Friday 17 April 2020

Review ~ Ten Poems for Spring from Candlestick Press

Candlestick Press

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

Sunshine and showers, cuckoos, frogs, daffodils and cherry blossom…. Poets writing about spring certainly have no shortage of material.

Our selection of poems takes in many of these yearly delights. There are contemporary voices – a poem in which a dog sniffs around a city park and enjoys the new smells, and another where an “immortal frog” seems to promise the speaker fresh hope and a return to good health. In a poem from the nineteenth century, spring is a time of renewal when the world is restored to its original beauty:

“What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth’s sweet being in the

from ‘Spring’ by Gerard Manley Hopkins

This delightful mini-anthology provides a taste of the countless ways in which this most uplifting of seasons has been celebrated in verse over the centuries.

Poems by Thomas Carew, John Clare, Nichola Deane, Emily Dickinson, Valerie Gillies, Gerard Manley Hopkins, AE Housman, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Jessica Mookherjee and Alicia Ostriker.

Cover illustration by Alexandra Buckle.

What did I think about it...

There's something infinitely precious about spring. The surge of new life, glorious in its awakening, bringing the promise of hope and joy and never more more precious than in this troubled time.  In my brief spells of exercise outside I have taken in all the beauty of nature, watching golden daffodils gently sway and watching in wonder as cherry blossom, blackthorn and wild cherry burst into life.

Spring in all its glory is celebrated in this latest poetry pamphlet from Candlestick Press. The opening poem  A E Houseman's  "Loveliest of trees, the cherry now" is a perfect introduction:

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom, along the bough
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide..."

Frog Spring by Valerie Gillies reminded me of childhood springs many years ago, when I would head off, with a group of eager friends, to search the ponds and pools for tadpoles and tiny frogs ๐Ÿ˜Š

"Surprised by my tasting the spring, a golden frog
leaps to the bank. He flies to froggy places,
his ankle joints stretch the moment..."

It is wonderful to see Emily Dickinson included in this collection along with another of my favourite poets, Edna St Vincent Millay, both capturing the essence of springtime in their own inimitable fashion.

However of all the collection, and as always it really difficult to pick just one favourite. but I think I have to go for Home Pictures in May by John Clare and just seeing this wonderful poem included in this collection is worth the price of the pamphlet alone!

" The sparrows round their new nests chirp with glee
And sweet the robin springs young luxury shares
Tuteling its song in featherly Goosberry tree
While watching worms the Gardeners spade unbears..."

Ten Poems for Spring is such a lovely collection of poems which gladden the heart and make you appreciate all that is special about this wonderful time of year. And even though its a year like no other , we can still take a moment to look around and appreciate the new season in its glorious splendour.

The last word must go to the final poem, Spring by Gerard Manley Hopkins "Nothing is so beautiful as spring.."

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: /  Twitter @PoetryCandle

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