An author’s greatest pleasure

An author’s greatest pleasure is sincere praise from other authors. They, more than anyone else, realize what it takes to put together a work, be it a novel,  a work of detailed research, or any other genre, consisting of hundreds of pages which captures to attention of the reader and makes it difficult to lay down once started.

When I saw the reviews that two of my accomplished author friends had posted on Amazon, I was deeply honored and humbled.  Lee Pennington, a retired University of Louisville, KY professor, poet and three-time nominee for the Pulitzer Prize in Literature wrote the following about Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions Volume II:

5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece!

By Lee Pennington on September 23, 2016
Stanley J. St. Clair’s “Most Comprehensive Origins of Clichés, Proverbs, and Figurative Expressions” Vol. II is a masterpiece!
Be prepared to delay your own work when you get hold of this book. It will take away your focus from whatever you’re doing at the moment and send you on a delightful journey through a world of discovery. It’s a total delight to sit and read where our most used expressions actually came from, where they were first used.
This book will be around for years to come and will be used over and over by those wanting to know where those little sayings came from. It will be a very special tool for many, many people and will never be far from hand when they want to look something up.
All the sayings are in alphabetical order so it’s so easy to look up that expression you’re so familiar with and wanted to know its origin. Everything is there from “an ace up one’s sleeve” to “it‘s a dog’s life” to being on the “wrong end of a stick.”
I could go on and on, but if you’ll excuse me, I’d like to get back to the book and look up a few more expressions.
This book is a must for your library!
Lee Pennington
Gail Deiderich, a retired school teacher and writer for the Tampa Bay Times posted the following:
By Gail Diederich on September 22, 2016
Stan St. Clair has done it again! He has provided an intriguing, interesting and extremely well done compilation of expressions used in language. Whether one is a reader, a writer or simply one who enjoys using oral language effectively in conversations, this book is a treasure to have in hand at all times. This is Volume ll and makes an excellent companion/continuation of what St. Clair did in Volume l. For the person who appreciates the richness of expressions in language, this book satisfies like no other that I have found. Beyond all of this, it is a highly enjoyable book to simply pick up for a relaxed moment and discover the meaning of phrases, their origins and the history that supports many. Both volumes are impressive with their large number of entries, all well documented. I hope there will be a Vol. lll. I’ll be first in line to get a copy.
A dear researcher friend of mine in London, UK, sent me an email which included the following:

Dear Stan,

I do not know whether to praise you or kill you because ever since  Volume II arrived I have been unable to put it down which means my own work has had to be put aside.  It is the best book you have written so far.  I particularly like the overall composition of the book and, in particular, the care you have taken to give the origins of the various expressions.  Truly a commendable and memorable piece of writing which must represent thousands of hours of work


This book, and the original volume make excellent Christmas gifts and they are available on Amazon worldwide.



Pennington brings out the best in those who know him

The other day I received an autographed copy of Lee Pennington‘s latest offering to the literary world. Aside from being a past Poet Laureate of Kentucky, retired college professor and film maker, he is a two-time nominee for the Pulitzer in LIterature, and rightfully so.

Pretty much every morning I rise early, and before time to walk my dog, Brody (about sunrise), I read to get my mind fresh for the day. Though I have been into a novel by a best-selling author, when I got Lee’s book, Appalachian Newground, a combination of arresting short stories and crisp poetry based on his youth in rural Kentucky, illustrated with remarkable drawings by world renowned artist, and mate of Lee’s, Jill Baker, I couldn’t help replacing the novel with Lee’s book, which is much better written than that of the best-selling novelist. I highly recommend  it to anyone who loves the charming past and is into nostalgic, well-thought out writing. I’m also looking forward to getting one of a few remaining sets of Jill’s prints from the book.

Lee’s work is so out-of-the-ordinary that it inspired me. Rhonda and I have been beset by some tough circumstances of late, and I needed some inspiration. I’m certainly no Lee Pennington, buy my inspiration led me to pen the  following poem.

Imagination’s Window

It’s a sticky wicket,                                                                                                                    Such a slippery slope;                                                                                                               A stodgy old curmudgeon                                                                                                         Digesting his own jokes.

Imagination’s window                                                                                                               Seems to crack a smile,                                                                                                        Then deafening silent darkness                                                                                               Blinds the brightest minds.

As I tossed my thoughts together                                                                                            They struck a pitchy chord                                                                                                      And I watched a silver granny                                                                                                 Her rusting trinkets hoard.

Tomorrow looked at Yesterday,                                                                                               And shook hands with Today;                                                                                               Then imagination’s window                                                                                                       Had nothing more to say.




