Thursday 23 November 2023

πŸ“– Book Review ~ Christmas Walk : Twelve Poems for Rosy Cheeks


Candlestick Press
September 2023

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this pamphlet

The antidote to festive stodge and too much television, a Christmas walk has become as traditional as turkey and crackers. Whatever the weather, we don hats, scarves and boots to venture outside. The point is to crunch over snow, stamp through puddles or just to breathe the different air – all while sharing time with loved ones.

In these twelve poems – the winners in our seasonal competition – we experience everything from a holly-gathering expedition in a country lane, to a beach in Australia where “the sand is white as snow”. Over and again comes the idea that a walk can be a pilgrimage, sparking memories and a sense of the abiding presence of the past:

“I once walked up the lane with my children
by moonlit snow, power lines down – in the deepest dark
they had ever known; we made a small hand-held line…

from ‘A low owl at Christmas’ by Valerie Bence

Poems by Bill Adair, Valerie Bence, Jane Burn, Martyn Crucefix, Kerry Darbishire, Marie-Louise Eyres, Annie Kissack, Aoife Mannix, Charlotte Oliver, Penny Sharman, Giles Watson and Miriam Wei Wei Lo.

Cover illustration by Jenny Hancock

πŸ“– My Review..

There is nothing more special than a Christmas walk especially if there is a covering of snow on the ground, experiencing those muted sounds which seem to enclose you in a magical world. The twelve lovely poems in Christmas Walk describe the sights, sounds and sensations of walking off the Christmas excesses and bring a sense of comfort and joy. None of the poems disappoint, some are poignantly about loss, others are reminiscent of times past, a couple of poems focus on nature and there’s even an Australian beach scene.

Intimate Pavements by Bill Adair is a nostalgic look back at a childhood Christmas:

“..This is the house of my granny’s Christmas shortbread.
The walls look the same, but different windows 
Have allowed my memories to scatter.
New family. New recipes..”

I loved Annie Kissack’s lyrical poem Winter Gathering:

“..Here we go gathering sticks and stems
Endless fronds in frozen hands.
Here we go gathering half the lane
On a cold and frosty morning..”

So many lovely poems to enjoy and as added bonus each of the twelve poems in Christmas Walk : Twelve Poems for Rosy Cheeks are the recent winners of a Candlestick seasonal competition and whilst each poem is different the theme of Christmas comes across loud and clear. The poetry pamphlet would be perfect as a Christmas stocking filler for anyone who appreciates a diverse collection of poems or instead of a card  and something different to send in the run up to Christmas.

A shout out to the talented cover designer for a beautifully festive cover, its cheery robin and pastoral country scene are perfect for the festive season and compliment the poems perfectly.

About the Publisher

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.

X @poetrycandle

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