#Review by Lou – Poems to Please by Debbie Milner #DebbieMilner #Poetry #PoemsToPlease #Nature #Humour #UpliftingPoetry #ContemporaryPoetry #Charities

Poems to Please
By Debbie Milner

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Poems to Please

Debbie Milner has written an uplifting poetry book full of humour, great observations about life and nature with proceeds going to 2 charities – The local Foodbank and Hailsham 95.9 FM, a radio station run locally by volunteers, where they call her their resident poet.
I am excited to say that I have reviewed some excellent poems that are fun, uplifting, atmospherically beautiful. First of all, find out what the author/poet says about her book and then my review and finally a bit about Debbie Milner herself.
Thanks to Debbie Milner for getting in touch directly and requesting a review.

Debbie Milner says “During this ever-changing time, in the last ten months, I have put together some Poems to Please to follow my novella last year. Some of the poems are about love and nature and I hope you will find a lot that will make you smile. Writing has been a great outlet in these challenging times. I have enjoyed doing a podcast and two radio interviews and hope to do another one soon. After being chosen for an entry to The Hailsham Festival 2020 Anthology with Coronavirus days, this gave me a real boost.”

Review

Poems to Please


The poems I have read for review – Lost My Glasses, Again – A River Flows – Pigeons Fly are just the tonic as they are uplifting and packed full of nature and everyday humour. There’s something for everyone to enjoy.
I only had time to review 3, but if these 3 are anything to go by, readers of the whole book are in for a real treat!

 

Lost My Glasses, Again has a mix of humour and an experience that many people would be able to relate to, rather in a way that Pam Ayres has in her poetry, with humour and sharp observation.

A River Flows comes complete with a beautiful photograph of the river. The poem also brings the river and its nature alive. It is wonderfully observed with its nature and dark undercurrents, bringing atmosphere, beauty and truth.

Pigeons Fly is a small poem, which is amazingly packed full of life and imagery of homing pigeons and makes you care about them, in its own beautiful way.

About the Author

 I am Debbie Milner, a modern day poet, story teller and author of Poems to Please and Grey Days in Naples, my second Novella, but now with a writing course behind me and lots of creative thinking and encouraging words. I think that having great support is very important.
Amy was my character, who in 1977 goes to be an Au-pair in a very different time from the times we live in now and the era I grew up in. I was born in 1960 and I grew up in a leafy suburb of Surrey. My favourite subject was Anthology at school, story writing and also a love of poems.

My first poem was published in a book in 1995, called Growing Up Edited by Andrew Head and called Teen Girl Blues by Deborah Milner. I mainly write love and nature poems. After my poem Coronavirus Days, was published in the Hailsham Festival Anthology in 2020, I set about writing Poems to Please, which after ten months, has just been published in 2021 on Amazon. Some are in rhyme and some are not, but I hope these modern poems including Lost my glasses,Again!, in a simple and effective way, will make you feel positive and some will make you feel joy. Poems to Please has enjoyed great promotions with ‘shout outs’ throughout the day on local radio. I have also followed this with two radio interviews about the book.
The most exciting thing has been working with a lady in America to publish my poem book on Audible next month.

Before that, I wrote a very raw Novella about being a starstruck teenager in the 1970s.

I hope everyone enjoys my Grey Days in Naples and finds something to make them smile. It just so happens that I did travel to Naples about that time too!
I write with a local group and enter poetry contests and before coronavirus, I helped with a little local news guide on my local Hailsham FM radio station.
Walking in fields by the sea with my little dog is also a love of mine along family and friends and popular music.

 

#Interview by Lou of White Eye of the Needle author/Poet – Chris Campbell @Citizen_Chris @Choir_Press @kenyon_isabelle #Poetry #ContemporaryPoet

Today I am very excited to present to you an interview with Chris Campbell, who, in contemporary poetry, explores human connections, both passing and intimate. The collection was put together in Nottingham and also includes pieces from the former journalist’s time in Bristol, London, Swansea, Glasgow and Gloucestershire, plus visits abroad including a honeymoon in Madagascar and trips to Tignes, France.
In his interview he talks about music, inspiration for writing, wildlife, his former career and more…
With greatest thanks to Chris Campbell for his time and to Isabelle Kenyon for presenting me with the opportunity to interview.

