A Tribute to Seaborn Jones
by Roberta George
As a person and a publisher, I have a confession to make: I have never really understood most of Seaborn Jones’ poems. I loved them, but I really didn’t understand why, and I still don’t. Much of today’s poetry is complete gobbledygook to me, and I don’t get them, and they don’t speak to me, and I resent it because I’ve always loved poetry. Yes, and after all these years, I still love Seaborn’s poems. They speak to me.
I knew Seaborn, back when Snake Nation Press was born in 1989. He was a very likeable fellow. When he found out that we had started Snake Nation Press with the misunderstood word “Snake” in it, he sent us this poem.
Grass, grass, grass, grass, grass
grass, grass, grass, grass, grass
grass, grass, grass, snake, grass
grass, grass, grass, grass, grass
Seaborn was an ex-Marine and also a Naturalist with the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, Georgia, and he brought snakes to the museum for the children to learn about the reptiles. Later, I found out that he was the recipient of two Individual Artit Awards in Poetry from the Georgia Council for the Arts, and he was also selected as Georgia Author of the year by the Georgia Council of Authors and Journalists. And he was, once upon a time, the Alan Collins Scholar in Poetry at the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference.
Like Ireland, I like to think that Georgia is another incubator for writers, especially poets. By my own take, we have currently living amongst us five really good poets: Trent Busch, William Fuller, Robert Earl Price, Maria Arambula, and—though not a native Georgian, John Guzlowski. We just published his book, Small Talk. Beautiful drawings and understandable poetry.
Seaborn was only 66 when he passed, and I was not surprised since he smoked like a chimney and always, when he wasn’t teaching children, had a cigarette in his hand. But it was the way it was back then. Seaborn, as a Marine, and all service men were encouraged to smoke. One of Seaborn’s best and most understandable poems is “Semper Fi.” Dedicated to Frank Kern, it tells of an ex-Marine calling everyone he knows in the middle of the night, all his relatives and friends and even wrong numbers, which he calls back to make sure. Finally, the ex-Marine gets Paris Island, South Carolina, and a Sgt. Baker, who at last tells him what he needs to hear.
Seaborn, like Dean Poling, and Wilby Coleman, had a talent for titles. Anyone reading the local newspapers is pulled in by Dean’s titles of his work. And once, Wilby was told by a fellow artist, that he didn’t need to bring in his sculptures, that his titles were good enough to win prizes. Here are some of Seaborn’s kickers: “I Feel So Good I’m Changing My Name to James Brown,” “This is Not a Poem,” “Home is Where You Hang Yourself,” “This Poem is Not For You,” “The Clothes Make The Poet,” “Lost Keys, Coffee and Guns.”
And, some of Seaborn’s poems are hysterically funny. “The Workshop” one of Seaborn’s funniest and best poems is about an amorous dog at an Episcopal minister’s home. And, since I’ve been known to lose everything at one time or another, “Lost Keys, Coffee, and Guns” speaks to me.
Now, I’m just finding out that Thrift Books and Amazon are selling Seaborn’s book, “Lost Keys,”—our publication—for $33.32, and two used for $29.00 each.
Well, Snake Nation Press can do better than that. Click on the BUY NOW button and order your book, Lost Keys. I promise it will speak to you.