Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Can’t stop now! By John Yamrus

John Yamrus has been featured previously here at Poet Hound and his latest collection of poems, can’t stop now!, published by Epic Rites Press is an excellent collection. From every-day humor to every-day tragedy it is all here. I flagged so many poems to share that it will be difficult to choose just a small sample to entice readers into purchasing a copy for themselves. There are poems that made me laugh out loud, poems that made me say out loud “Isn’t that right?” In any case, John Yamrus’ writing is straightforward and to the point and I am happy to share just a few poems below:

right around the ninety minute mark
the poetry reading
got nuts.

it was one of those
blog-talk radio

and there were
four of us,

all on the phone
from wherever
we were,

(like i said)
right around the
ninety minute

the wine and beer
kicked in,

and Plath,
(still on the phone)
ran out of

he went
to a mini-market,

in the lot
he sees this girl
who was kinda cute
and he starts talking to her…

you like poetry?
i’m on the radio right now.

you wanna
hear some poems?”

and he
puts her
on the phone,

starts reading,

and you can hear Plath
in the background
trying to talk her

out of decking him.

when she
hands the phone back,

says to us:

“i’m gonna grab another.”

he finds this
old juice-head
sitting in the lot,
and Hardung reads him
one about his junkie days,

and the old guy’s almost in tears,
when he hands back the phone,

“god bless ya,

god bless

that’s just the way
it goes.

you’re lucky
and find the poem.

and, sometimes
it finds

This poem makes me grin ear to ear. I can just picture this poet on the radio walking outside and finding random people to connect with on the air to poetry. The “juice-head” is moved to tears, blesses the poets, and the poets are indeed, blessed. To have your poem move someone, anyone, is always the ultimate goal and the scene depicted in this poem makes it fun to imagine and hope for.

he says to me

“i can’t believe
you actually
throw some poems out.”

“sure i do.

would you ever
throw a poem out?”

i looked at him and said:
“if they don’t work,
there’s no sense
in keeping them.

i throw them out.”

“that’s nuts
(he says)
my words are
like gold.

i’ve slaved
every word i ever wrote.

i’d never
throw them out.

they’re covered in my

drenched in my

i didn’t know
how to answer that.

i couldn’t tell him
that i can’t
the sight of blood,

and a long time ago
i made a promise
to myself

i’d never

let them
see me

This poem reminds me of the countless times writers volley back and forth with each other about whether to keep or toss works they are not proud of. There is also the battle within ourselves. This poem hits me personally, I tend to keep even the lousy work but I live in fear that some poor soul will stumble upon my “treasure trove” of work after I die and try to “put it out there” for the world to see and that gives me nightmares. This poem hits home.

every year

sends me
an entry form
for the local
Poet Laureate competition.

to throw the thing out,
but unwilling to co-operate,
i take ten minutes
and fill out the form,

sending in
the required
number of entries,

all the while
making sure
that each and every poem
is about hemorrhoids,
a hair on the tip of my nose,
bad breath
or my dog
taking a dump in the yard.

i know the poems
won’t be what they want,
but they
just might be

what they

This poem makes me laugh out loud. I like the rebellious attitude of Mr. Yamrus. I am just dying to know what the people who appoint the Poet Laureate think when they see his application and his poems!

Mr. Yamrus has been publishing poems since 1970 and his work has been translated into many languages including Italian, Spanish, Japanese, and so on. He has also published two novels in addition to eighteen volumes of poetry. If you enjoyed this short sample, you may purchase a copy of can’t stop now! by John Yamrus at Epic Rites Press for $22.00 at:


Thanks always for reading, please drop in again soon…


Lee Devlin said...

My mother bought John Yamrus' very first
self-published book of poems
right from the man himself
as he sold me a shirt in
a Wilkes-Barre haberdashery in 1975.

The little book sat in our coffee table drawer
for many years
and begged to be pulled out
when the mood struck
for some poems that didn't rhyme.

The poet had no inner censor to his words
which made the book hard to
put down, like a watching a train wreck
and waiting for what words would come
rolling out of his brain next.

I searched for him on Google
and found he was still at it
after all these years,
knocking out verse
after soulful verse
having published
20 books in the meantime.

I liked these
examples, and so
I just ordered his two most
recent books, including the
one you recommend here.

Poet Hound said...

Dear Lee,
Thanks for sharing your story about Mr. Yamrus, I'm sure he is thrilled to read it, too!

Thomas L. Vaultonburg said...

I like these Yamrus poems.