Ex-Coronado resident and Coronado High School graduate, Amy Wack, daughter of Rita and Charles Wack, was born in Florida. Amy attended San Diego State University and spent her junior year at Oxford University, where she met her future husband, Kevin Brennan. She then earned a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts at Columbia University. A poet, she now resides in both Cardiff and London, England and has been Poetry Editor at Seren Publishing in Wales since 1992.
Her husband Kevin Brennan is a member of the House of Commons and plays in a “parliamentary rock band” called MP4, of which all the musicians are members of the British Parliament.
Over the years, Amy Wack Brennan has written and had published several poems and has edited many more which have won national awards. Her poem about Buddy Holly won first prize in a contest led by Sir Paul McCartney which earned her a sizable cash prize and lunch with McCartney.
Amy’s poem about Buddy Holly was chosen to be included in “A Poem For Buddy.”
I’ve often thought that ‘Buddy’ was a good moniker for Charles Hardin Holley. Buddy, it conjures up the image of a pal, of a friend. Which is apt, because his music has always been a friend to me. His songs can buck you up when you’re feeling low or even better your mood when you’re feeling great.
When we started out making music in Liverpool, Buddy’s songs made a difference. He gave us confidence – he can do it, and he wears glasses, a particular inspiration to John, who up to then had been bumping into lampposts – and the guitar-based Buddy Holly sound certainly influenced The Beatles at the time and my melodies then and since.
Years ago, we inaugurated Buddy Holly Week as a doff of the cap to the memory of the great man and his great music. Over the years this has become the platform for many wonderful and wacky ways of marking that memory.
We’ve had competitions for singalikes and lookalikes, we’ve had a paint a Buddy painting and contests to write a song in his style. And now we’ve done poetry inspired by Buddy. Good golly, it’s Holly.
It’s all been a laugh and, as I say, it’s a little way or reminding us all of the guy’s great talent.
So congratulations to all those poets who were sufficiently inspired by the man to have their work selected here for this anthology and my thanks to all of the many others who have made the effort to send in their stanzas.
It makes a great read. Rave on!
Buddy Holly and I had lots in common:
we were both born in towns beginning with ‘L’,
we both wore glasses, and…and that’s about it really.
However, in the late fifties as a member of Hull University’s wildest
(and short-lived) skiffle group, ‘Tinhorn Timmons and the Rattlesnakes’,
I would strum my sawn-off broomhandle and think,
‘if only I had grown up in Lubbock instead of Liverpool,
if only I played a Fender Strat instead of a tea-chest bass,
if only I could sing and write great songs,
if only that girl in the front row…’ etc. etc.
I wanted to live fast and die young, and I failed on both counts.
It was a pleasure then to help judge the ‘A Poem for Buddy’ competition
with Tim Rice (an old friend from ‘The Scaffold’ days, who despite
producing one of our albums, went on to fame and fortune) and Chris
Meade, Director of The Poetry Society.
Out of more than 450 entries, 50 were selected for this book and there
are three prizewinners. Our congratulations to:
First Prize: Amy Wack ‘The Crickets’
Second Prize: Mike Turner ‘Last Bus To Lubbock’
Third Prize: Grace Hughes ‘Radio—CHHL’
(joint winners) Anne Rouse ‘Expected Him In A Limousine’
Sonny’s front man tonight, his timing’s just right
and his spontaneous asides are rude, jovial and apt.
He still plucks a sturdy tune on that battered Fender Strat
(a vintage instrument, envy of all the Britpop kids),
though his beard’s more salt than pepper now
and for forty years he’s seen more road than home.
And Jerry still taps a mean beat on a snare drum,
you know, the intro to ‘Peggy Sue’? An oddball,
no doubt, he flails away, sticks flicking, Hawaiian shirt
like a surfing accident. And Joe B. still snaps
the fat strings on that double-bass. He twirls that girl
like a dancer and bobs his head to the rhythm.
And they still swing, those songs, three minutes
of magic, no junk, no fifteen minute drum solos,
no techno, no modern urban, existential angst.
Just boy meets girl, mostly. And how they evoke
their heyday, an innocent world that never was:
a pre-Vietnam, pre-Watergate, black & white world.
But no matter how many years they’ve played together,
there’s still a space centre stage taken by the ghost
of that skinny kid in a stiff suit and black horned-rims.
The Crickets have grown old while he stays forever 21
and on the Ed Sullivan Show, 1957, where he swings one hip
on a pivot, snaps his fingers in time to ‘That’ll Be The Day’.
Do they hate him sometimes – his nerd grin, that mad yodel,
his perfect, posthumous fame, at the umpteenth request
for one of those dazzling tunes? Maybe baby.
But they don’t show it tonight. Jerry pounds away,
Joe B. thrums and spins, Sonny laughs and gets the crowd
to sing along with ‘Rave on, rave on with me…”
Amy had another poem published in another anthology called Newspaper Taxis
From “Newspaper Taxis” available at: www.serenbook.com
Laurie Wack 1961-1983
You laughed at the tall men dropping apples
on the heads of the hapless citizens of Pepperland,
turning them to statues. I found this cruel,
preferring the flowers that kept opening like fans
and the cartoon Fab Four adrift in the sea of green,
cracking bad puns in their miraculous submersible.
We both liked the little Nowhere Man with that
affinity of the small and shy for the small and shy.
But the manic Blue Meanies and their glove assassin
made you cover your eyes with your hands and weep.
While I, wide-eyed, gawped at the psychedelia,
uou, overwhelmed, eyes shut, soon fell asleep.
I remember the damp wisps of your blonde hair,
your face, flushed and tear-stained in the flickering dark.
Who guessed then that you would die so young?
I sometimes still feel as if you’ve abandoned me to sleep
while I’ve had to watch the whole outlandish spectacle
pass by without you. No wonder I’m always nudging
someone to say: “Wake up! You’re missing this!
You’re missing the story! You’re missing the music!”