Monday 2 April 2018

Candlestick Press ~ Ten Poems about Sheds

Candlestick Press
March 2018

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this poetry pamphlet

Poems about the hidden magic of the common-or-garden shed

Sheds have come a long way since the old ‘man-cave’ cliché. These days, a shed is a far more democratic place – somewhere that symbolises the privacy and space that we all need.

John Greening’s wonderfully varied selection of poems explores sheds from every imaginable angle. The poems take us to a child’s hiding place, a treasury of exotic implements and rich aromas and a retreat in which to remember the past. Derek Mahon’s fêted poem ‘A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford’ creates a mysterious inner world which seems to exist outside time.

A shed may just be a place to keep the lawnmower, or it may be somewhere to escape to in order to write or paint. Sometimes it’s a haven in which to daydream when the house is full of noise and bustle. Elsewhere it’s:

“A sea-side arbour, a garden shanty,

knocked together out of driftwood and furnished

with a beat-up sofa…”

from ‘Arbour’ by Kathleen Jamie

These enchanting poems will lead you quietly into private worlds where you’ll find you’re entirely at home.

Poems by Fleur Adcock, Alison Brackenbury, John Greening, Stuart Henson, Kathleen Jamie, Derek Mahon, John McAuliffe, MR Peacocke, Carol Rumens and Vernon Scannell.

Cover illustration by David&Rews

My thoughts about Ten Poems about Sheds..

When I was growing up my friend, Susan and I, would play for hours in what was my Uncle Peter's wood shed. There was something comforting about being hidden away in this sheltered world, with its comforting smell of wood shaving and the fragrant aroma of new timber. We created all sorts of imaginary worlds, from the duck and dive of hide and seek, to playing pirates on the high seas and when we grew tired of boisterous games we constructed tables and chairs from remnants of timber and played our favourite game of 'house'...

Ten poems about Sheds conjures a world of hidden possibilities, from the ordinary to the magical. The strong imagery in the ten, very different poems, evoke long forgotten memories and buried feelings, and even though the shed be ever so humble, there really is no place like it.

Amongst my favourites in this selection are:

Hide and Seek, Vernon Scannell

"Call out. Call loud: I'm ready! Come and find me!"
The sacks in the toolshed smell like the sea side.
They'll never find you in this salty dark..."

The Shed, Stuart Henson

"Step in it's a tardis: vortex of smell 
distilled a century- of pre-war
timber, earth floor and the gold decay of sawdust.."

And my favourite, which reminds me of my father..

The Shed, Alison Brackenbury

He looked after tools, not just his own,
palm polished handles, Victorian elm,
stamped with initials... "

The cover art is so reminiscent of my father's potting shed, with long strings of drying onions from the garden and its ordered rows of seedlings and pots of old paint nestling side by side on the counter. His well worn coat, hanging, pockets bulging with bits of old string, and his hidden tin of favourite pipe tobacco.

So many memories conjured by ten evocative poems about sheds.

These pamphlets are small but perfectly formed and, as always, the poems contained within really do get their message across in a meaningful way.

I love them.

Candlestick Press is an independent publisher based in Nottingham, UK. We’ve been publishing poetry pamphlets since 2008 not only for people who already love poetry, but also for those who will love it but perhaps don’t know that yet. Our ‘instead of a card’ pamphlets make an ideal alternative to a mainstream greetings card and are a small gift in their own right. They have matching envelopes and bookmarks left blank for your message, and are excellent companions on journeys or for a bedtime read. By supporting us, you help an independent press and our supported charities at the same time as treating yourselves, your friends and family to some wonderful poems.

Twitter @Poetrycandle

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