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By: Ralph Murre
Cross+Roads Press
P.O. Box 33
Ellison Bay, WI 54210
Price: $10.00 / 72 pages / 50 Poems
ISBN 1-889460-18-4

Review By: Charles P. Ries

First Appeared in: Free Verse
It always surprises me when I read a new book of poetry by a writer I've read and enjoyed in various journals and discover it is their first book. “How could this be?” I wonder when the writer has such talent. “Crude Red Boat” by Ralph Murre is published by the venerated Norb Blei’s Cross + Roads Press. It is a wonderful coming out party for a writer who began to write poetry just a few years ago. Murre uses plain spoken language in this collection of fifty-three poems, and the subjects of his musings are also common as noted by a few of the titles from this collection, “Rock”, “My Room”, “Gust”, and “Neighbor”. These poems are so immediate they made me feel like I was sitting across the table from Ralph having coffee. Indeed, he is the coffee counter philosopher in “A Good Reed”: “we are   those of us who survive / slender reed / bending with each passing wave / changing with the tide    yet unchanged / as the ocean is unchanged / by each reed on it shore”.  And again, in “Running Things”: “Another year / Another chance to get it right / To do the things I shoulda done / Tear down that fence I built / Quite the party / Let running things run”. These poems are fresh and honest - a wonderful first book of poetry.

Charles P. Ries lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His narrative poems, short stories, interviews and poetry reviews have appeared in over two hundred print and electronic publications. He has received four Pushcart Prize nominations for his writing.  He is the author of THE FATHERS WE FIND, a novel based on memory and five books of poetry. He is the poetry editor for Word Riot (, Pass Port Journal ( and ESC! ( He is on the board of the Woodland Pattern Bookstore (  He is a  founding member of the Lake Shore Surf Club, the oldest fresh water surfing club on the Great Lakes (


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