Sunday 10 February 2019

Review ~ Ten Poems for Breakfast - Candlestick Press

Candlestick Press
February 2019

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

One of the most original and successful anthologists at work today has chosen the poems for this enticing new mini-anthology. Ana Sampson has selected poems that introduce us to all manner of morning delights and remind us that it can never be too early in the day to read a poem. Ana says:

“I’ve edited a fair number of anthologies, but this was certainly one of the more unusual ones. I’m a passionate believer in the power of poetry and I was inspired by the idea of encouraging people to read a poem first thing in the morning (rather than looking at their phone, for example!) Everyone needs something to set them off on the right foot before they get caught up in their busy daily routine.”

We find Billy Collins buzzing around his house after several espressos and Lani O’Hanlon walking barefoot to the hen-house to collect eggs, both relishing the quiet solitude of being up early and contemplating the day ahead. For others, the first hours of the day are to be shared with loved ones; slices of toast flying from the toaster provide a vivid childhood memory:

“...I ate six slices

one weekend, enthralled

with how happiness

was the colour of butter,

best eaten hot.”

from ‘Toaster’ by Olga Dermott-Bond

The selection also includes three brand new poems that were chosen as winners in a recent Candlestick Press breakfast poem competition.

Even if you’re not a morning person, these tender and beguiling poems are a reminder that there’s always something very precious about the start of a new day.

Poems by Elizabeth Bishop, Billy Collins, Elizabeth Daryush, Olga Dermott-Bond, Catherine Edmunds, Phil M Houghton, Ted Kooser, Lani O’Hanlon, Charles Simic and Mary Stewart Hammond.

Cover illustration by Jane Walker.

My thoughts...

Sunday morning is one of those special days in the week when most people try, if their work-life balance allows, to make time for a leisurely breakfast, and what better way to start this Sunday than with Ten Poems for Breakfast which is the latest poetry pamphlet from Candlestick Press.

I have never really considered breakfast to be an inspiration for poetry and yet once I had read, and considered, all the content of this clever collection I was completely convinced that breakfast, the most important meal of the day, really should be immortalised in verse.

As always in these wonderful poetry pamphlets, there is something for everyone to enjoy,

from the stark beauty of Before the Lark by Phil M Houghton

" leave me
 in the company
 of doorsteps
carve up the pavement
and with thin shafts of light
take in the milk"

to the glorious work of one of my favourite WW1 poets Still-Life by Elizabeth Daryush

"Through the open French window the warm sun
lights up the polished breakfast table, laid
round a bowl of crimson roses, for one "

I've really enjoyed reading through the ten poems which make up this short anthology of breakfast poems, and which have been so beautifully selected by Ana Sampson. There really is something for everyone and in the hurly-burly of frenetic weekday mornings when you are rushing out of the house with a breakfast biscuit in one hand and a wickedly strong espresso in the other perhaps it's a good idea to make one day a week the time to indulge in a leisurely breakfast and at the same time enjoy the wonderful poems in Ten Poems for Breakfast.

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

Ana Sampson @AnaBooks

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