Candlestick Press pamphlet reviews

Candlestick Press, who publish gorgeous poetry pamphlets usually containing 10 or 12 poems around a central theme very kindly sent me their latest 3 pamphlets to review.

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Their pamphlets are designed to be sent as a gift card for all manner of occasions. They come with an envelope, a bookmark and a sticky label to seal the flap with, look!

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The pamphlets are beautifully designed and printed and make such an original change from a plain card. Here is a bit more about the three they sent me.


Ten Poems about Friendship

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Of the Ten poems in this pamphlet my favourites were:

  • The Pleasures of Friendship by Stevie Smith (1902 – 1971) so short but just says it all really.
  • Friends by Polly Clark, about an episode of the TV series Friends that is her favourite, so original.
  • Inventory by Lorraine Mariner, All of us of Facebook users will identify with this and its amazing how many different types of friendship there really are.
  • Friends by Alden Nowlan (1933 – 1983) Friends can be so vital in combatting loneliness, I found this very moving.
  • Fiere in the Middle by Jackie Kay, Friends being there for each other in times of need, beautiful words!
  • Friendship and Illness by May Sarton (1912 – 1995) we need friends all the time but when we are feeling unwell they can be the best medicine.
  • Friendship by Elizabeth Jennings (1926 – 2001) The true meaning of friendship, give and take and always being there.

I hadnt heard of most of these poets so its great to have discovered them and their beautiful words.


The Twelve Poems of Christmas

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Now I really love everything about Christmas so this was such a treat, though having said that I didnt like half as many poems in this one, however there are poems here to suit everyone. Here are my favourites:

  • The Christmas Robin by Robert Graves (1895 – 1985) His descriptions of the countryside are always so evocative
  • How I’ll Decorate My Tree by Liz Lochhead, This is so funny and my favourite poem, it speaks to all of us at some time or other and her forced rhyming is just glorious.

 


The Wood in Winter by John Lewis-Stempel

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This is an unusual pamphlet in that its mainly just one short story rather than a collection of poems. Its written by John Lewis-Stempel who won the Thwaites Wainwright prize with his beautiful book, Meadowlands in 2014.

It also has 2 poems: Seven Words for Winter by Nancy Campbell and Winter Heart by Jackie Kay both of which are wonderful.

The Wood in Winter is such a lovely story, detailing a walk through some woods on land that the author once used to own. His descriptions of a cold, snowy day slowly turning to dusk is a treat to read. I felt I was there with him every step of the way, watching the birds, crunching through the snow and shivering with the cold.

People claim they enjoy winter, but what they actually mean is they enjoy winter as a livener, a quick tease of the elements before resorting to their central heating. For anyone working outdoors, winter hurts.

I fear the quote above is way too accurate.

The cover is beautifully designed by Angela Harding


A huge thank you to the lovely folk at Candlestick Press for these. I have plans for the giving of them all.

Review: Ten War Poems edited by Andrew Motion

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I saw this on a friends Twitter feed and immediately contacted Candlestick Press to see if they had a spare copy, and they very kindly sent me one.

It is a small poetry pamphlet which is designed to be something you could send as a card to someone. It comes with an envelope for posting and a stylish bookmark too. What a lovely and very original idea.

The Ten poems have been chosen by Andrew Motion, one of which, The Gardener has been written by him.

Initially I thought it was all poems about World War 1, but its about war in general from any time period or battle. It was good to expand my reading in this way as i tend to stick to WW1 or WW2 in poetry.

I’m not a fan of all the poems, that will happen as poetry is such a personal choice. But three of them really stood out for me.


The Send-Off by Wilfred Owen is such a haunting poem about men going off to war, there is a lot of bitterness I feel in his words about how soldiers were treated.

“Shall they return to beatings of great bells

In wild train-loads?

A few, a few, too few for drums and yells,

May creep back, silent, to still village wells

Up half-known roads.”


The Gardener by Andrew Motion is a very moving poem and cleverly written and set out on the page. Its from a much more recent conflict in Kabul and makes for very sombre reading.

“We spent

many hours kneeling together in the garden

so many hours

Mark

he liked to lend a hand

watching Gardener’s World

building compost heaps

or the brick path with the cherry tree

that grows over it now       the white cherry

where i thought        I mustn’t cry

I must behave

as if he’s coming back”


But my favourite of all of them simply because it is from such an unusual point of view is The Fly by Miroslav Holub

“She sat on a willow-trunk

watching

part of the battle of Crecy,

the shouts,

the gasps,

the groans,

the trampling and the tumbling.

During the fourteenth charge

of the French cavalry

she mated

with a brown-eyed male fly

from Vadincourt.”


Its a lovely little booklet and great for introducing poetry to people who may be put off by a larger collection.

Thanks again to Candlestick Press for sending me this to review.

Let me know a favourite poem of yours?