The Sincerest Form of Poetry: Review, Q&A, and Book Release With Geoff LePard

Geoff LePard -thank goodness- is unlike other authors. Where most would see a greening woodland dappled in midday light and write about fairies, Geoff is apt to whip up a dialogue ‘txixt Madame Rootbringerton and her onerous neighbor, Sir Pansybottom.

And that dialogue is not always appropriate for general audiences.

When Geoff announced plans to write and publish a book of poetry, I therefore wasn’t sure what to expect. Spurred by forays into this site’s Terrible Poetry contests and encouraged by his muse, Geoff pursued his dream and has produced The Sincerest Form of Poetry.

All of life in one easy couplet

To write poetry I need inspiration. Often that comes from my appreciation of the craftsmanship of other, better poets, whose skills I aspire to emulate. For this anthology, I have chosen two such sources: in part one, the search for Britain’s favourite poem led to the publication of the top 100 and I have used a number of these to craft my own take on those beautiful and inspirational works; in part two, my love of the sonnet form, fostered by reading Shakespeare’s gems has provided a selection covering many topics and themes. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed creating them.

-Geoff LePard

Half parody pastiche and half sonnet, Monsieur LePard outdoes himself. After reading, I came up with a few questions which he has graciously answered:

1. Many of your poems seem inspired by a certain topic or event. Could you pick one (parody or sonnet) and describe your inspiration for it?

-Sure (and your surmise is quite right). In the first section – Parody? Hmm, I might debate that some time, though I’ve had them called pastiche too which is worse – sorry, moving on… Foreign Is Quite Ghastly is a political rant, inspired, or maybe despaired is the appropriate term, by one word. Brexit. A word that will define my generation’s stupidity, pointy-headed narrow-mindedness and casual xenophobia.

Foreign Is Quite Ghastly
(Home Thoughts, From Abroad, Robert Browning)

Oh to be in England
Rather than ‘abroad’
To say travel broadens the mind
Is really quite absurd.
It’s dusty here, and full of smells
Against which the most robust rebels
And, God, the din the locals make
And don’t get me on what they boil and bake.
I’ll gift a kidney if you’ll just allow
Me back to England. Now!

The birds they have hereabouts
Have beady eyes and beaks of steel,
And I really must confess my doubts:
These evil beasts cannot be real?
Back home in dear old Blighty
Our beaded tits are cute and flighty
And fill my soul with careless rapture.
Hearts should sing! They shouldn’t rupture!

I’ve got my ticket, I’m on my way
Back to England’s green gold shores;
I’m done with ‘foreign’, outdone my stay
Take me home, to know-all bores,
To potholed roads and warm flat beer:
I’m an Englishman: get me outta here!

In structuring the poem, I began by focusing on certain well-established tropes that are raised by those whose experiences of ‘foreign’ have not been good: the strange smells when one alights from train or plane; the noise from local markets or minarets, made less attractive because it’s in a language that no self respecting Brit would want to understand; and the strange local diets inflicted on our poor traveller, which is a strange conceit given the British have adopted the mild curry as their own national dish. To give one example, I well recall my first holiday in Spain – I was 22 – when I was prevailed upon to spend a week on the Costa Brava, amongst so many other Brits. One sign, on a café, said it sold ‘tea like mum makes’: not only was it squarely aimed at we Brits and our obsession with tea but the joke had to be in English because it wouldn’t work in the local tongue.

In verse two, I’ve turned to another snobbish stereotype: that somehow Britain’s green and pleasant land – it’s natural environment – is so much nicer than everywhere else: our climate is benign; there are no poisonous creatures that will kill you (unless you have an unusual, and frankly not very British allergic reaction to say a bee string); there are no tier one predators that can out do a domesticated Brit (sure, cows can trample you and there are a few dogs I’d not want to be alone with for long) and the risk of being eaten is very remote. Further more our indigenous fauna are cuddly and cute, made more so by the propensity to anthropomorphise them in children’s literature – Wind In The Willows even rehabilitated a rat for pity’s sake. Everywhere else you have snakes that kill with a toxic glance, mammals whose teeth fail all health and safety procedures and bird life that put the lie on the theory that the dinosaurs died out.

