The Annotated Murder of One

(16 reviews)


Publication Date:  September 14, 2018

In The Annotated Murder of One, Jared Pearce takes lines, phrases, and words from the Counting Crows’ song, “A Murder of One,” and spins them into new directions and dimensions. The poetry collection focuses on memories, history, the future—and on the relationship between love and understanding. Vivid bird imagery is found throughout, but ghosts, flowers, jokes, and a rubbery dessert are just a small sample of images displayed in the collection. The poems are experiments in combining song and poetry, lyrics and stories, memory and vision.

While versions of some of the poems in the collection have appeared individually in journals and magazines, the full appreciation of their unifying themes can only be experienced in the collection. The first lines of the poem, “Since We Were Born” might encapsulate the spirit of the collection best: “We break into directions / and parcel into dimensions.” The reader of The Annotated Murder of One will indeed be transported into new directions and dimensions.

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Publication Date

September 14, 2018


Perfect Paperback, E-book


978-0984549450, 978-0984549467


120 pages


5.5 x 8.5 inches

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16 reviews for The Annotated Murder of One

  1. Edward Whitley — Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University, author of “American Bards: Walt Whitman and Other Unlikely Candidates for National Poet”

    After spending only a few moments with Jared Pearce’s The Annotated Murder of One, I felt an intense connection to the speaker of these remarkable poems. The “I” who gives voice to this powerful body of poetry confidently makes its presence known from the very first page. But the real hero of The Annotated is the unknown addressee of these poems—the “you” that slowly takes shape through a series of provocative images and scenarios, leaving a haunting presence that lingers in the mind long after the last page of the book.

  2. Nate Pritts — author of “Decoherence” and founding editor of H_NGM_N Books

    There is measure and method to these poems, a kind of precision in observation and emotional response that manifests itself in language. And it’s glorious—full of earnest attention and love! In each of these poems I feel as if I am in the presence of mysteries: they start in the middle, or near the end; they elide and collide through conflict and hesitancy and outright assertion. In short, the poetry here works to praise and parse, even as faith can be hard to find and meaning only ever temporary.

  3. David Allred — Professor of English, Snow College

    The use of the Counting Crows’ lyrics in Jared Pearce’s The Annotated Murder of One delightfully shows the malleability of language. Words and phrases familiar to fans of the song recombine, appear with altered significance, and spin off in new directions as imagery, language, and form transcend the original text and meditate on issues far beyond the song’s purview. Pearce’s poetry springs to life, animated by intertextual vitality and the power of reader response to push the boundaries of what a text means and what, ultimately, a text is. In this case, a single song breeds a bounty of texts, new worlds of imagery, experience, and wisdom.

  4. Keith Badowski — Publisher and editor at Brick Road Poetry Press, Author of “My Wife Warned Me and I Did It Anyway”

    Jared Pearce’s poems charmed me at the door with opening lines like, “Fate is that girl in your calculus class,” “I want the change to hit me like a locomotive,” and “Six months before we married we rode / Every roller coaster we could find.” Crossing the threshold, I discovered my host, much like Jane Kenyon, is gifted at drawing significant meaning from quiet, domestic moments. In “I’ve Been Watching You,” a lover stitching a duvet asks whether ballets are ever funny? The answer goes sideways into a description of an experimental dance film about a couple straining to connect without words, and ultimately the same difficulty boomerangs back upon the speaker and his lover. “Safe & Warm” depicts kittens “smashing / themselves against” a mama cat whose “body is laid out like a table,” and in the hunger of those kittens, the speaker sees his own longing for his lover. The discovery of surprising correspondences between the internal and the external is melded with an almost invisible artistry. Pearce skillfully utilizes rhyme and form (especially the sonnet) in such an unobtrusive way I might have missed it. And to me, that’s when rhyme and form are their best, when I only notice them after I’ve spent hours being treated as an honored guest.

  5. Steven Stewart — Two-time NEA Translation Fellow, Author/translator of “Devoured by the Moon,” “Microfictions,” and “Without a Net”

    Jared Pearce is fearless. His poems are not afraid of love or tenderness, thought or meaning, of memories, concision, of what the poet doesn’t know but is reaching for. Perhaps most strikingly, they’re not afraid of showing vulnerability. With language that is tactile and open and an intellect honed on images, Pearce offers readers work that has a real, unashamed, unironic emotional core. These are poems located in the heart of what it means to live and love as a human being in this world.

  6. Jim Richards — Idaho Commission on the Arts Fellow, Pushcart and Best New Poets nominee

    The nest as the seat of comforts, cruelties, companionship, and experience is the central metaphor of Pearce’s fine debut. He weaves and feathers sonnet sequences—including a corona—with particular skill. Often subtle, and consistently sincere, these poems will startle, surprise, and entice the reader to circle back for a closer look at a place where “even dirt can be a hymn.”

  7. Destiny Bridwell, Reviewer / NetGalley

    I love music and poetry. This book gave me a chance to combine both loves. I love how the book was separated into each section and explained where the inspiration came from. It was worth the read. The author touches on a lot of subject in this debut collection.

