Tuesday 10 August 2021

πŸ“– Poetry Review ~ Ten Poems about Getting Older from Candlestick Press


Candlestick Press

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

Being old isn’t what it used to be. Sixty is the new forty. The world is full of expressions designed to make us feel better about the inevitable passing of the years.

This fascinating mini-anthology of poems selected by John McCullough – which includes the three winners of our ‘getting older’ poetry competition – opens with an enlivening meditation on the meanings of the word ‘spry’. The speaker delights in hopping up and down some hotel stairs when no one is looking and in the fact of being “inescapably me”. It matters not one jot that he is:

“like a dancer running out of melody,
a boulevardier running out of boulevard,
a prizewinner running out of shelf;”

from ‘Hop’ by Alasdair Paterson

The poems look in both directions; backwards to heydays of young love and time deliciously misspent, and forwards to the perils and thrills of middle age and beyond.

Poems by Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson, Rita Dove, Mark Granier, John McCullough, Frank O’Hara, Alasdair Paterson, Elvire Roberts, Judith Shaw and Jackie Wills.

πŸ“– My thoughts..

In Ten Poems about getting Older, the anthology looks at the the passing of time and how it is never too late to go out there and experience new adventures, undertake a new way of life or even, if the inspiration finds you, publish your own collection of poetry.

Emily Dickinson is always a firm favourite in any anthology and her poem, 

I Stepped from Plank to Plank is beautiful in its simplicity; 

" This gave me that precious Gait
some call Experience."

I thought Rita Dove's poem Testimonial was really lovely;

",,the world called, and I answered
each glance ignited to a gaze
I caught my breath and called that life.."

The poem which made me smile the most was Colonoscopy by Mark Granier, which isn't a subject that immediately springs to mind as inspiring poetry however, the words were succinct and strangely comforting.

This eclectic anthology shares thoughtful recollections about the snippets of time, places visited, past emotions expressed and memories shared, some poignant, others snappy and decisive, but all managing to convey both mastery, and occasional subservience, to the passage of time. It's also the opportunity read the work of the three winners of Candlestick's  'Getting Older' Poetry Competition.

Ten Poems about Getting Older would make a perfect gift for anyone who loves poetry which is a little bit different, or maybe for someone who is approaching a milestone birthday.

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

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