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Distinguished Leaves: Poems for Tea Lovers Hardcover – 15 Sep 2011
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I hope the contents of this exquisite and unusual little book will inspire you to put tea to the fore. --Nigel Havers
'Delightful little volume by a real tea poet, celebrating different teas and 'tea people''. The Bookseller
'Reviving a centuries old tradition of writing poetically about tea, Elizabeth Darcy Jones' delightful and often seductive verse is catching attention across the world.' UK Tea Council
'... she's not just any bard, she's Elizabeth Darcy Jones, Britain's tea poet, and she can talk about tea faster than you can drink it.' Evening Standard
'Did you know Britain has a Tea Poet? She is Elizabeth Darcy Jones and her enchanting verse about tea comes out in a book, Distinguished Leaves, which will be launched at The Savoy this month. The seductive poems uplift and delight - just like good tea - and that charmer Nigel Havers has written the foreword.' The London Magazine
‘Whether you’re a tea connoisseur or drink the same supermarket brand of tea every day then this collection of poetry is for you.’ Lorraine Mariner, Curator and tea-lover, The Poetry Library
‘If, like me, you love both tea and poems that rhyme, this is clearly the perfect book for you.’ Sophie Hannah, best selling writer and poet
'Britain needs a Tea Poet like Cornwall needs its clotted cream and Tregothnan its camellias'. Jonathan Jones, Garden Director, Tregothnan Estate
About the Author
Elizabeth Darcy Jones is one of a handful of tea poets in the world, perpetuating the ancient Chinese and Japanese tradition of writing poetry about the multi-faceted aspects of tea. Elizabeths first volume of poetry, Simply This, now sold out, was described by Tony Parsons as a delightful mixture of prose and poetry... . A former City voice coach for Cazenove & Co (and once described by The Daily Telegraph as its Queen Bee ), Elizabeth was commissioned to write the post-war biography of wartime S.O.E. coding genius, Leo Marks OBE. She regularly performs her tea and other poems in London, and was a featured guest at The Seven Dials Club as part of the London Alternative Fringe Festival in 2010.
Top customer reviews
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Anyway as a quick intro to why I got this book, that paragraph hopefully sets the scene.
To the little book itself. From it's dainty yet confident proportion, to the little gems of some of the poems and also handy tips, this book is a joy to discover. It's even better when you read a poem whie drinking the exact teaor estate it describes. I ventured into it by going straight to Russian Caravan and sipping the very same tasty brew and it was very evocative.
As a treat or gift for a tea lover, this is such a great find.
It is an impressive looking book with a rather gorgeous creamy cover and picture of tea pot and tea leaves.
There is information about tea making and different types of teas - which, as a committed PG Tips girl, I found interesting. I had no idea there were so many choices - if only I could be bothered with a teapot and leaves.
The poems are charming and the personification of the teas intriguing. I was delighted to find they are not over-sentimental.
It seems Elizabeth Darcy Jones has found a great niche for herself as poet of the teas.
I loved it that Nigel Havers wrote the forward. I love him as an actor and in his great historical roles, he personifies this book.
I am sure I will be returning to read this collection over and over again - especially on a murky day like today and with a cup of PG.
What this achingly stylish little book captures so beautifully is the intimacy of tea. The social side of it, the soothing and bonding of an almost hypnotic ritual. There is something undeniably magical about it, and Elizabeth Darcy Jones expertly spins the same alchemy in her verse as you find when you stir your chosen brew and take that first sip.
It was lovely to sit down with my mum on mother's day, after a frenetic afternoon's eating-ourselves-senseless and cavorting along the beach, coming home to Make The Tea and chat until it got dark. We took out this little book and leafed through, giggled a bit at the preciousness of some of the descriptions, but nodded along with general spirit of reverence and addiction. The poetry is wonderful and the descriptions of all the teas really do make you want to try a few. All in all, it's like a charming little Bible for the tea worshipper, and given the pleasure and comfort the brew gives so many, it's really not such a silly trifle to have a book devoted to appreciating it, is it?
In general I like the execution of this book. The size and binding feel good in the hand, and the layout is pleasant on the eye. The division into sections makes sense, and gives a reader several chances to pause for reflection, rather than gulping down the whole concoction in one sitting. The introductory pieces and end-notes feel consistent with the style of the rest of the book.
As for the poems, and the teas, themselves; Some I enjoyed a lot, some not so much. I was slightly miffed that my personal favourite tea - a pure and grassy sen-cha green - did not get its own words, but there is always the chance of a second volume. A more significant disappointment was that so many of the descriptions were presented in such a feminine way. I understand that the author is writing from her own feelings, but as a male tea-lover most of the sensual imagery felt more remote than engaging.
In conclusion, I enjoyed the book, and I am glad I read it, but I was left feeling that perhaps a sprinkling of tea poetry from other (male?) authors might have spiced the brew and broadened its appeal.
But before I did that I read it, after which I was in two minds about giving it away. I didn't really expect to like it, thinking that 'poe-tea' would, inevitably, be a bit twee. And in places it is, to my mind, but many of the poems have such a simple approach they were quite disarming, and the martial rhythms of one of the opening poems, with it's almost Gilbert and Sullivan-esque refrains, many ending in 'loose-leaf tea' really charmed me. Not having the book any longer I can't name the poem or quote it more fully/accurately, so I'm afraid my description doesn't do it justice!
Anyway, I did give it away to our favourite tea-room in the end, but not until I'd read most of the poems. They mix the author's passion for the many varieties of tea with a gently disarming erudition, and the breadth of poetic forms and, pardon the inevitable pun, flavours, was, like a good tea, refreshing and enjoyable. So, to my slight surprise, I really like this little collection of tea-themed poems, and would definitely recommend it to lovers of tea and the light hearted side of life.
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This charming/delightful book would be an ideal gift for any tea enthusiast.
A lovely volume with beautiful contents.Read more