New and Selected Poems

Title: New and Selected Poems
:John Yamrus
Genre: Poetry, Trade Paper, 6X9
Publisher: Lummox Press (PO Box 5301 San Pedro, CA 90733-5301)
Pages: 138

Publishing Date: November 2008

Retail: $15 + shipping

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To pay by Money Order/cash, choose appropriate amount and make check out to Lummox
and send to Lummox Press c/o PO Box 5301 San Pedro, CA 90733


John Yamrus has been writing since 1971.  He has published over 1000 poems and has been translated into numerous languages.  This is his nineteenth book.  These poems are drawn from 1985 to 2008. New and Selected Poems can be purchased from Lummox press or by going to

Watch John read some of the selections from this book on YouTube.


“Two major qualities prevail in his recent work: economy and punch.  No word is unnecessary or out of place; the timing is impeccable; and, most difficult of all, the endings hit just the right balance of summation, revelation, and surprise.” Gerald Locklin

“Yamrus gambles with an all or nothing gesture to make the poem and the language his own.  It dances right at the edge where all great poetry dances.” Todd Moore

Here are a few poems from the book...

after a very good month

at the typewriter,
the poems
have finally
slowed down.

that’s okay.

stuff happens.

the glory
comes and goes.

going to give
anything to you.

you’ve got to
go after it

the trick of it is
to be there
at the typewriter
when it happens.

and when it does,
if you
don’t write it down
and show it to someone

shame on you.


he hurt

like a broke-dick dog,
only the hurt
was inside.

it wasn’t
anything you could see,

maybe in his eyes.

they were the kind of eyes
that made you feel sad.

you wanted to look away,
and you didn’t know why,

you knew you had to.

he wore a hat
and a black coat
and a tie that was
too short for him.

he sat there,
in the bus station,
looking odd, and disheveled
and elegant
and queer.

he needed Morocco…

he needed Tangier.

he needed jazz and a
gold watch bought on a
street corner from a guy named
who had a club foot,
a glass eye
and a gold ring.

what he didn’t need
was a bus ticket
and a cold-ass chair
and these memories
that made him hurt
like a broke-dick dog.



i’m watching the ballgame
(the Phillies are down
2-1 in the 7th)…

between innings
i’m also watching
The Sands Of Iwo Jima,
with John Wayne
and reading the poems of
Edna St. Vincent Millay.

one day,
between the poems
and the movies
and the ballgames,
death will surely
beat my door in…

before that time
i hope to
and write
and hope and love
and walk the streets at night.

one day,
death will beat my door in…

and when it does…

when my back is to the wall
i will still
wave my arms
and try my luck
at shouting down the wind.


did i ever tell you

about the time
Linda said i was good,
but that i’d never be

Linda was a poet.

one of Bukowski’s
in the ‘70s.

for a while
she edited and published
a pretty decent little magazine.

she wrote to me saying
that she loved my poems…

actually, it’s been so long now
i really don’t remember
if she loved them
or liked them,
but it doesn’t matter…

she said that i was good,
but i would never be great…

because i wasn’t

Bukowski (she said) was mad…
and he was

i wrote back
saying that she was right…
Bukowski IS mad
and Bukowski IS great,
but if one of the qualifications
for being mad
and being great
was having to put up with the likes of her,
then i’d be more than happy
to settle for what i am
and what i’m
going to be.

that was 30 years ago,
and do you know what?

i’m still not mad
and i’m still not

but, every now and then,
when the moon’s just right
i’m not
half bad.

John Yamrus