Williamson,-The-Hole-Story-Cover

The Hole Story of Kirby the Sneak and Arlo the True

Greg WilliamsonPublication: August 6th, 2015

£10.99

Illustrations by Brian Bowes

When Kirby the sneaky, dog-genius steals the hole Arlo dug in the yard, social order begins to break down. The ants get lazy. The brook dries up. The dragonfly has engine trouble. Kirby faces grave, injurious peril in getting it back and restoring cosmic harmony. Reflecting upon the hole’s eerie influence, he contemplates spider webs, Newton, The Old West, Scottish history, Templars, the Roundtable Knights, the existence of dragons, and the nature of time, itself, on the way to devising his Theory of Something, The Downhole Effect.

The award-winning author of The Silent Partner, Errors in the Script, and A Most Marvelous Piece of Luck is once again at the top of his game in this wickedly inventive, dazzlingly written and uproariously funny book.

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ISBN: 978-1-904130-83-3 Extent: 128pp Categories: , Tag:

The Hole Story of Kirby the Sneak and Arlo the True

“Greg Williamson can do anything. A 1,200-plus-line narrative poem? Child’s play. About a dog that filches another dog’s beloved hole, then returns it? You betcha. In rhyming couplets? Ayup. That manages, improbably, to morph into a profound and startling meditation on genealogy, Chaucer, and the nature of space and time, among other subjects? Absolutely. And all this he manages while showing off an astonishing combinatorial agility and playfulness, laying waste any distinction between so-called high and low diction, so-called high and low ideas. In The Hole Story Greg Williamson once again demonstrates that he is a writer as metrically and intellectually nimble, as witty, and as line-by-line delightful as we have – or might hope to have – in American poetry.” – Michael Griffith

“You may not think that you’ve been impatiently waiting to read about slinking Kirby and put-upon Arlo, two versifying mongrels, but I assure you that you have. It has been ages since a children’s poem showed this degree of polish, of unforced and uncloying smarts and brio and wit. The rhymes are so nimble! The pratfalls so spectacularly poised! The Hole Story is a true book-lover’s book – and an easy-to-swallow antidote to all those cyber-poisons that imperil our children. It’s long and loopy and cartoony and somehow concludes with a gorgeous, noble Hymn to a Suburban Afternoon. It belongs with Jarrell’s The Bat-Poet and Eliot’s Practical Cats and de la Mare’s Peacock Pie and Stevenson’s Child’s Garden of Verses. Those fun-loving gentlemen would companionably move aside and make room, welcoming Williamson to their sparkly table. You should too.” – Brad Leithauser

Kirby the Sneak and Arlo the True
Lived with the Burbles at house 42.

And Arlo the True, Arlo van Guard,
Watched over his everyday things in the yard,

His fir tree and fuzzball, his wetbowl and bone,
And Kismet the Catdog, who slept on a stone,

And out in the yard by a uniform mound
His cherished, cool, dug-up-down hole in the ground.

(He’d looked in his heart back when he was pup
And dug it a downhole instead of an up.)

He watched over everything just to be sure
That his wherearetheys all were still there where they were.

˜

bowesspread1

Now, Kirby the Sneak, Kirby Manchu,
Of a thousand disguises, unbeaten at Clue,

Dogma Cum Laude from Trickery U,
Kept a keen eye on said Arlo the True.

At the edge of the yard, past the reach of the law,
He drew on his drawpipe; he peered at his paw.

He drummed with his nails. He rocked in his chair.
He twisted his whiskers and stared into air.

And from under the brim of his sneaky slant hat
He schemed on the bowl and the bone and the cat.

˜

What game could he play, what ruse could he do,
To bamboozle the scrupulous Arlo the True?

He could flip the bowl over to look like a lid
So Arlo would wonder what was it it hid.

He could bury the bone by the Burbles’s brook
That sluices through shadows where sleuthhounds won’t look.

He could stuff the ball into a knot in the oak
As Phase One of a bigger, more practical joke

That would take some straw, bungee cords, clipboard, a box,
And some UPS browns, with the Baden Powell socks.

˜

More from The Hole Story

But out in the garden the katydids trilled,
The trilliums waved and the woodpecker drilled,

And Kirby the Sneak stroked his long, sneaky chin
And blew a big bubble and soaked it all in.

The air grew more still. The hummingbird stopped.
The cat raised an eyebrow. The soap bubble popped.

And that’s when it came to him, out of the blue,
A novel new way to trick Arlo the True;

He laughed in his dewclaw just thinking it through:
He’d steal the downhole. Then he’d bury it, too.

˜

boweshalfpage1

Bowes_BrianBrian Bowes received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from the California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco, California. Currently he is enrolled in the Hartford University MFA in Illustration program and scheduled to graduate in 2016. He has illustrated numerous books, which can be found in bookstores, and in university libraries around the world, as well as in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the United States Library of Congress.

Excerpts

Kirby the Sneak and Arlo the True
Lived with the Burbles at house 42.

And Arlo the True, Arlo van Guard,
Watched over his everyday things in the yard,

His fir tree and fuzzball, his wetbowl and bone,
And Kismet the Catdog, who slept on a stone,

And out in the yard by a uniform mound
His cherished, cool, dug-up-down hole in the ground.

(He’d looked in his heart back when he was pup
And dug it a downhole instead of an up.)

He watched over everything just to be sure
That his wherearetheys all were still there where they were.

˜

bowesspread1

Now, Kirby the Sneak, Kirby Manchu,
Of a thousand disguises, unbeaten at Clue,

Dogma Cum Laude from Trickery U,
Kept a keen eye on said Arlo the True.

At the edge of the yard, past the reach of the law,
He drew on his drawpipe; he peered at his paw.

He drummed with his nails. He rocked in his chair.
He twisted his whiskers and stared into air.

And from under the brim of his sneaky slant hat
He schemed on the bowl and the bone and the cat.

˜

What game could he play, what ruse could he do,
To bamboozle the scrupulous Arlo the True?

He could flip the bowl over to look like a lid
So Arlo would wonder what was it it hid.

He could bury the bone by the Burbles’s brook
That sluices through shadows where sleuthhounds won’t look.

He could stuff the ball into a knot in the oak
As Phase One of a bigger, more practical joke

That would take some straw, bungee cords, clipboard, a box,
And some UPS browns, with the Baden Powell socks.

˜

More from The Hole Story

But out in the garden the katydids trilled,
The trilliums waved and the woodpecker drilled,

And Kirby the Sneak stroked his long, sneaky chin
And blew a big bubble and soaked it all in.

The air grew more still. The hummingbird stopped.
The cat raised an eyebrow. The soap bubble popped.

And that’s when it came to him, out of the blue,
A novel new way to trick Arlo the True;

He laughed in his dewclaw just thinking it through:
He’d steal the downhole. Then he’d bury it, too.

˜

boweshalfpage1

Illustrator

Bowes_BrianBrian Bowes received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from the California College of Arts and Crafts in San Francisco, California. Currently he is enrolled in the Hartford University MFA in Illustration program and scheduled to graduate in 2016. He has illustrated numerous books, which can be found in bookstores, and in university libraries around the world, as well as in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the United States Library of Congress.