When Jim Lamb retired as a journalist, he wrote a humorous book called “Orange Socks & Other Colorful Tales” about his time in the Navy. Now he’s launched a book of poems titled “Dark Fruit,” which is available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Fruit-J-S-Lamb-ebook/dp/B0B4GPD3VM.
Lamb was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a steel town; grew up in Windber, a coal town; and went away to school in Shippensburg, a college town. He says that “Dark Fruit” answers the question: “What kind of poetry would a ditch-digger write if a ditch-digger could write poetry. ”
As a kid, Lamb carried around a pocket-sized book of poetry. In some families that might have been seen as a positive trait, but in a family of construction workers and coal miners, it was merely tolerated. It might be dubbed the “Zoolander” effect.
“Zoolander” is an American comedy film starring Ben Stiller as a fashion model named Derek whose coal miner father, played by Jon Voight, isn’t exactly proud of his son’s career choice.
Lamb’s interest in poetry bubbled under the surface until the mid-1970s when he pursued a degree in Mass Communication. A class he took in creative writing featured the book “Three Genres: The Writing of Poetry, Fiction, and Drama” by Stephen Minot. Later, as a copy desk editor at The Tampa Tribune, he’d regularly re-read the poetry portion of Minot’s book as a way to hone his headline-writing skills.
“One of the things I love about poets is their ability to say much in few words,” said Lamb, who is retired. “That same skill is invaluable as a headline writer. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s easy.”
After finishing his first book, “Orange Socks,” Lamb spent several years writing poems. The result: “They were terrible,” he said. “It made me ill to read them.’’
After deleting each and every poem he’d written, Lamb re-read and studied the works of poets he admired, including Robert Frost, Dylan Thomas, Seamus Heaney, Ogden Nash, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert Bly, and Sylvia Plath. Then he went back to writing. The result: “Dark Fruit,” which taps into a range of sentiments, from the sad to the silly; from the light to the dark.
Here’s an example:
by j.s. lamb
poisons the well
“Who’s for Dinner?”
by j.s. lamb
In some cultures,
they love their neighbors.
In others, they might eat ’em.
If you’re not sure
which is which,
be careful how
you treat ’em.
Though “Dark Fruit” (ASIN: B0B4GPD3VM) is currently available only at Amazon in digital form, a paperback version will be launched later in the year in time for Christmas. “Dark Fruit” can be found by going to the Amazon website and typing in j.s. lamb.
To learn more about “Dark Fruit,” visit https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Fruit-J-S-Lamb-ebook/dp/B0B4GPD3VM.
ABOUT: Jim Lamb is a retired journalist. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a double-major in Mass Communication and Political Science. Later he worked as a copy desk editor at The Tampa Tribune and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. His website is http://www.jslstories.com.