A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Friday, 22 March 2013

Raining Quinces

My first poetry collection, Raining Quinces, is now available through Amazon US and Amazon UK and all European Amazon channels.

The book contains over eighty poems and is divided into three parts: Camino (poems inspired by wandering the French and Spanish pilgrim routes to Santiago), Lightness of Being (light verse and humorous poems) and Blue Fruit (poems on love, life, nature, landscape, art and family relationships). Linking these three sections is the implicit or explicit notion of spiritual quest. The book is dedicated to 'Camino pilgrims everywhere'.

raining quinces

farewell to the land of luscious fruit
where apples hang like rosy pink lanterns
and pumpkins swell like pregnant farmgirls
and bunches of grapes are purple chandeliers
and succulent figs so wickedly feminine
they seem barely legal

i’m back in the land of bitter sloes
where crab apples lie wasted in the orchards
hips and haws food only for the fieldfares
and blackberries are shrivelled up and tart

but it’s always raining quinces
in my heart

For me the quince is the essential taste of the Camino — read more about it here.


Ruth said...

So exciting, Robert!

The book itself looks luscious, a great cover photo and design. I would definitely be drawn to it on a table or online. The title and title poem are a perfect choice to represent what you do and your inner landscape, I think, as well as the outer landscapes you observe and articulate so very well.

My fingers are eager to hold the book and start turning each page. Congratulations, and may the book "walk" many miles into the hands of countless "travelers."

The Weaver of Grass said...

Congratulations Robert, i had no idea that this was in the pipeline. I shall go to Amazon immediately and suss it out.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks so much, Ruth and Pat. I sold a few today, so am quite pleased! Poetry is a difficult sell, so I'm thinking of targeting carefully my review copies when I get them in a week... Any marketing suggestions gratefully received. What fun!

Susan Scheid said...


Winter Pilgrim said...

Congratulations! What a great achievement for you and wonderful commentary for pilgrims everywhere. I'm happy to virturally know you, pilgrim =)

dritanje said...

Excellent news solitary walker, it will be wonderful to see many of your poems grouped together, in these categories that speak very much to my own taste! It is indeed hard when it comes to getting reviews but I imagine that Poetry Cornwall (Les Merton) would do one for you. Also magazines that have an interest in walking and wild places. Many congratulations!

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks, Susan...

And Ann (Winter Pilgrim)... I'm in awe of your pilgrimages, and just love and respect and delight in them. My little poems are of nothing in comparison. Hope you are well, and will continue following your extraordinary journeys, as always.

Dominic Rivron said...

Great! Looking forward to reading it. I've made my trip to Amazon. My copy is on it's way, I hope, as I type.

The Solitary Walker said...

dritanje... Dominic... thanks so much, you are both too kind.

Yes, Les has been very positive in so many ways, and I also intend mailing the multifarious Camino sites...

Rachel Fox said...

Best of luck with it! After all these years shifting others' books it must feel good to have your own.

am said...

Wonderful news! I've placed an order.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks Rachel If you can't beat 'em join 'em!

And thanks so much for ordering the book, am.

Douglas J. Penick said...

Thank you for this splendid offering.

Ripeness is all.

Oh and I too love quinces


The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for your comment, Douglas.

Ah, quinces, sour and sweet, like life itself.

George said...

Just returned from a trip to find this post,
Robert! How fabulous and exciting! The appearance of the book is a treat for the eye, and I'm sure the impact of the contents will do even more for the heart. Can't wait to get my copy, which I will order immediately. When do the talk shows and book tours begin?

ksam said...

Wow!! Lovely news! Poetry is perhaps a difficult sell, but I've noticed recently that once in the hands, it doesn't seem to leave. I've looked for an old copy of Rumi in several used book shops..nada! And the poetry sections are slim. I think once people get a hand on a poetry book they simply don't want to let go...as I'm sure it will be when I get my copy of yours! Then can I send it to you for your autograph!! :-)

Anonymous said...

