Monday 2 August 2021

πŸ“– Poetry Review ~ Ten Poems from the Countryside from Candlestick Press

Candlestick Press

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


The word countryside conjures up all manner of landscapes. It can suggest woods or high moors, mountains or farmland, meadows or gentle chalk hills. In fact, the countryside is everything that isn’t town or city, which is probably why we’re so drawn to it.

These poems selected by Irish poet SeΓ‘n Hewitt explore the countryside in all this variety. There are moments of pure rhapsody with larks singing overhead, alongside encounters with bad weather and poor soil to remind us that it’s not all bliss and beauty.

Together the poems capture the consoling rhythms of the seasons as they are played out in our rural landscapes:

“for as earth
Rolls on her journey, so her little fields
Ripen or sleep…”

from ‘The Land’ by Vita Sackville-West

Whatever countryside suggests to you, we’re sure you’ll be delighted by this beguiling selection.

Poems by Kayo Chingonyi, John Clare, Helen Dunmore, WD Ehrhart, Vona Groarke, Jen Hadfield, SeΓ‘n Hewitt, Claude McKay, Vita Sackville-West and Sara Teasdale.

Cover illustration by Sam Cannon.

My thoughts..

The glory of the countryside is celebrated in this thoughtful selection of poems which highlight the natural beauty of our landscape throughout the seasons. From the starkness of John Clare's Emmonsail's Heath in Winter, the softness of birds in Sara Teasdale's, On the South Downs, the steadfastness of the farmer in WD Ehrhart's The Farmer and the wildness of Shetland in HΓΌm by Jen Hadfield, the  poems cover all aspects of nature in gentle verse which stir the senses and soothe the soul.

All the poems are special in their own way, however, there is a charming lyricisism to this collection which allow a glimpse into a changing world we sometimes take for granted. I think over the course of this troubled time we have all come to appreciate more the beauty of nature, I know I have enjoyed the simple pleasure of walking in our beautiful countryside to help take away the strain of living through a global pandemic.

I have several favourites amongst the collection but one that stands out is a beautiful poem entitled Loch Long by Ardgartan, Argyll by Kayo Chingonyi

"Where the ends of the earth

are the view from a cabin window 

and the past is an old song

nobody knows how to sing anymore..."

Ten Poems from the Countryside is a wonderful anthology of verse which brings into sharp focus  just how important the countryside is to our collective consciousness and well being and also that our glorious landscape is our connection to the beauty of the natural world.

A perfect gift for anyone who loves the countryside and available from Candlestick Press and bookstores.

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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