My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this anthology
Soil, earth, clay, sod, clod: there’s no shortage of one-syllable words for the stuff that gets behind our fingernails and sticks to our wellies. And it’s strangely enjoyable to say these words out loud – as if they remind us of childhood and sitting in the dirt to make mud pies.
This mini-anthology delights in all things earthy, including those often unseen creatures like moles and worms who live and work underground. There are also poems celebrating the human toil of keeping soil in good order and the satisfaction this brings:
“The sense that we have brought to birth
Out of the cold and heavy soil,
These blessed fruits and flowers of earth…”
from ‘The Diehards’ by Ruth Pitter
As we’re reminded elsewhere, “the soil never sleeps”. These poems recognise good earth as something that’s living and precious, which is why we’re delighted to include a message from the Soil Association about their important work.
Poems by Margaret Atwood, Verne Bright, Carl Dennis, Jacqueline Gabbitas, Adam Horovitz, Katie Hourigan, Yusef Komunyakaa, PK Page, Ruth Pitter and George Szirtes.
Cover illustration by Sara Boccaccini Meadows.
Donation to Soil Association.
📖 My Review...
Soil wouldn't be the first subject to come to mind when reading a book of poetry however, this latest collection by Candlestick Press has enough earthly elements to surprise and entertain. My father was a great respecter of soil - 'finest thing in the world' he would tell me as he prodded lettuce, onions and carrots into the soil to await the magic of growth. He passed this respect onto me as I'm always delighted, after a cold winter, to see my garden come to life, as delicate bulbs start to peep through the soil.
Soil, taken for granted and yet so perfectly described by Adam Horovitz in The Soil Never Sleeps;
"The Soil never sleeps
In its void, gas and waters gather
waiting for thirsty roots to crawl
down motorway tunnels dug by worms..."
Another personal favourite is The Mole by PK Page
"The mole is a specialist and truly
opens his own doors; digs as he needs them
his tubular alleyways..."
Lovely to see the indomitable Margaret Attwood's poem Mushroom take its place amongst the soil and also a beautiful poem simply called Jenny by Kate Hourigan
And this, which sums everything up so beautifully, from The Diehards by Ruth Pitter
"The sense that we have brought to birth
Out of the cold and heavy soil
These blessed fruits and flowers of earth
Is large reward for all our toil."
From its stunning cover, complete with a little mole book mark, this delightful anthology of ten quite different poems shares the love of soil and the natural world and does so in a beautiful selection which make you stop , think, and consider about the world beneath our feet. Ten poems of the Soil would make a perfect Easter gift for any gardener, or lovers of the natural world. It's available to buy direct from Candlestick Press, or a good book retailer.
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.