When Laura Lyndhurst was recommended to me as a poet, I chose ‘October Poems’ over this collection as, being Welsh, I didn't think I’d have much of a connection with Thanksgiving. I was wrong. Having devoured her first poetry collection, and then her novels written so far, I embarked on the journey that is Thanksgiving Poems And Prose Pieces.
A lovely book of poems and small prose pieces, all commendable but, obviously, I have my favourites, that may or not correspond with yours. The book was put together from writing prompts about Thanksgiving, given to an English poet, living in England and presumably the writing involved research, as well as her own life-experiences. I dare say it will be taken up by an American audience with relish.
In one of my favourites, “A Place At The Table,” the poet explores the growth of a well established family and the fact that a family is sometimes added to by marriage, not always smoothly, and maybe frictions have to be ironed out. Lyndhurst explores this with a perception, maybe personally experienced, maybe imagined but expertly observed.
“A Toast To Thanksgiving,” another favourite, is cleverly written as a toast and could be (will be?) used as a toast before eating, in the future. It shows the poet’s many styles and ease of changing between styles.
In “Mash ‘n Grab,” Lyndhurst introduces us to the sheer panic of food preparation during the morning of Thanksgiving. Given the prompt of, “Who ate all the mashed potatoes,” the poet takes an unexpected route (as usual) and speeds us through the morning like a steam train approaching the station called ‘the hour of sitting down to eat.’ I Was certainly exhausted by the end of the poem and felt as if I’d prepared the meal myself.
So, to sum up. I have my favourites, you may argue. The book is not just for Americans and all will appreciate it and it gains five stars from me as I enjoyed it immensely.
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