Official Website of Author, Poet & Translator
John J. Coutts
Welcome to my website! I am a poet, performer, author and translator. I've written extensively for BBC radio and published books and articles in the fields of literature and religion. I am also Poet-in-Residence at the Smith Art Gallery and Museum here in Stirling, Scotland. 'Ths Smith has published 'Oswald the Cat's Book of Poems for Fun and Finding out' intended for children and grownups as well.
As a poet, I believe that obscurity is not profundity, and that obscenity is not originality. I write in 'traditional' metres - and many of my poems are intended for public performance as well as private reading.
My qualifications include a first class degree in English Language and Literature from Oxford University and PhD in New Testament Studies from Edinburgh University. I am also a linguist - a number of my translations from Russian have appeared in The Complete Works of Alexander Pushkin in English" - Published by Milner & Co. A new bilingual edition of Pushkin's Lyrics is now appearing, published by the Alma Press. My latest publication is 'Rap around the Gospel'- stories from the life of Jesus with rap commentary. It's available as a paper copy or a PDF and rappers are welcome to copy and adapt the scripts to suit their own talent. Email me to find out more.
POEM OF THE MONTH
To a birch tree
During the coronavirus lockdown
You stood still. I passed you by
Unaware of grass or sky.
Pestering thoughts beset my brain
[Same obsessions, same old pain]
Grumbles buzzing in my head....
Then - but how? - you stopped me dead.
No, not dead – but wide aware,
Free to catch my breath and stare.
Breezes stirred; your branches quivered.
Greenest leaves awoke and shivered,
Shielding tapered trunk and silvery bark...
Time too held its breath and granted me
Sight of perfection in a mortal tree.
[Just one of several in our little park]
Becalmed in joy I stood, but then
Time began to stir again.
Why not stand and watch forever?
Hovering commonsense said ‘Never.
‘Off you go: return to duty
Share your glimpse of hidden beauty’
Briefly blessed, I made my way
Through the park to everyday.
Not so weary as before.
Locked in self-concern no more.
A BOX OF SURPRISES
"An entertainment in poetry and storytelling"
I present a flexible and engaging performance which interests both old and young - and gives the audience a chance to join in.
The "Box of Surprises" turns out to be a "Pirate's Chest" full of treasures - ordinary items with extraordinary stories.
A second theme - "True Tales of a Long Lifetime' - takes us a journey of discovery if prose and verse, mixing laughter, reflection, entertainment and insight. "
'The Box of Surprises'" was full of words of wit and wisdom - and your readings gave us rhythms and rhymes, moving us to laughter and near tears." - Liberton Kirk Guild: