The Resurrected Poets Society – Tyrrells Crisps and R.S. Thomas

From the Daily Mail online.

From the Daily Mail online.

Twenty-five years ago, Robin Williams starred in the “The Dead Poets Society.”

Now we have The Resurrected Poets Society

As I noted in my February 2nd post, Tyrrells, an English maker of what Americans call potato chips, has exhumed an old photograph of R. S. Thomas, and is offering a £25,000 reward for the best caption.

I thought this was a one-off resurrection, but Dave Lull, commenting on my January 30th post, called my attention to an online article by Charlotte Runcie titled “Want to sell something? Stick a poet on it.”

Poets and poems, it seems, are being dug up here and there and almost everywhere. It’s like English artist Stanley Spencer’s painting “The Resurrection, Cookham,” in which people are getting awake in the Cookham churchyard, sitting up in their tombs, some clothed in white robes, some in everyday attire, some birth-day naked.

An ad for the iPad Air has Robin Williams of “The Dead Poets Society” reading from Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”: Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish.

Waitrose, a chain of British supermarkets, employed poet Roger McGough to read a line from a poem by John Keats – Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness! – to promote a special offer on Braeburn apples.

Levi’s called on Shakespeare to introduce its new line of original button-fly jeans. Someone grabs a wearer of the encored jeans and cries: Oh Bottom, thou art changed! what do I see on thee?

And so to my proposal for a contest. Sorry, I’m not offering a £25,000 reward.

Tease your “little grey cells”: come up with ideas for pairing poets and products. Examples:

A photo of Robert Frost on boxes of frozen lobster pizza. Yes, I found that item online.

In the window of a real estate agency specializing in selling houses that fail the 3-L test: “Let me live in a house by the side of the road / And be a friend to man.” Can you identify the poet?

Hope to see your pairings in the comments below.

Meanwhile, R. S. Thomas writes:

The tins marched to the music
Of the conveyor belt. A billion
Mouths opened. Production
Production, the wheels

Whistled. Among the forests
Of metal the one human
Sound was the lament of
The poets for deciduous language.

Poem quoted in this post:

“Of the endless trains of the faithless” – “O Me! O Life!” Walt Whitman, Complete Poetry and Collected Prose, 410.

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!” – “To Autumn,” John Keats, New Oxford Book of English Verse 1250-1950, 611.

“O Bottom, thou art changed!” – “Midsummer-Night’s Dream,” Act 3, scene 1, lines 120-121.

“The tins marched to the music” – “Postscript,” H’m, 22.

When Tyrrells Crisps Are Served with Ice Cream, Will R. S. Thomas Smile?

From the Daily Mail online.

From the Daily Mail online.

I wonder what R. S. Thomas would make of the use of his picture on bags of Tyrrells “Hand Cooked English Crisps”?

Potato chips, that is.

Would he fancy crisps with ice cream, as I do?

Something salty with something sweet. Pretzels serve the purpose, but just barely. There’s nothing quite like potato chips with ice cream.

It’s been Utz’s chips for me, ever since I went with my mother to the farmers’ market in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and the woman at the Utz’s stall handed me a few chips. Every kid, of course, got some.

Utz’s of Hanover chips and Pensupreme ice cream: that’s the ticket.

Something to make R.S. smile?

R.S. in a priest’s dog collar, looking as if he’s just tasted ultra sour Eucharistic wine, is being pictured on bags of Tyrrells sweet chili and red pepper crisps. Beside the picture, which appears to be superimposed upon an antique automobile, is a sort of poster with the words: “Win a fleeting look of contempt or £25,000.”

According to a company spokesman: “The picture was chosen solely for the look. We are humbled we didn’t recognize R. S. Thomas sooner.”

Also on the bag is this: “When we see an eccentric old photograph – like the one on the front of this bag – we can’t help but dream up a silly caption.”

RS Thomas Welsh poet May 1993 1993

R.S. Thomas at the Maybank Hotel, Aberdyfi, Cymru, May 1993.

My dream is of a November 1994 evening at the Bull Bay Hotel, where Nancy and I invited Ronald and Betty Thomas to join us for dinner. At dessert time, Ronald looked at me with a shy grin and asked, “Do you think they’ll have ice cream?” Sure enough, when the server asked for our orders, ice cream was on offer.

Ronald tucked into his ice cream with a smile like I must have worn when I had Pensupreme ice cream and Utz’s potato chips during the Second World War.

If his ice cream had been accompanied by Tyrrells sweet chili and red pepper crisps, I think he’d have given the server the look that Tyrrells is featuring on its bag.