Wednesday, 3 August 2022

πŸ“– Ten Poems about Swimming from Candlestick Press

Candlestick Press

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this pamphlet

There’s something at once elemental and child-like about moving through water – whether we paddle like a dog or can manage an elegant crawl.

These delightful poems explore the many joys of swimming in pools, rivers and oceans. We travel all the way from a child learning to swim at home on a piano stool to a swimmer in a public baths which become suddenly splendid:

“the pool spread like a sunken ballroom,
marbled with the winter sun and here,
the deep end’s edge
where I hang breathless,”

from ‘What I Think About When I’m Swimming’ by Hannah Lowe

Swimming is a pleasure and a privilege, and these poems remind us that when we take to the water it is not just our bodies that are changed.

Poems by Vievee Francis, Paul Henry, Ranjit Hoskote, Hannah Lowe, Nicholas Murray, Katrina Naomi, Jay Parini, Katherine Pierpoint, Stevie Smith and Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch.

Cover illustration by Sara Boccaccini Meadows.

πŸ“–My Review..

I don't recall ever seeing a poetry collection dedicated entirely to the subject of swimming but this one is very welcome particularly as my review coincides with the current enthusiasm for aquatics at the Commonwealth Games. This collection of ten poems about swimming reiterates our love for water, we are an island nation after all, and surrounded by water, although wild swimming is something to be done with extreme caution.

What I think About When I am Swimming by Hannah Lowe reminded me of hours spent in a swimming pool, quietly moving through the water and having the chance to relax from niggles and worries..

" I only hear the water babble in my ear..."

No poetry collection about swimming would be complete without Stevie Smith's Not Waving But Drowning, originally published in 1957, it is every bit as contemplative today as it was 64 years ago..

" Nobody heard him the dead man,
But still he lay moaning :
I was much further out than you thought
Not waving but drowning"

Swimming delights the senses, be it wild swimming in lakes and rives, or splashing about in a pool on holiday or even, ploughing up and down the lanes of a gym club swimming pool. There's a sense of freedom and yet for others there is a sense of loss as in Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch's evocative poem Swimming as she can no longer enjoy swimming and misses the freedom of it..

" How can I forget the evening the stars slung a net over the sky, and the sun slid into the sea like a coin in slow motion- my last memory of swimming

Beautifully presented, as always, and with a lovely collection of imaginative poems, Ten Poems about Swimming is the perfect addition to Candlestick's repertoire of poetry pamphlets. Perfect for reading on a summer afternoon by a swimming pool, or instead of a card for a summer birthday or anniversary.

Candlestick Press is an independent publisher based in Nottingham, UK. We’ve been publishing poetry pamphlets since 2008 not only for people who already love poetry, but also for those who will love it but perhaps don’t know that yet. Our ‘instead of a card’ pamphlets make an ideal alternative to a mainstream greetings card and are a small gift in their own right. They have matching envelopes and bookmarks left blank for your message, and are excellent companions on journeys or for a bedtime read. By supporting us, you help an independent press and our supported charities at the same time as treating yourselves, your friends and family to some wonderful poems.

Twitter @poetrycandle

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