Book review by Dale Harcombe
Sometimes it can be difficult to be a committed Christian and also be respected by the secular world for writing craft. Andrew Lansdown can lay claim to being a Baptist pastor, an education officer in prisons, a tutor and also one of Australia’s most respected poets, His poems have won awards and been published in many of Australia’s leading literary magazines and newspapers.
Any new Andrew Lansdown book of poetry is always a cause for celebration. His newest collection of poems collection spans 35 years of fatherhood. I particularly liked: These Gifts, End of Day, Home, Paper Wasps, Freedom and I felt the regret and distance in Aftermath and my absolute favourite Lansdown poem Boat. Into Darkness is another favourite here.
Andrew Lansdown has the capacity to tenderly capture the small moments of everyday family life without reducing them to sentimentality in such poems as Binoculars, Confinement, Mowing, After a Storm, Dialogues with my Daughter, and Poised on a Premonition, to mention a few. I could go on and on. There are so many poems to recommend in this book. Even though I have read a number of these poems before in other volumes of his poetry, it is like coming upon a familiar friend to read them again here gathered around this unifying theme. Some of them deal with the Fatherhood of God and the experience of being a child of God as Andrews’ own experience of being a father.
To my mind poetry books are not meant to be devoured in a hurry. They are to be read, re read and savoured which is exactly what I have been doing with this book. Anyone who loves imagery and poetry based on everyday life will gain a lot from reading and re-reading this collection. It has the capacity to help us to remember to delight in the small moments. This collection is a joy. It is not hard to see why Andrew Lansdown is such a respected name in Australian poetry scene, while his Christian faith shines through his poetry.
Dale writes fiction and poetry. Her latest novel is Streets on a Map is currently available as an E book. She has also written children’s books, bible studies, Sunday school material, devotionals, and articles about marriage, home and Christian living. She is currently at work on a new novel, tentatively titled Sandstone Madonna and some new poems. You can find out more about Dale from her website www.daleharcombe.com or her Write and read with Dale blog