Thank you Red Room! Without you, these poems wouldn't have been born!

April 23, 2012

Well, the bluebells haven't faded. In the woods of West Sussex, they haven't yet peaked. At least they hadn't yesterday, but they steal up on you so secretly with their gentle interior knowledge that nothing prepares you for the breathtaking spectacle when it smiles into being, silent as an apparition.

So here it is, my very first collection of poems, fifty-four in all, launched on World Book Day. However, this is less significant to me than that it's the day William Shakespeare is said to have been born in 1564 and the day upon which he died in 1616, arguably the greatest scribe in the English language, maybe the world. Dazzled by his genius, we often forget how he conjured a bridge between the Medieval world of Chaucer and an era which conceived the need for the King James Bible, thus admitting common folk to the Eucharist, the root of the democracy we now cherish, despite its many faults and abuses.

I hope this is also an auspicious day for publication since it's St George's Day in England, our patron saint, and The Twain is dedicated to a dear colleague on this site whose first name is George, although he is known by his preferred second name.

When I joined Red Room in the spring of 2008, I little dreamt that a volume of poetry would be among my titles. I'd written humorous verse to commemorate specific occasions among friends, but had rarely attempted 'real' poetry and never in public. Red Room helped to slay quite a few dragons!

Way back in the eighties when the first edition of Dreams of Gold was published (a departure from my keen interest in history) my publisher said he thought it had been written by a poet, which pleased me no end. He mentioned that one reader had said it reminded her of Ezra Pound (whom I hadn't read) but lessened the effect by adding that it was too imagistic for her taste. Well, novels are novels and poetry is something else. You can't win them all. I wanted to return in any case to historicals which had been my first love from teen years. I wrote four before getting published, but never saw a soulless rejection slip. Those days are long gone!

On Red Room, I soon discovered a rich seam of poetic works, dynamic, liberating, adventurous, inspiring, and quite a contrast to the poetry of this island. Sometimes influences can be detected which have been absorbed into the amalgam and reworked in an original way, but American poetry doesn't seem to suffer from being derivative, or wholly abstruse. There should be aspects of poetry the reader can't quite grasp just now, but with enough of a hook to intrigue and make him/her want to mine meaning and repeat the rhythm, enough to suggest there's a revelation to be had.

It gave me courage to chance my arm and I was so amazed and delighted by the response, that I just went on...and on. (A second collection is already in preparation.) Whether or not comments appear, the actual process of offering work for public display among distinguished peers whose outlook is optimistic, does in itself help objectivity. It's one of the wonderful functions of this unique site. A number of page visitors have said that, although they don't comment, they always enjoy reading these posts and look out for them. What better reward could there be?

So, it's Shakespeare's Day, St George's Day, and to add even more wind to the sails, it marks the Coronation of Charles II at the Restoration in 1661. J M W Turner was born on April 23 in 1775, and Sergei Prokofiev in 1891.

Notables who died on this date include William Wordsworth in 1850 and Rupert Brooke in 1915. Interestingly, Miguel de Cervantes died on the same day as William Shakespeare in 1616.

To celebrate publication of The Twain, Poems of Earth and Ether, New Eve Publishing is offering a free signed copy to anyone who's commented on a poem on my RR pages. Just contact me through Red Room and let me know where to mail your copy.

So thanks to the Red Room and its wonderful members! There's no literary community on the planet that comes close.

Sample poems here

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