Front Cover White Eye of the Needle

  1. What and/or who inspired you to write poetry?

I wrote one of my first poems as a child in a hotel room. I suddenly thought it was Mother’s Day and that my younger brother and I had forgotten to get anything, so I wrote a poem to my mum on hotel paper. It turned out Mother’s Day wasn’t until the week after. But she still has it framed on her bedside table! I continued to write through my teens and contributed to various anthologies. I enjoyed the process of writing and editing, the downtime and being able to formulate my thoughts and reflect. This also helped me through university, when faced with a lot of life changes. I used to carry around Bob Dylan’s ‘Chronicles: Volume One’, my dad’s ‘The Essential Spike Milligan’ and enjoyed Leonard Cohen’s work. My dad also encouraged me to study the back of record sleeves – lyrics from musicians like Frank Zappa and Eric Clapton. As I got older, I enjoyed the works of Dylan Thomas, ee cummings, WH Auden, and DH Lawrence – who inspired me a lot in my latest collection.

  1. Your title – ‘White Eye of the Needle’ is intriguing, what inspired this title?

The ‘Eye of the Needle’ is a rock formation in Tignes, France. My wife and I met on a ski trip to Tignes and almost had our first kiss inside the landmark; which has a hole through the centre and we had climbed up to. It will always mean a lot to us and we went back a few years later to take more photos and, this time, have a kiss! White refers to the snow – fortunately there was a lot of it that year!

  1. Your poems focus on the natural world intertwined with human emotions, what inspired you to use these as your topics and together and was this a very conscious decision, or was it more organic than that?

Having started as a journalist in my early 20s, I’ve always enjoyed writing about people. I also find nature a wonderful thing to write about, that feeds into a lot of our feelings and actions. The poems in White Eye of the Needle cover a six-year period, and a few different locations during that time, both in terms of where I’ve lived and visited. It has been an organic process, but I often write what I see around me, and this intertwining was perhaps enhanced by lockdown. Whether it’s a walk along the canal by our home, in poem ‘Chimney snorkels’; cardboard sheets being blown across our garden, in ‘Hurdles’; or describing a garden party, in ‘Catch light’, which I wrote while I was enjoying a break in the garden. In the absence of seeing people it can be easier to attribute human emotion to nature, of which I’m lucky to have lots around me despite living in a city centre.

  1. How important is it to you that humans connect with the natural world, since the two meet quite powerfully in your poems?

Countryside
photo by Lou

One thing I noticed during lockdown is how nature seemed to be reclaiming our garden and other outdoor spaces. I’ve been appreciating the wildlife here while spending more time at home. We’ve been in Nottingham for a few years, and before lockdown I spent a lot of time commuting. I grew up near and in the countryside, so have always valued it. As well as writing about my current surroundings, White Eye of the Needle includes poems I wrote when living in other parts of the country, including Bristol, Swansea, London and Gloucestershire, as well as trips abroad. They capture certain moments, whether skiing, away for long weekends, on honeymoon, or in the garden. While I’m not an advocate for needless travel, I do feel it’s important to enjoy new experiences, forming and deepening connections with people and landscapes, whether ones you see every day or for the first time.

  1. When and how did you decide to concentrate your time to writing poetry as opposed to your journalistic career?

pen and paper picI left a national newspaper to move to Bristol with my now wife and to work as a freelance journalist, writing news stories and features mainly covering politics, business and property. I then went into PR a few years ago and still work full-time in the industry. Thanks to less commuting and more hours at home, I felt I was able to dedicate more time to my writing, including editing and putting poems together to form this collection. I was always hoping to release a second collection, but lockdown helped speed up the process. Journalism tended to involve very long hours and it could be difficult to switch off from it. I released my first collection, Bread Rolls and Dresden, in 2013, while a section editor at the Gloucestershire Echo and Gloucester Citizen. PR still involves long hours, but I am now working more of a Monday to Friday job, and I’m able to write first-thing in the morning, in the evening and most weekends.

  1. In a few words, how would you describe your poetry style and your latest book?

Front Cover White Eye of the Needle

White Eye of the Needle is written in free verse and captures moments over a six-year period, both everyday and intimate. It touches on romance, marriage, the birth of a# nephew, passing of a grandad, and recent experiences through lockdown and restrictions, as it seeks to find meaning in places, at a time when we’ve all been forced to slow down and reflect.

  1. If you could pick 3 poems that you would say were your ‘must reads’, what would they be?

I’m particularly interested in Imagism and regularly read the work of DH Lawrence, who has been a big source of inspiration. But I also enjoy a range of styles and admire Dylan Thomas, ee cummings and WH Auden. Lawrence’s ‘Green’ and ‘Snake’ are among my favourite poems, I love his personal and nature pieces. Also, cummings’ ‘now is a ship’, Thomas’ ‘In My Craft or Sullen Art’ and ‘Clown in the Moon’, as well as Auden’s ‘If I Could Tell You’.

