As we travel down highways and byways and country roads it is first impressions that draw us into an area for further exploration. The countryside is beautiful with its deserts, forests and lush green fields where modern farms meet abandoned barns and houses; the cities and towns tell their stories through their buildings, church steeples and smoke stacks. But it is the people you meet that make it all come alive.
Jerry Johnson is one of the people who make the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont come alive. Also known as the Creek Road Poet, Jerry draws on his life experiences for writing technique and the beauty of his surroundings for content. His love of the arts and writing no doubt came from his father who was active in the theater and an “excellent writer”. He was Jerry’s first writing coach. When he went off to college, Jerry studied engineering and math. He taught math and computer science for 29 years. Unusual for a lad who loved writing, but Jerry found engineering and math useful in his writing. Engineering and math are really all about problem solving and so is writing poetry. You first need the “trigger” (subject) and after that you need to find the right rhythm and ensure that it is understandable. That done, problem solved! You have a wonderful poem you can relate to.
Thank you, Jerry, for welcoming me into your home! Your love for Vermont, its people, its wildlife and its beauty is evident in everything you do. Thank you for sharing that with me.
JERRY – THE POET has lived in the Northeast Kingdom for 40 years and through his poems he gives us a vivid picture of its ever changing natural beauty and the wildlife that live in The Kingdom.
Up The Creek Without A Saddle is a collection of 99 poems written and illustrated by Jerry. To order this highly acclaimed book go to www.vtpoet.com. You will also receive a free CD with this book and that is such a bonus. Sixteen of the poems that are included in the book have been set to music and sung by Jon Gailmor and Pete Sutherland, two legendary Vermont master musicians. I listened to this CD while writing this blog and I can assure you that you will fall in love with every song.
Jon has been a singer/songwriter since 1971 and has performed worldwide. In 1977 he found peace and tranquility in the Green Mountains and he has made his home there ever since.
Pete, also a singer/songwriter, plays multiple instruments and has quite a reputation as an old time fiddler. Now, you may never have heard of Pete Sutherland — I never had. However if you are a “Car Talk” fan like I am, we have heard his music. He is the fiddler that we heard on the radio show. It’s a small world!
Listen to Jon sing Jerry’s poem “Old Friend”
On the back cover of the book the esteemed Sydney Lea, Poet Laureate of Vermont, wrote “Jerry Johnson has the true songwriter’s gift: his lyrics seem so simple, but that’s a deception. The more one listens — and the tunes are brilliantly served by the excellent Jon Gailmor and Pete Sutherland — the deeper they get. What a pleasure this album is!”
This is a book that will delight every child with its wonderful rhyming verses and whimsical illustrations of llamas, dragons, cheetahs and more. The book also comes with a free CD with Jon Gailmor singing Noah’s Song.
The much loved Vermont artist Adrien “Yellow” Patenaude illustrated Noah’s Song. Sadly he passed away in May, but he will forever be remembered for his paintings and his love of Yellow.
Order Jerry’s celebrated books at
JERRY – THE TEACHER still finds his way into the classroom to teach and inspire students.
JERRY – THE ARTIST with his 150-year-old Vermont wood sap bucket cover on which he painted.
JERRY – THE TENNIS PRO was once recognized as one of the top ten tennis players in New England.
JERRY – THE CARPENTER lives in a restored school house.
THE SUGAR HOUSE
THE GAZEBO AND VIEW FROM BACK OF HOUSE
THE BARN – FOUR BEAUTIFUL HORSES ARE PAINTED ON THE BARN’S EXTERIOR WALL
JERRY – THE COLLABORATOR AND PROMOTER One thing I noticed in the Northeast Kingdom is that the artists, musicians and crafters are very supportive of each other and Jerry is no exception.
This YouTube video was produced by Jerry for Emily Nyman, Singer/Songwriter
To my readers: When you take those little USA trips, take the time to meet the residents. It will be the best part of your trip.