A Poet's Notebook

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 08 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

This collection of poetry is beautiful, but also a little quirky as there are plenty of notes and a sort of behind the scenes look at how ideas and imagery from real life are used to create poems.  Collections of poetry, that are so reflective and reflexive are quite interesting to read as they provide new insights into each piece and the way the writer was thinking.
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NOTE: I received an e-arc of this from Net Galley but my opinions are my own.

This is such an interesting take on a poetry book. What makes it unique is the look inside the crafting of a poem. We get a bit of backstory on the poems and what inspired them, what they mean. This can be a strength and weakness...

On one hand, it's a great resource for someone who wants to write poetry or has an interest in the mind of a poet. In that way it is a valuable resource. On the other hand, having the explanations before the poem, rather than in a separate section or left out all together, takes you a bit out of the experience of the poem itself.

The poems themselves were wonderful, timely and relevant. I love the accessibility of the work and would like to read more from Stewart Henderson in the future. 

I really enjoyed it and would recommend it anyone who loves modern poetry and the process of writing.
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The poems themselves were amazing. Beautiful imagery. Where it falls flat for me is the notes seem to go off for way too long. While some were real interesting, more just seemed like dragged out history lessons. 

Give this a read for some great poetry but not something I was expecting as far as the notes and length went.
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"All poets, consciously or unconsciously, are saying nothing new but, rather, what is new to them and to their audience, and, as such, is new. As ever with poetry, the wizardry is in the telling, the entrancing of words."

Henderson offers the readers a glimpse into the poet's workshop, the birth and maturation of ideas and poems that are about the usual suspects - life, death, and the spaces and arcades in between, with their accompanying experiences of bewilderment and serenities.

"We are the eyes-down generation.
But if viewed from above,
how do we appear?
A cloistered congregation on buses?
Hunched-over mystics on trains
wired-up for solitary, sing songs
and numbing news?

We are the eyes-down generation
pining for glory
and mourning our looted innocence.
Meanwhile we do not hear the untethered clouds
as they chorus to us... pleading...
"Look up... look up and consider...
all this has been entrusted to you...
so that you do not look down.""
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I can understand how the concept behind this book might sound appealing, heck, that's why I requested it. Although I do appreciate the effort of translating the process of turning stuff into poems, I found most of the text preceding the actual poems very dry and, I'd go as far as too say, pretty boring. The actual poetry didn't impress me and I didn't feel moved by it at all, although, of course, those sorts of considerations are quite subjective.
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I went into this book optimistic because I normally adore poetry collections, but this book is unfortunately the exception for me. The subjects of the poetry didn't particularly jive with me and I found the entire chapters of explanation before each poem of what inspired the poem unnecessarily long and dry.
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First of all I want to thank Netgalley and the publishers for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

I love writing poetry and I loved reading this book. A Poet's Notebook gives the reader a glimpse of the mind of the poet while sharing some amazing poems.

The poems were great and the writing was wonderful In fact I definitely used some poems as inspirations for mines.
The explanations of the poems, however, were a bit too long for my taste.
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Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to review A Poet’s Notebook.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading each poem at the end of the chapter and tried to read the history of each poem but I think that falls under the old adage, “you had to be there”.  
Stewart Henderson  gives insight to his creative process by documenting historical events and influencers,  his personal life, his location, and environment.  I honestly skimmed the history of the poems rushing to the end but  I have found myself going back to the beginning of the chapter and reading the history.  Intriguing.
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Disclaimer: I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really, really wanted to love this! His poems were beautifully written with such an easy flow to them. I will definitely look forward to more of Henderson's work. I liked the intention he had with explaining how he came to write each poem; however, it was more drawn out than I prefer it to be. I found myself itching to skip pages just to get to the poetry or skimming quickly to get the gist of how he was inspired to write each poem.
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I found this book to be so boring and slow. The descriptions before the poems were just very pointless, and unfortunately I had to DNF it. I read the poems, but I had to skip through the monologues because I did not find them to be helpful at all. 

I'm giving it a rating based off of the poetry + my opinion on the first few essays.
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A good read but the format of description and poem alternating made it a little turgid.  It wasn't clear whether I was intended to read this as a poetry collection or as an autobiographical offering.
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As a poetry lover. I totally adored the poetry in this book.However saying that there was not as many poems in the book. Lots of notes abut te poem almost like a story about that particular poem.
A poem alone tells you a story . You don’t need all the extra bits all the time.
Thank you to Lion Hudson Ltd and NetGalley for my ARC in exchange for my honest unbiased review.
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Liverpool-born Stewart Henderson is a bestselling poet, broadcaster, and songwriter. A Poet’s Notebook comprises 21 of his poems preceded by an engrossing commentary on the sources and development of each. The book features a rare combination of poetic journal, travelogue and cultural almanac complete with the poet’s trademark humour and pertinent observations. With reflections on Emily Dickinson, C. S. Lewis, Malcolm McLaren, P. G. Wodehouse, and maritime Liverpool, alongside accounts of personal encounters with Malcolm Muggeridge, Madeleine L’Engle (A Wrinkle in Time) and Alastair Reid, A Poet’s Notebook is primarily an examination of our collective, restless soul as we ask: how did we end up here? This is British wit and poetry at its best. 

The concept that Stewart Henderson provided is a strong collection of poetry with an explanation of what inspired the poem. English teachers will love this when they often ask what is behind a poem. This poetry set is anthologized and definitely quality work. 