In the final verse, I turn to consider what it is that draws the Brit home and poke fun at our acceptance of our inadequacies because, well, they’re so much better than everyone else’s inadequacies. Essentially it’s a dig at the one British past-time at which we have no superiors: our ability to moan. In the last two lines, there are two allusions which you probably need to be British to get: ‘warm flat beer’ is a reference to the chief Brexit stirrer, Nigel Farage who would often be photo’ed in a British pub sipping a pint of the ghastly muck, to prove his domestic credentials. And ‘get me outta here’ is a cultural reference to the TV show ‘I’m a Celebrity; Get me Outta here’; we like to make a big play on our cultural superiority: Shakespeare and theatre, the BBC and TV dramas and comedies Nowadays our exports are of a more prosaic nature: The Great British Bake Off, Strictly Come Dancing and Top Gear. How far have we fallen.

2. In my experience, some people are afraid of writing poetry. What advice would you give a writer who feels timid at the idea of trying a poem?

Oh dear, that’s easy to say: just write. I think people expect poetry to be a special skill and they have to have the knack or they can’t do it. I like to think of poetry as structured prose anyway. If you can write a sentence you can write poetry and some poetry is just differently aligned prose anyway.

Your lesson to me [when I applied for some advice years ago] is a great place to start. Go outside, sit and stare and then write down all you see, hear, smell and, if you do, taste and touch. Then see if anything jumps out at you as an idea or thought you’d like to pursue. Poetry doesn’t have to be about imagery or emotion, it doesn’t need metaphor or simile. It can be glib and silly. The fact that I like form is my weakness rather than a guide to how it’s done. I often wonder if we fail our children by offering them so much in rhyme that they feel the need to rhyme their poetry and that carries through to limit them in adulthood. 

3. What would you rhyme with ‘orange?’

Some say it is those on the fringe
On whose votes this election will hinge;
But despite all the chatter
It’s skin tone that’ll matter:
A grey face or one that’s orange.

—–

On Geoff’s permission, I’ve included another of his poems that I enjoyed:

The Inner Musings of Clouds
(Daffodils, William Wordsworth)

I wandered lonely as a cloud
Which is pretty daft for a man of fifty,
Cos, unlike a cloud, and I’m not proud
To admit, I’m not, these days, so nifty
As once I was. I’ve put on weight
Through beer and pies, and grown a paunch
That’s round and hard. I’m not the slight
Young fella, who’d down a vat at lunch
With space to drink the same at dinner.
Clouds are lonely, so posits old Will,
Like me, they’re seen as less saint than sinner
Who’ll rain on everyone’s parade, until
The fun stops. But we don’t care, cloudy and me;
We are what we are: grey, fat, round and free.

To pick up your own copy, visit Tangental.com or Amazon. Stick around his blog for some great stories and some envy-worthy views of Geoff’s garden as well.

The beautiful cover for The Sincerest Form of Poetry, ©2020 Geoff LePard

—–

Geoff Le Pard started writing to entertain in 2006. He hasn’t left his keyboard since. When he’s not churning out novels he writes some maudlin self-indulgent poetry, short fiction and blogs at geofflepard.com. He walks the dog for mutual inspiration and most of his best ideas come out of these strolls. He also cooks with passion if not precision.

My Father and Other Liars is a thriller set in the near future and takes its heroes, Maurice and Lori-Ann on a helter-skelter chase across continents.
Geoff 1

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

 

Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle is a coming of age story. Set in 1976 the hero Harry Spittle is home from university for the holidays. He has three goals: to keep away from his family, earn money and hopefully have sex. Inevitably his summer turns out to be very different to that anticipated.Geoff2

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 


In this, the second book in the Harry Spittle Sagas, it’s 1981 and Harry is training to be a solicitor. His private life is a bit of a mess and he’s far from convinced the law is for him. Then an old acquaintance from his hotel days appears demanding Harry write his will. When he dies somewhat mysteriously a few days later and leaves Harry in charge of sorting out his affairs, Harry soon realises this will be no ordinary piece of work. After all, his now deceased client inherited a criminal empire and several people are very interested in what is to become of it.


