Having earned several billion pounds, entrepreneur Felix Dennis became a poet and the modern embodiment of the Green Man. He plants 100,000 trees a year and is working to establish a vast broadleaf forest in the heart of England, for as he writes, There has always been in England / An older England still.
You will remember Dennis as one of the Oz Three. Defended by John Mortimer of Rumpole fame against the government's charges of conspiring to corrupt the young, Felix was found innocent. This month he is setting out on a 21-date poetry reading tour to launch his sixth book of verse, TALES FROM THE WOODS.
As poetry lovers drink his wine, Felix will read from earlier collections and from TALES. He'll appear in venues in London, Cardiff, Dublin, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow, Newcastle, Ludlow, Milton Keynes and Cork. You can make a reservation for his tour - Did I Mention the Free Wine? here.
We have his latest collection of poems before us because Felix owns our print house, Butler, Tanner and Dennis. Visiting the press on Caxton Street in Frome, where SHARE THE INHERITANCE had just been printed, we were given a personal tour and a copy of TALES FROM THE WOODS.
It's a beautifully illustrated hardback with a CD, and a cloth ribbon to mark your place, but you'll never use it, if, like us, you fly through TALES like birds, enjoying one poem and rushing to the next. It's impossible to quote just one poem to give you a taste - you have to eat of the whole woods - but here is I Have Wasted the Day, 'an autumnal day when it was good to be alive; . . .when the sun shone, when the wind was mild, when the leaves on the trees glowed like miniature sunsets. . . ' (Felix includes notes to some of his poems) -
I Have Wasted the Day. . .
I have wasted the day in the fields and the lanes,
I have tramped in the leaves and the mud;
I have dined upon air and scrimped me a pear
And an apple the colour of blood.
Though my fingers are purple from blackberry stains,
Though my hair is a tangle of straw;
Though my jacket was torn upon bramble and thorn,
It was worth it for all that I saw.
It was worth all the aches, it was worth all the pains -
I have rambled and scrambled and raced;
And my stick was mislaid where I dozed in the shade,
And I waded in brooks and neglected my books,
And I startled a hare (and the taste of that pear!)
What waste, what a glorious waste!
Felix's poems stream with mellow light and 'holy anger'. He despairs at the chopping down of trees and the terrible cull of animals unleashed by the British government. To hear the ancient, rhyming spells of a poet of trees, seek-no-further. Pre-order a copy of TALES FROM THE WOODS.
And then, and not only because Tanner, Butler and Dennis did a fantastic job printing our book and its 125 colour illustrations, buy SHARE THE INHERITANCE. It's a short, richly illustrated tome full of vitally useful and interesting information about the gifts we have inherited from our forebears. The gifts reveal how life can be a blessing for all people. Written for adults and children, SHARE THE INHERITANCE gazes into mystery. . .
You can buy the book using the PayPal links below - you don't need a PayPal account. On PayPal you can choose to pay using either your credit card, or your PayPal account.
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SHARE THE INHERITANCE will make a good gift for a child or a friend. . .