Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Bard of Alamo, James B. Elmore

With Spring soon approaching, it would be appropriate to mention a local writer and poet who passed on some 74 years ago as of March 12. His name was James Buchanan Elmore. Much of the following information comes from an article Connie Riggs wrote for the bicentennial series from the Journal-Review of October 9, 1975.

In the preface of his writing of “Auburn Roses” (1907), Elmore described himself as “a poet-novelist and farmer, a common man who toiled in the fields in the summer and went to the fields in the winter.” At 23 he captured the heart of Mary Ann Murray of Nevada City, Missouri, and they married in 1880.

Mr Elmore’s first privately published book was “Love Among the Mistletoe” in 1889. He said of his works that he “didn’t get a publisher because the best he would get was 10 per cent, and you bet I’m not giving the children of my phenomenal fancy to the world just for the fun of it.”

Here are a couple of stanzas from one of his most famous poems, “Pearl Bryan’s Fate.”

Pretty Pearl Bryan had an elegant home,
With flowers and green pastures wither she roamed;
Her face like a rosebud, and teeth snowy white;
A gem of pure beauty- a star of the night.

There came to this cottage, in care of Will wood,
A wooer, Scott Jackson, an imp of the lewd,
And betrayed this kind maiden, her heart he did break,
Who laid down her life for a villain’s sake.

Elmore always claimed that his writing came to him quickly. “Poetry writing comes natural to me, and all I have to do is sit down and grind it out.” While the critics often panned his works, today James Buchanan Elmore’s books are being sought by many collectors. What do you think? Read Twenty-five Years in Jackville at the Indiana University Indiana Authors and Their Books project: http://bit.ly/1QckQUt

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