Review of 'Rainbow's Orange Book of Poetry' - Lily Lawson
Recently, I've been engaged in trying to come up with a suitable title for Castle Priory Press' upcoming anthology and lots of the discussions we've been having have been about possible interpretations of the words in the suggested titles. I opened Lily's poetry collection to begin reading it so I could review it for the blog tour and immediately I was taken back to those discussions. The opening poem begins thus:
And this sums up everything about writing so neatly. As writers we are constantly on the lookout for new words to express our meaning, always searching for the word that means specifically - not approximately - what we are attempting to convey to our readers. This is what I love about Lily's poetry. The simplest verse is constructed so carefully that it speaks to the reader, touching a part of them at the most basic level and this is something Lily touches on in her introduction. Poetry should speak to us, it should be tied up with our emotions, it should be accessible.
I recently listened to the audiobook of Bernadine Evaristo's 'Manifesto' and in it she discusses the fact that she has never been much of a follower of rules. She likes to test and break boundaries with her writing and 'Poetic Dance' reflects this idea. Every poet is different, each approaches their work in their own unique way. Some follow rules, some break new ground. Ultimately, however, it doesn't matter. It is the poetry that counts, not the way it was constructed and this poem is a beautiful expression of that belief.
'Journey' was a poem that moved me. In my former life as a secondary school RE teacher, I used to talk about death as part of the curriculum for the older year groups. We discussed the ways different cultures view death and the ways people deal with it, whether religious or otherwise. I talked about losing my dad at 19 and explained that whilst of course, I still missed him, I felt I had to be grateful for the time we'd had. I tried to explain this in terms of the fact I'd had the opportunity to say goodbye to him, there had been nothing left unsaid and I'd had almost two decades of unconditional care and love from him. 'So many people don't get that,' I explained, 'and I feel I have to be thankful for what I did have, rather than focusing on the things in my life that we missed. He may not have been there to give me away at my wedding or to meet my children, but I had friends and relatives, including a wonderful father-in-law, who have all at various times and in various ways, stepped in to attempt to fill the gap he left.' Lily's poem sums this sentiment up beautifully, I think.
'Gratitude seeps from my every pore,
for those long gone,
or yet to grace my life,
and most of all for those who walk with me.'
In terms of my writing life, there are so many people, including Lily, who have been incredibly supportive and I'm extremely grateful not only for their support, but also for the phenomenal writing I've been privileged to read over the last few years. It is only a few short weeks until we are fully into the swing of the festive season (I'm desperately trying to avoid mentioning the 'C' word before Hallowe'en) and if you're like me and already thinking ahead to presents, then at a mere £3.99 on Amazon, this would make an excellent stocking filler for the creative in your life (and as the kindle version is 99p, you could treat yourself as well!).
I'll leave you with this thought from Lily herself.
'I bow to the artist,
the poet, the dreamer,
the weaver of words.
I am humbled by your mastery.
I give thanks.'