somebody take my picture, quick!
Kathy’s upstairs baking something.
i don’t know what it is, but
the recipe calls for whiskey.
she asked me to get it for her,
so i dug a bottle
of Jack Daniels
out of the liquor cabinet.
it’s right now sitting on top of
the desk in front of me,
along with my reading glasses
and some poems i just finished.
it’d make a great picture...
the hard-drinking and harder-living
knocking off the poems
and the JD
with equal skill.
a great picture.
take it now.
take it now and
i’ll sign it for you.
take it now and
i'll give you twenty bucks
to go away.
take it now before you go upstairs
and take that other picture...
you know the one...
in an apron,
taking cookies from the oven.
—from One Step At A Time
“John Yamrus’ poems are stunningly deceptive. Frank O’Hara meets William Carlos Williams musing on what seems the ordinary and suddenly you arrive at the vale of soul-making moment. The poems demand the reader re-think the world. These poems, which appear, with their short lines and conversational quickness, to be somewhat breezy, in fact demand the reader plunge into their complexity.”—Mark Statman
“The poems fall down the page with grace and read with deceptive ease, painted in plain language with strong brush strokes. John Yamrus makes it look easy.”—Milner Place
“Terse profundity would be the phrase I would use were someone to pin me down and force me to describe this work by John Yamrus. This is poetry of short lines and simple wisdom, there is a touch of the Far East about the structure and minimalist philosophy that underpins them; there is no surreal baroque parade of language, these are sticks arranged subtly against a white wall.”—Zack Wilson
“John Yamrus remains one of my favorite authors. I can sit down and read one of his books start to finish—and along the way, laugh at his jokes, marvel at his wit, and every now and then a golden brick of enlightenment drops on my head.”—Wolfgang Carstens
“John Yamrus is a remarkable poet, who uses a perfect choice of form to produce poems in the simplest language that run deep. A master of using the ordinary in an extraordinary way.”—Milner Place
“John lifts the curtain aside, and invites us to look. He takes an instant, shaves it clean of fuzzy perceptions, and hands it us gently, saying, See? Do you see?”—Anita Wynn
“John Yamrus continues his mastery of the short poem: always pithy and sometimes pissed–off; lazer-sharp and pinpoint accurate; word-thrifty; rhythmically balanced; and constantly accruing the wisdom of the years.”—Gerald Locklin
“John Yamrus, to me, is the Jim Henson of poetry. Combining a wry sense of humor, acuity of vision, and directness of language...Yamrus pulls the strings, inhabits the body, projects the voice of his own combination of Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird: playful, gripy, and slyly optimistic”—Annmarie Lockhart
“Two major qualities prevail in Yamrus’ 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
“I read John’s newest book to the end in one sitting, then began re-reading. His words get in your head. You can’t stop with one poem—that simply won’t do. It’s like a bag of your favorite flavor of potato chips or that first beer on Friday night after a damn hard week. You sink into this book and devour it, you savor it. You sit back and wonder... why haven’t I written that before?”—Diana Rose
“John Yamrus seamlessly surfs the boundary between humour and despair.”—George Anderson
“John Yamrus, as a poet, is like an expert skeet shooter that hits the clay pigeon no matter what the speed, angle or trajectory; in poem after poem, his sharp mind nails its target every time.”—Rob Plath
“I’ve come to respect John’s mastery of conversational mechanics and no doubt believe he is one of only a few that have successfully laid a cornerstone for the conversation poem.”—Bernard Alain
“John Yamrus uses the ordinary situations of his life in a most extraordinary fashion—and with such patent honesty. He runs the gamut of emotions, without pretension, and with an ease that conceals great art, and in such a conversational style. This is like all great artists, in that they make it look easy. If you don’t believe me—just you try.”—Milner Place
“Yamrus doesn’t go where no man has gone before, but rather, goes where we all have gone, discovering nuances that have gone unnoticed. More sleuth than adventurer, Yamrus susses out the truth.”—RD Armstrong
“John Yamrus builds a poem the way a kitchen table or sacred armchair tells a story; punchy, sentimental, and ruthlessly honest. Yamrus’ stripped-down composition is something to be admired and appreciated, pulling back the fluff and packing a punch right into the reader’s gut that transcends the tales on the page to effectively involve his audience.”—Lawrence Gladeview