Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Review ~ Ten Poems about Husbands and Wives


Candlestick Press
February 2019

My thanks to Kathy at Candlestick Press for my copy of this poetry pamphlet


“If ever two were one, then surely we.” So says the seventeenth-century poet Anne Bradstreet. These days, her portrayal of the marriage bond as one of unconditional mutual devotion might underestimate the complexity of the husband/wife relationship. The other poems in this vivid and entertaining mini-anthology go on to celebrate just that.

Our selection offers moments of tenderness, romance and wry humour. There’s a poem in which a newly-married woman reflects on the “woosh” sound of the word wife and another where a man wonders about a woman he’s never met, as if he could have married her. We encounter a mysterious wife who arrives when the tide is right, while for Tiffany Atkinson a husband is like a farmers’ market, his heart “...a loom of many rhizomes”.

These beguiling poems are arranged in pairs so they speak to each other across the page – rather like a husband and wife engrossed in conversation across an old kitchen table.

Poems by Moniza Alvi, Tiffany Atkinson, Mike Barlow, Anne Bradstreet, Angela Carter, Choman Hardi, Paul Henry, Ada Limón, Linda Pastan, RS Thomas and Tiphanie Yanique.

Cover illustration by Hilke MacIntyre.


My thoughts..

There are poems in abundance about relationships but not many that address the specific bond between husbands and wives. Those of us who have been married for a long time know that it's not always about expressions of undying love, sometimes it's more about the emotion of the little things you share as a couple which make up the collective whole of your life together, and that's what I found refreshing in this latest poetry collection.

The poems are cleverly arranged in pairs, so that husbands and wives have their own special dialogue across the page, and there are a lovely selection of verses which express a whole range of emotions, from funny and sad, to contemplative and considered.

I particularly liked Wife by Ada Limón which reminded me of when I was first married and getting used to the sound of my 'new' surname...

 " I'm not yet comfortable with the word,
its short clean whoosh that sounds like
life..."

And in Ingrid's Husband by Paul Henry a man on the road considers what it might have been like to be married to someone he didn't even know...

"Are you Ingrid's husband?

No. But afterwards,
all the dwindling miles,
I wondered what she was like.."

Ten Poems about Husbands and Wives is one of those lovely insightful collections of poems which are so reminiscent of this publisher's ability to get into the heart and soul of a topic. The pamphlet  would make a perfect gift, either for a wedding anniversary, or as a special wedding celebration card.



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.




Twitter @poetrycandle


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