Published May 1st 2008 by Candlestick Press
Star rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
“There is a wonderful exchange between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.”
Synopsis (from the blurb):
Ten Perspectives on the longing and pain, delight, infatuation and lasting happiness that answer to the name of ‘love’.
Perfect for Valentine’s Day, weddings, civil ceremonies, anniversaries – in other words, for anyone in love.
Poems by Christopher Marlowe, Louis MacNeice, Wendy Cope, Stevie Smith, William Shakespeare, Charlotte Mew, Thomas Moore, Miroslav Holub, U. A. Fanthorpe and Jane Holland.
These little ‘instead of a card’ poetry pamplhets have been on my to-read radar for literally years. I think the first time I saw them was in The Tokenhouse in Nottingham, and I thought what I lovely idea it would be to give poems as a gift instead of just a card. I think that idea of having them as a gift, though, is why I never bought one…because it would be a gift for myself!
However, due to an incredible series of events between then and now, I have acquired two of them for free. Jenny Swann who founded Candlestick Press was a judge in a poetry competition I ran recently and at our prize-giving ceremony she bought a bunch of pamphlets, and a nabbed a couple.
I chose ‘Ten Poems about Love’ and ‘Twelve Poems about Birds’ because I’m a sucker for love and birds always make me smile.
So, love. The pamphlet came with a sticker and a beautiful (and big) bookmark, which is to be used for writing your message on. The quality of the card and paper that is used to make these items is so good you feel like you’re holding something precious. Like you’re physically holding poetry in your hands.
The typesetting is simple and clear, but clearly put together with love as it would be if it were a full collection in a book. It starts with an introduction by Jenny, who quotes from Pride and Prejudice where Elizabeth is talking to Mr Darcy about poetry in relation to love. The poems chosen, however, celebrate love for how it keeps us going.
All but two of the poets featured are no longer living, and the poems span across a range of lifetimes, but all still have love in common. They are a great reminder that love exists wherever and whenever you live, and that poetry is a form which is almost perfect for expressing the finer details and the universal feelings present when you’re in love.
This pamphlet introduced me to new poets and new poems that I’d never read before. This occurred with a second poem, ‘Meeting Point’ by Louis MacNeice. The use of repetition in this panders to my love of certain forms, and of repeated phrases in poetry. It’ a poem a could return to and re-read a number of times.
In the centre of the collection we have two shorter poems, both of them from different times, both of them brilliant, simple, but incredibly romantic. Basically, I need to read more Stevie Smith.
Again, the composition and arrangement of these poems has to be commended, because it may only be ten poems, but they are chosen on a number of levels to showcase the various writings on love, but also to prove that love is lasting. There are plenty of names in here that could do with further reading. And the juxtaposition of Shakespeare next to U. A. Fanthorpe’s poem is really worth seeing.
The final poem really does sum it up though, a brilliant choice. I could rename this collection ‘Ten Poems about Love which caused Me to Fall in Love with Love’.
Link to the pamphlet on Goodreads: Ten Poems about Love