Penny Luker is the author of ‘The Mermaid’ a book of short stories and two other children’s books, among others. She also writes for the e-zine ‘All Things Girl,’ http://www.allthingsgirl.com.
Further links to her writing can be found at:
Nature’s Gold, by Penny Luker
(Available from Amazon in both Ebook & Print format)
This is a lovely collection of short well constructed poems covering a variety of themes: betrayal, satire, humour, domestic abuse, getting old, and first love to name but a few. From the betrayal of a wife as she notices the smell of perfume on here husbands shirt to the hard-hitting satire on fox hunting, the author treats her topics with a gentle yet poignant tone.
Amid the joy and sadness of these poems, there are several varied reflections of life, such as being flattered at the hairdressers, but remembering not to give away too many secrets, and then on a more serious note the injustice of how different the lives of children can be depending where they are born, and back again to a more humorous tone, exploring the joys of being a grandparent (though I won’t spoil the ending to that one). I particularly enjoyed some of the more uplifting poems too, such as one about a young man finally getting the opportunity to flee the nest and the birth of a new baby. The author also makes good use of contrast and comparison within each poem when appropriate, especially so in Blue Planet and The Demise of the Country Fox.
Stylistically these are more of a prose style than the traditional rhyming verse, though the author does combine the two most effectively I would say. Most of the poems here tell a story, but again there are several more abstract verses that allow the reader’s thoughts to wander, reflect, and interpret according to their own memories and experience. A delightful collection I shall no doubt be rereading from time to time…
Further works by Penny Luker: click thumbnails for Amazon links..
In trying to expand my reading genres I decided to read and review a book of modern poetry quite recently. My only previous reading experience of poetry beyond those of my school days has been that of the war poets, namely Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen, and more recently, that of friend and fellow blogger Tom Benson, whose works I’ve previously reviewed on here.
Among some of the blogs I follow is that of Dean J. Baker, and having read and often enjoyed a lot of his work (though not always fully appreciated, often having to read through previous comments for some of the meaning – my understanding and appreciation of poetry still being somewhat limited), I thought I’d jump in at the deep end read/review his book, ‘Silence Louder Than A Train’, for no other reasons than the title and liking the cover (possibly something to do with working in the railway industry – I know, totally illogical, and no, the book has nothing to do with trains or the railway). Whilst still being no expert, I did nonetheless enjoy it for the greater part.
(Available in print & eBook formats from Amazon and from Dean J. Baker’s blog)
The title alone is enough to pique the reader’s interest. Who among us cannot remember a time when silence alone didn’t ring in our ears as loud as thunder?
This anthology by Dean J. Baker is as diverse in style as it is in its subject matter. One of the aspects I liked most was the complete absence of predictability; written in two parts, the author writes of love and its tribulations, of the noble and often not-so-noble aspects of the human condition, of the turmoil of the creative process, and of his views and opinions of life and the people and society about him.
In terms of style, in some of the poems there is only the slightest and almost imperceptible homage to rhyme and alliteration, and yet it’s there nonetheless. In others he simply allows the words themselves to speak their meaning, almost in seeming abandonment of traditional poetic verse and structure – and still it works.
If all the reader is looking for in a poetry anthology are the poetic ramblings of someone trying to impress with their command of language or a gently rolling stream of consciousness then this probably isn’t it; but for poignant and thought provoking insight and new ideas, one would be hard pressed to do better than Dean J. Baker’s ‘Silence Louder Than A Train.’
A bold and refreshing approach to modern poetry, one that breaks the rules when necessary and yet conforms when it suites. Highly recommended…
This is the second book of Tom Benson’s that I have a reviewed (see my review of Beyond the Law), and the second time I have been thoroughly impressed, though for very different reasons in this case. To reiterate my previous preface of Tom Benson, he is a prolific writer whose works include a number of novels, short stories, flash fiction, and several poetry anthologies. For further information on Tom Benson, please see his blog at:
Military Matters, by Tom Benson (available as an e-book on Amazon Kindle)
This is a substantial anthology of poetry by author Tom Benson. The poems themselves follow a broadly traditional style and format, covering the life and times of the British soldier during times of modern warfare and terrorism. Set amidst the backdrop of Northern Ireland, the Middle East, and Afghanistan, every poem tells a story, each one unique in its own way. The subject matter covers everything from frontline battle operations to the pride and dedication of those who serve, saddening tales of heroism, love, and its loss, and of loyalty and courage. You’ll not find the glorification of death and war as epitomised by Brooke or indeed the flowing prose of Owen in his vivid accounts of its horror. What the reader will find here are the hard, often tragic and brutal, but always true and honest observations of a man whose marched and trudged in the very same boots and in the same wars as the men and events he portrays in his poems. In comparison to these past writers, I would say Military Matters bears more relation to Owen than to Brooke, perhaps on account of, Like Owen, Tom Benson did indeed live and experience the things he writes about, whereas Brooke’s sonnets were borne more from the hopeful idealism with which Britain entered the first world war.
Tom Benson neither glorifies nor condemns, but with acute poignancy relates the thoughts, feelings, and accounts of a soldier’s life and the job he does. Whilst the author assures the reader that people and events in the poems are largely fictitious, there can be no doubt amongst the lines and verses there are real memories and experiences upon which some of them are based. I doubt if any serving or ex-serviceman or woman could help but be moved, and pause for thought whilst reading through this anthology. Military Matters also presents a unique and heart felt glimpse to the non-military reader of a different world, and one that helps protect and maintain the peaceful one in which we all hope to live and enjoy our lives.
Those readers who have read and enjoyed the works of Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke might well appreciate these up-dated, modern day accounts of war and the military and how they compare.
For further biographical information on Tom Benson and links to his previous and current writing projects see also: