My thanks to Esther Chilton for her kindness in featuring me on her blog. To read my guest post please follow this link, https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com/2020/07/24/guest-blog-post-featuring-kevin-morris/
I have just uploaded four posts to Instagram of my book ‘Light and Shade; serious (and not so serious) poems’. The photographs show me holding the print and Braille editions of my book, whilst others show me stroking my dog, Trigger.
Life is full of light and shade. For to be human is to experience joy, beauty, love, pain and laughter. This collection reflects all facets of human experience. hence the title ‘Light and Shade; serious (and not so serious poems)’.
I was delighted to discover that my collection of poetry, “Light and Shade: Serious (and Not so Serious) Poems” has received a further 2 reviews on Goodreads.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this poetry collection, which has immersed me into a vibrant universe of scintillating humour and alluring melancholy
simultaneously. The bold contrast between the sections “Light” and “Shade” has particularly fascinated me, being reminiscent of the chiaroscuro technique
used by Renaissance artists to accentuate the beauty of their paintings by incorporating the dichotomy of lightness and darkness into their masterpieces.
Kevin Morris has demonstrated exceptional poetic artistry in combining humorous topics with serious themes, such as profound contemplation of human life’s
inevitable evanescence and immortalizing one’s beloved in art.
I would also like to applaud the author for his thoughtfulness and brilliant decision to add footnotes, describing the references he used throughout the
book. An ardent lover of literary allusions, I have particularly enjoyed the poem “The Weather Was Chill,” where Emily Dickinson’s “feathered hope” makes
a flamboyant appearance. It was also my pleasure to find a playful verse referencing “La Belle Dame sans Merci,” which I highly admire.
As Kevin Morris would say, indulging in rhyme is not yet a crime, so don’t hesitate to read his excellent poetry!”.
(For the review please visit, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3412806912?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1.
“Section 1 – Love, Nature and Time — comprises poems on themes familiar to those acquainted with Morris’s poetry. The atmosphere is almost uniformly somber,
with occasional touches of wry humour. Appreciation of nature is inevitably paired with awareness of mortality. Desire is of the unfulfilled variety, with
overtones of irony, as in “Escort (an Acrostic),” the final poem of the section.
Similar poems are grouped together; thus, we have five poems featuring autumn leaves and four that mention wind. They are all brief, but almost seem like
different versions of a single poem.
The best of the serious verses have a roundness and a satisfying trajectory. “I Saw a Great Bough,” for example, and “The Sun’s Light Ends in Night.” Others
limp a little. For example, “The Point of Poetry.” “Why must I / Attempt to capture / Every rapture / Or simple pleasure? / The weather / Is there to be
enjoyed, / Be it fine or wet, / Yet.” To my ear, the line “Is there to be enjoyed,” is a bit too long and breaks the rhythm. But perhaps this is intentional,
since the poem’s final line mentions “a poor rhyme.”
Several poems at the end of Section 1 mention the effects of Covid-19. “The Pubs are All Closed,” is the most obvious example, as it expresses regret for
a lost sense of community, even though “girls in short clothes” continue to “go by.”
“Do Good Men Count Sheep?” is interesting. It contains yet another ambiguous reference to women – or rather, to “girls” – who appear often in this collection
as passing by, being glimpsed, or being unavailable.
Section 2, Humour, is considerably longer and a departure from the serious. In fact, many of these short, limerick-like verses are goofy, zany, and downright
bizarre. Here again are groups of similar verses; for example, the set of ten under the title “Miss White.” Each one features a lady by name of White in
a different situation. Many of these verses display a spirit of gleeful naughtiness in keeping with the limerick tradition.
While the limericks adhere to the AABBA rhyme scheme, I did find problems with the rhythm in some cases. Too many syllables in a line causes unexpected
jolts, as in “There Was a Horologist Named Sue.” I must admit that incorporating the word “horologist” into a limerick is a challenge, so perhaps I should
not be too critical.
Quite a few of these short poems are clever and funny. I particularly enjoyed “A Young Lady from France,” “Concrete Poetry,” “Hall’s Ball,” and “There
Once Was a PM Named Boris.”
“Physicists Say” returns to the philosophical, but with a lighthearted tone. Another poem that departs from the limerick form is “Poetry and Prose.” It
neatly sums up a poet’s thoughts about his art.
I recommend Light and Shade to anyone who appreciates short, thoughtful poems. Readers may dip into the serious side if so inclined, or skip over to the
Humour section for a smile and a giggle.”
(For the review please visit, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3412237891?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1).
“Light and Shade” is available in paperback and Kindle and can be found here, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08B37VVKV/.
I spent the Christmas period with my mum, her partner and my sister in Liverpool. Following a very enjoyable week with my family, I returned to London on Friday 27 December.
As my mum, her Partner and I stood at the pelican crossing outside Liverpool Central station, waiting to cross and make our way to Lime Street in order that I could catch my train back to London, my mum’s partner commented on a sticker affixed to the pelican, advertising the services of escort girls which (my mum added) had been rendered illegible by someone with a thick black marker pen)!
The above incident reminded me of my short story “Samantha”, which tells the story of an upper-class young woman forced into prostitution in the city of Liverpool, https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BL3CNHI/. “Samantha” has received a number of great reviews, including the below 4 star review by Paul S:
“I downloaded this short novel when it was being offered free on Amazon Kindle and I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. It had a gripping plot, good characterisation and plenty of ‘atmosphere’; things that can be lacking in short stories. I think there may be a couple of formatting issues as I found I had to re-read a couple of paragraphs as they initially seemed out of place, possibly due to a missing carriage return instruction or perhaps because I was reading the story too quickly as I wanted to find out what happened next!
