Monday 27 January 2020

Book Review ~ Ten Poems about Baking from Candlestick Press

Candlestick Press
January 2020

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this pamphlet

Poems still warm from the oven

These ten poems celebrate all that’s wonderful about baking – the time-honoured recipes, the patient kneading and stirring of ingredients, the sticky fingers in the mixing bowl.

Baking, the poems seem to say again and again, is a profoundly human art: a homemade summer pudding can create “a stillness lost in taste” at a dinner party with friends, while an old spice jar can transport us swiftly back to childhood:

“I opened one: faint kitchen scents (a trace

of fruit breads, Welsh cakes, and the kitchen warm

and welcoming from school) took shadow form:

allspice and nutmeg, cinnamon and mace...”

from ‘Spice Jars’ by DA Prince

These are poems for anyone who loves to bake, as much as for those who simply appreciate the glory of a well-made Victoria Sponge.

Helena Nelson is a poet and publisher – and a dab hand at choux pastry.

Poems by Harry Clifton, CJ Dennis, Cathy Grindrod, Grevel Lindop, Gill McEvoy, Graham Mort, Helena Nelson, Kenn Nesbitt and DA Prince.

Cover illustration by Alice Pattullo.

What did I think..

Baking smells are the substance of my childhood, I remember coming home from school to find newly baked bread, crisp shortbread biscuits and luscious lemon cake, layering the house with the delicious warmth that home baking instantly instills.

So it comes as no surprise to find that this group of talented poets have been inspired to capture the sensation of baking in ten thoughtful verses which take us on a culinary journey through the sights, tastes and aromas of baking, from the yeasty power of freshly made bread, to the culinary magic of cakes and pastries, Ten poems about Baking is truly an experience for all the senses.

So many of the poems resonated particularly Mrs PhilPott Makes a Cake By Helena Nelson in which a cake made for visitors 'will rise, like heaven, and then be gone'. There's nothing more welcoming than a slice of homemade sponge cake.

In How to make Apple Crumble, incidentally, my favorite of all puddings, Cathy Grindrod recreates this delicious delight in a totally new way:

'Smother your slivers of apple moon like a fresh snowfall. 
Make it white hot.
Take a cold spoon; dig deep into its creaking core'

All the poems have something very special about them and all credit to the poets involved who bring such a joy to their verses, instantly conjuring, like magic, the alchemy of creating something truly special with every whisk, mix and stir.

Ten Poems about Baking is a perfect gift for anyone who loves baking and, even better, for any one who loves to eat the delicious results. Win, win all round!

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, Walking, 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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