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April 24, 2013 / Brooklyn news / Carroll Gardens / Brooklyn Is Awesome

Rhyming for roommates: Local poet is house-hunting by verse

The Brooklyn Paper
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“A cheap space in Brooklyn Heights” — it sounds like a metaphor a poet might use to describe something impossible.

But one poet means it literally.

James Carpenter, who currently lives in Carroll Gardens, has put up a hundred posters around Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn Heights, and Cobble Hill looking for a space to live for about $1000 a month — making his request entirely in rhyme:

“Dear fellow residents (and landlords) of / This neighborhood, which I’ve so grown to love / Though now I’m moving (much against my will) / I’ve liked it here too much to leave until / I’ve tried each way I can, to stay nearby / And this is one that I have yet to try.”

The poem describes Carpenter’s love for the neighborhood, and offers a description of his situation:

“Employed at modest (though quite steady) pay / Proofreading for an agency by day / A reader-writer-draftsman-craftsman-cook / Who, evenings, likes a bourbon and a book / Who doesn’t put loud music on at night / Whose cat is an eccentric, but polite / Who’s slow to ire, and quick to make a friend / Who’d like to move late April/May, and spend / About a grand a month (though he can go / A bit above that — or, of course, below)”

Carpenter said he’s gotten about 40 responses to the poster since putting it up in the neighborhood two weeks ago. He had been apartment hunting for a few weeks previously, doing a lot of his search online — but he disliked how impersonal it felt.

“If you’re on Craigslist, there might be a few people in the neighborhood who read it,” he pointed out — but by posting the ad around the area, “almost 100% of the people responding are people from the neighborho­od.”

Carpenter hasn’t found a place yet — and isn’t optimistic. But he said he was glad he started making his poetry hobby work for him.

“Regardless of whether I find a place out of it, it’s been really nice meeting people and seeing how many friendly folks are out there if you just ask,” he said. “And it’s cool to see how many people respond to rhymed couplets.”

Reach reporter Jaime Lutz at jlutz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow her on Twitter @jaime_lutz.

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