Posted by: John Looker | 14 October, 2018

the poetry of Cynthia Jobin

Cynthia Jobin, who died nearly two years ago, wrote some deeply moving and thoughtful verse. The independent publisher Bennison Books has now published a posthumous volume of her poetry. I’m pleased to give space on my blog to the following post from them.


Guest post from Bennison Books

Readers of John’s blog may already be familiar with the New England poet Cynthia Jobin, whose poetry attracted many followers worldwide. Admirers of her work will be delighted to learn that a collection of her poetry, Song of Paper,has just been published by Bennison Books.


Amazon UK(

Shortly before her death in late 2016, Cynthia entrusted her poetic legacy to John and Bennison Books welcomed the opportunity to work with him in producing this posthumous collection of her poetry. John also wrote the introduction to Song of Paper, an excerpt from which appears below.

Excerpt from John’s introduction

Cynthia Jobin’s poetry is skilfully crafted and both erudite and accessible. She wrote about the mysteries of life, her grief following the death of her partner of 43 years, love and friendship, the joy of pets and the landscape of New England. She also translated French poetry. There was a depth of feeling and an unobtrusive intellect at work, but equally a lightness of touch and humour. The poems in this collection show that variety of theme and equally her range of tone; she would write just for fun as well as with serious intent.

When reading a new poem from Cynthia Jobin I have always had that comfortable feeling of being in good hands: we know that the verses are going to be impeccably crafted but we can’t predict what path they will take.

I am sure that new readers and old friends alike will discover this for themselves on reading this collection. The title, Song of Paper, comes from the opening poem and feels so apposite. The closing poem, which was also the last she ever posted in life, and which shows humour even in the midst of wisdom and courage, is an immensely moving reflection from someone who knew herself to be very close to death.


Cynthia Jobin

Below are extracts from two poems included in this collection and the full version of ‘To a Tulip’.


Extract from ‘The Palpable Obscure’:


Once a day, at least, I stop to wonder

where you are.  I do not think of

you as being here.  Except, tonight


a heightening of powers in the darkness

wants to break November from October

with a cold slap and a small wail in the wind.

Something more than me, something much

more sure that you abide, this night, brings

you, in ways that I can almost touch.




Extract from ‘Riviera Reverie’:


The boy cat, all noblesse oblige,

takes his reserved, tacitly acknowledged place.


Drawn to their warm, imaginary blankets

spread upon the floor, these beloved creatures


bring to mind the worshipful habitués

of Côte d’Azur, Côte d’Or. As the sun reaches


they respond, grab on, luxuriate

and, for this brief moment, even teach.


Should a phone call come for any one of them

I’ll say they are away, gone to the beach.




To a Tulip



yellow flower

standing in a cobalt vase,

unfurling blades,

stemmed sacramental cup –

winter was hard

but now your simple grace

is green announcement:

things are looking up.

There by the window you

to sunlight are the antiphon,

beauty new as beauties past,

spring’s insistence

life should carry on.

Yet you become

most beautiful at last,

when age and death are

what you must fulfill:

come that night

you can no longer

close against the dark,

you open wide until

you are all heart,

and every petal knows

translucence as it falls.

You could be hinting

how to do it, for us all.



Copyright Cynthia Jobin estate; Bennison Books



  1. Thanks for sharing her work, John.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is wonderful news. I was so afraid the project might vanish with time, I am immensely heartened and off to order my copies. I was quoting from her other blissful tulip poem, Six Yellow Tulips, only two days ago. I shall miss hearing her voice reading them as she used to do, with such gentle precision and humour, on her blog. My copies of A Certain Age had a CD of her reading in the books, so I can still listen to her.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks Hilary. Yes, I know her first book gave great pleasure to those lucky enough to be able to get hold of a copy.


  3. Reblogged this on Green Writing Room and commented:
    To those of you who loved Cynthia Jobin’s poetry and miss her extraordinary voice – a cause for celebration.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. So wonderful to have published Song of Paper at last. Thanks for sharing this guest post, John. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Isn’t this wonderful, John? – I am so grateful for all you have done to help this happen. This will be my Holiday gift to many friends and family!! Hope you are well!


    Liked by 2 people

    • Well, great credit to you Julie for your researches that made this project possible.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. John, I’m very happy to hear about this book of Cynthia’s poetry! I’ll be getting a copy. (Still missing her….) Thank you for letting us know about it.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Congrats to yourself, John, and Deborah of Bennison Books, for seeing this project come to light!

    Liked by 3 people

    • We would have been completely stuck Bruce without the copies you had made of all the later poems Cynthia had posted on her blog.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Reblogged this on Seasonings and commented:
    I’m very happy to share this post from John Looker announcing the publication of Cynthia Jobin’s posthumous book of poetry. Thank you Bennison Press, and John for letting us know about it.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Congratulations on the release, John. I have ordered a copy already.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Thanks for introducing me to Cynthia’s poems.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Hi John,

    I still miss Cynthia very much, her wonderful poetry on ‘littleoldladywho’ and her comments on my own blog, always so thoughtful and encouraging. I posted my poem ‘Curlew Sunset’ on 6th November 2016, and here’s what she said:

    “This is lovely, Paul, and I think a very successful experiment. The interplay between the environment and the human works very well…almost cinematically, like shots in a little poignant, silent film.”

    These were Cynthia’s last words to me, and what a pang I feel re-reading them now.

    Cynthia’s posthumous collection ‘Song of Paper’, with your introduction, will be greatly welcomed by all her old friends and win her many new readers, I’m sure. I’m expecting my own copy to drop through the letterbox any day now.

    My very best,


    Liked by 4 people

    • Those words from Cynthia to you must have been written only a month before she died, Paul. She was an inspiration to many of us wasn’t she? I am very grateful to you for giving me permission to quote your own tribute to her in my Introduction.

      Liked by 3 people

  12. I miss her!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. […] this week, I got a book of Cynthia Jobin’s poems in the mail, pulled together and edited by John Looker, published by Benison Books. It’s a lovely edition.  Cynthia’s blog was like a Master […]

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Just visiting again your site, John, loving your brief gem of a New Year poem. Thank you! and adding yet another comment: I have been continuing to give gifts of Cyn’s posthumous volume to friends to their delight. Now I think I had better order some more and prepare to send them out as 202 gifts for birthdays of people I know. We are coming up on what will be Cyn’s 76th birthday soon – reason to celebrate her again and forever! I have one possible source of her first volume – with the precious cd – that I gave to an elderly friend who may be willing to give it back to me. I will see to it that it is entered into the permanent collection at the library of Emmanuel College, Boston, MA, where Cynthia and I graduated in 1966. It needs to be there!


    • Hello Julie, how nice to hear from you. I think that’s a wonderful idea, to offer a copy of Cynthia’s book to your university library. Her poetry deserves to be read and would give plenty of pleasure to others! My best wishes to you for a happy new year (I’m a bit pessimistic about 2020, as I think you know, but we have to have hope).


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