The Poetry of George Albert Leddy (1883-1967) was first published in
1998 by his grandson Chris Abair,
and is a “significant find” in the genre popularized by Robert Service—author
of “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” The poems are mostly detailed
stories, ingeniously crafted in perfect lyrical rhyme, offering a unique
perspective on early twentieth-century America—a
harsh but simpler time. In the oral tradition of storytelling, these poetic
ballads are meant to be memorized and recited “from the heart”—some take 15
minutes to perform!
The poems cover a variety of themes: The series “Tales of the Rugged
Trails" are grisly barroom ballads set in the Arctic,
Out West, and on the sea. It includes "The Voice of the Bar” and “License
or Prohibition" which deal with the evils of alcohol. “Cook and
Peary" debates the question of who first discovered the North Pole. “The
Blue and the Gray" and “Decoration Day" have a patriotic
theme. A series of poems on the lighter side include titles like “The
Butterfly and the Rose" and “The Old Picket Fence.” And there
are many humorous personal poems.
A new generation is discovering that poetry is a performing art, as
evident by the popularity of poetry slams, rapping, and Poetry Out-Loud
competitions. Young people are realizing that poetry is meant to be heard like
a song and recited like an actor performs lines. Still, many people today find
poetry boring and hard to understand. The poetry of George Albert Leddy
will surely go a long way to help change that perception.