This book was the winner of the 1990 Juniper Prize, the annual poetry award sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Press.
In this collection of poems, Dennis Finnell delves into identity, or what the title piece calls "a slender awareness of merged parallels." His subjects range from the apparition of his ancestor Mary Keenan, to Leo Tolstoy and Charlie Parker, to various "homes" such as St. Louis and Hannibal, Dunstanburgh Castle and the Aleutian Islands. As Finnell explores people, the material world, and language, the variegated self learns to understand that it is the offspring of matter and words, a child whose "ears record/ sounds of dead stars."
"Red Cottage gathers together poems which have for years nurtured and enriched my sense of the humane, illuminating possibilities of poetry. Mr. Finnell has invented, out of the pains of isolation and the pains of unmediated human contact, the most habitable music that I know. The courage of these poems never falters. Their welcome is endless. If you were to ask me where the American language lives, I would, without hesitation, answer 'in Red Cottage.'" --Donald Revell, editor, Denver Quarterly