The formatting on the e-book was odd with a lot of jumbled spaces and lines entered. Curious to see what the book looks like in a paperback setting. The other issue I had with the formatting was the detailed explanation before the poem. I would have liked to see the specific piece of poetry followed by the explanation. I would have liked to be able to form my own thoughts before being provided the explanation. 

This book isn’t entirely poetry, so don’t fret if you’re not into poetry. It’s a great detail and some interesting concepts for those who are interested in writing. Stewart has has some creative success with the overall book and a strong cover. If you’re interested in the why or the writing process, this book could be for you.
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Poetry, especially when it is written by someone who is experienced musically as a lyricist, is always extremely personal to read; both for the reader and for the one publishing it. This collection was no exception and it felt very much like I was having a chat with the wonderful Stuart Henderson about everything from his inspirations to write to how he views the smallest details of his everyday life. 

Something I particularly enjoyed was the including of short introductions to each new piece as this gave me an extra bout of appreciation of what exactly I was reading. Plus to embark upon a poem in the unknown is occasionally like going into a dark room where you can't locate the light switch, so to read something akin to a flashlight in a power cut made it much easier to observe and process what was being said in each line.

That microscopic detail is a feature I am a stickler for and often do not find and I am immensely happy to have found a book which achieves this result so well! The interwoven voices of all of these writers, authors and artists that have inspired Henderson were my favourite part of all. It is said that you can't create art in a vacuum and this is true. Great art is made out of the synthesised fragments of everything you have ever loved, hated or generally experienced. That is certainly true here - what a fantastic collection, I can highly recommend.
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i have only been into poetry recently, however i liked this book!

The poems were good and touching. Prior the poems there were explanations about them, which i liked and didn't like; i liked the fact that we had details about the poem, however sometimes these were too long - so, i guess for anyone who wants to skip and dive directly into the poems, that should be fine.

3.5* from me - I will be following Stewart Henderson from now on, i liked his work!
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I’ve always wondered how a poet’s ideas arise, as poetry requires such a distillation of thought and feeling. Now, with the elegant A POET’S NOTEBOOK, I have a greater understanding. Esteemed poet Stewart Henderson shares the process behind the writing of 21 of his poems — a fascinating examination of the creative mind. Highly recommended!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Lion Hudson Ltd through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

#APoet'sNotebook #NetGalley
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A Poet’s Notebook by Stewart Henderson is a collection of poetry with an explanation of what inspired the poem. Henderson is a poet, songwriter, and broadcaster. The Sunday Times described his children’s poetry as ‘essential reading’. Widely anthologized, Stewart’s verse is set for both GCSE and Key Stage in primary schools in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

First, the poetry in this collection is excellent and I wish there were more poems included in the book. Secondly, the detailed explanations were interesting and even entertaining. Henderson uses Shelley and Malcolm McLaren as a source of inspiration for a single poem. At first, it may seem like an enormous stretch, but Shelley was pretty punk rock in his time, especially when hanging out with Byron.

What I really didn't like was the detailed explanations before the poem. An afterword would have been great or even an introduction covering the poems of the collection in much less detail. I felt a bit robbed in having the poem explained before having an opportunity to read it and form my own opinion of the poem. It felt almost like a spoiler to a book or movie.

I appreciate the poet opening his thoughts and inspirations to the reader, but it could have been done in a way that did not hamper the discovery of the poem.  Presenting the poems first and explaining the inspiration later may have been a better option.  Part of the enjoyment of reading poetry is trying to discover what the poet's intention.  An excellent concept for a book.  The information, poems, and insights are all excellent but it could have been executed better.
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A received a copy of a poets notebook in exchange for an honest review 

I love that he added his meaning toward his poems. And so you can compare it to your meaning. However, I think that his notes were too long in which I skipped a lot of it. 

As for the poems, they were really good but just not for me. I would definitely recommend you checking out Henderson’s work, as we all have different tastes.
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A Poet’s Notebook

with new poems, obviously

by Stewart Henderson

Lion Hudson Ltd

Lion Books


Pub Date 22 Jun 2018

I am reviewing a copy of A Poet’s Notebook through Lion Books and Netgalley:

This collection includes 21 poems which are preceded by a commentary on Stewart Henderson’s poetry including sources and development of his poetry.

Stewart Henderson is a Liverpool born best selling poet, broadcaster as well as a songwriter.

This book is a unique combination of poetry journal, travelogue as well cultural almanac complete with Stewart Henderson’s trademark humor as well as important observations.

I give A Poet’s Notebook five out of five stars!

Happy Reading
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Thank you to Stewart Henderson, Lion Hudson Ltd, and Netgalley for allowing me the extreme pleasure of access to an advanced reader copy of “A Poet's Notebook: …with new poems, obviously…” for an honest review. 

I have to admit the first thing that made me curious about this book was it being poetry, and then even more needlingly curious about it was the glib “obviously” in the title. Relating it earlier works by reference, or to other works who have come long before. 

While there were 21 poems in this book, the book was far more reference and explanation than it was poetry. I felt like the explanations, while they helped us get inside the head of the poet, left me feeling more connected to the poet’s inner meaning of the poem and even less connected to the poem. It ended up tarnishing my more visceral and personal reactions and connections with the words, and message, being conveyed.
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