I walked my dog this morning

For me, writing poetry takes the right mood and inspiration. For about a week now I have felt a poem coming on. Like many, a lot of my inspiration comes from nature, and the early morning ability to think with a clear mind. As I have walked my little doggie, Brody, each morning, words would come to me. Today I put it all together in this poem which I want to dedicate to my friend, former Poet Laureate of Kentucky and two-time Pulitzer nominee, Lee Pennington. Not that my poety comes close to the grandeur of his, but because I respect him so much.



I took my dog for a walk this morning

‘Ere the advent of the sun.

Fall was heavy in the air

And the first hint of frost lay low on the lawn.

A lazy three-quarter moon

Hung tight against a treetop in the West.

Could this truly be the same shy moon

Which hid behind earth’s black shadow

Two mere nights ago?

My doggie paused to smell and mark his territory

Then pulled forcefully ahead.

By dawn’s encroaching glimmer

The ruddy and blanching leaves

Dotted the darkened greens about me

As onward we ambled around our suburban block.

A brown fringe of fallen foliage

Lined the edge of asphalt.

My small companion stopped and sniffed

Where yesterday had laid a silenced squirrel,

Its relative barking incessantly

From the quivering limbs above.

Some kind soul had scooped it up

And whisked it away from the view of passersby.

As we rounded the corner, morn’s soft rays

Arose in the East as a florescent vapor.

The roar of the mowers had been quelled for the season,                               

I mused, and I was glad.

We soon were home again—safe and warm.


Stanley J. St. Clair, 10-21-13 In honor of Lee Pennington

My Friend Lee Pennington: a Remarkable American

In mid August, 2008, while attending the Atlantic Conference in Halifax, NS, Canada, for which I served on the organizational committee, it was my distinct privilege to meet, and become friends with, a number of fine people as a result of this extraordinary venture. Two of them became authors of books which I later published. Several, however, had already made their marks upon society, and continue to do so to this date. Recently I mentioned one of them, Scott Wolter, already a well-respected geologist and author, who is now the host of a History Channel series, America Unearthed.

Another remarkable friend made that day was Royce Lee Pennington, who was named a Kentucky Colonel, and was the Kentucky Poet Laureate 1983. Lee’s Vita spans too large an arena to cover in a short posting. He has authored nineteen books, and was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in poetry—1977 for I KNEW A WOMAN, and 1993 for THIGMOTROPISM. In addition, he is the author of nine plays, published and produced. He has been granted a number of degrees including an honorary Doctorate of Literature (DLitt, Latin: Litterarum doctor) from World University, Danzig, 1979, and has received high acclaim from various professional societies. He has written thousands of articles, numerous folklore stories and more than 1300 poems published in over 300 magazines. In addition, he has produced 22 documentaries.

Mr. Pennington was born in 1939 at White Oak, in Greenup County, Kentucky. He is a former Professor at the University of Kentucky Jefferson Community College (Now Jefferson Community and Technical College), and as early as 1965, he attempted to inspire poetry in his students. He has traveled in all 50 states and 73 foreign countries.

He has donated his personal papers to the University of Louisville Libraries and later plans to donate his extensive collections of books and artifacts. His bio has appeared in a great many publications worldwide.

He also will provide funding for a new gallery, called the “Lee and Joy Pennington Cultural Heritage Gallery,” in Ekstrom Library on Belknap Campus.

Pennington’s papers include extensive correspondence with poet, novelist and educator Jesse Stuart.  He is also donating his personal Stuart Collection which includes all the Stuart books autographed and in first edition, including the extremely rare, HARVEST OF YOUTH, published privately by Stuart in 1930.  The U of L holds a major collection of Stuart’s works and papers that are on permanent loan from the Jesse Stuart Foundation.

The new archive area to be created with Pennington’s funding is expected to open in spring of this year and will provide climate-controlled housing and exhibition space for materials covering a range of disciplines.

Also a well-published magazine writer, he, during his times of trial, papered a room (all four walls) with the rejection slips he received in a six-month period. If a writer finds that collecting enough to paper a room is too overwhelming or depressing, he/she might consider gathering enough to paper a lampshade, laminate a coffee table, or a wastebasket. The latter project might be especially appropriate.

He is quite an inspiration to those whose dreams and passions live in their determined minds.

On Monday April 15, at 3:00 PM EDT, I plan on being in attendance of a poetry reading at the University of Louisville Ekstrom Library’s Bingham Poetry Room for a reading Lee is presenting. Listening to this master present his work will be a grand experience.

Sources:  KENTUCKY FAMILY ROOTS - 1985, collected by Coleman, Page 164; Poet Lee Pennington Donating Materials to U of L Libraries,, a Gannett Co.; Explore UK (University of Kentucky Special Collections and  images); Rejected, by Ann Tompert, Events; direct correspondence with Lee Pennington; personal knowledge and experience, Stan St. Clair, 2008—date