Geoff3

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

The third instalment of the Harry Spittle Sagas moves on the 1987. Harry is now a senior lawyer with a well-regarded City of London firm, aspiring to a partnership. However, one evening Harry finds the head of the Private Client department dead over his desk, in a very compromising situation. The senior partner offers to sort things out, to avoid Harry embarrassment but soon matters take a sinister turn and Harry is fighting for his career, his freedom and eventually his life as he wrestles with dilemma on dilemma. Will Harry save the day? Will he save himself?


Geoff4

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

Life in a Grain of Sand is a 30 story anthology covering many genres: fantasy, romance, humour, thriller, espionage, conspiracy theories, MG and indeed something for everyone. All the stories were written during Nano 2015.


Geoff5

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

 

Salisbury Square is a dark thriller set in present day London where a homeless woman and a Polish man, escaping the police at home, form an unlikely alliance to save themselves.
Geoff6

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

 

Buster & Moo is about about two couples and the dog whose ownership passes from one to the other. When the couples meet, via the dog, the previously hidden cracks in their relationships surface and events begin to spiral out of control. If the relationships are to survive there is room for only one hero but who will that be?
Geoff7

Smashwords

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

 

Life in a Flash is a set of super short fiction, flash and micro fiction that should keep you engaged and amused for ages.
Geoff8

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Smashwords

 

Apprenticed To My Mother describes the period after my father died when I thought I was to play the role of dutiful son, while Mum wanted a new, improved version of her husband – a sort of Desmond 2.0. We both had a lot to learn in those five years, with a lot of laughs and a few tears as we went.
Geoff9

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

 

 

Life in a Conversation is an anthology of short and super short fiction that explores connections through humour, speech and everything besides. If you enjoy the funny, the weird and the heart-rending then you’ll be sure to find something here.
Geoff10

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

 

 

When Martin suggests to Pete and Chris that they spend a week walking, the Cotswolds Way, ostensibly it’s to help Chris overcome the loss of his wife, Diane. Each of them, though, has their own agenda and, as the week progresses, cracks in their friendship widen with unseen and horrifying consequences.
Geoff11

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

 

 

Famous poets reimagined, sonnets of all kinds, this poetry selection has something for all tastes, from the funny, to the poignant to the thought-provoking and always written with love and passion.
Geoff12

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 

Geoff Le Pard’s Amazon Author Page

©2020 Chel Owens
Geoff LePard’s works © Geoff LePard. Don’t cross him; he’s a lawyer

A Tribute to Geoff LePard of TanGental

I’ve wanted to replicate Geoff’s style for awhile now, but he is a very …unique sort of writer. Take Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, and Mark Twain; then add a little brain injury or late night staring at hedgerows and you’ve nearly got him.

Since I’m not those authors and lack any hedges (I’m American), I’ve vowed to do the best I can. Geoff writes spot-on reviews of plays or movies, brags about his amazing garden (with pictures), and includes the occasional stint into poetry. Most of the time, however, he comes up with the strangest of short stories (supposedly) based on photo prompts.

The final sort is what I chose to mimic. I give you, therefore,

Tricks and Stones #writephoto

zac-farmer-LiGJLHHXFNA-unsplash.jpg

‘What d’you think, Francisissi?’

‘Hard to say, hard to say…’

‘But you do say it’s him; tell me you say that, at least.’

Thomaquinas scratched a gravelly spot near his ear. He attempted to pull at his robes near another, equally irritated area, but failed. ‘Hard to say…’

A puff of dust exited Fran’s facial orifice that once resembled a mouth. He should’ve expected this; should have brought along Patrireland or even Thérieux. No, maybe not Théri. Last time she’d literally talked the ear off the poor soul –

Thom shifted uncomforably. He always shifted uncomfortably, of course, but managed to convey that this particular discomfort came from his needing to answer Fran and not, as was usual, from a necessarily stiff figure.

