Friday, October 14, 2022

Walter R. Brooks, The Collected Poems of Freddy the Pig (1953)

So, before we continue, we should at least briefly note this: another one that I definitely just read for the first time!  What is it?  Well...what it says, more or less.  This includes most—though definitely not all—of the poems that have appeared throughout the series, as well as a few extras.  I certainly don't have an encyclopedic memory of all the verse throughout, but I did note a few omissions: it doesn't include the poem at the end of Freddy Plays Football (“Blackbeard the Tush-villain/had a wife and two chillun”), or the poem that the Horribles sing to Arthur the cat near the end of Freddy Rides Again, or all but a small excerpt of the play-in-verse at the end of Freddy's Cousin Weedly (also nothing from Freddy and the Space Ship, but that's probably just because the two books were in preparation simultaneously).  My impression is that possibly poems were left out that, it was felt, required too much context from the relevant novels to understand  Perhaps!  I think that is a poor excuse, however.  It would be a pretty darn slim volume anyway; might as well go for broke.  There are many new illustrations from Wiese; due to the volume he was required to produce and/or to the fact that this is a different sort of project from the novels, they tend to be a lot simpler than those; more brief line doodles than anything else.  Despite and/or because of this, they have their own breezy charm.

There's also a brief foreword which assures us that this is just a preview of “the Complete Poetical Works of this gifted pig,” although “no publication date has been announced or for that matter contemplated,” a situation that persists to this day.  As printed in the ebook, this foreword is slightly truncated; it cuts off the very end.  It notes that the book will also include some poems not by Freddy.  “If nothing else, their work affords” and then that's all; we do not learn what their work affords.  This really annoyed me—this  is important, dammit!--but I found it on google books, and all that's missing is the end of that sentence.  What does their work afford?  “relief from the mass of stuff by the pig and about the pig.”  So...there you have it.

Anyway, the book is pleasant enough, though I think the poems generally work better as occasional garnish than they do all concentrated together.  Even the most dedicated Freddy fan won't miss a whole lot by skipping over this.


Blogger Pan Miluś pontificated to the effect that...

I checked some of the poems you posted in the link - Of all the pigs he's the Piggest! HA! Love it!

8:56 AM  

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