The Bees: a Fantasy of The Bees and an Elephant Artist in the Highlands: long poem in terza rima illustrated with 9 full page drawings by Reinhard Behrens. diehard poetry in landscape, 2008.

Video link to Elephant painting. Paul and Sandi saw elephants painting, perhaps at this place on their travels. Rosemary Dun found this video. Tramp however, was an abstract painter.

It took a while for establishment reviews of The Bees to appear - but I knew the book could wait. Well reviewed in Acumen by Glynn Purser and an escellent review to come in Markings, I am told by the editor. Thats' one English and one Scottish literary journal to have given it serious space.

First Review of the Bees: 


a cracker in Stirling Observer by Gregor White, beginning:

"As intriguing, invigorating and sometimes downright infuriating reads go, it has to be said you'll probably have to go a long way to beat this poetic tale of some bees and their elephant artist friend. The work of Callander poet Sally Evans, beyond what has been said above, practically defies description."
 
Well! I am delighted. It's about time we had some infuriating poetry. We sent in a copy with a press release and there could easily have been one of those "Callander granny writes long poem" items. Instead we got a proper, serious review.
 
The reviewer then describes the poem rather well, and comments on Reinhard Behrens' illustrations, his favourite being "Tramp backstroking his way past the Forth Rail Bridge."
 
        

I couldn't put it down, Sally it is marvellous, it's like a dance or so I felt, going off into different rhythms, such humour at times as in the Art for Animals and so much more, that I didn't make a note of because I read it quickly. I will have to go back over it and note the things I particularly liked because there is so much in it, and there is this feeling throughout a pervasive warmth and love of the bees and of nature, of all living things really, which was the point made at the end. Very clever too, to return at the end to the prologue with Rice knocking on the door to announce a death - which I had forgotten about. And there is Pan and all the characters who one gets so fond of!

I can't imagine why that reviewer said it was 'infuriating' I loved the changing tempo off into humour. It is a kind of Dante-esque journey into the bee kingdom I think, a kind of fairy journey into another world, with the images of nature taking you into that world. Sitting in the garden with the birds singing and the insects flitting around and a butterfly from time to time, that's the best place to read it I think. It also brings up important issues, just because there is a warm humour in it doesn't mean it's not dealing with important things.   Morelle Smith              

Reviewed in Acumen: No 62 (Poetry Comment):
Glyn Pursglove, making similar points about the language to those Jim Bennett made. Glyn quotes some of my favourite lines from the book, and discusses the poem very perceptively. Well I would say that wouldnt I.  "Strongly recommended." :-)
        

BUZZBACK

 from those kind friends who commented first, when I most needed some response:

I managed to read The Bees last night...breathtaking narrative...especially loved the Art for Animals idea! (Aberdeen artists have just opened their annual exhibition, my submission rejected as usual, so would quite like to tip paint over the nearest sculpture/sculptor as did Tramp!)   Reading it made me feel like Gulliver in Lilliput....'He only felt exhausted when a piece of work was done. While he was working on it time stood still.'   'Learn to look truth in the face and see its well loved lines behind the mask'   'like the bees we celebrate our own short summertime in different ways'   ...many lines resonate with me...the Haiku at the end were wonderful...my favourites were Nos 6, 19, 35, 37, 16 and 26.
The illustrations reminded me of Lear, matching the humour of the book perfectly. Sheena Blackhall

Loved it!   Doug Robertson

Loving it... I've never read anything like it!    Jim Crumley

A brilliant piece of work. You must be so pleased.  And beautifully produced. I will be reading it a few more times.    Douglas Clark

The Bees arrived, what a delightful, clever write, I am in awe the form throughout... it's making me smile, laughed out loud at bits particularly at...bees websites and great lines such as the bees have a rammy...etc. Huge congratulations Sally it's beautifully printed and published too... Eileen Carney Hulme

THE BEES is WONDERFUL, I am almost through it.  It is a joy to read. I agree with what Paraig MacNeil says: 'I'm amazed how the metre, rhyme and rhythm just carries me along and through....'   Maureen Weldon

I think it 's great. I love the drawings too. Brilliant production.  Colin  Will

Love the book, great pics, great story (natch), right size.  Gary Blankenship
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 Gary's  terza rima Sonnet 6067:  For the Bees
(new on PK list & reproduced with permission)

There are few things that make me much more pleased
than when I 'm mailed a bright, new book of verse.
especially when about elephants, bees.

Yes, few things are better, but some are worse -
Say, when I attempt to pen a sonnet
and your comments roll in scathing and terse:

"Your meter is bad as meter can get,
and your purple theme is mostly all cliché.
Stick with free form, where you are not a threat."

All right, I have heard what my readers say.
I know my meter sucks, and rhyme can wheeze,
but hope at least my title shows the way.

Enough of me.  Read Sally E's The Bees.
There is no better use for Highland trees.

Sally's book contains haiku (beeku?) written by the Bees, so I need one also:

fluorescent pom-poms
celebrate spring
pollen's return

Gary Blankenship