When an atheist says bless you

When an atheist says Bless you
Paul Jolly
2021- April
Fernwood Press


When an atheist says bless you takes the reader deeper into the strange terrain covered by Jolly's first collection, Why ice cream trucks play Christmas songs.


These poems begin in familiar surroundings: newspaper clippings, snippets of history, Bible stories, and scenes embedded in our psyches such as an elementary school hallway. Their fulfillment, though, crosses into a place where Charles Darwin apologizes to Adam in Eden, or chants Jabberwocky to himself. A place where the stonemasons who build a cathedral abstain from swearing, and that abstinence is felt as a palpable blessing centuries later. A place where two patients who share a hospital room also share a clipboard with mingled notes for doctors and chaplains.

This place, though surprising, is also oddly familiar. Maybe this is, after all, the world where we live. Maybe, with Jolly's help, we can see it for the first time.


"Paul Jolly reinterprets the world in front of us, commenting on church, state, cats, frogs and just about everything else. His poetry marches to a beat that is completely his. Where else will you learn that Conscience / is a wave that breaks over the feet of a man / facing surf, throwing balls
for a loyal dog. You will like this book."
—Bruce Bagnell, author of The Self Evolution Spa

"Jolly’s imagination and mischievousness are unparalleled poetic treasures. Read along as he takes things too literally and then follows rabbit trails that lead to Queen Victoria’s reading list, Cole Porter’s confused lyrics, massage tables, sewing machines, a picnic in Eden, dust bunnies, and musical piñatas. 'If something is worth having, it’s worth standing in line for.' Open this book and let your inner child run free."
—Joann Boswell, Author of Cosmic Pockets

"Paul’s poetry amuses me—lots of just perceptive humor, people-are-nuts humor. Language is funny, not because of its misuse, but because of its inherent unintended echoes."
—Renee Watkins, Retired Professor of Renaissance History, UC Berkeley


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