Have Words–Will Write 'Em

On Books, Writers, Most Things Written, Including My Light Verse.

Archive for the ‘Light Verse’ Category

The Women Who Worked Undercover in World War II

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The penalty for breaking a signed secrecy oath was a $10,000 fine or 10 years in prison. So the women usually talked in “airy terms about [doing] clerical work.” One woman told a navy admiral who was covertly checking up on her, “I fill inkwells and sharpen pencils and give people what they need.”

You can read me my review of Code Girls, by Liza Mundy, in the October 15, 2017, edition of the Houston Chronicle by clicking the image below.

Code Girls

You can buy Code Girls at Barnes & Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

October 13th, 2017 at 4:49 pm

Posted in Light Verse

I Review A. S. Byatt’s “Peacock & Vine”

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Byatt admits that when she began the essay she was more familiar with the Englishman Morris, whose art decorates her own home, than she was with Fortuny. She does, however, delight in Fortuny’s being the only living painter that Proust mentions in “À la recherche du temps perdu.” So, she uses Morris to help her understand the Spanish-born Fortuny and Fortuny to re-imagine Morris.

You can read my review of Peacock & Vine, by A. S. Byatt, in the Sunday, August 21, edition of the News & Observer, by clicking the image below.

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You can buy Byatt’s ’s Peacock & Vine at Barnes and Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

August 19th, 2016 at 11:44 am

Posted in Light Verse

I Review Odie Lindsey’s We Come to Our Senses

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Stories as Raw as the Wars that Inspire Them

Whether they’re home for good or about to be deployed overseas, these men and women have been scarred and traumatized by war, by the enemy and by other soldiers. The impact of the stories derives from Lindsey’s ability to assume a convincing voice, sometimes a female one.

You can read my review of We Come to Our Senses, by Odie Lindsey, in the Sunday, August 7, edition of the News & Observer, by clicking the image below.

We come to our senese

You can buy Lindsey’s We Come to Our Senses at Barnes and Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

August 6th, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Posted in Light Verse

I Review Edna O’Brien’s “Little Red Chairs”

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The novel’s title may be a bit misleading, evoking images of mundane objects that might belong to children. They do indeed belong to children, but these red chairs, 643 of them, commemorate the deaths of the children killed during the siege of Sarajevo in 1992. Thus, the love story, set in 2012, about a lonely Irish woman who has an affair with a mysterious man becomes a political novel, since the man is later revealed to be a possible war criminal. He’s a composite fictional character who resembles the former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic, who was recently found guilty of genocide and other crimes.

You can read my review of The Little Red Chairs, by Edna O’Brien, in the Sunday, April 3, edition of the News & Observer, by clicking the image below.

The Little Red Chairs

You can buy The Little Red Chairs at Barnes and Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

April 3rd, 2016 at 12:08 pm

Posted in Light Verse

I Review “A Wild Swan and Other Tales” by Michael Cunningham

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Michael Cunningham opens his new reimagined fairy tale collection by assuring us that most of us are safe from spells and curses, since we can manage our own undoing without giants, witches, or gnomes. Still, we don’t mind seeing trouble fall on the all-too rich and famous, the bold, or beauties now cursed bald and less beautiful, in stories that remake European tales by Hans Christian Anderson, W. W. Jacobs, Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, or those collected by the Brothers Grimm.

You can read my review of Michael Cunningham’s Wild Swan and Other Tales in the Sunday, December 20 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch by clicking the image below.

A Wild Swan

You can buy A Wild Swan and Other Tales from Barnes & Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

December 20th, 2015 at 12:48 pm

Posted in Light Verse

I Review Kate Walbert’s “Sunken Cathedral”

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The title of this brilliant allegory comes from Claude Debussy’s prelude for piano “La Cathédrale Engloutie,” which he based on a mythological city in Brittany that was consumed by the sea. When Helen, an art historian, was a young girl, her father told her Debussy’s “?‘The Sunken Cathedral’ is the musical version of Impressionism.” Debussy was Cézanne’s musical counterpart, and as if it were borrowing techniques from the two, Walbert’s novel nudges the reader “to see in the way one must see to be alive” as they try to prepare for The Surge.

You can read my review of Kate Walbert’s Sunken Cathedral in the June 21 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch by clicking the image below.
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You can buy Kate Walbert’s Sunken Cathedral at Barnes and Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

June 20th, 2015 at 11:21 am

Posted in Light Verse

I Review Kent Haruf’s “Our Souls At Night”

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You hear a lot about the power of Haruf’s “spare” prose, and rightly so. Of his own writing, Haruf, in a final interview with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, said, “I have written as close to the bone as I could. By that I mean that I was trying to get down to the fundamental, irreducible structure of life, and of our lives with one another.”