‘So is he a close enough resemblance to try it?’

Thom considered, his features a blank slate as he did so. He nodded, dropping a few chinks of neck in process.

‘Right.’ Fran raised his arms stiffly to meet Thom’s. Their palms touched in a small crumble of grey dust. Fran winced.

Aiseray isthay oulsay omfray ethay astpay, the two intoned. Aiseray isthay oulsay omfray ethay astpay!

More dust and chips of rock fell as they attempted to raise their arms. The ground rumbled. Grass wilted. A doe, as surprised by talking stone as readers are to find a doe suddenly inserted in a paragraph, leaped away. The statue before the chanting pair shook slightly, else shook because the ground beneath it did.

Beginning with a muffled ‘Eeeur,’ and ending with a shouted, ‘Rrrrraugh!’ the man before them began moving. Dust, bits, and the odd bird excrement flew at Thom and Fran from his stretching limbs. Uttering a final, Omfray ethay astpay!, they stepped back apace and dropped their hands.

‘Yeaurgh!’ the third man said. He shook and twisted at his immobile robes, then fixed blank, grey eyes on his rescuers. ‘What’s this, then?’

‘Francisissi.’

‘Thomaquinas.’

‘Eh?’ Tilting his head to the side, he smacked at an ear. Smallish rubble and powder drifted from the downward side of his face and rained on the wilted grass.

‘Are you,’ Fran queried, ‘Simeter?’

‘Who?’ Their companion tilted the other way, smacking more grey detritus to the ground.

‘Simeter,’ Thom ventured, ‘Or, maybe …Paulsus?’

‘Who, me?’ The once-statue’s face nearly broke as he broke into a grin. ”Fraid not, boys.’

Thom turned and fixed Fran with a stonelike stare. ‘Well,’ Thom gulped, coughing from swallowed dust, ‘Who are you?”

‘Dominizza,’ Dominizza shrugged, ‘The pizza deliverer.’

——

I probably murdered it, so sorry to Geoff. To the rest of you, try him out if he’s your cup of tea.

 

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoZac Farmer

©2019 Chelsea Owens

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Another week, another contest, another episode of my wanting to give everyone first place. I asked for terrible love poetry, and you guys all gave me …well, I think it was poetry.

I happen to know the winner this week wouldn’t want to bite his nails any longer in expectation, however. It is the famous, clever, inappropriate Geoff LePard.

Only Skin Deep (After Sonnet 130*)

by TanGental (Geoff LePard)

The azure of the wide Pacific seas

Has depth, unlike your bland insipid eyes.

A dancer’s legs are shaped by art to please

But yours are not for show, they need disguise.

My tongue, whose form can change to suit all tastes,

From gentle probe to pert, priapic beast,

Becomes a dry and flaccid thing, all chaste,

If suffocated by your doggy breath’s release.

Facial engineers, who can craft Kate Moss

From Quasimodo, turn and run a mile:

I’d give my soul to Satan, bear any loss

If they’d mould Venus from your Cubist smile.

Let’s face it, love, on me you’ve placed a hex:

It’s not your looks that bind us, just the sex.

Congratulations, Geoff! You are the most terrible poet of the week!

All of the submitted poems were terrible. Throughout reading them, however, I just couldn’t feel that sort of acute revulsion necessary to crown a victor -until, that is, I read Geoff’s poem.

I thought his may have been too pretty as I started reading it. There’s meter, and rhyme, and a bit of a misguided theme. Then I got to the bits about the tongue, and “doggy breath.” That settled it.

Any of the other entrants may hold their heads high if they really want to as well. And, here they are:

Songette of Love

by Bruce Goodman

You are like fresh water in a toilet system
and I am like the bowl that’s just being pissed in.
Your flush of youth washes away all stain of sin
and all I can do is sit there and grin.

