Wednesday 25 May 2022

πŸ“– Book Review ~ Ten Poems about Music : The Yellow Album and The Blue Album from Candlestick Press


Candlestick Press

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

This mini-anthology is one half of our double album of music poems. Musician and poet Kim Moore’s selection beautifully explores what it feels like both to hear and play music.

The poems take us from Tennyson’s eerily echoing bugle to Faisal Mohyuddin’s evocation of a father singing a song his own father taught him in the family kitchen. Music transforms us, and playing an instrument can transform the human body too:

“At the end of your hands, a troop of gymnasts,
who want to twist and twirl, who want to whirl
and dance, to do some mischief in this world.”

from ‘The Pianist at The Grand’ by Jonathan Edwards

The abiding spirit of the selection is the power of music to make its way straight to the heart. As Abeer Ameer writes in her beautiful poem about a reed flute: “all music yearns for home”.

Poems by Abeer Ameer, Emily Dickinson, Jonathan Edwards, Carrie Etter, WS Graham, Hannah Lowe, Edna St Vincent Millay, Faisal Mohyuddin, Kim Moore and Alfred Lord Tennyson.

Cover illustration by Melissa Lhoirit.

Donation to Our Dementia Choir.

πŸ“– My Review...

What a treat it is to open one of these delightful poetry pamphlets from Candlestick Press. The subjects are as diverse as they are wonderful and as I read both The Yellow Album and The Blue Album from this latest collection I realised, once again, the emotional power of poetry. 

The Yellow Album has an eclectic mix of poetry which help to take you into the minds of each of the poets in a uniquely musical way. The music of words drifts over you, some  are quietly introspective whilst others take us to specific places. I enjoyed going to the Concert with Edna St Vincent Millay or practicing the piano with Miss Forbes in Γ‰tudier by Hannah Lowe.

My favourite is  The Reed Flute and I (after Mawlana  Jalaluddin Rumi) by Abeer Ameer

"As the reed flute sings you weep your sorrow;
your heart still beats in the place you left."

Others take us into specific places, such as into her father's kitchen with Faisal Mohyuddin in a poem aptly named, Song, which reminded me of my father belting out Elvis Presley hits in the 1960s 😊

"My father is in the kitchen 
making a morning cup of tea, singing a song 
he first heard when he was a schoolboy..."

The Yellow Album is a perfect accompaniment to The Blue Album but think of them as siblings rather than twins as each is uniquely different in its own way.

Candlestick Press

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

This mini-anthology is one half of our double album of music poems. Musician and broadcaster Cerys Matthews’ lively selection celebrates the power of music in a dizzying variety of ways. Some poems capture how music makes us feel – the irresistible urge to dance is brought vividly to life, for example, and there’s a merry gathering of poets and musicians with assorted instruments. Others explore the emotions that music can stir, as in the poem about listening to a Frank Sinatra record:

“If love is some kind of dissolving,
I wanted to melt into the vibrato of your vocal chords,
to be carried, to be carried in your arms.”

from ‘Frank Sinatra’ by Jehane Markham

This selection spans the genres and the centuries – evidence (if needed) that music has been with us since we lived in caves and that it may well be true that we sang before we could speak.

Poems by Mandy Coe, Hafiz, Adam Horovitz, Michael Horovitz, Jehane Markham, Roger McGough, Kei Miller, Kim Moore, Siegfried Sassoon and Belinda Zhawi.

Cover illustration by Melissa Lhoirit.

Donation to Our Dementia Choir.

πŸ“– My Review...

The Blue Album is another lovely collection with each of the poems sharing a musical theme. Complementing The Yellow Album perfectly, this Blue Album has a lively feel with poems celebrating such diverse subjects as Frank Sinatra in the poem by Jehane Markham and also in The Can-can by Mandy Coe.

One of my favourite poets, Roger McGough kicks of the collection with The Sound Collector, which made me smile 😊

" A stranger called this morning
dressed all in black and grey
Put every sound into a bag
And carried them away"

I know over lockdown I came to rely on music to lift my spirits and enjoyed creating Spotify playlists to suit my mood. Just as music can raise us up, so the power of words can help to enhance our mood. Both these poetry pamphlets, with their pretty covers, would make a perfect gift instead of a card for anyone who enjoys music, or the musical magic of poetry.

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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