Monday 7 January 2019

Review ~ Ten Poems about Walking from Candlestick Press

Candlestick Press
January 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this pamphlet

Poems that celebrate the joys of being on foot

There seems to be a natural connection between walking and poetry. For Wordsworth, the regular rhythm of walking was a stimulus to writing, and he said that “nine-tenths of my verses have been poured out in the open air."

This beautiful mini-anthology edited by keen walker and award-winning poet and translator Sasha Dugdale contains Wordsworth’s heart-stopping ‘Old Man Travelling’ alongside contemporary poems that capture the delights of a walk with a dear friend or of walking in solitude. There’s a poem about setting off through city streets to find a river and a heron, and another featuring a surprising encounter on the top of Helvellyn.

One by one then as a whole, these poems remind us that being on foot will always be one of the best ways of experiencing the world.

Poems by Matt Clegg, David Constantine, Sasha Dugdale, Choman Hardi, Karen McCarthy Woolf, Stephanie Norgate, MR Peacocke, Stephen Watts, William Wordsworth and Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch.

Cover illustration by Hugh Ribbans.

My thoughts about it..

There's something really comforting about putting on a pair of walking boots and taking to the walkways of our glorious countryside. The natural rhythm of putting one foot in front of the other and the absolute joy of simply being in the moment is one of life's pleasures. And after the excess of Christmas and New Year January is the perfect time for going out walking...

Photo: Jo Barton

This collection of ten stunning poems conjure the emotion of walking, either on a solitary walk or with companions, and whilst the beauty of the surroundings and the emotional connection to nature cannot be underestimated, what is also important to remember is the poignant reminder that walking is also, for some, a means of escape...

From Escape Journey by Choman Hardi

" They force you to crawl these mountains.
even if you are only 14.
Who made the first journey over them?
Whose feet created this track?"

As always, with these fascinating poetry collections, there are poems to make you smile and Climbing Helvellyn by Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch certainly did just that :

" At the summit ten women on a chequered rug
staring at how far they'd travelled, had just begun
to pass round the cling filmed sandwiches as if they were 
transparent presents and point little silver flasks 
like wands at mountains still to climb"

And the poignant beauty of walk in a wood after a long loneliness by Stephaine Norgate will stay with me for  along time...

" you go into a wood, you find a place
where your father carved his childhood
there is the grain and the bole
the bark and the pen-knife's mark..."

Ten Poems about Walking is a diverse mixture - from the classic beauty of William Wordsworth's Old Man Travelling, to the decidedly more modern The Fall of Rebel Angels by Sasha Dugdale there is, quite simply, something for everyone to enjoy.

About the Publisher 

Candlestick Press is a small, independent press publishing sumptuously produced poetry pamphlets that serve as a wonderful alternative to a greetings card, with matching envelopes and bookmarks left blank for your message. Their subjects include Clouds, Sheep, Birds, Home and Kindness. Candlestick Press pamphlets are stocked by chain and independent bookshops, galleries and garden centres nationwide and available to order online.

Connect: / @PoetryCandle

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