Wednesday 25 October 2023

πŸ“– Book Review ~ Twenty-One Poems about Wonky Animals from Candlestick Press


Candlestick Press
September 2023

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this pamphlet

We use the affectionate word ‘wonky’ when things aren’t quite right but what’s wrong seems rather endearing.

These poems are about creatures who are slightly awry. Some are beloved pets who are vulnerable and in need of human care. Others are just slightly odd in themselves – a hornet, a frog, a mole. They may be more difficult to love, but each is celebrated here in its own particular splendour:

“The heart of a snail can be anywhere in her body, beating in secret. Such a sweet heart, never complains, but explains the world in little steps.”

from ‘Snailology’ by Nora Nadjarian

The anthology demonstrates that every wonky creature – great, small, ugly, beautiful – also has something to teach us about our own human frailties.

Included is a special edition postcard featuring a poem by Di Slaney.

Poems by Sophia Argyris, Anna Barker, Kathryn Bevis, Carole Bromley,Jane Burn, Linda France, Victoria Gatehouse, Tania Hershman,Leah Larwood, Rob Miles, JLM Morton, Nora Nadjarian, Caleb Parkin,Mel Pryor, Amber Rollinson, Clare Shaw, Johnnie Sparkle, Hannah Stone and Sarah Ziman.

Cover illustration by Jane Burn.

πŸ“–My Review..

Looking back I think that all my animals have had something of the ‘wonky’ about them which has made them all the more endearing. They’ve all had their special quirks which have made them unique and lovable in my eyes. However, I’ve never thought about the other creatures who inhabit the world alongside us and this anthology has proved to be as enlightening as it is endearing.

The opening poem ‘Fox names the World’ by Sophia Argyris gets the anthology of to a fine start with the view of the world through the eyes of a fox travelling through the countryside at night:

‘Fox calls the night solace, calls the stars home-light
Calls the clouds her fickle-friends…’

‘What the Frog Taught Me About Love’ by Clare Shaw, made me smile, re-imagining these much maligned creatures as capable of love:

‘Firefly burns very bright for it.
Frog just holds on. Tight…’

Reading ‘To Listen for a mouse’ by Rob Miles made me stop and consider these silent creatures in a whole different way:

‘..A mouse
Must calculate the weight
And tension of it’s very soul..’

There’s a lovely extra poem tucked into the pamphlet - Rehomer’s Prayer by Di Slaney is really lovely and one I shall refer to often as it shows such humanity towards animals who are in need of love and care.

This super anthology of twenty-one poems about some rather special animals has all the qualities I have come to expect from one of these finely produced poetry pamphlets and having twenty-one to enjoy is all the more satisfying. Such a splendid variety really does have something for everyone and is the perfect gift ‘instead of a card’ for all the animal lovers you know would appreciate a rather special anthology about wonky animals.

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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