The Bob Sterry School of Burglary

(3 customer reviews)


There is never a good time to publish another collection of poetry and essays. But then again, there is never a bad time to publish another collection of poems and essays. And so I feel entirely justified and motivated to add my own work to the mountain of words already bending the shelves of bookstores and libraries around the world.

SKU: ISBN-13: 978-1732494107 Category: Tags: , ,

In the spring of 2012 I put together a very short collection or chapbook of poetry titled Wing Nut. So called because instead of any traditional binding the pages were secured by a brass wing nut and bolt in the top left corner. Not elegant, hard to stack, but certainly unique, affordable, and curious enough to cause comment at poetry readings. This new collection of poems, essays and short stories contains a few of the pieces from Wing Nut and a selection of my work since then.

I am not capable of explaining exactly why poetry is important. It does not attract a lot of attention in our schools, and announcing that you are choosing to major in Poetry produces anxiety very high on the parental Richter scale. But it seems that poetry has not disappeared and the bookstores and libraries must make room for them.

Not quite so eschewed is the art of essay writing. But how many of us have been introduced to someone who calmly lets you know they are an essayist? Not even the famous journalists who write for the New Yorke, Harpers and the Atlantic will easily admit this. The essay. It was indeed one of the horrors of my own education; the fear of being instructed to write "an essay, three pages, single space, subject is dogs and their owners" to be marked out of ten by a cynical worn out chalk dusted English master.

I did not exactly choose my education and somehow became a chemist almost by default. I did not even start reading poetry until I was in my forties and actually daring to write any until my fifties. It was not until I larded my cabaret style singing show; another story; with poetry and saw the effect it can have on people that I began to read more of it and write more. Not exactly a power trip but a way of connecting perhaps.

The poems and essays in this collection do not have a theme although some are obviously very personal. I hope that they bring something to you or out of you. If you enjoy them I am doubly pleased.

– Bob Sterry

Additional information

Dimensions 5.5 × 0.44 × 8.5 cm

Hardcover, Paperback

Print Length

120 pages.




Sterry and Sterry (August 31, 2018).







Item Weight

10.2 ounces


5.5 x 0.44 x 8.5 inches

3 reviews for The Bob Sterry School of Burglary

  1. Anonymous

    There are many, many reasons you will enjoy The Bob Sterry School of Burglary, not least of which is the way in which he deftly breaks into our collective hidden dreams, thoughts and fantasies with his hypnotic and perfectly metered poetry and prose.

    From its opening poem, A Tale of Two Picnics, The Bob Sterry School of Burglary invites you to see the extraordinary in the world in front of our ordinary eyes. In this piece, he contrasts an idealized description of a posh county picnic with the fierce beauty of a simple, shared meal on a rugged, not-so-ideal, stony beach; without rendering judgement, Sterry gives you a taste of both experiences and offers you the beauty of both.

    Throughout this book, Sterry takes you to new perspectives that you most likely have never experienced, at least in the way that reveals them to us. As the title suggests, he teaches us a useful thing or two about the art of burglary (in case you’re so inclined). In “My Medical Inventory – or Erectile Is Not My Only Dysfunction”, his own body is the butt of his tongue-in-cheek, ironic English humor. He also illuminates us with poignant musings about wine and beer, opines on aging and death, and even takes on those who take words too seriously “He was equipped with a fine vocabulary, far in excess of his intellectual needs, an entertaining fool stocked with dictionaries…”.

    Perhaps my favorite piece in this collection is Cricket. From the perspective of a most humble creature, who is only a “chirruping twig of chitlin”, Sterry writes, “…I am here solely to exist for a brief moment of beauty – I dare you to claim more.” This line alone is worth the full price of this wonderful book.

    Sterry, a master of clarity, writes with musicality in every word; his poems and stories beg to be read out loud, if only for the sheer enjoyment of how they sound. But, in addition to the wonderful voice of his writing, you will experience Sterry’s remarkable ability to open your eyes

    The writings in The Bob Sterry School of Burglary will, if you go along, take you somewhere new and rewarding. And you’ll come back to this fine book for more!

  2. Connie K.

    Reading The Bob Sterry School of Burglary: Essays, Poetry and Short Stories is akin to spending an evening with a soulful, pithy friend over a glass of fine wine.

    From his poem, “Pinot”, a tribute to love, lust and being alive, to “London”, a tender and stirring tribute to his mother’s triumphs and tragedies, to his keen observations about life, I did not want this collection to end. Indeed, I shall return to the beginning to embrace this gem yet again.

  3. John Peter Duckworth

    Longer ago than I care to remember I flat shared in England with Bob. A reading of his Bob Sterry School of Burglary shows that his idiosyncratic sense of humour remains undimmed; starting with the title. The book is replete with engaging whimsy. Thoughtful poems interspersed with witty sketches, all of which find resonance in the bounty of life: nature; alcohol; romance; alcohol; everyday life. Too many people fail to open their eyes and ears to the world around them and experience the reward of observation. Bob finds interest in every detail: a fruit fly on the rim of a wine glass; crickets; the unforeseen consequences of street lighting. Reflections on everyday subjects. I recognise the ennui about life in suburban England which he sometimes expressed in conversation as we gazed into our real ale during the “Surveys” he recalls in Sessio Cervisia ,Ubi Es – I believe I may be one of the “young” men he mentions (how long ago that was!). I am delighted, all these years on, to find the humour that I witnessed during the brief years that Bob and I and others shared that damp flat in Berkshire crystallised in these engaging meditations .

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