Monday 25 March 2024

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

March 2024
Candlestick Press

My thanks to the publishers for this pamphlet

Most of us live in cities, and there is a rich tradition of poems about their tireless hustle and bustle. In Jessica Mookherjee’s lively selection, we find poems that explore the hectic rhythms of day-to-day life in a city, as well as the rather more mysterious character of a city at night – a place where streetlights and “drunken rooftops” create a dreamscape in which anything might happen.

Ever present is the sense that a city never stops:

All afternoon labouring geese fly over the city. Cars hoot,
sirens fugue. Beneath bank towers, a statue shifts. A man,
blue clown, blows two-note whistles for a living.”

from ‘Commerce, Madrid, 2012’ by Carola Luther

This mini-anthology transports us to cities real and imagined in a delightful kaleidoscope that shimmers and shifts at each rereading.

Poems by Suzannah Evans, Andrew Fusek-Peters, Kapka Kassabova, Carola Luther, John McCullough, Jessica Mookherjee, Meryl Pugh, Roger Robinson, James Tate and Sara Teasdale.

Cover illustration by Clare Curtis.

My Review

My home town nestles between two major north west cities, Liverpool and Manchester lie approximately twenty miles in opposite directions. Whilst very different, both cities offer major attractions which appeal at different levels and I think this is what comes across in this collection of ten poems about the vibrancy of cities around the world and their effect on those who pass through them whether they be city travellers or city dwellers.

The collection begins with an ethereal view of New York :

From The Lights of New York by Sara Teasdale

"The Lightning spun your garment for the night
Of silver filaments with fire shot thru
A broidery of lamps lit for you
The steadfast splendour of enduring light "

I particularly enjoyed the diverse nature of :

From Last Night, I Saw the City Breathing by Andre Fusek-Peters

Last night  I saw a city starving.
Snaking avenue smacked her lips
And swallowed seven roundabouts!
Fat office blocks got stuffed with light
And gloated over empty parking lots."

There is something very different about a city at night :

From City at Night by James Tate

The blue-black plumes of the fountain
parched my yearning , and  a tuft of cellophane
clings fondly to my foot like a diadem"

Ten Poems about Cities is a lovely anthology by ten very different poets with each poem capturing both the mood and the diverse nature of a city from day-time to night-time. There is much to observe in an ever changing landscape in places which never really sleep. This latest pamphlet is the perfect addition to the vast amount of poetry anthologies on offer from Candlestick Press and as always it is simply perfect to give, instead of card, to someone who lives in, loves or just enjoys reading about cities, especially when  each poem transports you to another place from the comfort of your armchair.

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.

Twitter/X @poetrycandle


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