Your love is like a roll of toilet paper,
seemingly endless and yet is a handy caper.
You remind me of the aerosol can of “Province French”:
one squirt and you hide the smell of stinky stench.

The lavatory brush as well reminds me of you,
as does the mop that cleans the bathroom floor, too.
Both are meticulous in cleaning up every speck of microbiotic dust;
Such fastidiousness greatly increases lust.

And so, my dear, when all is said and done,
whenever I have a crap I know that you’re the one.

—–

Oh my Darling

by RhScribbles

Oh my darling, my darling valentine
I’ll leave you at the table while I go
To the den and wait for you to bring wine
And spend time with you and the old banjo

Oh darling, sweetie pie, love of my life
How I adore your odd sense of humor
I am excited to be your wife
That’s not a joke, I’m with child it’s rumored

Oh darling, sweetie pie, love of my life
Your face is as scruffy as a scratchy scrubber
I’d love to scrape it off with a sharp knife
I might mistakenly remove blubber

Oh darling, sweetie pie, love of my life
My valentine, angel, I am your wife

—–

I love you lots (only slightly in a sleazy way)

by Greygirlieandme

Shall I compare you to a summer’s day?
Well, I’ll have a go,‘cos you’re a bit of alright (at least Colin thinks so).
Where to start – fancy a tumble in the hay?
You will when you’ve read this, I’ll wrap it up and tie it with a bow.
The doctor said we can have a snog now the herpes sore’s have all gone;
Your eyes are like rock pools, salty and they overflow a lot, and your eyebrows look like sea slugs,
And your skin’s okay when you’ve got a tan, as long as it’s not too orange, like the Trumpster one;
And I know you’ll look like your mother in a few year’s time, but she’s OK with the lights off. What, you’re scared of the dark because of the bugs?
Now there’s one thing I’d like you to do for me, what’s with the bush? Untrimmed’s really not my thing…
But overall you’re a bit of a catch (as per Colin again),
So I’d like to take you into my possession, I’ll follow you all the time, on the wing;
I want everything thing you touch, so I might go through your trash, again and again,
But most of all, I want you to be mine,
As long as I breathe, allowing for the ciggies,
I’ll make sure all my kisses are biggies.

—–

Chubby Cheek Pooty Duty

by Donna Matthews

His chubby cheeks very adorable
And I know, you know, what we all know
Without you, life would be so horrible
You show up day and night, sunshine or snow.

The job at hand isn’t rosy face cheeks
We’re talking uncontrollable poo-poo
Digested milk spewed from pudgy butt cheeks
Exploding odoriferous, slimy goo

I adore the way you absorb the mess
No matter the pigment nor time of day
From your faithfulness, I am truly blessed
Beloved, there’s nothing more I can say

Without you, diaper, excrement galore
Your pooty duty valued evermore

—–

The Handkerchief

by Peregrine Arc

Oh my dearest hanky
How I love thee without compare
I snort, I sneeze, I wipe my hands
on you without a care.
For you are the holder of my snot,
Full of my forget-me-nots
From cold, allergy and flu seasons
My always and forever, linen pressed beacon.
Sprinkled with limeaid from that last catastrophic fall
When I was trying to increase my fluids, dash it all
Sniff. Sniff. Oh dear.
I feel I have another achoo arriving, I fear.
I can feel it striving, stretching down my nostril hairs, tickling my mucus
To my hanky–my succus!
Away, away, Sir Lucas!

—–

How I Love my Hot Flashes

by D. Wallace Peach

I’m never cold from head to toe, not me
In winter’s deep when snow is white and brash
I lounge in skivvies for all the family t’see
In summer attire, I bask in hottish flash

The hubs may shiver ‘n shake by blazing fire
The daughter dressed in coat and hat with flaps
But I will sweat a flash like a funeral pyre
Too hot to cook or clean, too hot for naps

Too hot for heat in the car while driving home
Too toasty for salsa and barbeque chicken wings
Too flushed to deal with hair dryers and combs
Too fiery to wear a robe or sweater that clings

The windows stay open ‘spite the sleeting day
For years, I’ve had my head in a baking oven
My heating bill is zero, so I won’t complain
Now you know the reason hot flashes I’m lovin’

—–

Unsuitable Suitor

by Jon

O how she captured my attention when at the first she happened by.
What was it then that caught my notice, caused my heart to palpitate?
Hope raised above the slimmest chance, would I even catch her eye?
What is that thing my heart is doing? Could it not be what I just ate?

