Light filters in – Poems by Caroline Kaufman

I was kindly contacted by Harper Collins and given a list of books to choose from to review. I chose this and they kindly sent me a ‘sneak peek’ of what it will look like when published. They also sent a lovely little bookmark and who doesn’t need more bookmarks (not me)

So a huge thank you to the lovely folk at Harper Collins.

I hadn’t heard of Caroline Kaufman before receiving this but she began by posting her poetry on Instagram and you can find her there as @poeticpoison

So what did I think?

Hey you have a book to review! Whats it called?

Light filters in

Who wrote it?

Caroline Kaufman

Whats it about?

It’s a book of modern poetry written by a teenager to help her cope with and try to understand the depression she suffers from

Now for the important bits, did you like it? (be honest now)

Its absolutely amazing and I loved it.
I’m often daunted by poetry especially modern poetry. I used to think that if it didn’t rhyme it wasn’t a poem (so not true) and I was always afraid that I wouldn’t ‘get it’ but there is no worries with Caroline’s beautiful words. For someone so young she has written some very mature poetry. There are a mix of poem styles, some rhyming, some not and some others that more closely resemble a short story.
Her struggles with anxiety and depression at such a young age are documented here but it doesn’t get maudlin or self pitying at all it’s simply honest.
Its just a small taster booklet with 24 or so poems but I believe the finished book will have 100 and I can’t wait to read more of them.

Gimme the Pros?

Each poem is a wonderful little work of art. Sad, funny, ironic, raw but always entertaining. And so clever with it. One of her poems can actually be read backwards as well as forwards and you get a different meaning each time. Now that’s smart!
Its illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova with some cute little black and white line drawings which compliment the text really well.
Its definitely a book I want to quote and re-read many times over. Sadly as its a proof copy I can’t reproduce anything here but its out in hardback on 28th June.

Hit me with the Cons?

No cons here!

All the feels or none of the feels?

Oh all of them and more besides!  There is so much feeling in every poem whether it’s a few lines or a page.

Okay, so enjoyment factor out of 10?

10 of course!

Would you recommend I read this book?

If you love modern poetry and powerful words and honest feelings and want to be snuggled up in the beauty of them then yes, you need this book.

 

Poems for a world gone to sh*t – Review

This was lovely surprise bookmail from Quercus a few days ago.  They are a fabulous publisher who have been very kind to me over the years, so a big thank you to them.

Poetry is something I really enjoy and a little book like this to dip in and out of is always welcome.

Hey you have a book to review! Whats it called?

Poems for a world gone to sh*t

Who wrote it?

No one author, Its a compilation of poems, old and new

Whats it about?

Poems to make life better in this messed up world we live in right now

Now for the important bits, did you like it? (be honest now)

Its fantastic! I do love discovering new poets works as well as having a special old favourite poem just at my fingertips when i need a lift.

Gimme the Pros?

Its set out into separate chapters e.g

1. What the f**k?

2. get me the f**k out of here…  down to

5. life is still f**king beautiful

Its a gorgeously made little naked hardback and the poetry has been thoughtfully chosen to both amuse and enlighten us.

Hit me with the Cons?

No cons here.

All the feels or none of the feels?

All of the feels definitely, here are two of my favourites

Okay, so enjoyment factor out of 10?

20! its a beautiful little book

Would you recommend I read this book?

Yes in a heartbeat!  Its perfect for long standing poetry fans and for introducing poetry to those who may have thought it wasn’t for them.

 

 

Best Loved Poems – A Treasury of Verse by Ana Sampson

I’ve loved reading poetry for 40 years now and this book is such a wonderful addition to my bookshelves. Its a beautiful naked hardback with as you can see the prettiest of covers and some beautiful teal blue end papers. Its perfect for picking up whenever you need a little lift or a laugh or the perfect words to say something.

It contains such a fascinting mix of poetry spanning hundreds of years from Shakespeare to the present day and is split into sections like; love, war, lost love, poems remembered from childhood etc.

In here there are so many favourites of mine that i first read years ago along with poems and poets i’ve never before encountered, so reading it was such a joy and a journey of discovery for me.

Poems like:

A Subaltern’s Love Song by John Betjeman

The Soldier by Rupert Brooke

High Flight by John Gillespie Magee

Sonnets from the Portuguese: XLIII by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now by A. E Housman

are ones very familiar to me whereas

Poems like:

I wanna be Yours by John Cooper Clarke

Hour by Carol Anne Duffy

Just in Case by Charlotte Mitchell

Outgrown by Penelope Shuttle and

Dis Poetry by Benjamin Zephaniah

are all brand new and wonderful to discover.

