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Love, Hurt and Whimsy-bookcover

By: Eric Craven

Love, Hurt and Whimsy

Pages: 96 Ratings: 5.0
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The majority of Eric’s poems stem from his personal experiences. Some have an origin in his childhood. Reciprocal Spells, for example, is an account of dealing with a crush you might have on someone at school. Other poems are also thought provoking as they portray more challenging life experiences to which most of us will be able to relate. Poems like, The World is Falling Apart, The Bully, and The Poor Kid reflect the times in which we currently live. Eric’s vivid imagination is the source for other amusing poems like The Fancy Dress Party, which about finding you are the only guest not in fancy dress, and Sally Suction, the earwax extractor. He likes to tell stories through his poetry and Pegasus Bridge tells the remarkable story of the hours immediately before the D-Day Landings and the immeasurable impact of the few soldiers who were sent to take the bridge to support the Normandy Landings.

Eric Craven was born in 1953. He is semi-retired from education where he was a special school headteacher and latterly one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors of schools.

He is inspired by the work of the Liverpool poets of the 1960s: Roger McGough, Adrian Henri and Brian Patten. This anthology covers the spectrum of poems he has written. They are grouped under the headings of Love, Hurt and Whimsy.

He reads his poems aloud each week at a local folk club, The Hungry Horse Folk Club in Cheshire. In June 2021 he was invited to read and discuss three of his poems on BBC Radio Merseyside.

Find more about the author

Customer Reviews
6 reviews
6 reviews
  • Gerry Ffrench

    There are many different types of love and several of them are explored in the first section of this book. Romantic love goes without saying, but also love of humanity and the Earth. Eric acknowledges the influence of Adrian Henry in the introduction to Because of You, but his work is full of wry observations and witty wordplay which make it redolent of the other Mersey Poets, placing him firmly in that Liverpool literary canon. Swim with dolphins Fly like the birds Slide down bannisters And skip upstairs ….he advises his newlywed niece in the playful and affectionate piece of nuptial advice: The Sailor and The Climber. In Poetry he tells us : Poetry is not about timing It’s not at all about rhyming. and this does epitomise his writing style, which is not to say he is averse to using traditional verse forms either but sometimes he throws out formal rules and engages his own quirky metre, as in his visual poem Between Bells. He explores loss, cruelty and the lack of love in the Hurt section. We are introduced to the Poor Kid whose mother prioritises a tattoo appointment over collecting her sick child from school and Another Poor Kid who suffers from financial poverty. Contemporary issues like Ofsted Inspections and The Cost of Social Media are all grist to his mill but Eric is gifted with a quirky imagination which is given full flight in The Dinner Party and the hilarious A Man In the Pub Said… So many poems, so much humour and yet the big issue facing us all is tackled in My Own Eulogy and The Things I’ll Miss - which make him a poet for his generation. His memorable teacher, we are told in the poem of that name, was helpful, loving and kind, which is significant because kindness and compassion are threads running through all three sections of this book. The final line of Poem for Graduates actually took my breath away but I will leave you to savour that when you read it yourself.

  • Andre Baird

    Eric gives us a delightful collection of poems covering the breadth and complexity of life, delivered with a generous helping of Merseyside wit. Some will make you chuckle; some will tug at your heart; many will make you think. A brilliant demonstration of how you can still say so much in a concise, inventive and charming way.

  • Jamie

    You can't help but experience colourful images, rich pictures and humorous memories on reading the poems Eric has written in ‘Love, Hurt and Whimsy’. The book takes you from belly laughter to poignant reflection, all made possible through Eric's insightful, comical and reflective way of capturing often ordinary events and turning them into characterful takes on life. The playful use of language in the poems gives them Eric's unique style and makes for entertaining and thought provoking reading throughout.

  • John Owen

    I am the organiser of the Hungry Horse Folk Music and Poetry Club located on Wirral, Merseyside and am pleased to think that as a group we have played a small part in stimulating the author to create this excellent short book of poetry. Eric Craven is a regular visitor to the club which provides an excellent platform for poets to perform and display their written word and identify their particular observations on life. The poems explores in plain and simple language positive, negative and humorous word pictures. Eric’s background as a headmaster and Ofsted Inspector shines through in a number of poems. For example - in the poem - “My memorable teacher” - Quote: “Teachers who made an impression on me remain clearly in my mind. They were the most helpful, loving and kind.” I found myself saying ‘Yes I agree wholeheartedly’. In the section entitled - ‘Hurt’ - The poem - “The world is falling apart” will also have you agreeing as you read lines such as verse 2 - “No face to face appointments with the doctor; Ambulances are queuing outside A & E; The climate is rapidly changing for the worse; Sewage flowing into our rivers is worrying me”. After reading and re-reading this publication, I found myself agreeing with much of the content, and during the ‘Whimsy’ section I smiled and laughed - often. This book is a delightful read, written by a very intelligent man. It made me reflect on how joyous, sad and humorous life can be. It is essential reading and I strongly recommend this book to your perusal.

  • Mike Nelson

    I love Eric's poems. They give such a wonderful insight into what makes us individual. Our quirks and our foibles. What makes each and every one of us unique. I particularly love how Eric's personality comes across in each poem, his fascination with people, different cultures and with how we all fit together to make the world work.

  • Frank Norris MBE FCCT

    I first heard Eric Craven reading his poems on Radio Merseyside in the summer of 2021. One poem that caught my attention was Pegasus Bridge as it described vividly the actions of British troops trying to secure an important access point during the D Day Landings. The three-lined verses provided a punchy direct tone and conveyed the sense of courage on both sides of the fight. I was delighted to see this poem included in Eric’s new anthology ‘Love, hurt and whimsy’. The 40 or so poems are neatly collated so that the reader can either trawl through the book or go directly to a poem for a particular mood. I prefer the whimsical collection with ‘Undies’ and ‘My Dyslexic Willy’ particular favourites. Rarely do poems make me laugh out loud but these did with their subtle sexual references and their lack of crudeness.

    The Sailor and Climber is a beautifully constructed poem that explains the love that can flow from contrasting jobs connected through a passion for life and nature. It is one of the few poems with a repeating verse. The non-romantic love a pupil has for a brilliant teacher is well described in My Memorable Teacher. Here the poet explains that gaining knowledge is often not the reason why a teacher remains memorable. They are the ones 'that were most helpful, loving and kind'.

    The anthology runs to less than 100 pages and easily slides into a bag or can sit neatly on a bedside table. It’s a companion for when you need a fillip or just a quick read. I’m not on commission but it would be a great birthday gift for someone you love and hold dear.

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