Paul Clifford, administrator at The Involvement Centre
If ever a book deserved the award for ‘The Perfect Title’ surely that accolade must go to a new compilation of poetry Much More Than Words.
Indeed its very title describes comprehensively the diversity of the treasures to be discovered within its covers.
This volume of carefully crafted poems, interspersed with prose and enhanced with well-chosen images, is the second collection produced by The Involvement Centre Kilkenny and the first in a joint venture with The Recovery College.
But before we dip into its pages, here is a question:
Does anybody know for certain who first said “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”?
Apparently it was Aristotle, that wily philosopher from Ancient Greece. But whoever uttered that clever little phrase it most certainly could be applied to this beautiful miscellany of verse, Much More than Words.
This book is a testament to the passion with which the writers approach a diverse range of topics: love and loss, life and death, homelessness and dependency, the environment both cherished and plundered, youth and mortality, freedom and constraints.
A treasury such as this is also a declaration that poetry itself has the power to move and confront us.
One of the contributors helps us to face the challenges of the current restrictions. Another poem brings us face to face with how we are mistreating the safe harbour of this one fragile planet on which we live.
But there is also humour and gratefulness and the joy of unexpected moments.
Most of all, when you dip into the pages of Much More Than Words you will be faced with the ordinary things we all meet in our day to day living. But you may see them in a new light. Some poems help us to view the friendships we have and help us to appreciate them more: another will encourage us to value that most precious commodity — time.
Booker Prize-winning author Roddy Doyle, in his contribution to this book, states that writers must be willing to sit by themselves for long periods of time and face the challenge of being alone.
The writers, whose words grace this wonderful collection, have dug deep and out of that well of seclusion, with only pen, paper and word processor, and have revealed us to ourselves. These poems will speak differently to us at various times. Some poems within the pages of this beautifully produced collection will act as mirrors in which we can glimpse a part of ourselves.
Elizabeth Bishop, a Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry in the 1950s, stated that ‘poetry was the particular way that the world could be talked about only in verse’. The writers whose words appear between the covers of this book have achieved just that.
Many of these poems required courage to write, but our own lives are enriched by their reading. Indeed they deserve to be read and re-read. Each time we approach them they may reveal little hidden gems and nuggets of wisdom.
This is not a book of poetry to just grace your bookshelf. This book should in time have a well-thumbed cover, pencil marks highlighting words and phrases that mean something to us and pages with the corners folded down to indicate much-loved poems to which you will return again and again.
Much More Than Words (price €10) can be purchased at the following Kilkenny outlets: Bargain Books, The Butterslip; Khan’s Bookshop, James’ Street; The Book Centre, High Street.
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