Songs from the High Stool

‘Bar Stool Notions of Poetry’ by Jonathan Roth

By Niamh Byrne

Bar Stool Notions of Poetry is one of Jonathan Roth’s many books of poetry. This book consists of 45 funny, moving and heartwarming, easy read poems.  He dedicated his book to ‘tolerators of national poetry, proud West of Ireland culchies, fellow bar stool residents’ and a few more, which started the book off quite humorously. One of the more funny, light hearted poems of them all has to be ‘Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a… new John Deere.’ In this poem the writer is asking God to help him through life. He speaks to God of how much he’s done to help the Church and wonders where it’s being reciprocated. One of the lines in the poem says “I gave your church my communion money, so buy me a tractor and stop being funny.” Which is quite humorous to remember all those years ago what you spent your communion money on.

One of the author’s favourites which I found to be quite moving is ‘A Lid for Every Pot.’ This is a poem about finding love in life. In this one he compares trying to find love over the years and being unsuccessful. Growing older and seeing your friends settle down, some people might feel like giving up in the search. He goes on about how you shouldn’t as in life there is a lid for every pot, which is the title of the poem. “Yes there are less fish in the sea, but there is still one out there for thee” is one of the quotes from the poem which gives the poem an overall heartwarming, truthful feel.

‘The Frown Call’ is one that stood out and was not what I expected from reading the title. It is a poem about life and how “at 60+, we all know life’s not a dress show.” His friend is on a phone call and he realises by her frown another friend of theirs has passed away. Being 60+, he paints a heart wrenching picture of how precious life can be and not to take it for granted. “We’re at life’s stage, life’s for living, not age” is a quote from the poem which is quite moving.

There are many more funny, real and relatable poems within the book which are very relevant to today’s society. Finishing off I would like to say I  recommend Bar Stool Notions of Poetry for anyone who has a taste for poetry.

Bar Stool Notions of Poetry by Jonathan Roth can be ordered directly from the poet at