Jenny Joseph Comments (14)

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How do I get permission to reprint her poem When I Am Old in my book?
Jenny Joseph (born 7 May 1932) is an English poet. She was born in Birmingham, and with a scholarship, studied English literature at St Hilda's College, Oxford (1950) . Her poems were first published when she was at university in the early 1950s. She became a journalist and worked for the Bedfordshire Times, the Oxford Mail and Drum Publications (Johannesburg, South Africa) . Joseph's best known poem, 'Warning', was written in 1961 and is included in her 1974 collection Rose In the Afternoon and The Oxford Book of Twentieth Century English Verse. 'Warning' was identified as the UK's 'most popular post-war poem' in a 1996 poll by the BBC. The second line was the inspiration for the Red Hat Society. Due to its popularity, an illustrated gift edition of 'Warning', first published by Souvenir Press Ltd in 1997, has now been reprinted 41 times. Her first book of poems, 'The Unlooked-for Season' won a Gregory Award in 1960 and she won a Cholmondeley Award for her second collection, 'Rose in the Afternoon' in 1974. (Wikipedia)
This is one of my favorite poems. It reminds me that the simple things are the most important and we forget to enjoy them. As I am aging and slowing down, I cherish the moment of a beautiful blue sky, sunrise or sunset and know that my memories and the love I received from others will be what I take with me when I pass to the next dimension.
As for Donna Jackson, what a boring old fart she already is, without knowing it. So tightly held by her magic pants! How funny! Donna thinks she gets it, bless her, but she is so far away from the truth even a Sat Nav couldn't rescue her!
I love this poem! It's all about saying to hell with responsibility! We've done that, our children have been brought up, we've had the responsible jobs, etc. Now, it's our turn. I'm already halfway there, having been asked to leave John Lewis, for playing on the escalators! Huge fun, and the staff members were laughing as much as me. I do need to learn to spit though, and whistle with my fingers in my mouth. Oh! And learn to play the saxophone. Ageing is inevitable, maturing is optional x so there. Nur.
In case earlier message not getting through - am seeking your permission to include When I Grow Old at the end of a long short story 'Earning Purple which i plan to publish soon. isabeldorastorey at gmail dot com
I liked the poem though it sounds funny. Old people do not care much for being dressed as models. Sometimes they do not have money to buy new clothes and they prefer to put on something old and comfortable for them.
Great poem.I nurse patients with dementia and recognise this attitude to life.They are great and thats what keeps them going!
What a brilliant poem. I intend to do just that! Bring on the purple!
Just perfect...... really, that she should dream after a life of restrictions and following societies rules and restraints, she looks forward to age as an excuse to finally express herself.....amazing write which made me smile and giggle and also made me sigh a sigh of relief that my parents at least gave me the confidence to wear what i want and express myself from an early age....
I just want to comment to the post below. im studying GCSE literature, including Jenny Joseph's Warning. and your ideas on it been a social cult was totally wrong. the idea that these women took the symbolisynesm to wear red hats and purple clothes is their intake on the poem. but Joseph herself meant something entirelly diffrent. in my opinion (and maybe you dont care as in only 15) you should analyse poems alot more and learn their intentions to what people graps for them, before you start making assumptions into what quite clearly is a fantastic poem.
A few years ago I tuned in (briefly) to the local PBS station's telethon. I was surprised and somewhat befuddled to see the phone banks staffed with older women in red hats and bright purple dresses. I thought it was some kind of Halloween stunt but it was the wrong time of year. Then out of the fog of my memory banks I remembered some of the words to this poem, and I thought these outits must have something to do with the poem. Not to rain on anyone's parade, but honestly, those women looked ridiculous. It's a challenge to age gracefully, unless you're blessed with good genes. I realize the whole point of the poem is to stick a thumb in the eye of the very idea of aging gracefully. This poem is aptly named; I read it as a warning against looking like a street woman who forgot to take her meds. I'm 48 and not a proponent of plastic surgery or fake tans or any of the 'props' that women use to maintain an aura of youthfulness...but I don't see how acting and dressing like a kook is going to gain a woman any respect. Unless maybe now that it is a 'society' there is safety in numbers. Another reason I don't 'get it' is that I busted out when I was young, and don't feel the need to be 'creative' in middle or old age.
When I become an old woman and u see me wearing PuRpLe (! ! !) , let it be known that it was this very poem that inspired me! ! !