My poetry book, After the Rain, has had its first two reviews! 🙂
Here is Diane Denton’s review from Goodreads.
I’ve been following Martin Shone’s blog, taken pleasure, been reassured and inspired by his poetry for many years. I keep his first two collections close by and often pick them up to randomly open and be guided by as I might my Little Zen Companion. I expected After the Rain to be as companionably soothing, sensory and enlightening. And so it is, once more inhaling and exhaling poetry in caressing arrangements of words, light as a feather while defying gravity, rising out of Martin’s intuitive observations and perceptive reflections, as well as his experience, imagination and belief that, as I wrote in my review of his Silence Happens, “beauty, peace and love are always available”.
Just a few pages into After the Rain, I had to stop and take a deep breath before reading further—for the best of reasons. I realized I was witnessing a favorite poet’s maturing, strengthening, and deepening. He was still offering the music of his soul for me to “sing along”, but, also, a new complexity of rhythms, sounds and understanding. Without losing any of his writing’s freshness and delicacy, his lyrical musings had become more inspired and inspiring, confident and courageous, distinct and layered: within its slender whole/there are worlds within worlds within worlds (Worlds Within Worlds, Page 118). Another of the poems (As a Leaf Falls, page 92) could well describe the effect of reading After the Rain: As it falls/and as it nears/a speck of shadow/can be seen/increasing in size/upon the earth/ and when it settles/shadowless/it frees light.
It frees light. Martin’s poetry frees light, like a leaf falling, like many leaves falling, floating, spiraling, influencing shadows as it offers different views of brilliance. It illuminates life’s branches reaching inside and out, up and down, strong and willowy and broken, and is another sound in nature, as delicate as the finest silk, a cacophony of such minuteness, that settles upon all things (Upon All Things, Page 39), begging us, as nature does, to return to tree’s soul/to nourish new life/buds of peace/to shine/to release/and to soak/for us to live and breathe.
Martin’s poetry often reminds me of that of the Victorian poetess Christina Rossetti, because of its inclination to let nature—weather, birds, insects, flowers, trees—direct its metaphors and meaning. There are so many poems in this collection that stood out as favorites for me, but the one that I return to more than any other is As Bluebells Distract My Mind (Page 57), too long to quote in full here, so I offer its last two lines:
How can I write anything to compare with this magic
therefore I regard the distractions around me and put down my pen.
After the Rain offers a sublime invitation to live and breathe through all the senses, contemplation, conscience, the heart’s joys and sorrow, spiritual reflection, and, especially, magical distraction, which is, after all, the poet’s best muse and his audience’s best reason for attending to what he creates.
Here is Mary Beddows’s review
Beautifully written, and very powerful. I was given this book as a gift, and thoroughly enjoyed delving into its wonderful contents. After a stressful day, I open it and find peace. I highly recommend giving it a try!
Diane is an author and artist. Two of her published works are A House Near Luccoli and To A Strange Somewhere Fled. Her latest work to be published very soon is Without the Veil Between. Anne Bronte: A Fine and Subtle Spirit.
Thank you all for reading 🙂