James Roderick Burns

The Salesman's Shoes

(Individual tanka, 2007)

Mike Stocks, Author of White Man Falling:

Working within the discipline of tanka, one of the world's oldest continuously-written forms, this striking debut collection by James Roderick Burns identifies the absurdities and deflations of the human condition, from farm boys thinking of flying saucers to a workaday vision of the end of the world. Intelligent, witty, sometimes melancholic in their beauty, the poems constitute a collection to be relished.
The Salesman's Shoes presents us with the common reality of ourselves and our situations, but in formulations that we have never encountered before. The language is cool and lucid, the content is striking, the imagery is superbly memorable, and the perspectives are irresistibly appealing, making for a fine and satisfying body of poems.

Sally Evans, Editor, Poetry Scotland:

For James Roderick Burns, the tanka form serves as a meter - of light or of syllables - through which an album is built up of city views, cafes, shopping malls and skylines as the "salesman" treads his territory. There is room for observation, reflection, humour and philosophy in these 75 open-eyed poems, which contain many memorable, re-readable lines. You nearly walk by, but you stop. Acquire The Salesman's Shoes, and acquire an understanding of tanka on this delightful traipse.

Frazer Henderson, Editor, Haiku Scotland:

This is poetry you will want to share. A distinctive voice that makes the ordinary memorable, the common-place remarkable and the usual unusually quotable.