Official Website of Author, Poet & Translator

John J. Coutts

BOOKS

LINES OF A LIFETIME

COLLECTED POEMS

A SACKFUL OF POEMS FOR CHRISTMAS

WAS THAT ME?

EVERYCHILD AND OTHER POEMS

A GARLAND FOR THE PASSION

WORDS BEYOND WORDS

BIO

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

 

NOVEMBER 2020

 

For all the Saints…

 

An act of praise for All Saints Day [November 1st]

celebrating “May’s Mission” –

which later became The Salvation Army Hall, Denton Gravesend

 

If stones could praise

And bricks could pray,

They’d thank the Lord

For William May;

 

The Mission Man

Who ran the show

In hungry years

Of Long Ago;

 

With Band of Hope,

And Boys Brigade,

And Christ in glory

On parade:

 

Plus Bible Women

Strong in text,

By noisy children

Unperplexed -

 

Or driven daft

By urchins’ tricks?

Just ask the silent

Stones and bricks.

 

If drains could laugh

And floors had tears,    

We might rerun 

The hectic years

 

Retained in God’s

Thick files of grace,

When Mrs.Clayton

Ruled the place:

 

- A strong Salvation

Citadel,

Whose kitchen sink

Had tales to tell

 

Through slump and blitz…

But Gospel Praise

Is less in vogue

In doubting days               

 

And Sister Duty
Seems uncool;

Yet still we play

The holy fool,

 

And join today

In love and laughter

To say “well done”

To brick and rafter;

 

And start the game

Of grace again -

World without end.

Hurrah! Amen.

 

 

 

The building popularly  known as “May’s Mission” began was as an outpost

of St.Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.  Mrs. Clayton was Secretary of the

Home League (The Salvation Army Women’s organisation) in the 1930s.

 

Many thanks to Gravesend Historical Society!

 

WORKSHOPS

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:

 

 

"I really enjoyed learning about rhythm. When I am older I think I would like to be a poet." - HK from Primary Class Six

CONTACT

For any inquiries, please contact John Coutts:

Tel: UK(+44) 01786 470930 | johnjcoutts@gmail.com

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© 2016 - John Coutts