Tag Archives: poems

Cynthia Jobin reads her poetry

Many of you are followers and admirers of the poetry of American Cynthia Jobin. Cynthia died over two years ago and there are recordings on her website of her reading many of the poems.

I was a little concerned that these recordings might eventually disappear, and so with the support of John Looker (who edited the second printed volume of her poetry) and Deborah Bennison of Bennison Books (who published the second volume) I have downloaded all of Cynthia’s readings and organized them on three webpages.

The first webpage follows the order of poems in Song of Paper.

The second webpage follows the order of poems in A Certain Age.

The third has her reading a number of poems that are not in either published volume. The written version of these unprinted poems can be found on her website.

There are links on each webpage to the other two pages, as well as to her website and to Bennison Books. The address to the first page is HERE.

Our world has lots of lovely people

In recent times – after 60 or so years of getting nowhere (some people never learn) – some kindly things have happened in my life through the care of others. Recently, in my writing there have been three Yipee! moments, which is possibly three more Yipee! moments than have occurred over a lifespan.

Yipee! Moment One

Iseult Murphy of Iseult Murphy named my autobiographical reflections – Bits of a Boyhood, growing up in rural New Zealand – as one of the better books she had read during the course of the year. She gave it the maximum five stars. Thank you, Iseult! She must surely be one of the most prolific readers on the Net, and each week sees piles of books reviewed by her. How she reads so much I have no idea – I barely have time to read all the titles. It was a great thrill to be mentioned and I gave a wondrous Yipee!

Yipee! Moment Two

Ian of Dumbest Blogger Ever named my novel – A Passing Shower – as one of the ten best books he had read during 2020. It was a thrill – especially to be placed in the list along side Homer and Sophocles! I didn’t hear either of them complain about my keeping them company. The Dumbest Blogger Ever is one of the more erudite personages inhabiting the blogging world, so it was a great thrill to be mentioned and I gave a wondrous Yipee!

Yipee! Moment Three

Thomas Davis and Standing Feather edited an anthology of contemporary poetry published by Four Windows Press in Wisconsin. The anthology contains a collection of poems by 39 poets from all over the world. Each was invited to submit poems. Six of mine were selected! Thank you! The volume is called No More Can Fit into the Evening. I find a lot of the poems stunning, and it is indeed a privilege to find myself in such company. Every office needs a janitor I guess! You can read about this anthology of diverse voices HERE, and find how to order it if so desired. One shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, so they say, but in this case it might not be unwise. The cover to me sums up the universality and diversity of human experience contained in the pages. It was a great thrill to be included and I gave a wondrous Yipee! The collection also includes poems by the late Cynthia Jobin. Many of you knew her. Also John Looker who is well-known in these blogging circles and beyond.

An Addendum Yipee!

HERE is a link to a poem (unpublished and I read it aloud as well). It is titled Thank God I’m Not Famous.

Thanks again to all these lovely people mentioned above!

1795. Future classroom dialogue – c. 2162 CE

Student: Excuse me Miss. Do we really have to study this?

Ms. Honeybun: Yes, Zenith. It’s written by a great writer. It will stretch your imagination. It will open your eyes to possibilities.

Student: But we have already studied his novel and poems, and now we’re expected to study his short stories. Why can’t we study someone interesting, like Shakespeare or Emily Bronte or Thorkel X. Kaftan. (Note: Thorkel X. Kaftan didn’t appear on the literary scene until around 2098 CE).

Ms. Honeybun: Shakespeare is so very yesterday and greatly overrated. In my opinion we are studying the greatest writer since Euripides.

Student: But Euripides wrote plays. This stupid idiot didn’t write plays.

Ms. Honeybun: He’s not a stupid idiot, Zenith. And oh yes, he did write plays. His plays are the next thing on the syllabus we will be studying.

Student: I hate having things shoved down my throat.

Ms. Honeybun: When you are older you will thank me for having so forcibly introduced you to this lustrous author. Euripides and Bruce Goodman are undoubtedly the two greatest writers in the history of the world.