  1. Can readers expect further works from you? If so, can you tell us a bit more about this?

I’ve continued to write during lockdown and have started to focus on sonnets. I will be aiming to release a third collection in the future.

Cover White Eye of the Needle

Buy Link: Waterstones 

An Extract/Excerpt of White Eye of The Needle by Chris Campbell @Citizen_Chris @Choir_Press @kenyon_isabelle #Poetry #ContemporaryPoetryExtract

Today I am excited to present you with an extract of the latest poems by Chris Campbell.
Thanks to Isabelle Kenyon for this opportunity. I also have a bit about the author for now, but then look out tomorrow (Wednesday) for a very insightful and highly interesting interview I had with Chris Campbell.

Cover White Eye of the Needle

About the Poetry Collection

White Eye of the Needle, the second book of poems by Chris Campbell, explores human connections, both passing and intimate. The collection was put together in Nottingham and also includes pieces from the former  Journalist’s time in Bristol, London, Swansea, Glasgow and Gloucestershire, plus visits abroad including a honeymoon in Madagascar and trips to Tignes, France.

Extract/Excerpt

Dawn

When exhausted birds have flown away and tweeted their last breath
that’s when i’ll close my eyes and say there’s more to life than death.

For when they call, they call with heart through feathered chest
and as they go, they fly with hope that after song they’ll rest.

and i in bed as next day looms and dawn begins to stir,

think back before this sombre place to sunlit gardens far.

a silent bird that sings no more may have no song to make,

but as i lie in deepened thought, my bitten nails, break.

as once it sang, brought the day and closed it with a verse,

now every time i think of it, my anxiety gets worse.

Take my clothes, my pillow too and place me by the tree

where these poor birds once posed and sang and breathed relief to me.

Trainers

in fields of yellow daffodils

and grass as fine as hair,

that’s where my chest beside you once

grew under torn trainers.

like cats that toy with life,

we chance, pounce and play,

i count the years, and ‘til we stroll again,

all blue skies will feel grey.

Praise for White Eye of the Needle

‘These poems are sparkling with affection. Campbell finds beauty in the everyday, in the
connections to each other and to the land. in a world when we are feeling cut off, these poems
are like a bridge back to some sense of balance. They are celebrations of relationships, places
and of being alive. some of them feel like a home i’ve never been to.’
– David Linklater

‘At a time when the world feels a little darker, White Eye of the Needle invites the reader
to gaze upon a world where “houses rub shoulders”, “the taps of shoes are circling” and
dawn spreads its welcome light “like the oranges brightening seville”. in this tender, wistful
collection, Campbell observes humanity with a sharp eye – where the lockdown poems offer a
relatable and searingly honest depiction of our days transfixed on blinking screens, there is
always the human touch to offer relief in a lemon dress, the notes of ‘Für Elise’, tumbling
hedgerows and the tender simplicity of a shared meal with a loved one. like the flowers that
push through its city gardens, this is a collection that reminds us that it’s the human
connection and the power of the natural world that keep hope alive in a world gone dark.’
– Natalie Ann Holborow

Buy Link: Waterstones 

Front Cover White Eye of the Needle

About the Author

Chris Campbell, born in Dublin, is a former national and regional journalist who worked for newspaper titles in London, Bristol, bath, south Wales and Gloucestershire. Chris has a passion for poetry, writing and travel and has judged young writer competitions in Swansea. he graduated with an MA in Journalism from Kingston University and a BA (hons) in Economic and political Development from the University of Exeter, with a year’s study in Uppsala, Sweden. he currently lives in Nottingham.

#Review by Lou – Blue The Green Sky by Stuart M. Buck by @stuartmbuck @BrokenSpineArts #Poetry #ContemporaryPoetry

Blue The Green Sky
By Stuart M. Buck

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I read this collection of poems in – Blue The Green Sky in one sitting. It grabs you and whisks you on a journey to a different country, and deep into nature and human nature full of universal themes.
Thanks to Alan Parry at The BrokenSpine for gifting me the book and for being in contact through my “Contact” page on my blog to invite me to review and interview. Follow down to find out a little about him
and my review and at a later date, look out for an interview with Stuart M. Buck to discover even more about what makes him tick and what else you can expect…

Blue The Green Sky pic

About the Poet

Blue the Green Sky is the third poetry collection from Stuart M. Buck, and is the second chapbook to be published by The Broken Spine.

Stuart M. Buck is a writer and artist currently living between the UK and Colorado. When he is not creating himself, he runs the fictional online newspaper The Bear Creek Gazette. His art has been featured in several journals, as well as gracing the covers of several books. Stuart likes to cook, juggle, and listen to music. He suffers terribly from tsundoku  —  the art of buying copious amounts of books that he will never read.

