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Felicia, These Fish Are Delicious: Poems, Essays & Short Stories Paperback – May 30, 2004
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This month's Book With Buzz: "The Silent Corner" by Dean Koontz
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From the Publisher
Max Yoho has been labeled "The Genius of the Tallgrass Country: the highest point in Kansas." In HOME & AWAY, the magazine of AAA, an article on "Literary Kansas" puts Yoho in the company of these famous writers: Don Coldsmith, William Allen White, Truman Capote, Margaret Hill McCarter, E.W. Howe, Sinclair Lewis, Gaylord Dold, Anna Lee Waldo, Gordon Parks, William Inge and Robert Day.
Yoho's work is beloved by readers from nine to ninety. His language is rich and colorful--with a touch of irreverence and the ring of truth. His love of the characters he creates is evident.
For those that have read and enjoyed Yoho's novels THE REIVIVAL and TALES FROM COMANCHE COUNTY, more delights await in this collection of Yoho's poems, essays and short stories.
For first-time readers these pieces shine like jewels, and may well lead to a desire to read Yoho's longer works.
About the Author
Max Yoho is a lifelong Kansan. Born in 1934, he spent his barefoot summers in Colony, explored the banks of the Missouri River at Atchison, and cruised the streets of Topeka in his 1933 Auburn sedan.
Max was soon a father and working full-time as a machinist. He was always a reader and interested in writing, but it was 1958 before he found time to enroll in an evening Freshman Comp class at Washburn University. His Comp teacher recognized his talents, and Max was recruited as Feature Writer for THE REVIEW, the student newspaper-entertaining students with his highly personalized views on local, regional, and national issues.
Max got serious about writing after he became a widower in the late 1980s. He honed his writing skills by writing poetry, essays, memoirs and short stories at "A Table for Eight," an area writers' group. When singing or speaking in public, Max found an appreciative audience any time he quoted his own writing.
After retiring in 1992, Max developed what had started as a short story into his first novel, THE REVIVAL. This humorous work was published in 2001 and won the 2002 J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award of the Kansas Authors Club. Word spread quickly among readers that this coming of age story of eleven-year-old Edwin J. Stamford was sidesplitting fun. Max's second novel, TALES FROM COMANCHE COUNTY, was developed from characters Max concocted for a millennium celebration article he'd written for the Topeka Capital-Journal newspaper.
Here Max serves up a feast of poems, essays and short stories in the best Yoho tradition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Yes, Max Yoho uses humor quite effectively in verse. I laughed out loud at his droll rendering of "Secret Underpants" and "Cornbread Poem", for example, and the brevity of "Failed Haiku" was a standout. Nothing is safe from his humor, not even the family cat. His rhymes deliver a pleasing cadence and are filled with irony and humor. He sets his readers up with such folksy humor, then strikes a stunning coup de grace with emotionally intense free verse.
One such example is "1942", which I feel compelled to quote in its entirety:
Close enough to feel
the fresh turned gravel
through my thin-soled shoes.
No fake grass to obscure
the reality of that bare hole.
Rifles popped and echoed.
A far away bugle gave us
the saddest of all Amens,
which chilled and chilled.
My father shuddered
and pulled me close.
Embarrassed and ashamed for him,
I watched teardrops leave his eyes
to fall on that ground
which was only beginning to show
its insatiable hunger
for the young men of our town.
In "Birthday Greetings" a son visits his mother in the nursing home, a place she didn't want to be. I quote the last poignant verse:
I hand her roses..."so proud of you! You are ninety-one
and still beautiful!"
Distracted by the roses, she forgets to remind me
of the awful thing I let happen.
In the Thoughts and Essays portion of his book are priceless tasty tidbits, once again, of humor. And Yoho shares with us his darker secrets: His penchant for commiting weenie-cide; What wisdom might be found in Playboy; The root cause of his ineptitude with women; His version of a cure for yeast infections. After that chuckle break, the author segues to the Short Stories section. His stories feature heroes with imaginative names and heroines who face life with courage or staunch pragmatism. I found mysterious coincidences in his stories, and soul chilling renderings of wars won or loves lost. Occasional macabre undertones and often touching understatement bring magic to his stories.
Whether writing poetry or prose, Max Yoho is a gifted wordsmith. A master at humor and irony, touching tributes to past times and lost friends, or any other topic imaginable, his work is well worth savoring.
Midwest Book Review
Beg for me to leave my pants on
-'Thoughts on the Unfairness of Life'
by Max Yoho
This is just one tantalizing line from the new book, Felicia, These Fish Are Delicious by Max Yoho, It doesn't really describe the book and, while it may be unfair to use it out of context just to lure you into this review, it is just one of countless incredibly funny stanzas throughout the work which is Mr. Yoho's third release.
Having two previous epics to his credit (The Revival and Tales of Comanche County by name and both of which are among this reviewer's favorite reading material), this new slender volume looked to be something of an anti-climax. I had been hoping Mr. Yoho would compile a collection of his poems, essays and short stories and that's just what he's done. The good news is... they're just great! This one can easily stand proudly with the other tomes AND in some cases, it even tops some of the previous prose. Oh well, instead of saying something more high falutin, let me just say that sometimes it's even funnier than the other two!
Like all of the stories I've told you, this one is true.... I know it is true because some of it I witnessed with my own eyes, though most of it was told to me by my grandfather, who was a Christian and would never lie. What I was never really clear about is whether he became a Christian before or after he shot the angel.
'The Yohos and How We Got This Way'
by Max Yoho
Most of my friends can tell if I'm enjoying a book by the number of lines I have underlined or sections I have circled (and this goes beyond text books and instruction manuals). With this one, I found the pieces so brisk -most of them are one-pagers- that I just circled the title at the top of the page. The problem is I've circled darn near every one.
I do have my favorites - 'Secret Underpants', 'Pissin' Out of Doors', 'Thoughts on the Unfairness of Life', 'Royalty', 'The Ballad of Double Ugly' and 'Jim Owens' are among the poems.
'Paean' and 'The Closest I Ever Came to Divorce' are among the essays and 'The Apricot Necktie', 'Weechel' and 'The Soup Strainer' are among the short stories. I imagine after re-reading many of these that I will go back and circle some more.
What emerges from all of these short pieces is Max's overwhelming good humor. I found myself laughing out loud on numerous occasions, but more surprising were the serious pieces, particularly 'Weechel' about Mexican railroad workers in the 1940's. These have a stinging, lasting effect long after you read them...a little like Mark Twain's subtle reflections on prejudice in Huck Finn.
The quiet one, Weechel, kept mostly in the backgorund. A shy smile.
Weechel died on Christmas evening.
...Weechel had been hit and killed by the Streamliner, a train in such a hurry it did not bother to stop in our small town. Much less did it stop for a small, hunched Mexican laborer. My dad and other men walked up and down the tracks looking, seeking.
'Weechel' by Max Yoho
I have decided that this is ideal pocket Yoho! You can take it anywhere, read a few pieces and be very satisfied. I plan to read it all over again...and again, just like I did with The Revival and Comanche County. Yes, Felicia is right up there with the best. So hear me, Christine, Becky and Juddro, this time go buy your own darn copy!