Wednesday 13 September 2023

πŸ“– Book Review ~ Ten Poems From Cornwall from Candlestick Press


Candlestick Press
August 2023


My thanks to Candlestick Press for my copy of this poetry pamphlet

The skinny and rocky coastline of Cornwall has spawned some invigorating poetry. In these ten poems – including one in both English and Kernewek, or Cornish – we encounter land and sea, wild ponies and a Modernist artist, alongside a hill-top ‘huer’ whose job is to call the fishermen when the pilchard arrive:

“They come, they come, that longed-for shoal,
And his voice goes forth in a welcome roll
Over rock and reef, over lake and land…”

from ‘The Cornish Huer’ by John Harris

The selection sparkles in the vivid Cornish light bringing us moments of beauty and exhilaration – always with the salty tang of sea air.

Katrina Naomi is a poet who grew up close to the sea and now lives in Cornwall.

Poems by Rachael Allen, Charles Causley, Jack Clemo, Ella Frears, WS Graham, John Harris, Katrina Naomi, Pascale Petit, Peter Redgrove and Penelope Shuttle.

Cover illustration by Hazel McNab.

πŸ“– My Review..

It is years since I visited Cornwall but I still remember its sheltered coves, majestic headlands and a coastline rich in maritime history. This collection of Ten Poems from Cornwall has been written by poets who have a connection to this landscape and whose words encapsulate the place and its people.  With so much to enjoy, I particularly liked the imagery in ‘The Cornish Huer’ by John Harris as the inhabitants of a Cornish community wait for that first precious sighting of a shoal of fish..

' ..Heave ho! Heave Ho! The nets are cast,
The shining fish are enclosed at last ..'

Katrina Naomi's Poem for St Michael's Mount  reminded me of my first view of this enigmatic Cornish island, a smaller version to its French counterpart but no less spectacular..

'..I look at you - we all look at you.
I wondered about your accent, your language.
I'd imagined ancient French, military, monastic..'

I associate Cornwall with cream teas and endless sunshine but there is a colder edge to this landscape which is perfectly described in Snowfall in Kernick by Jack Clemo

'..Here with a burly flutter and sting
The snow-blast scampers winnowing..'

I've really enjoyed this brief but beautifully described journey to Cornwall and these ten selected poems are a perfect pick-me-up as we leave summer behind and head into Autumn. The cover design by  Hazel McNab is particularly stunning and deserves a mention 😊

Ten Poems from Cornwall is a perfect gift instead of card for anyone who loves Cornwall.

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 Mountains, Clouds, Walking, Birds, Wine and Happiness. 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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