You can read my review of Kent Haruf’s final novel Our Souls At Night in the June 14 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch by clicking the image below.

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You can buy Kent Haruf’s Our Souls At Night at Barnes and Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

June 13th, 2015 at 2:57 pm

Posted in Light Verse

Where Have All The Quote Marks Gone?

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Where have all the quote marks gone,
Long time passing?
Where have all the quote marks gone,
Long time ago.

Where have all the quote marks gone?
Post-modernists cut them everyone.
How will readers e’er discern?
How will they ever discern?

–Joe “Seeger” Peschel

Written by Joe Peschel

August 24th, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Posted in Light Verse

This Is Just To Say

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This Is Just To Say

I picked a
couple of cucumbers
that were in my garden
the other day

and which
I probably
should have saved
till they were bigger

Forgive me,
they were really green & good,
but I forgot to photograph them and
put them on Facebook.

Written by Joe Peschel

July 30th, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Light Verse

TROUBLE AHEAD, TROUBLE BEHIND

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By Joseph Peschel © June 9, 2011
(apologies to The Grateful Dead)

Guidin that Arc
Out on a lark
Old man Noah better
Watch your wake
Trouble ahead,
Trouble behind
and you know that notion
just crossed my mind

This old flood
makes it on time
Leaves Gavin Point dam
at 150 thousand cfm
Hits McCook Lake
up around 1098.
At around 1102
you know it’s comin for you

Guidin that Arc
Out on a lark
Old man Noah better
Watch your wake
Trouble ahead,
Trouble behind
and you know that notion
just crossed my mind

Trouble ahead
No solid beachhead
Take my advice
you be better off dead
Engineers laughin:
“The height’s eleven-oh-2
It’s on the right track and
headed for you”

Guidin that Arc
Out on a lark
Old man Noah better
Watch your wake
Trouble ahead
Trouble behind
and you know that notion
just crossed my mind

Trouble with you is
The trouble with me
Got two good pumps
but we’re really just chumps
Come round the bend
You know it’s the end
The Army Guard screams
But the sump pump just gleams

Guidin that Arc
Out on a lark
Old man Noah better
Watch your wake
Trouble ahead,
Trouble behind
and you know that notion
just crossed my mind

Written by Joe Peschel

June 9th, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Light Verse

STUCK INSIDE A RED STATE WITH THE PALIN BLUES AGAIN

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Bob Dylanby Joseph Peschel © March 24, 2010

(Apologies to Bob Dylan)

Oh, the ex-gov draw circles
Up and down the block
I’d ask her what her problem was
But I know she cannot talk
And the lib’rals treat me kindly
And furnish me with tape
But deep inside my heart
I hope we’re in good shape

Obama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside a red state
With the Palin blues again

Well, Limbaugh, he’s in the alley
With his fat face and his gut
Speakin’ to some poor girl
Who knows he is a nut
And would she send a message
To find out if he’s talked
But the station’s been stolen
And talk radio really sucks

Obama Hope
Obama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside a red state
With the Palin blues again

Elda tried to tell me
Stay away from the red kool-aid
She said that all the neo-cons
Would sooner have us flayed
An’ I said, “Oh, I didn’t know that
But there’s only one I’ve met
But she just rambles stupidly
And is an idiëtte”

Obama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside a red state
With the Palin blues again

Teddy died a while ago
And now he’s buried in Arlin’ton
But everybody still talks about
How he’ll never be outdone
But me, I expected it to happen
I knew he was getting’ old
But someone will come from Boston
Who’s really, really bold

Palin Dope

Obama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside a red state
With the Palin blues again

Now the mavericks came up here
Showing ev’r’one their gall
Handing out free tickets
To the idiots’ freakin’ ball
An’ me, I nearly got busted
An’ wouldn’t it be my luck
To be caught scalpin’ tickets
To some drunk tea-partyin’ schmuck

Obama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside a red state
With the Palin blues again

Pat Robertson look so baffled
When I asked him why he said,
“A country full of Haitians
Deserved to be dead”
But he cursed me when I proved it to him
When I whispered, “Not even you can hide
You see, you need a lobotomy
I hope you’re satisfied”

Obama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside a red state
With the Palin blues again

Now the pitchman gave me two cures
Then he said, “Jump right in”
The one was Reaganomics
The other was just a flag pin
An’ like a fool I mixed them
An’ it really messed up my game
An’ now people just get stupider
An’ they have no sense of shame

Obama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside a red state
With the Palin blues again