You can see here just how many poems i tabbed for quick reading in the future

I was approached by the editor of this wonderful compendium, Ana Sampson who asked if I would like a copy to review. I couldnt have shouted YES Please! any louder. I may have a towering TBR most of the time but I can always find time for a poem.

Thank you to Ana and Michael O Mara Books for this total delight. It was published yesterday so rush out and buy copies for everyone as a Christmas pressie.

 

Why I said YES YES to poetry

Sorry about the title of this post, its a bit punny but what the heck eh?

With my newly rediscovered love of poetry i’ve been watching a lot of booktuber videos for good recommendations. One of them who give THE best advice on poetry is of course Jen Campbell   @aeroplanegirl on Twitter.

I recently saw her talking about a book called Some Planet by John Montara (see pic below)

poetry4a

This book sounded so damn amazing I had to investigate the publisher and get me a copy. I cheekily asked the publisher if they would send me a book for review even though they are many, many miles away in Portland, Oregon, USA!

And guess what? they said yes they would but it wasnt just one book they sent me! take a look at this bundle!

2016-06-13 13.49.42-1

They sent me 5 books of poetry and a couple of postcards with poems on advertising more of the collections they publish.

I was bowled over by this generosity and so i’m bigging them up to poetry loving folk in the UK and around the world.

Here is a closer look at the books

I will review them at a later date but for now just take a look at how fab they all are.

If you are into modern poetry then do go check out YES YES Books

 

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?

How I found poetry again

35 or more years ago I discovered and fell in love with poetry. I was a young teenager and the television adaptation of Testament of Youth came on the box. I had not heard of the book before but I just fell in love with Vera Brittain’s story and began reading more about World War One and the incredibly moving and haunting poetry it begat.

I read Owen, Sassoon and others in a compilation but the first book I bought was Rupert Brooke’s collected works. I just adored his simple but very lyrical style.

I moved onto A.E. Housman’s, A Shropshire Lad and was blown away by his descriptive writing.

I tried out the Romantics like Keats, Shelley and Wordsworth but found them a bit too flowery for my taste.

I read and enjoyed poetry for a good many years but then life took over in other ways and I just lost interest but….

Since following Jen Campbell’s You Tube channel and especially her ‘Where to begin with reading poetry’ I have come full circle and am back in love with it all over again. This time though I’m not reading the classics but new poetry, some not published in actually book form yet but in magazines like The Rialto.

I’ve discovered that I love free form poetry and not the rhyming kind I used to read. I love the way that the poets are able to express themselves without having to spend ages finding words that rhyme. Its like flash fiction but more lyrical.

So i’ve begun buying some bits and here is my collection so far.

2016-06-01 09.50.07

I have the most recent edition of The Rialto in the background with the striking orange, yellow and black cover.

The Best of British Poetry 2015

The Forward book of Poetry 2016

The Melancholy of Mechagirl by Catherynne M. Valente

Ten War Poems edited by Andrew Motion

Why God is a Woman by Nin Andrews

What we Buried by Caitlyn Siehl

No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay

I will be reviewing them over the course of the next month or so and I cant wait to read them all.

I want to share some snippets that I absoloutely love from Sarah’s, Nin’s and Caitlyn’s poetry


This is an excerpt from ‘A Letter to Love’ by Caitlyn Siehl

The first poem I wrote that wasn’t about you

was in all capital letters,

like it was trying to compensate

for your absence

What an opening line!


This is from ‘The First Poem in the Imaginary Book’ by Sarak Kay

It it were me, when the book arrives,

I would immediately start scanning

pages to find any trace of me.

My name, references to my body,

my secrets, moments we shared.

I would pretend to be horrified if I

found evidence of myself, but really

I would pray to find even a single

mention.


And last but not least a line or two from Nin Andrew’s very clever book ‘Why God is a Woman’

On the Island where I come from

women rule. They run the country, control the wealth, and decide who

will do what, why, and when. At the end of the day, when the sun sinks

into the sea, the women leave their offices behind and go out on the

town to enjoy what is known as the women’s hour.


I want to know so much more about poetry and how its written like it is, and I reckon the only way to do that is to read, read, read. I have even begun writing my own poetry though its early days.

I hope you find some of these poems to your liking. Tell me your favourite poems or favourite poets even.

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