Saturday, July 23, 2011

Imitation is the Highest Form of Flattery: Poets Take Borrowing in Stride If It Increases Poetry Readership

It was only a matter of time before someone stole the idea that Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball first meted when they created Cherished Pulse, the inaugural book in their poetry based Celebration Series.

Deeper Into the Pond: A Celebration of Femininity (Volume 1)Of course the idea of using poetry as a form of gift or greeting card isn't new. People have been using poetry to celebrate big events like marriage, wedding anniversaries, and milestones since Homer's day, but nowadays most of the expensive greeting cards in shops are so rife with platitudes that they've ceased to have any meaning at all and can hardly be called poetry. What was new was making chapbooks into a kind of carriage trade greeting card with real poetry grouped around holiday themes. They are genuine messages that mean something. Make the books as inexpensive as a card, and as beautiful as a gift book, and you've got a gift that provides sentiment that won't be thrown out with the wrapping paper.
That has always been the rationale behind Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball's Celebration series, which includes a range of chapbooks clustered around themes like Valentine's Day: Cherished Pulse ( ), Father's Day: Imagining the Future ( ), Mother's Day: She Wore Emerald Then ( ), Christmas: Blooming Red (, and the newly released feminist inspired Deeper into the Pond, suitable for any female birthday or celebration ( ). All of the chapbooks are as inexpensive as a high end card, attractive, featuring real art, and perfect for gift giving.
Imagining the Future: Ruminations on Fathers and Other Masculine ApparitionsSo it's no surprise that others are copying the idea.
This is what happened. Three years after the release of the Celebration Series. Relationships Australia, Australian Poetry Ltd, and artists/designers Gracia and Louise have just released their own father-themed book titled Dear Dad, promoted specifically as a great Father's Day greeting card/gift. It's a little dearer than the Celebration Series offered by Ball and Howard-Johnson, but it's a great idea featuring some excellent Australian poets, and probably the tip of the iceberg when it comes to real poetry as greetings. Why not? Poetry is always a good gift.

Learn more about Ball and Howard-Johnson's work at .

For more information on Ball and Howard-Johnson’s Celebration series and their Father’s Day entry, visit

No comments:

Post a Comment