There are certain times of year that lend themselves more to poetry, that inspire and evoke feelings of joy, happiness, kindness, loss, despair, the whole gamut of human emotion really. In her latest book, author Orna Ross has written twelve poems for deep mid-winter. ‘The hibernal solstice, the darkest day of the year, has always been powerful metaphor for poets … the day when the hold of darkness loosens, when light and warmth are … beginning their slow return.’

This period also symbolises a time to rebirth, renew, reconnect and rejoice – and Ross has divided her poems into sections under these titles in the book. All of these themes are honoured in different cultures – Jewish Hannukah, Hindu Makara Sankrati and Christmas, of course, among them.

The last section of three poems, ‘Oran Mor’, ‘Coming To’ and ‘Christmas Rain’, was, for us, the strongest, especially ‘Oran Mor’, from the Irish Creation Myth, which, with its lovely imagery, resonates. It is probably our favourite among Ross’s poems. If we had one tiny gripe though, it’s the title: we wouldn’t have called it Poetry for Christmas, simply because it’s so much more than that. Still, that is minor.

Ross’s volume is a great present for a loved one, a thoughtful gift and a perfect stocking filler. A little bit of lyricism goes a long, long way after all, especially at this time of year.

And so, in ending, it’s just left for us to wish that the last weeks of this year be wonderful, mindful and kind to you. And that 2020 brings happiness and joy to us all.

Happy reading. Happy everything, The Literary Shed


Poetry for Christmas and other beginnings | Orna Ross | Font Publications | 4 December 2019 | paperback original |

ORNA ROSS is an award-winning writer, an advocate for independent authors and other creative entrepreneurs, and ‘one of the 100 most influential people in publishing’ [The Bookseller]. She is Founder–Director of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) and The Creativist Club. When not writing, she’s probably to be found with a book.

Acknowledgements: This review is published as part of the virtual book tour – many thanks to lovely Anne Cater of Random Things Tours and to the publisher for sending us a review copy and jacket image. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved.

Also of interest: ‘Sylvia Plath interviewed in 1962‘; ‘WB Yeats‘; ‘Poems that make grown men cry‘; ‘I am half agony, half hope‘; ‘Delia Owen’s Where the Crawdad’s Sing’; ‘We should all be feminists’; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’;  ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”’; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

This review is © 2019 by The Literary Shed. All rights reserved. All opinions are our own. We welcome your feedback and comments. If you wish to reproduce this piece, please do contact us to request permission. Thank you so much.





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