Review

Blue The Green Sky picIntuitive and reflective poems about life, death, nature, humanity with a dose of redemption can be found within these poems. They range from humans to cats and dogs to the smallest insects, such as ants. There are 16 short and sharp poems,with masses of emotion; but what seems quite dark on the surface, sometimes has an underlayer of something that shines a glimmer of light and hope and uplifting in a rather punchy way that brings any surreal demeanour, crashing back down to earth in a moment of divine realism.

There is some humour to be found in “Dear Richard” and an apology in “Ants”. There is love in “A Poem About Everything” that is sure to make your heart soar. You can then be whisked off to Prague and anyone who has been there, will recognise it in a sense. This piece of work is lyrical and will feed on your senses.
Quantum is fun as it casts a shape down in words, but also presents so much, humbling in-depth meaning and love for the universe. There are many more poems to feast your eyes on, with their relatable themes and unexpected twists.

These poems that embrace nature and human-nature will wrap and swirl around you as you read in their surrealist wonderment that simply hooks you into reading them all in one sitting, before wanting to go back and dip in and out of it.

Stuart Buck’s acknowledgements are impressive and in a sense, may also give hope to other budding writers, so do check them out at then end of the book.

Buy Link: https://thebrokenspine.co.uk/product/blue-the-green-sky-stuart-m-buck

#Review by Lou – To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre by Victoria Bennett @VikBeeWyld @kenyon_isabelle #Poetry

To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre
By Victoria Bennett

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Poems that are surprisingly uplifting, thought provokingly honest and that evoke peace can be found in ‘To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre’.
Thanks to Isabelle Kenyon for gifting me the PDF copy of the book and for the blog tour invite.
Meander down to the blurb and review to discover more.

frontcoverTSTY

Blurb

These poems are an intimate meditation on love and loss, told by a daughter as she cares for her mother through terminal mesothelioma. The poet invites the reader to be witness to the private moments of dying, from the physical reality of caregiving through to the alchemy of death, telling the story of a relationship between women that is transformed through grief.

Honest, unsentimental, and quietly uplifting.

Review

Telling it how it is when you’ve lost a loved one, is a thread that runs through these poems. They are contemplative and reflective in the quietness that someone dying brings. There is a strength of character that ebbs through the grief that brings an air of honesty, warmth and uplifting peace in the poems. 

All the poems, unsentimentally, tell of how watching and knowing someone is going to die can be. How the medics gather round and how the void begins to materialise. There’s a poem “How To Watch Someone Die,” which gives excellent and sound advice on preparing yourself. These poems are wise and full of experience. This is however not devoid of compassion, there is that in spades.

The weight of loss and watching someone (in this case, a mother) deteriorating in illness is framed well. There is a poem of how bulbs are planted, that is uplifting and also one called “After The War, The Battle Comes” about how your loved one never 100% leaves you as elements are within you. There are others, eluding to something simlar and how they are always on your mind, even though you go and explore somewhere new.

The poems evoke many emotions and many people will be able to relate to something within them and some may also find some comfort. All emotion is stripped back to an honesty of how watching someone dying can be. It shows another side, which is intellegently done, that isn’t all about crying as such or being angry etc. I think for some people. they may find this thought-provoking as each poem cascades from one to another, bound by the threads of watching a loved one die and the aftermath. 

About The Author

VictoriaBennett_HeadshotVictoria Bennett founded Wild Women Press in 1999 and has spent the last 21 years facilitating creative experiences and curating platforms for women to share ideas, stories, inspirations and actions for positive change, including the global #WildWomanWeb movement and #WildWomanGamer.  She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University (2002). Previous awards include the Northern Debut Award for non-fiction (2020), the Mother’s Milk Writing Prize (2017), The Writing Platform Digital Literature Bursary (2015), Northern Promise Award for Poetry  (2002), and the Waterhouse Award for Poetry (2002).

Her work-in-progress memoir, ‘All My Wild Mothers’, was long-listed for the Nan Shepherd Nature Writing Prize 2019 and the Penguin #WriteNow2020 programme.

            Victoria is currently undertaking her MRes in Creative Practice at the University of Highlands and Islands (Shetland), exploring narratives of absence within landscapes of personal and ecological loss. She is a director of The Wizard and The Wyld Ltd, creating immersive playable poetry within video-game platforms. A frequent digital collaborator, she interested in how poetry and new technologies can be used to create meaningful and authentic narratives. http://beewyld.co.uk/

To Start The Year From Its Quiet Centre Blog Tour (2)