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The Lamb Cycle

What the Great English Poets Would Have Written About Mary and Her Lamb (Had They Thought of It First)

David R. Ewbank, Illustrations by Kate Feiffer, Foreword by James Engell

In The Lamb Cycle, David Ewbank achieves the unthinkable—he writes so convincingly in the style of the great English poets that one could be lulled into thinking that Shakespeare himself was inspired to muse upon the subject of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Ewbank captures not only the style of each of the poets he chooses, but also their preoccupations and subject matter. So D.H. Lawrence’s Mary longs for her lamb as any woman longing for her lover, whilst T.S. Eliot’s Mary is recollected by an old man looking back on his life. Alexander Pope writes an “An Essay on Lambs,” and Tennyson’s lotus eaters become “The Clover Eater.” Brilliantly written, sophisticated, and laugh-out-loud funny, these poems, enhanced by Kate Feiffer’s charming illustrations, will enchant anyone who has ever read an English poem.

Cloth: $18.95 | E-book: $17.95
ISBN-13: 9781684581450
Pages: 80 | Size: 5 in. x 7.75 in.
Date Published: April 1, 2023
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The Lamb Cycle made me laugh with delight even as it delivered a masterclass on poetic form. David R. Ewbank captures each of the great poets’ stylistic tics and thematic preoccupations, and imbues them with a visionary verve all his own. The poems are perfectly paired with Kate Feiffer’s elegant illustrations, brimming with wit and wonderment.

Geraldine Brooks 
Pulitzer Prize-winning Novelist

 

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Reviews

  • What former English major wouldn’t get a kick out of “The Lamb Cycle,” by David R. Ewbank, with illustrations by Kate Feiffer (Brandeis University Press)? In it, Ewbank, a Kent State University professor emeritus, imagines how English poets — from Spenser and Shakespeare to Philip Larkin and Stevie Smith — might have reworked the Mother Goose classic “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Here’s the appropriately macabre opening of Coleridge’s “The Crime of the Urchin Mary”: “It was an ancient crone who wrote / Silly rhymes for tots / Was stopped by a maid in a pinafore / With blood-red polkadots.” That last phrase delivers the true Gothic shiver.

    The Washington Post
  • David Ewbank's versatility in the art of literary imitation is nothing short of shapeshifting.

    Billy Collins
  • The Lamb Cycle made me laugh with delight even as it delivered a masterclass on poetic form. David R. Ewbank captures each of the great poets’ stylistic tics and thematic preoccupations, and imbues them with a visionary verve all his own. The poems are perfectly paired with Kate Feiffer’s elegant illustrations, brimming with wit and wonderment.

    Geraldine Brooks
    Pulitzer Prize-winning Novelist
  • I read through [the poems] and thought that they were funny and brilliant... I had a vision pretty immediately of what the illustrations could look like.

    Vineyard Gazette
    Illustrator Kate Feiffer
  • David R. Ewbank has just published the funniest poetry book of the year. But it isn’t just funny: it is “seriously funny”, to appropriate the felicitous title of the poetry anthology edited a few years ago by Barbara Hamby and David Kirby... Indeed, several of his parodies would rank among the best poems ever written by his targets, had they in fact written them. Endlessly delightful.

    Poetry Corner
    Carl M. Jenk
  • A tour de force for our times... The Lamb Cycle gives us a new take on Mary and her lamb. Whether evoking the Renaissance, the Victorian Age, or modern life in language and art, David Ewbank and Kate Feiffer perform with panache.

    Martha's Vineyard Times
  • "The Lamb Cycle: What the Great English Poets Would Have Written about Mary and Her Lamb (Had They Thought of It First)" is a silly and high-minded book, an absolute barrel of laughs for those deeply into English lit and, I suspect, a bit of fun for any sort of reader.

    Third Coast Review

About the Author

Kate Feiffer

Kate Feiffer has worked as writer, illustrator, television and event producer, photo editor, and ice cream scooper. She is the author of eleven highly acclaimed books for children and the illustrator of the poetry book The Lamb Cycle, published in April 2023. Kate has been the event producer for the annual Martha’s Vineyard based writers’ festival Islanders Write since its conception in 2014. Morning Pages, her first novel for adults will be published in spring 2024. …

James Engell

James Engell is Gurney Professor of English and Professor of Comparative Literature, also a member of the Committee on the Study of Religion, and a faculty associate of the Harvard University Center for the Environment. He has also directed dissertations in American Studies, as well as Romance Languages & Literatures (French).

David R. Ewbank

David R. Ewbank is professor emeritus of English Literature at Kent State University. He has authored A Distant Summer and a collection of parodies entitled Fairy Tales for Adults, famous stories as they might have been written by classic American authors. He also served as co-editor of the multivolume collection The Complete Works of Robert Browning. He lives in Ohio.

Award

Winner of the Publishing Professionals Network 2023 Certificate of Excellence

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