Book Review: Poems on Sabbatical

By: Susan W. Smith

Volume 19, Issue 4, April 2024

I am often asked why I keep working to get each issue of TI Life into your email each month. When I stop and think about it, I realize it’s because I receive amazing emails myself. Last month, I received a real envelope by snail mail. A group of poems written by Christopher Keats. There was a phone number and an email address as well. After reading the poetry with a morning cup of coffee, I promptly made an appointment to meet this Christopher over the phone.

Our conversation was great fun. Not only did I learn that Christopher grew up on an island near Rockport, and returns there as often as possible, but I realized that I was meeting the son of one of my idols – John C. Keats, aka, JK – author of my favourite book Of Time and an Island (1974).

Christopher sent me the poetry because he knew that I was publishing his cousin's bedtime stories "Roscoe Goes Boying." These were originally created by JK and passed on to each member of the young Keats/Bodine families on the River. Sarah Bodine is sharing these stories with TI Life readers and we are in the midst of publishing each episode this year (starting in January 2024). The stories were created by JK, but Sarah and her cousins, including Christopher, have made sure they added those parts that may have faded from memory.

Yes, the best part of doing TI Life is the people who I meet – so it gives me great pleasure to introduce Christopher Keats. I suggest that you: a) pour a cup of something you like, b) enjoy these River poems, and c) buy the book so that you can read all of the others. I did and I am still smiling.

"Poems on Sabbatical', written by Christopher Keats. Published by Gatekeepers Press, Tampa Fla, Copyright ©2014

Christopher has given me permission to share several of his poems that meant a great deal to me. I was both moved and/or amused by their words. The first is Part I of "Ode to the Thousand Islands." There are three parts to this piece and each has its own meaning and emotions.

"A Seagull on the Dock," and "The Osprey," made me stop and contemplate how often I have seen these creatures and taken them for granted. Poetry has a way of making one stop and consider. Much appreciated, Dr. Keats.

Published with permission, "A Seagull on the Dock" ©2024
Published with permission, "The Osprey" ©2024

I believe this volume of poetry belongs on your island bookshelf or on the bedside table in your guest room. It is written for 2024, with several written about a man named Trump and even poetry entitled Gaza I and the Gaza II. They are timely and once again, make you stop and think.

Yes, Christopher Keats has published a thought provoking volume as he spans many subjects, and as each one ends you’ll want another to start. So here is one more:

Published with permission, "Career Choice" ©2024

Book Review by Susan W. Smith, Editor,

Posted in: Volume 19, Issue 4, April 2024, Poetry, People

Please click here if you are unable to post your comment.

Submit an Article

Do you have an article you would like to submit? Click here to participate.