Review – J.M. Preston’s The Great Poem Book
I’m a big poetry fan and am always interested to try new writers as I come across them so the title of The Great Poem Book attracted me, purely for the reason I didn’t know what I was going to get, other than poetry.
What I got, it turns out, is free-verse poetry on a variety of subjects. I knew immediately that the author was not UK based as there was a distinct “feel” about the work that meant it could only be Australian, and not just because of the mention of kangaroos in one poem. I can’t quite put my finger on it though, there was a heat, a dustiness to the farm and countryside poems that you don’t get from the more pastoral lands and the city based poems all spoke to me of skyscrapers and modernity. Those two things so close side by side are uniquely Antipodean to me.
The writing too is as straightforward as you would expect from an Australian. It is not overly florid or sentimental but, in saying that, the over-riding thing that came through in the poetry for me was a sense of family. These works are filled with personal memories, whether stated or not, and they document the hopes and dreams of a man for his future as he reflects upon his past. Some of the poems are full of regret, like A Dream, or unbearably sad, like Nobody’s Child, while others like Brighten are full of love. I get the feeling that something may have happened to make seizing the day and holding on to what you have a priority in Preston’s life. There is a thankfulness, a gratitude and a pride in those around him that leaves you with a warm glow having finished the book.
If you’re looking for formula poetry that rhymes and scans, or even descriptive poetry that paints visual pictures in your head, this is not that book. This is the poetry book that sparks memories and nostalgia of your own and gives you hope.
**** 4 STARS!!!