Wednesday, October 9, 2013


I have taken to walking in the (ehem some) mornings and yesterday came across a young man who said, I know you, you are the poet. I can deal but then when asked who he is reading, he says he doesn't really read poetry but would like to send me some of his work so I can take time out of my day to read his poetry. I really have a problem with this. I'm with the lovely poet and former Derbyshire Laureate River Wolton on this one "You must read (I will add, or listen to) contemporary poetry if you are writing it. There are no shortcuts. Imagine a musician who never went to a concert. A gardener who never looked at other people's gardens".

And so now I say to that young man consider Smart's cat Jeoffrey for though being only a cat to you, he is 'of the tribe Tiger' to Smart and therefore worthy of a story. Now tell me your story, tell me the one where you don't listen, just talk which perhaps is not a problem but now sell me the one where you don't listen, just get listened to. 

From fragment b2, jubilate
For I will consider my cat Jeoffrey
For first he looks upon his fore paws to see if they are clean
For secondly he kicks up behind to clear away there
For eighthly he rubs himself against a post
For ninthly he looks up for his instructions
For he is tenacious of his point
For he is a mixture of gravity and waggery
For he is good to think on, if a man would express himself clearly
For by stroking of him I have found out electricity

You and I, my young friend are no Beethovens and so we must hear if we are in turn to say something worth listening to. And what of Jeoffrey? Nothing, I have been meaning to sneak him into a blog post and this seemed as arbitrary a possible entry as any, or is it? perhaps if you read the rest of the poem you will know...


  1. Good morning how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Botswana? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Botswana in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
    28902 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez

  2. Oh TJ, my constant problem. How to be polite to people like this who I find very rude? I want your help because someone told me you're a writer, no I don't read. No I don't read your column you write every week that gives practical in the trenches advice. No I want you to read my 100,000 word novel and tell me what your think (read: tell me it is good even it if it is not or I will insult you). Oh my, I have become jaded. Indeed I have. :(

    1. Lauri, exactly. I try to be as nice as I'd like someone to be to me if I walked up to them or called them and asked for help but...its a gift yes but for most of us it takes a chunk of work and discipline before it becomes a skill