A Drunken Young Lady Called Mable

A drunken young lady called Mable
Danced on a rickety old table.
We all gave a roar
And called out “en core”,
But that table was really unstable …


So Bad It’s Good: The Best Bad Poets in English Literature

Interesting Literature

In this week’s Dispatches from The Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle enjoys some good bad poetry courtesy of The Joy of Bad Verse

I’ve long been a fan of Nicholas Parsons. No, not that one – although who could fail to appreciate the sharp wit of the Just a Minute host? – but Nicholas T. Parsons, the author of one of the best books of literary trivia out there (The Book of Literary Lists), an enjoyable history of the guidebook (Worth the Detour: A History of the Guidebook), and what I’d consider his Magnificent Octopus, The Joy of Bad Verse. This book was published in 1988, so you can consider this ‘review’ a sort of 30-year retrospective. It’s well worth tracking down.

Parsons’ The Joy of Bad Verse is a scholarly and readable study of the history of ‘bad verse’ down the age. What…

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On Reading A Book About Poetic Craft

Render words
About poetic craft

Am I daft
To seek
For knowledge in a book
When I could upon nature look
And hear the birds speak?


Ruth Ellis: The Last Woman To Hang In The UK

Ruth Ellis was the last woman to be hanged here in the United Kingdom. She shot her lover who had been physically abusive towards her. (During the trial Ellis mentioned how he had punched her in the stomach which may well have contributed to the loss of the baby she was carrying).

Today Eliss would, no doubt have received a prison sentence. This would, however have (in all probability) been light in nature due to the extreme physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her lover. The Ellis case is one of the reasons why I am, on balance opposed to the death penalty, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/12/ruth-ellis-files-bbc-documentary-murder-case-cant-let-go


At The Start

At the start
A heart
I sought.
I thought
That I caught
Delicious fish,
A dainty dish
For a sorrowing king,
But the thing
Was an eel.

The first deal
Being done
I continued to run
After fun.
The sun
Sometimes shone
(As it does today)
As I half-heartedly did play
At romance.

I still dance
From time to time
And, perchance
The false
Is set down in rhyme.


How YOU can invest in Authors and Books …

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

WITHOUT spending any money!

I know, I know … finding the money to support authors by buying their books is not always easy. I have a hard time in that department myself.

However, there are many ways that Readers can help Authors of books they’ve already read and enjoyed. These ideas are every bit as valuable to Authors as actual sales can be – and they will cost you absolutely nothing to do. They just require an investment of your TIME, and your ENTHUSIASM to make things happen. Never underestimate what a READER of books can accomplish when they choose to champion a particular book or an Author.

So, here you go! 10 ways you can invest in Authors and Books without spending any money …

1. Borrow and read books from the library. Rate those books on the library’s system. Request that the library purchase other books by…

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Are You Still Writing?

Are you still writing? I have lost count of the number of occasions on which this question has been asked of me.

My response to anyone posing the above question is always an emphatic “yes”. For me writing is an integral part of who I am. It constitutes self-expression. I could no more give up composing poetry than I could abandon an old and dear friend. At times friends can be irritating. We disagree and even argue, but true friendship survives such disagreements. Likewise, with my writing I sometimes find myself becoming frustrated. I swear at my computer (I never swear at my friends I must hasten to add)! – and close Microsoft Word in disgust. However while I do abandon specific poems I can never envisage giving up my writing.

Writing is, for me, an itch that must be scratched. While on my way into the office or walking in beautiful places, the germ of a poem often develops in my brain. I feel restless until I’m able to get it down on virtual paper (all my writing takes place on my laptops).

Writing is both pleasure and pain. The frustration of sitting at a computer for hours, only to throw away what I have been working on, is balanced by the pleasure of producing a poem which is (in my opinion) worthy of seeing the light of day via this blog and, perhaps also (ultimately) to find itself within the leaves of a book.

So when people ask “are you still writing?” I shall continue to answer with an emphatic “yes”.