Friday, 14 November 2014

Review: 'The Twelve Poems of Christmas V6' selected by Carol Ann Duffy

The Twelve Poems of Christmas (Volume Six)I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Jenny Swann of Candlestick Press last week and she was kind enough to give me a copy of The Twelve Poems of Christmas, selected by Carol Ann Duffy. As the title clearly states, this is a small bundle of twelve Christmas poems and I not only enjoyed reading the poems but also the thought behind them.
The Twelve Poems of Christmas (Volume Six) is the latest in our series of Christmas poems chosen and introduced by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. This year's poems include some favourites and some spectacular new work (including a new poem by Carol Ann Duffy). As she herself writes, "I hope you find the poems full of surprises, delights and food for thought and discussion around the table."
Includes poems by Dannie Abse, Carol Ann Duffy, Christina Rossetti, Robert Southwell and Kit Wright.
Before I launch into reviewing the poems, I want to share some facts about Candlestick Press with you. Jenny herself founded Candlestick Press when she found that it was impossible for her to find an original and personal present for her husband. What she now does is create poetry collections for the holidays and centered around themes such as love or mothers. These small collections are meant as presents, which is what makes them unique. Together with the collections you get an envelope and a bookmark and they're meant to be sent off to a loved one or a friend. I already have two or three people in my head who I know would absolutely love to receive something like this. It is a way of both joining in with the Christmas cheer while also giving something truly interesting and intimate.

Now, on to the poems. I really enjoyed the mix between "classic" and "contemporary" poems. Some of the poets I knew because I have studied them, such as Christina Rossetti and Robert Southwell, but a lot of the modern ones were a pleasant surprise to me. There is a good variety between Christmas-related themes. Some of them focus on Christianity, whereas others take a personal or historical approach. Some of my favourite poems were by a pint for the true shepherds by Helen Mort, which was extremely funny, and Christmas Eve 1969 by Andrew Forster, which was very recognizable in some ways. By selecting a range of different types of poems, Duffy makes sure that there is something for everyone in this collection.

I think the main thing that recommends this collection is the love with which it is created. The booklet is exquisite and the paper is of great quality. Together with the envelope, this will clearly make a beautiful present. The care with which Duffy picked the poems is clear, as is the care and love Candlestick Press put into this volume. I didn't know whether to rate this the way I do with novels and collections and decided to just go for it.

I give this volume...

4 Universes.

I think this is a great volume! The Twelve Poems of Christmas has a poem for everybody and is sure to make a beautiful present for friends or family members. It is something unique and different and is sure to brighten up someone's Christmas for you.

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