Poems That Make Grown Women Cry

Reviewed By  Janet Mawdesley       May 15, 2016


Author  Anthony Holden and Ben Holden

Distributor:      Simon And Schuster
ISBN:                 9781471148651
Publisher:         Simon & Schuster UK
Release Date:   February 2016  

Website:    www,simonandschuter.com.au 

The title is a misnomer in that the poems in this anthology will make both men and women cry, should they be read at a time in their lives when they need a comforting word, a reflection on life or simply are emotionally vulnerable and open to having a good cry.

The purpose behind the book, by this interesting father and son team, in conjunction with Amnesty International is to make us open our hearts, to have a good cry, to let it all go and to spend a little time in reflection.

Of the 100 poems selected by the 100 women asked to contribute to this work, each piece chosen has meant so much to the particular women at a specific time of point in their lives.

A time when they too have needed to take a minute out to simply be, the words they have selected are all powerful, created as an art form, each an exquisite collection of words wound together to express emotion in the only way the poet could, through his works, her words.

From the simple stanza, To A…, written to Antonia Fraser, by her husband Harold Pinter about eighteen months before his death, to John Keats Ode to a Nightingale which he wrote in 1819, selected by Marina Lewycka. His words have meant so much to her over the years and touch her deeply each time she revisits the poetry. Each piece is laced with poignancy.

Judi Dench and Emily Mortimer selected Lord Byron’s , So, we’ll go no more a roving, a piece that means so very much to them – Judi Dench in memory of her late husband and Emily Mortimer, her father.

Germaine Greer has selected the words of Clive James as he reflects on his past and his own approaching death from leukaemia.

Each piece chosen is essentially a commentary on life and death encapsulated into a few words; because the basic fundamentals of life are stripped down to a few words in most instances they tend to be peaceful, yet reflective, even while being confrontational.

But all this brings us to the point of why put together such a collection; as with most things it has been a series of idle chatter, vague thoughts and a challenge to see what may happen, coupled with a desire to reintroduce poetry to the people in a time when to read poetry, to create poetry, to cry over anything is not considered the ‘done thing’.

The title of this book is, if you have not discovered the previous book, titled Poems that make Grown Men Cry, could be considered as many things, provocative being only one of them, but definitely of an interest. The contents are as sound and lovely as they have always been and interestingly, as a good number of them were written many, many years ago, still as reflective of society and all its woes as they were when written.