Thursday 5 October 2023

πŸ“– National Poetry Day 2023/Book Review ~ Ten Poems of Kindness Volumes One and Two from Candlestick Press

Reissued 2023

Kindness can be an underestimated virtue in our increasingly hectic and impersonal world. It is a word that we use most often in our conversations with young children when we tell them to be kind to a fellow creature or a new friend.

These generous poems remind us that kindness can take many forms and that a kind gesture doesn’t have to be either time-consuming or complicated. On the contrary:

“Sometimes a sober voice is enough
to calm the waters & drive away
the false witnesses,”

from ‘Kindness’ by Yusef Komunyakaa

Edited by Jackie Kay and containing two new poems she has written specially for the anthology, this moving selection is allied to a compelling cause. ‘Felix’s Campaign of Kindness’ was instigated by the mother of Felix Alexander, a 17-year-old boy who took his own life after years of online bullying. The pamphlet is dedicated to the memory of Felix and contains the inspirational open letter written by his mother after his death. 

Jackie Kay is one of the foremost poets writing in Britain today. She has published numerous poetry collections and a memoir, Red Dust Road, about her quest to find her birth parents. She was the third modern Makar, the Scottish Poet Laureate.

Included are two special edition postcards featuring poems by Olga Dermott-Bond and ZoΓ« Green, who were the winners in the Kindness Poem Competition.

Pens by Fleur Adcock,Gwendolyn Brooks, Ian Duhig, Sarah Howe, Jackie Tempest,Yusef Komunyakaa, NormanMaxCaig, Sylvia Plath, Rabindranath Tagore,and Kate Tempest.

Donation to Place2Be.

πŸ“– My Review..

I reviewed this pamphlet back in 2017 when it was first published, my thoughts remain the same, it’s a beautiful collection of poetry. I have especially enjoyed reading the two special edition poems Some Words from my Imaginary Friend, Jeff by Zoe Green and small change by Olga Demott-Bond which reiterate both the gentleness and power of small acts of kindness and encouragement.

The notion that we should always be kind to one another is something which, at times, I am afraid that far too many of us forget. And in the hustle and bustle of today's world we so often leave little time for those random acts of kindness which should always be right at the core of our daily lives.

The Ten poems of Kindness reflect so thoughtfully what it means to be kind...

From the poem Kinder by Jackie Kay which urges us to:

" ...Choose to be kind:
Not duplicitous, not two-faced,
Not passive-aggressive, not dishonest,
Not spiteful, not cowardly anonymous,
Have a good grace..."

To the simple beauty of Yusef Komunyakaa's, Kindness

"...When deeds splay out before us
precious as gold & unused chances
stripped from the whine-bone,
we know the moment kindheartedness
walks in..”

Ten Poems of Kindness reminds us that we should look around us and see what's happening - online bullying is a devastating problem, especially when vulnerable are people are stripped of kindness by cruel and unnecessary words which break and shatter lives.

Lucy Alexander's Open Letter to her son Felix, broke my heart into a million pieces.

This moving anthology of poems about kindness is a second volume which beautifully complements Ten Poems of Kindness Volume One, edited by Jackie Kay.

These ten poems were successful in the Kindness Poem Competition in association with Fair Saturday Foundation, and they offer a rich variety of experiences and reflections.

There’s the memory of a school teacher who didn’t like to cross out his students’ mistakes, and a fleeting encounter with a pigeon which calls forth feelings of empathy for a fellow living creature:

“Be kind, and respect its expectations –
it flew through clouds of jewels to you,
powdered sapphire blue, mists of rubies.”

from ‘Be Kind to Pigeons’ by Paul McDonald

The poems remind us that kindness comes in all shapes and sizes – and is often a gesture so small that it takes a poem to hold and keep its meaning.

Poems by Jane Burn, Jennifer Clark, Michelle Diaz, Louise Greig, HM Truscott, Chitra Kalyani, Paul MacDonald, Phoebe Robertshaw, Ali Rolland and Frances Thompson.

Donation to Place2Be.

πŸ“– My Review ..

There’s something really lovely about reading poetry which reminds us to be kind to one another, something that we so often forget as we rush around in our daily lives. It is the small acts of kindness we remember long after the original giver of that kindness has forgotten what difference it has made to us.

The lovely poem Kindnesses by Ali Rolland captures the essence of being kind:

“ Throw some kindness up into the wind
And watch it flutter down like softening rain…”

The Garden of the Heart by Phoebe Robertshaw is such a lovely poem and made me stop and consider the emotional effect of kindness:

“A kind heart is a garden 
Flourishing with vitality
Carefully sowed with the seeds of benevolence,
Every compliment given
Every door opened
Every stranger smiled at
Spouts as a wand of tight green bud…”

I’ve really enjoyed reading both of these lovely poetry pamphlets and can think of no better day to share them than on National Poetry Day 2023. Both would make a perfect act of kindness to brighten someone’s day  instead of a card..

My thanks to Candlestick Press for my copy of these two beautiful poetry pamphlets.

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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