A gentle wind blows through Paul Jolly’s poems, uncovering the gaps in our knowledge, our presumptions and assumptions, the spaces in which humor, creativity, and magic are born. The stories seem familiar, but the wind-blown words, unjumbled by Jolly, no longer say exactly what they’re supposed to. Alice escapes from a pack of Disney scouts. Over-inflated cows float over a squadron of slugs. Ice cream trucks play Christmas songs.
It is a collection that rebels against reality. Each poem performs a sleight-of-hand replacement of the objective and concrete with imagination and dream. What if? How come? Why not?
Read these poems. Read them carefully. Take your time. Inhale, exhale, and think. Why Ice Cream Trucks Play Christmas Songs is a work of art, and it is a gift.
“Delightful, essential, full of renewed wisdom and old magic, of the natural elements that sustain body and spirit. Paul Jolly’s poems are to be savored time and again, like the ice cream in trucks that play Christmas songs. Bravo! Encore!”
—Lucha Corpi, author of Eulogy for a Brown Angel and Confessions of a Book Burner
“Paul Jolly’s consonance crackles but is seldom gnarled. His poems are funny but never cruel. Like Kay Ryan, he sees the universe in little things. Jolly’s tenderness is understated, his language unrestrained.”
—Flossie Lewis, Brief but Spectacular (PBS)
“To read these poems is to enter a richly imagined world; brightened by dry touches of humor, parody, and wit. The poems are very much of the present day, both in language and in outlook. Though deeply felt, they contain nothing sentimental, let alone anything maudlin.”
—Marie Borroff, Sterling Professor of English, Emeritus, Yale University
“Drawing upon a metaphoric area that hops nimbly from nursery rhymes to the spiritual lives of goats, from family history to the history of the zero, these poems surprise and delight. Jolly’s light touch and humorous outtakes remind us that language in poetry is an adult thinker’s playground.”
—Johnna Schmidt, Director of Jimènez-Porter Writers’ House, University of Maryland
“I spent a first afternoon of immersion in this wonderful collection of poems, smiling with occasional outbursts of delighted laughter at the poet’s flights of fancy: Humpty Dumpty paired with Icarus, a Grandmother whose saliva does futile battle with her grandson’s cowlick, farmers who carbonate cows to get ‘bubble milk,’ a factotum who does the dirty work for God during the six days of creation. Throughout, zany humor and vigorous imagination construct send-ups that are not without compassion and insight. There is import here I cannot explain, but only nod, knowingly.”
—Catharine Lucas, poet and professor of English, Emerita, San Francisco State University