Is the poem presented an example of the rest?

The 'Cider wih Rosie' + Keatsian pastiche + bucolic sentiment is OK- for a blog. You've heavily overdone the fecundity in this formulaic and backward looking poem. You're a good blogger, but you're no poet; a very rare ability.

Mike. (Univ. Lancaster)

The Solitary Walker said...

I shall post your comment, Mike, even though I'm not keen on anonymous comments, and the Spam trasher usually deletes them automatically.

If you'd bothered to read any of my other poems — readily available and linked to from this blog — you'd have sees that I write in many different styles, including pastiche — which this poem obviously is, at least in part. Pastiche is, of course, backward looking in its very nature, and a little tongue-in-cheek, and in this case affectionate. In view of this, I think the fecundity is fine, but that's just my own humble opinion.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for your comment, Karin (ksam)! As you note, it may take a while to stick — but then it never lets you go. Appreciate your kind comments on my little publishing enterprise.

The Solitary Walker said...

And thanks, George, too, for your ebullient comment! Book tours may be a tad optimistic — but I have been invited to do a poetry reading near Liverpool in July!

Goat said...

Hey, well done, sir! With one exception, the only poets of my acquaintance previously were of the unpublished and obscure bar-room variety. I will be ordering one soon in my quest to get you out of the garret and into mass consciousness.

Anonymous said...

well done Robert

and you have inspired me to research Quince Grog.

Will the following do?

25 Quinces
1 gallon of water
2-3 Lbs sugar
2 lemons, one grated zest both lots of juice
1 tsp Pectolase
1/2 litre of White Aldi Rio D’Oro grape juice
1 tsp TronOzymol
Lalvin Champagne Yeast EC-1118


The Solitary Walker said...

You think I'm not bar-room, Goat? Tut-tut.

Hey, Andy, that's amazing! I only made up that Facebook drink on the hoof! Dreams can become reality! Sometimes.

The Solitary Walker said...

Andy, I love your recipe, but Aldi's are right out of Rio d'Oro. Will Co-op grape juice do?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the Coop grape juice will be fine - we will have to arrange a tasting!

Amanda said...

wow - big congrats, robert.

purple chandeliers......oh my. that is one dazzling image.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks, Amanda!

Suman said...

Hello Robert, this is awesome!! Many congratulations.

PS. I remember the poem very well and my subsequent introduction to a quince! :-)

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks Suman!

I hope you and the quince have remained good friends.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I ordered a copy of this book from amazon.com and it arrived one day later to my delighted surprise. I learned about it from the Weaver of Grass blog. I am now slowly reading it with much pleasure. Congratulations!

Just to share a quince memory with you: Before the fall of communism one could buy delicious quince ice cream (not really any cream in it, I think) in Hungary. Their versions of ice cream or ices were made only from fresh fruit. They were delicious! But once communism was gone as a power in the land and trade was open, all ice cream was made in the style and flavor of Italian gelato, alas. Not that we didn't enjoy that, but it was truly sad that the original wonderful quince, apricot, and raspberry flavors had completely disappeared.

The Solitary Walker said...

Kristi — how wonderful you read about the book on Weaver's blog, then ordered it! So pleased you are enjoying it. Those fruit-laden ices sound delicious.

For me, the quince is the fruit which symbolises the Camino. It seems to be used more in France and Germany than it is in England — for jams, jellies and suchlike. I like the significance of it being both bitter and sweet, so, in the title poem, the rain is bittersweet, like life itself. Also there's a faintly exotic and ancient feel to it — borne out if you look into its history.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I love your comments on the bitterness and sweetness of quinces. I'm not Hungarian, but my husband was and in Hungary (and apparently in Israel, also) people make a sort of fruit leather from quince. Two of my sisters in law made a picnic for us as we left on our honeymoon, long long ago, and "birs alma sajt" (birsh awlma sha-it) was part of it. Now I can think of this as a metaphor for married life!