Dr. Telford is the only retired educator in America – black or white, urban or suburban – who dared and cared enough to return to a tough inner city high school to teach, and he was still doing it in his seventies. He has often been called the Jonathon Kozol of the high school. An amateur boxer who was raised in the crowded west side of Detroit and incarcerated as a teen, Dr. Telford was expelled from one Detroit high school for fighting but later rose to become a world-ranked sprinter, met a pope, led suburban school districts, and directed programs designed to reform the city’s street gangs and rehabilitate parolees. While he has received many high honors and accolades, he never lost the common touch. But he has always put himself on the line for his kids, and for what he believed.
“Between these covers you will find a stunning manifesto of wit, with a velocity of passion and pathos very seldom seen. Read John Telford’s verses and grasp some of life’s deepest insights as expressed with a brilliance possessed by only a precious few such gifted poets, ever. The accomplished artistry manifest in this wonderful collection will compel salivation over and envy of this rare artist’s sheer genius.” – Greg Thrasher, activist and social essayist; radio and television commentator, Washington, D.C.
"Poetic Prancings is a masterpiece. Telford is a teacher/poet whose genius and craftsmanship sometimes subtly nudge even the most sophisticated reader to consult a dictionary. This fantastic poetry is in turn hilarious and somber. Some of it is also evocatively erotic. Occasionally it features historical allusions; sometimes it is frightening; but always it is enlightening.” – Mildred Williams, Founder/Coordinator of DUPAAS (Detroit Unity Poets and Authors Society), Detroit, Michigan,