When Sarah says come see her
At a desperate little store
Where I can watch her sign her book
’Midst the related gore
An’ I say, “Aw come on now
You must know about my fiancée”
An’ she says, “Your fiancée just knows what you need
But I know what turns your hair gray”

Bob Dlyan Blonde on blonde

Obama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside a red state
With the Palin blues again

Now the bricks lay on that Hill
Where the neo-con madmen whine
They all scream there so shrilly
I’d rather listen to a mime
An’ here I sit so patiently
Waiting to find out what price
You have to pay to get out of
Voting for Condolezza Rice

Obama, can this really be the end
To be stuck inside a red state
With the Palin blues again

Written by Joe Peschel

September 14th, 2010 at 12:05 am

Posted in Light Verse

THE BALLAD OF JOE AND ELDA

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by

Joseph Peschel © August, 2010

Fooling around again on Facebook
Trying to get someone to friend us
This guy he wrote back
Said, “You some kinda wack?”
You’d think we were some sort of fungus.

They say, “Joe, take it easy,”
I say, “Hey, don’t ignore me!”
The way things are going
They’re gonna Twitterize me

Finally updated my website,
Thinking about adding a blog
My editor wrote to say,
“You should tweet more, OK?”
I said, “I feel like some sort of birddog.”

They say, “Joe, take it easy,”
I say, “Hey, don’t ignore me!”
The way things are going
They’re gonna Twitterize me.

Went from my website to Twitter
Trimming my tweets for a post
The warning message said:
“Minus 6 characters in red”
I said, “We’re only trying to boast.”

They say, “Joe, take it easy,”
I say, “Hey, don’t ignore me!”
The way things are going
They’re gonna Twitterize me

Saving all your money to renew your domain,
Spamming out your site to everyone;
Last night, Elda said,
“Hey, Joe, when you’re dead,
Don’t take nothing with you but your URL.”

Made a quick trip to MySpace,
Decided there was nothing to see
And everyone claims,
“MySpace is so lame.”
I think it just needs some vitamin E.

They say, “Joe, take it easy,”
I say, “Hey, don’t ignore me!”
The way things are going
They’re gonna Twitterize me

Clicked a link back to my web page
It’s JosephPeschel.com
I know, I know…
’Tis shameless self-promo
But it beats watching a sit-com.

They say, “Joe, take it easy,”
I say, “Hey, don’t ignore me!”
The way things are going
They’re gonna Twitterize me
The way things are going
They’re gonna Twitterize me

Written by Joe Peschel

August 3rd, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Posted in Light Verse

BLURBS (upon reading Nicole Krauss’s blurb on “David Grossman’s novel “To the End of the Land.”)

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by

Joseph Peschel © August, 2010

I hope that I shall never write
A blurb as fluffy and as trite.

A blurb whose hungry mouth expressed
A songfest that oughtta be suppressed

A blurb that praises Grossman all day,
About “walls pulled down” just to say:

“The most gifted writer I’ve ever read.”
And other stuff that fills me with dread:

Upon whose essence she’s been touched;
She intimately goes on too much.

Reviews are made by fools superb,
But only Krauss can gush a blurb.



Here is a link to the Krauss Blurb

and here is the text, should the link go astray:

Very rarely, a few times in a lifetime, you open a book and when you close it again nothing can ever be the same. Walls have been pulled down, barriers broken, a dimension of feeling, of existence itself, has opened in you that was not there before. To the End of the Land is a book of this magnitude. David Grossman may be the most gifted writer I’ve ever read; gifted not just because of his imagination, his energy, his originality, but because he has access to the unutterable, because he can look inside a person and discover the unique essence of her humanity. For twenty-six years he has been writing novels about what it means to defend this essence, this unique light, against a world designed to extinguish it. To the End of the Land is his most powerful, shattering, and unflinching story of this defense. To read it is to have yourself taken apart, undone, touched at the place of your own essence; it is to be turned back, as if after a long absence, into a human being.

—Nicole Krauss

Written by Joe Peschel

August 2nd, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Posted in Light Verse

SHALL I COMPARE THEE TO A BARBECUED RIB?

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by

Joseph Peschel and Elda Stone © August 18, 2007

Shall I compare thee to a barbecued rib?
Thou art more lovely and saucy:
Hot juices do cake the edges of the bib,
And the waiter’s manner is all too bossy:
Beef

Sometime too hot the eye of the grill shines,
And often is one’s finger burned;
And every barbecuer sometime dines
At restaurants where the tip is left unearned.

But thy eternal flavor shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that spice thou ownest
Nor shall the trash can claim the love we’ve made
When our stomachs are full until they groanest.

So long as men love beef, or barbecue,
So long lives this, and this gives life to you.

Written by Joe Peschel

August 1st, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Posted in Light Verse