I won’t expand upon the plot as I do not want to create any spoilers but I suggest that you give this short novel a look if you enjoy atmospheric crime thrillers that have an element of romance, a gripping story line, some really nasty villains and a quite dramatic, action packed, climax”. To read the review on Amazon please follow this link, https://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R2YUTS78WBRB01/.
He steaddied the rifle against the window ledge and, gazing along the barrel saw the target, on the beach far below.
Just another hit, he thought, as he watched the living dead hand in hand with a petite blonde. She was not his wife, he knew as much. That did not, of course bother him in the slightest. Other people’s sex lives where a matter of complete indifference to him. What was of concern to the hitman was the £20,000 he would receive once the target was neutralised.
She was pretty that blonde. He wouldn’t mind having her between his sheets, he thought as he lined up the rifle on the target.
The sea, far below roared and a gull walked, casually along the crumbling cliff edge.
It had been a stroke of luck finding this house abandoned at the top of the cliff path, he thought as his finger tightened on the trigger.
The man below bent to kiss the blonde, just as the finger of the hitman squeezed tight on the Trigger.
The report of the gun was, as he knew it would be, lost in the roar of the sea and the crying of the gulls.
As lips touched below, the bullet sailed high above the target’s head. Then the roar of the sea and the crying of the gulls was joined by another louder roar as the cliff, long the subject of erosion by wind and sea gave way, taking the house so precariously balanced at the cliff edge with it. The report had been the final straw that had broken the camel’s back, bringing house and hitman crashing down to the unforgiving waves below.
“Christ”, that was a near thing, the target said, as he gazed at the fallen rocks only some hundred yards from where he and his petite mistress stood, horror struck on the beach below.
This review is of Poem Reader, an Alexa skill which can be accessed using the Amazon Echo.
Amazon’s website describes Poem Reader as:
“Poem Reader is a random collection of poems for the whole family. Enable the skill to ask for today’s poem or the daily rhyme. Alexa will say the poem, not sing it. This skill is meant to help teach you the words to some popular poems and rhymes.”
Having used Poem Reader, it is, in my view more of a vehicle for having nursery rhymes recited than a means of accessing poetry more generally. Each time I asked Poem Reader for a poem and/or rhyme, it produced a rhyme more suited to young children than the family as a whole.
Amongst the rhymes voiced by Alexa was Hickory Dickory Dock, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Little miss Muffet and Goosey Goosey Gander.
This skill does, perhaps possess the potential to amuse young children and those with an interest in nursery rhymes. However, from my use of Poem Reader, I believe that the description is somewhat misleading in that it implies a broad selection of rhymes/poems, when what is in fact included is largely (perhaps exclusively) a collection of nursery rhymes.
For anyone interested in checking out Poem Reader, it can be found here, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Poem-Reader-Poems-for-Everyone/dp/B01LFXD2LY/.
Being the owner of an Amazon Echo and a lover of poetry, I recently enabled the Alexa skill of the same name, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adam-Krell-British-Poetry/dp/B07B269592.
The British Poetry Alexa skill enables the user of an Echo to ask that a poem is read. There is also the opportunity to play a game to test your knowledge of British poetry.
Turning first to the read a poem feature, I found this rather hit and miss. For example on asking for a poem by the famous composer of humorous verse, Edward Lear, a poem by Sir Thomas Wyatt was voiced by Alexa. Just how Edward Lear can be equated with Sir Thomas Wyatt astounds me! I had more luck when requesting that a poem by Shakespeare, Wordsworth or William Blake be read. Had British Poetry not found the latter poets I would have disabled the British Poetry skill.
I previously favourably reviewed the My Poems Alexa skill, https://kmorrispoet.com/2019/10/31/my-review-of-my-poems-an-alexa-skill-enabling-the-amazon-echo-user-to-listen-to-poetry/. In that review I commend the fact that the poetry in My Poems is voiced by human actors. Unfortunately this is not the case with the British Poetry Alexa skill.
As regards the facility enabling the user of British Poetry to play a game, I enjoyed using this aspect of the app. The player is read the first few lines of a poem and then asked to say who the poet in question is. There are 3 options to choose from and I must confess to having crossed my fingers on several occasions and made a wild guess as to who the poet in question was!
Whilst (as mentioned above), the facility enabling the user to request that a particular poem is read is rather hit and miss, I did enjoy the game aspect of the British Poetry Alexa skill, and I shall return to play another day. However the My Poems app is, I believe of much more value to the lover of poetry.
A spirited defence of the use of the word “said”, for which I have considerable sympathy, https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/10/literary-value-ten-cent-word-maura-roan-mckeegan.html.
Whilst it is, of course, good practice to use alternative words for “said” where appropriate, in many instances this simple, 4 letter word is the best choice for writers.
As always, I would be interested in the views of my readers.
My book ‘Streetwalker and other stories’ will be free in the Amazon Kindle Store, from the 11th – 15th October.
In this collection of flash fiction we meet a variety of characters, many of whom have been deeply damaged by life. The stories range from a young prostitute who walks the dangerous streets of London to tales of vengeance and comeuppance. Serious issues of abuse of power are touched upon. Anyone who is looking for a comfortable read should avoid this book.