Bob Garner

Bob Garner is easily my favorite poet in the Chico area. His recently released little chapbook, cote, takes its name from the word “cote,” meaning a small shelter, such as for, say, doves or chickens. Garner’s cote—consisting of five breathtakingly fine poems—truly is a shelter for the reader, but the comfort it provides is more in the way the reader can identify with a sort of beautiful anguish conjured up by the poems, rather than a state of unadulterated bliss. From his poem “the sanctuary”: “you slip between/ the rusted/ barbs/ to wade the waist-/ high field/ of purple-/ tipped alfalfa/ to the sanctuary/ in the quiet trees./ bend the branches/ back to enter,/ brush the leaves/ away to find/ the imitation/ leather sofa,/ red and brown/ boxelder/ bugs/ pouring/ from its cushions/ like the night.”—hope for comfort dashed. Hope for comfort renewed in an unlikely place: Garner’s “love poem” ends, “i leave the warmth/ of a perfect evening/ exchanging smiles and glances/ with attractively framed pictures/ to search the crimelit streets/ for you/ my love.” Get cote from Garner at