A poet and don’t know it

I am wrapping up phase one of my final phrase origin book. The original, On the Origin of the Cliches and Evolution of Idioms, continues to sell daily on Amazon both in America and also a number in the U.K. On the Origin of the Cliches, All New, Book II is also selling well.

The effort of the new book continues to consume much of my time. But the result is definitely worth it. I am now doing corrective formatting to agree with my new, larger page, smaller text version. It will approach 800 pages and is intended to be a trend-setter and standard-bearer for future books of its type. It will contain the phrases in my earlier books and many hundreds more. After this stage I shall begin first proofing, then two of my associates will also go over it carefully before I begin the final editing and proofing for publication, hopefully in late spring, 2013.

One of the entries is “Poet and don’t know it.” If you’ve ever made a rhyme without trying you may have had someone rattle off these witty words to you. Here is my entry for that phrase:

Poet and don’t know it

This sordonic statement is invoked when someone has apparently made an unintentional rhyme. It has been around in varying forms since the late-nineteenth century. The earliest known citation is from Niagara University’s (New York) Niagara Index, page 27, 1 October 1895:

“The author of that German poem, placed under our door must come to our office and identify himself with no less than three witnesses before we will pass judgement on its merits for publication.

“’We have a poet and don’t know it. If he had whiskers he’d be a go at.’”

The fact that the entire expression was in quotes leads to the opinion that it was already in use. Then in 1926 the following variation, which became more popular, appeared in Volume 20 of the Washington, DC, literary journal, Gargoyle Magazine as a part of a ‘Pat and Mike’ joke:

Pat: “You’re a poet and don’t know it, your feet show it; they’re Long- fellows.”

At St. Clair Publications we actually publish poets–the kind that KNOW IT and want to be read. Recently a friend made it known that she had a book of poetical prayers that she wanted to someday publish. We will be the ones with the honor of putting out her book.

If you have some poems that you believe are worthy of appearing in print, let me know and I will be happy to discuss it with you. I do have the option of accepting or rejecting anything, of course. We have guidelines and standards. Here’s wishing our readers a very merry holiday season.

 

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