Thursday, 27 February 2014

Book review : Exploring the Depths: Poems


Book review : Exploring the Depths: Poems, edited by Janette Fernando

Published by Poetica Christi Press


Reviewed by Dale Harcombe

This is the third poetry book I have read this year and I found more poems that appealed to m in this collection than in either of the other two. This is interesting, when you consider that the other two were The Best Australian Poems 2013 and The Best Australian Poems 2012. Twenty five poems in this anthology were either winning poems from the competition run in 2013 with the theme Exploring the Depths or extra poems chosen by the independent judge. The remainder of the poems which bring the total number to around eighty were chosen by a committee of poets.

Although the initial starting point for each poem was the same, the topics and issues covered are as varied as the poets themselves.  There were so many poems I enjoyed in this collection by a number of poets. Interestingly in this collection there were many more poems written by women than by men.

This is a collection to savour slowly. Some of my favourites were: Oh Hold Me, 1933, Leaving Warrnambool, After the Rain, Of a Photograph, Snow Gum, Immobile, Release, The Dawning, Enduring Love, Guildford Plateau Poplars, La Nuit Blanche, Death of Cold, Winter Solstice, Anon, A Life, Black Dog, (the Winning poem) Nothing but Time, Underwater (winner of the Francis Webb Award,) Until Death, Slow Dancing, Ascending into the Depths, and Jacob and Esau. On another read through I could probably go back and pick out just as many more other poems that pleased me with their imagery, expanded my thinking or in some way touched a chord in me.

This collection explores the depths of many and varied life experiences. You'll find such topics as depression, loss, nature, retellings of biblical stories, everyday life, football, doubt and knowing God. Despite some sad topics this collection is anything but depressing. Rather it is uplifting showing the hope that can uphold a person even in dark times.
A smattering of black and white photographs adds to the attractive presentation of this collection. I am thrilled with the beautiful photo of a jetty over the water and the rising sun that illustrates my own poem Grief.

9 comments:

  1. Hi Dale. Thanks for your review. This does indeed sound like a delightful and thought provoking poetry book. I'm thinking of submitting a poem for Poetica's current competition "Homecomings" so its encouraging, and a bit daunting, to see what a great collection Exploring the Depths is. Wonderful that you had a poem in this volume paired with a such a beautiful photo. Congratulations :)

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  2. Wow they're early announcing this years competition then. It doesn't usually happen till August. Where did you find that? I didn't see it on their site. You should definitely enter, Jeanette.

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    1. Oh dear, I just realised I mixed up competitions (blush). I'm thinking of the Taber competition which closes shortly. (I'm going to blame it on an incipient migraine - sigh). But I will keep an eye out for the Poetic competition. Thanks Dale.

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    2. No worries. I didn't know about the Tabor one so that's something I learnt.

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  3. You girls impress me with your knowledge of poetry. I cannot write poetry except that I always write a melody and harmony that accompanies it. The words and music just come together. So maybe that's accepted as poetry? I have put mine on a CD.

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    1. Hi Rita
      Sounds like poetry to me :)

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    2. Of course it is Rita. Sounds lovely to have the skills to write melody as well.

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  4. Dale, congrats on your poem being included in this collection! It's great to have a poetry book recommendation on our blog :)

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  5. Thanks Narelle. Since poetry is my other love as well as fiction you're likely to get another poetry review from me some time. I have a couple of poetry books here to read.

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