Odd Fussings by Lawrence Cottrell


A bittersweet, poetic memoir by a senescent man glancing back along tracks erasing, scents dissipating, who imparts to us from memory’s ravels and rags the sad and happy silhouettes of his encounter with the kiss and cuff of seasons. From this collection’s first poem, Some Old Tale, where “life fumbles with death’s bodice like a lover,” to the last, Ancient Fires, when the author says his pilgrimage was “fat with witchings, delicious with ghouls, soul’s gate hung on mystic hinges,” there’s an unflinching measure of loss and a covenant with grace, and, always, a fierce romance with brooks and ghosts and braes, a metrical come-hither into flown and fleeting days.


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 80
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: March, 2020
  • ISBN: 978-1-948017-75-6


Lawrence Cottrell writes with intense joy smoldering just under the skin of a scholar attempting to maintain his reserve. These Whitmanesque meditations have a humility to them that grows out of pure fascination. Through these poems, Cottrell draws you in so you share his experience of the beautiful and the Divine. His language is crisp, complex, and yet sincere, not to mention deeply moving. Odd Fussings is a journey shared with a friend—one well worth taking.   —Ace Boggess 

This significant collection offers a glimpse into the soul and sentience of one who has lived the life of a poet and paid attention.  These are thoughtful poems thoughtfully crafted, meticulous in detail and imagery and meaning. They are wise reminisces, never merely nostalgic or mawkish, deftly maneuvering the tension between what was and what is, what inevitably will be.   Essentially a love song to the poet’s place and time, the book ambles easily from bluets on the banks of the poet’s beloved Elk River to the far China Sea, from a time when the West Virginia mountains thrust terribly above the clouds to the now and ‘why’ we stay and love this place and its people. Nearing the end of his season, the poet knows “a winter’s what’s to love if love is to be…” and generously and gently reminds us:  “And memories, all of keeping there may be, are smiled / back into by these / brief, peculiar fetchings of a mind”. —Kirk Judd



That primrose gayed a wizened corner of December,
Poured (somehow) from empty flagon of a season,
An unexpected gift amid day’s dun, forsaken pillars…
As if, o’er some far entropic plain, where even God has
swooned, and Hell is snuffed, birthed a sun…
Yellow pretty unexplained, blind vivat flaring from the
grim, infecund hollow of a winter –


Lawrence CottrellLawrence Cottrell has lived in West Virginia, mostly, preferring to dwell among good people, in a place where change is an unloved orphan. He has a BA from West Virginia State University and attended several graduate schools, leaving each finally to walk mist-hewn hollers and prowl wind-blasted ridges, to be where valleys can be spanned by two arms and a broom handle, and noons aren’t quite sure of themselves. His poems have appeared in The Lyric, Appalachian Heritage, Good Foot and Grab-a-Nickel, among others. His work is in the celebrated anthology Wild Sweet Notes: Fifty Years of West Virginia Poetry 1950-1999. He blooms presently at a bend of Elk River’s meander.

Additional information

Weight 5 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .25 in