Would we be so clearly mismatched, quite unlike as ones could be?
We are boring, both diverted, our screens gleaming pale and blue.
Am I right? Should I reconsider? Are there sparks ‘tween me and She?
Thoughts within begin to torment, something is not ringing true.

Alas! Still if I could only focus, on what is here and what is now.
Cease even to opine on twitter, step far back from writing blogs,
Still a chance our love could work out. Exciting yes! Even wow!
Can’t help now but wonder, would she e’er stoop to kissing frogs?

‘Cause far beneath I clearly lodge high and endless opportunities,
She has e’re open there before her. What if I come upon my knees?

—–

For My Babe on Valentine’s Day

by Michael B. Fishman

What I won’t do for you – –

Those jeans you think are too tight: they are. But I won’t tell you because I care that much. And really, what difference does it make if you have a fat ass?

I’m the only one looking at it and I’ve never expected perfection.
And besides, you’re a good cook and I don’t want to mess that up.

Your hair: I guess I don’t mind the gray.
It is what it is, hey.

I will always do what I can to make you happy.

When I kiss you, your breath sometimes smells.

It’s like pepperoni mixed with that sour smell
of milk that’s been in the fridge too long.
I don’t say anything but it makes me
wonder if you’re not due for a
teeth cleaning.

Sure, you have faults; who doesn’t? But it’s OK because you let me watch baseball games and you don’t bug me too much with household stuff.

And you don’t make me clean up after the dog. Actually – and not to dwell on your breath – but pepperoni and sour milk and the dog when he’s wet.

Anyway – –

Happy Valentine’s Day

I really like you.

—–

Our Lizard Overlords

by H.R.R. Gorman

Nary a day may pass that I don’t weep,
Considering your scaly hide beneath
Some guy’s soft flesh used as your body sheath.
So before I pray and lay down to sleep,
I consider how your anger must seeth
As foul human cattle turn Earth to heath.
I’ll turn off my computer with a beep
And stop spreading lies about your intent.
The lizard man in human flesh is kind,
A good reptilian father to his
Underling livestock filled with malcontent.
Accept your lot and I’m certain you’ll find
Falling in love with master is your fate.

—–

Trying to love it all – A Sonnet

by Molly Stevens

There’s so much to love about the world today,
How can you choose from such variety?
It’s enough to cause major anxiety,
Like filling your plate at a Chinese buffet.

Do I have room for lo mien and fried rice?
Why don’t they have plates as big as my belly?
I sure hope I don’t get a case of salmonelli.
I know what I’ll do, I’ll fill my plate twice.

Twice was nice but caused much distress
When I went over the top with my pickin’ .
Pepto bismol tastes best when chilled.
It will take a solid day to convalesce
From a case of all-you-can-eat Kung Pao Chicken.
Maybe I should have stayed unfulfilled.

—–

(PG-13 Warning)

It’s Really Not His Fault…

by TanGental

It had been, for God one heck of a week

So in fairness we should let it pass

And forgive that Adam, His coup de grace

Could have done with the odd final tweak.

The papers focused their gaze on the Fall

And those pictures of Eve in the buff

Where instead they should have done their stuff

And told us of His mighty cock and ball.

For Adam shouldn’t have needed a stiffy

To get himself into a sweaty old state

Where his only urge was to copulate

And his end was always so sticky.

And all he was given to perform this role

Were balls in a bag and a bewrinkled pole…

—–

I recommend a fresh palate refresher if you got through them all. After that, gear up for next week’s prompt, which will be announced tomorrow morning.

jesse-goll-555768-unsplash

Geoff: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner: