hand…”.  The poet’s hand is his, and he uses it skillfully to negotiate the dark and treacherous path between grief and despair.   A beautiful and beautifully written tribute. —KIRK JUDD



In shortening days and chill nights, asters blow ’midst
Fading coneflowers and ironweed, elfin blooms bearing
news of winter’s nearness…
Completed oath of spring, life’s obdurate will awaiting

…last poem here, my autumn soul come at last upon
Where bend old worlds away into the new, now’s setting
sun coda of our song…
Dusks no more our side by side of dreaming, mere hush’
of stars, sickle moons,

sky na else than pathless peekaboo.

Time has no excuse without the girl, her yoo-hooing at
my transits through her door,

who knowing me ought not have loved but did…
dread where once vivat…

My heart’s motion exiled to archipelago of barren isles

screams of wandering albatrosses —


Lawrence Cottrell lives with his memories in an old folks high-rise beside Coal River, Saint Albans, West Virginia. He walks four miles each day, glances occasionally at his college degrees on the wall, or the urn filled with her ashes on a whatnot, while sunlight plays along his ceiling, or rain, unable to wash away his sins, settles for wetting his balcony. A coda as whimper, not tempest, that place from which senescence watches the boy it was, from, as it were, the cheap seats, from which wisdom can give to its past no more than fortune’s vow of silence.

Additional information

Weight 5 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .25 in