Saturday 18 March 2023

πŸ“– Book Review ~ Ten Poems about Rubbish from Candlestick Press



March 2023

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


A load of rubbish? These poems are very far from being that! Published in time for Global Recycling Day on 18th March (and supplied with our new brown eco-envelopes), this selection finds that rubbish is far more than merely stuff we don’t want any more.

There’s a poem in which a swing-bin – complete with peelings and old tea-bags – becomes a vivid still life and a moving elegy when a family home is being cleared after a death. Elsewhere, mud-larking explores how what’s been discarded can still give us pause for thought:


“The stones, nails, shoes, this one old mitten;
they all could have some meaning if I listen.”
from ‘Learning to Listen on the Thames Beach’ by Anna Robinson

‘Rubbish’ might once have been a throwaway word, but these days it reminds us how we have cluttered the planet with our leavings – something that is powerfully explored in Carolyn ForchΓ©’s poem of protest.

Poems by Jo Bell, Laurence Binyon, David Constantine, Carolyn ForchΓ©, Lorna Goodison, John Greening, Anna Robinson, David Wagoner, John Wedgwood Clark and Susan Wicks.

ISBN 978 1 913627 09 6

Cover illustration by Hugh Ribbans.

Donation to Surfers Against Sewage


πŸ“– My Review

On Global Recycling Day I am delighted to have had the opportunity to share my thoughts on this lovely collection of Ten Poems about Rubbish. From its ecologically friendly green cover, the brown eco-envelope and the stunning book marker with its picture of a industrious refuse collector there is something to make you stop and consider the subject of rubbish. We all know of the need to do our bit to recycle more and of course, one person's rubbish is another person's treasure and this lively collection of poems brings this very much to mind.

The collection begins with a poignant poem Small Finds by Jo Bell which reflects on the minutiae we leave behind..

"What's left of anyone is the unchosen.
If I could choose, it would be these:
a Belgian bottle opener, a demob trunk
a ruby necklace and  a wooden-handled paring knife."

From the still life of the rubbish bin in Swing Bin by Susan Wicks, 

"Furled white plastic,
last limp flag on a roll,
this bin liner (swing, not pedal)
was painfully separated 
along the perforations provided."

The one that made me smile  was The Apotheosis of the Garbagemen by David Wagner (1926-2921)

..."In luminous coveralls
They follow the easy directions on boxes and apple cores.
Old candy wrappers folded round sweet nothings,
And sacks with their stains on fire
They are coming through hedges, dragging geometry
In a dark clutch of rainbows.."

The final word of the collection goes to one of my favourite poems, Laurence Binyon's The Burning of the Leaves...

"Now is the time for the burning of the leaves
They go to the fire; the nostril pricks with smoke
Wandering slowly into a weeping mist..."

I have been enchanted by these ten poems about rubbish, each one quite special in its own style and format and all equally delightful in content. A perfect gift, instead of a card, for the eco conscious person in your life or as a timely reminder to be more green.





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
#GlobalRecyclingDay








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