  8. Michelle Riggins, Reviewer / NetGalley

    Very easy to get through, a great collection of poems to read when you’re just looking to read something easy, breezy music to my ears.

  9. Heather Nelson, WanderLunch, Reviewer / NetGalley

    The Annotated Murder of One is the debut collection of poems by Jared Pearce. Pearce walks that interesting tightrope between magnification and elevation in this anthology of works. In his piece, “When You’re Wrong” he both decelerates and amplifies that mortifying moment when a man enters the wrong bathroom. A moment we all have experienced, no doubt, and one that we’d rather forget. The language and flow of the poem somehow gets us to feel as if we all are the narrator in that one, slowed-down moment. Not surprisingly, we find ourselves willingly embracing that beautifully imperfect part of ourselves. And then pages later, in the piece “Of Your Wasted Life”, Pearce hoists up his admiration to “You” – an unnamed mother devoted to “raising six sons”. Pearce steers clear of the pitfall of fawning clichés regarding motherhood, and instead, brings the facts home: respect of a mother devoted to the mission of her life, who endures the snide remarks of wasted talent, and who accepts the thin praise of “I just don’t know how you do it”. Counting Crows fans will find amused enlightenment on every page, as lyrics and imagery are woven throughout the work. Those of us who are not Counting Crows-savvy: fear not, Pearce doesn’t leave us out. His tangible imagery and clever metaphors will give you plenty to consider without wondering about what Jared Pearce thought Adam Duritz was thinking. There’s just enough variety in both topics and structure to keep the reader guessing. Just when you think you have achieved poetry meaning nirvana, turn the next page and you’ll find yourself rereading and puzzling and wanting to know if you were “right” or not. Part of this deliciously wobbliness comes from Pearce spending equal time with the pronouns: sometimes you’re the interested reader as Pearce recalls a particular biographical moment (“I’ve Been Watching You”), sometimes you’re required to sit up straight and listen hard as Pearce refers to You (“All Your Life”), and sometimes you’re wondering if the “he” in the poem is a friend, a son, or God (A Shame, Shame, Shame All). And the beauty of the work is – they could very well be all three and beyond.

  10. Dóra Szekeres, Swift Coffee Book Blog, Reviewer / NetGalley and Goodreads

    I chose to read this collection of poems because 1. I really liked the title (sounds a bit like a crime story’s title which I love) and 2. I’m a music person through and through. The idea to mix lyrics with actual poems was very intriguing to me. This book was exactly what I expected. It didn’t seem to be so much of high literature, but it doesn’t mean it lacked depth. Things, happenings and feelings Pearce touched were very familiar and common, these poems were about experiences all of us have or could have. It’s easy to relate and feel connected, it was easy to read, and yet it wasn’t so banal and blunt that would make the reader think it’s for dummies. It raised thoughts, at times it was serious, than it was funny, and then there were those poems that could be actual lyrics. Those were my personal favorites. I could almost hear the music in my head. All in all, this was a fun (and rather quick) ride. I’d say I would read other poems or books by the author. I recommend it to anyone who wants a swift and pithy literary experience.

  11. Nureeni Lem / NetGalley

    You are the moon, my love Eindringliche Worte, eindringliche Zeichnungen. Klare, schöne Sprache schafft großes Kopfkino und setzt Gefühle frei. Machtvolle Poesie zum immerwiederlesen.

  12. Rebekah L, Reviewer / NetGalley

    Some decent poetry with great imagery. An easy read. I was drawn to this one as a Counting Crows fan.

  13. Adik Miftakhur, Reviewer / NetGalley

    I read this over 24 hours. The characters made my eyes watery. I was head over heels for the book.

  14. Jane Finley, Educator / NetGalley

    I believe my review is in the minority on The Annotated Murder of One. I really liked the concept of mixing lyrics with poetry and am generally a poetry fan, yet Pearce just didn’t capture my attention. I read through over half of the poems before finally giving up because I just couldn’t get into his style of writing. That’s not to say that he’s a bad writer, he clearly knows what he’s doing, I personally just didn’t enjoy it.

  15. A. Davies, Amazon Reviewer / NetGalley

    I enjoyed reading this collection of work. I’d definitely recommend reading this collection of poems.

  16. Kimberlie — Goodreads

    I’ll be the first one to admit that poetry isn’t really my thing, but this is a great little book of poetry. Pearce has taken words and phrases of the Counting Crows song, “A Murder of One,” and combined them into poems and verse with inviting imagery and relatability. The Annotated Murder of One is unique in the way that a song is unique: words are taken and then formed into vision, love, stories, and humor. One of my favorite parts is the title page, written as the lyrics to “A Murder of One” with super-scripted page numbers where you can find the poems inspired by the word or phrase of the song. Great themed artwork in the header pages, too. Some of my favorites are “You Don’t Want to Waste,” “Doesn’t Have to Mean,” ”Of Your Wasted Life,” and “When You’re Wrong.”

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