Wednesday 29 May 2024

πŸ“– Book Review ~ Ostriches : Ten Poems about My Dad by Jeanette Burton

Candlestick Press
May 2024

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this pamphlet

In this uplifting sequence, poet Jeanette Burton takes us on a lively journey to meet her dad: a man whose passions range from DIY to Only Fools and Horses. There are memories of fractious father/daughter driving lessons contrasting with moments of discovery, such as unearthing one of the entertainingly deadpan love letters he wrote in the 1960s while courting his wife-to-be.

The title poem evokes a more recent car journey in which the poet’s dad is a reluctant passenger who cannot resist tinkering with something on the dashboard. But there’s a moment of shared joy as he’s persuaded to look up and out of the window:

“look, there’s ostriches in the field over there.
He finally looks, really looks, sees this swagger
of flightless birds taking in the world around them,
the fence, the road, the cars, the people inside…”

from ‘Ostriches’ by Jeanette Burton

Just like ostriches, we don’t always pay attention to the things that are close to us. These delightfully tender poems remind us that all dads have idiosyncrasies that we should notice and treasure – things that make them unique and infinitely dear.

Cover illustration © likovaka/Shutterstock.

πŸ“– My Review..

It is said that we don't appreciate our parents until they are no longer with us and in many ways this strikes true especially in reading these rather poignant, and decidedly quirky poems written by the poet about her dad. So many of them reminded me of my own dad who was warm and wise, exasperating sometimes, but greatly loved and sadly missed.

I have enjoyed reading the ten poems which make up this collection. Some made me smile, especially:

'If you have  a treasured possession that's seen better days'  

bring it along to the repair shop. We rummage
for heirlooms, find dad gathering dust on the sofa,
take him off to the famous barn where Jay Blades
greets us with a nod and a grin...'

The strange concept  'Poem in which my dad's ear is haunted by the ghost of Tutankhamun made me ponder a while:

So it was that this strange tinnitus was labelled a visitation -
Tutankhamun's spirit had hitched a ride inside my dad's ear,
curled genie like into his ear canal...'

The collection is a lovely idea, obviously very personal to the poet, her memories are special so all credit to her for sharing and making the poems appear as if they belong to all of us, whilst at the same time evoking the essence of a dad who is very special to her, just like all dads are special to the rest of us.

Beautifully presented, as always, and with a quirky cover and end papers, Ostriches : Ten Poems about My Dad would be perfect 'instead of a card' for Father's Day which this year is Sunday 16 June 2024.

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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