Friday, 11 December 2020

❆Book Review ~ Ten Poems for Winter from Candlestick Press

Candlestick Press
November 2020

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

Winter seems to divide opinion more than any other season; we love it or we definitely don’t! The poems in this mini-anthology are guaranteed to delight readers of every persuasion; we encounter muddy walks, ice-skating, cosy fires, chilblains and even a snow pudding.

There’s also a Skype meeting between a child and a grandparent – a poignant reminder that distance from a loved one can mean living in different seasons:

“You hold handfuls of snow to my face, say

‘You can eat it’, your eyes laughing as you gulp it down

and show me red berries on the naked tree, footprints on the icy track.”

from ‘January Skype July’ by Christine Coates

These are poems to curl up with: they relish the season’s rigours, finding warmth and humanity in the midst of darkness and cold.

Poems by John Clare, Christine Coates, Jane Duran, Robert Hayden, Rhiannon Hooson, Christopher James, Ted Kooser, Ruby Robinson, Rob Walton and Holly Yuille.

Cover illustration by Alexandra Buckle

❆My thoughts..

This superb mini-anthology completes the quartet of seasonal pamphlets and is every bit as wonderful as the seasons which have gone before and collectively the set would make a wonderful Christmas, or New Year, gift.

Winter 2020 is a reflective time when we look back over the year which is nearly over - and what a year it has been - and look ahead, with fingers crossed, to a new season of hopefulness. In this collection of poetry we are given the opportunity to take stock of the year whilst allowing this talented bunch of poets to lead us into the magical world of their imagination. As always, there is a thought provoking collection of verse which never fail to touch me on an emotional level. 

Some make me smile and ignite a memory long forgotten;

Snow Pudding by Jane Duran reminded me of making icy cold snow drinks as a child long before slush drinks were commonplace. I didn't use maple syrup but orange cordial!

"One way is to pour maple syrup 
on fresh snow, Find a corner 
by the house that the wind misses..."

Now by Holly Yuille reminded me of my misspent youth and dancing to Northern Soul at the legendary, Wigan Casino.

"We can huddle in the middle at the end of the dancing
a ragged mountain of limbs, blankets and woolly coats
our thoughts diving down to a lullaby
of pounding Northern Soul..."

Winter by Ruby Robinson reminded me of putting my tortoise away to hibernate and one year we forgot where we had put him. We eventually found him, in Spring, at the bottom of the bedding chest.

"We keep our tortoise in the fridge through the winter.."

Others are poignant and beautiful and made me sigh with longing, especially Bleakmid by Rob WaltonThe Ragged Kingdom by Rhiannon Hooson, Chasing the Light by Christopher James, Winter Fields by John Clare, and Late February by Ted Kooser.

January Skype July by Christine Coates, reminded me of all the FaceTime calls I've had with my little granddaughter this year. 

" While I'm here, tears falling on the screen
raindrops on window panes..."

It's always really difficult to pick a favourite and this collection is quite perfect so I'm not going to even try, however, my last mention has to go to a particularly favourite poem of mine which reminds me of my dad who got up ridiculously early to go to work but always had the fire ready for when we got out of our beds.

Those Winter Sundays by Robert Hayden

" Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blue black cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather
made banked fires blaze..."

I've loved spending the magic of the seasons with Candlestick Press this year as their poetry pamphlets are really special and a wonderful window on a magical world. However, it's not just about the poetry, it's also about the beauty of the covers, so all credit to the talented cover designers/artists who bring their very special creative skill to the production of these wonderful poetry pamphlets.

These beautiful poetry pamphlets make absolutely perfect gifts at any time of year but have been especially welcome in this challenging year.

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.

Twitter @PoetryCandle


  1. I really like this poetry anthology. Skype? I haven't heard this term used in quite a while. This book seems like a keeper.

    1. I must admit I don't use Skype but do rely on FaceTime to keep in touch with family. Yes, this is definitely a keeper :)


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