Second Student: Speaking on behalf of the rest of the class, we simply adore what you are teaching us, Miss Honeybun.

Ms. Honeybun: Thank you, Echinacea. I’m glad most of the class recognize greatness when they see it. Now could you please all turn to Story 1795: Future classroom dialogue.

Footnote: See the links at the top of the blog page!

1372. Famous cat

You are such a lucky cat! said Leopold to his cat, Heidi.

Heidi was sitting on Leopold’s lap while Leopold typed.

You, said Leopold, will become a famous cat! You will be known all over the world as the cat that sat on my lap while I typed out my poetic masterpieces. You will be mentioned in every biography of me, and perhaps, if you’re lucky, there’ll be a photo. In fact, I shall take a photograph now of you on my lap. There! Perhaps such a photo might even grace the cover of my volume of poetry.

With a great deal of breathless anticipation, Leopold sent his collection of poems to a publisher. Perhaps, suggested Leopold, the cover could include a picture of my cat? The poems were rejected. Who buys poetry books these days, asked the publisher?

And then the cat got stuck up a tree and had to be rescued by the fire brigade. They hoisted a great big ladder in front of a huge assembled crowd. The press was there. Heidi’s photo was splashed all over the front page. It didn’t even say who the cat belonged to.

Selfish feline.

Poem 83: Under the influence of Ezra Pound

Let’s face it:
most people don’t have a clue
what Ezra Pound is talking about.
Quotiescumque manducamus panem hunc…
That doesn’t mean to say he’s not a great poet;
many who like Pound (who loved Hitler)
understand Pound’s poems, aren’t dumb,
and find his poems accessible.
I don’t.
Itis apis potanda bigone.

He’s such an intellectual.
All those different languages
and so many references to mythologies and stuff!
Cryptus rushes onward,
‘tis zucchinis for Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort.
But look! Look! Listen!
He had a big influence on others, Eliot for example;
Eliot wrote about cats.
If I ended up in the same place I started
I’d know there was a wrong turn somewhere.
Quotiescumque manducamus panem hunc makes even a cat look academic.
Meow.

Methinks
the emperor has no clothes.
Itis apis potanda bigone.
…um …er …oh …
It is a pis pot and a big one.

If the above link doesn’t play, then try clicking HERE!

1129. True recognition at last!

Stanislaus had heard (why do people keep things so close to their chest?) that he had been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature. With fifteen plays under his belt, four novels, and over three hundred poems he thought it wasn’t before time! And surely he stood a chance.

To be truthful he had already prepared his acceptance speech. It was full of witticism and wise adages. It was quite critical in parts, especially of publishers. He’d never been able to find one who would accept him for publication.

Poems 27: Five bits of doggerel

(Over the years we’ve had five dogs. I know all pets are special, and the pets of others can become a little tedious. But since this month’s poetic form (for myself) is doggerel, I thought a tribute was in order!)

Doggie

I found my masters on my own –
A battered dog, I found a home.
I simply ran to where they lived.
For me to stay I’d give give give.
It worked!

Sedona

They got me as a tiny puppy
to keep old Doggie alert and huppy.
Doggie taught me all I know
like how to find my way in snow;
how to chase squirrels; climb a tree!
even taught me where to pee.
But most of all how to eat all the wild raspberries
(that grew in the woods)
and leave not a damn thing for anyone else.

Rusty

I was in a pound.
They were going to put me down.
I went to my new home and put on weight.
I was the only dog about that became bilingual,
understanding French and English.
And then a deer hunter came uninvited to my place
and shot me dead.
For fun.
C’est la vie.

Delia

I was allergic to everything – even food,
which is why I had such expensive tastes.
For eleven years I looked after everyone,
all day, every day,
especially the cow, the cat, and the goat.
Every now and then, all on my own,
I would bring home a wild turkey for all to have a feast.
One day we all went for a walk
(the cow didn’t come but everyone else did).
I came home, had a drink of water,
and died.

