Monday 21 November 2022

πŸ“– Review ~ Christmas Stories from Candlestick Press


We all have our own Christmas stories – things that may have happened years ago and that in the telling and retelling have become part of our festive traditions as much as the school nativity play or Rudolph’s red nose.

These entertaining and touching poems encompass all manner of tales. There’s a tipsy step-grandad struggling to carve the turkey, a rediscovered collection of Christmas stamps and a doughty mother leading a troupe of children to cut down a pine tree under cover of dusk:

“I tell my sons these stories in the dark of winter:
our origin myths, borrowed and stolen, a forest
of rootless, ungovernable evergreen trees.”

from ‘Arboreal’ by Linda France

Of course, stories are also where we keep our memories safe, which is why you’ll find moving poems in which times past and departed loved ones are beautifully conjured back into being.

Included is a special edition postcard of the beautiful poem ‘Christmas Present’ by Stephanie Norgate, who was one of the two winners in our ‘Christmas Stories’ competition.

Poems by Abeer Ameer, Panya Banjoko, Kathryn Bevis, Jim Carruth, Linda France, John Freeman, Arjunan Manuelpillai, Helen Mort, Victoria Punch, Kostya Tsolakis, Rory Waterman and Tamar Yoseloff.

Cover illustration by Sarah Young.

πŸ“– My review..

I always look forward to the Christmas poetry publication from Candlestick Press and this year’s collection of Twelve Poems to Tell and Share is particularly beautiful, with a lovely cover, which encapsulates all the wonder of the festive period. This collection contains a bonus postcard with the lovely Christmas Present by Stephanie Norgate who was one of the winners of the Christmas stories competition.

Twelve story poems which all create a lovely Christmas atmosphere, perfectly poised to read one poem on each of the twelve days of festive activity. It’s impossible to single out my favourite as each of the poems have something wonderful to share. 

I found My Father’s Soil by Jim Carruth particularly poignant as it describes that empty chair at the Christmas table, missing the man who shared so much of his carefully tended home grown produce:

Tomorrow, he won’t be at our table
Surrounded by the fruits of all his labours 
To lay out his beloved mash and roast
Watching our sad longing devour it all
His love for us, his loss, his final crop.’

The poem which made me smile was The Homemakers Tale by Rory Waterman

‘God rest ye, merry gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay:
Your wife is making dinner just 
Like every other day -
Watch Gremlins then The Snowman the
The Best Man Holiday.
O tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy 
O tidings of comfort and joy’

There is so much to enjoy in this festive treat and it would make a lovely Christmas gift for anyone who enjoys the festive time and also to send to a poetry loving friend instead of a card at Christmas.

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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