Bubble

I know men talk about my ears
And say they sprout a lot of hairs.
I really shouldn’t proudly boast:
For dogs, that’s cute; for men, that’s gross.

AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

aah

I can deal (at times) with all sorts of computer languages, but I can’t see how to re-blog on WordPress! Anyway, when one is all nervous and shaky and excited, how is it possible to calmly find a re-blog button? The truth of the matter is:

MY NOVEL HAS BEEN REVIEWED!!!! HERE!!!

The review is worth a read just to savour the wondrous writing skills of the reviewer: Uma Shankar. His blog is well-worth savouring – he writes stories, poems, reviews, and translates into English poetry from Hindi. It’s a delight to read a review composed with more aplomb than that being reviewed!!

So I’m posting this connection to his blog not only by way of thanks for the review, but to give others the opportunity to experience and enjoy his considerable literary skills!

Thank you, Uma.

702. Muses and Fates

702muses

Laurabella was a poet. She wrote a poem every day and posted it. Poems oozed out of her like pus from an infected scab. It oozed not just every day, but often all day every day. The verses would tumble out as fast as she could type. Up on Mt Olympus Polyhymnia remarked to Calliope that, as Laurabella’s Muse, she was absolutely exhausted trying to keep up.

Then suddenly, Laurabella stopped creating poetry. The Muses on Mt Olympus were relieved. At last they could have a rest.

These days it’s recipes. Recipes tumble out of Laurabella’s keyboard like slop in a pig’s trough. She can’t cook for nuts, and she hasn’t tested a single recipe, but her recipes pages have the biggest number of followers this side of the Yangze River.

But… oh! no!… What’s this? Laurabella is now posting her recipes in verse form. Her two creative urges rolled into one! She is becoming the Julia Child of the Poetry Anthologies. The Muses are unamused. They have phoned the three Fates. “And,” shouted Polyhymnia to Atropos, “bring your scissors to cut her thread of life!”

At once! shouted the Nine Muses. At once! shouted the Three Fates.

(Apologies for the mispronunciation of Atropos in the audio, but everyone in my household is still asleep and I don’t want to wake them by re-recording at this early morning hour!)

74. Poetic Petula

74petula

Petula wrote poems for a magazine. In fact, she had her own monthly column, called Petula’s Poem.

Here is her poem, in the August edition of The Kindergarten Kronicle, called Murray has a Shave:

Murray was in a hurry.
Murray was called Muzz, which was a buzz.
He cut himself while shaving off his facial fuzz.
Oh! lo! What a busy buzzy bee he wuzz!

What a fuss this particular poem caused:

Sybil: What is a reputable magazine such as yours doing publishing such nonsense?

Angelique: What garbage! The word “drivel” comes to mind.

Chantelle: The editor should be sacked. If she was younger, Petula would hopefully be put over someone’s knee and spanked for writing such childish balderdash.

Maureen: I would cancel my subscription if it wasn’t for July’s excellent article on listening to Mozart during pregnancy: A Classical Gestation.

Enid: Petula should be sent back to school and taught to write. Her poem doesn’t even rhyme accurately. Let alone scan. There are rules when it comes to writing great poetry that she should learn. She could begin by studying Helen Steiner Rice.

Over the next few months the controversy raged. Very few readers supported Petula. Yet the editor still published Petula’s Poem.

Then in December, this notice appeared in The Kindergarten Kronicle:

We regret to inform our readers that Petula succumbed to leukaemia three days after her fourth birthday. Here is her last poem:

I am a butterfly
In the sky
Sometimes I wonder why
I have to die
But, me-oh-my,
I shall fly high.

To which Avis wrote: Being able to rhyme and die does not as such make for great poetry. I say good riddance to Petula’s silly verses. The editor should be hanged, drawn and quartered for inflicting upon the world such unadulterated, crapulous verbage.

Many subscribers secretly agreed with Avis. The Kindergarten Kronicle passed into oblivion in March.