What I look for in a poetry pamphlet or book is the quality of writing, first and foremost, followed by the presentation of the poems. I don’t care for shiny covers, or ISBNs, or fancy publishing and copyright information – after all, half the publishers you hear of are actually vanity press. That is not to deride vanity press, of course; after all, some people have the ££££ to spend, and the garage to stock their books while they sell them at events.

Backyard Cabbages by Simon RobsonAs a fellow artist, I can appreciate the charm in Simon Robson’s photocopied pamphlet, Backyard Cabbages. It contains 17 pages of poetry along with black and white photographs of a garden shot in high exposure. Many of the poems focus on ordinary people; neighbours, locals, any sort you would meet in your neighbourhood or down the pub. The poems and photos give the reader a sense of loneliness and isolation as the poet observes everyday occurrences and unsuspecting people, writing about the events in candid speech that is quirky and at times humorous. One of my favourites is Bed-sit nightmare No. 1, which reflects on youth and fulfilment through a contrast between naive neighbours experiencing the trivialities of life, while the poet suffers the limitations of life through coping with illness. The photo at the end of this poem on page 10 captures the moment perfectly; the stark afternoon sun isolates a strip of garden where the flowers are in bloom, while the rest of the garden falls under shadow.


Overall, this pamphlet offers a lot of food for thought. Backyard Cabbages will make a great salad for you to eat, without giving you any flatulence. At £1.50, it’s well worth a read for those who enjoy honest poetry that isn’t preachy. Simon Robson’s pamphlets are published at: Grovsenor Road Books, 172 Grovsenor Road, Aldershot, Hants, GU11 3EJ.

About this blog

Leilanie Stewart

Joseph Robert

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is an author and poet from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has written four novels, including award-winning ghost horror, The Blue Man, as well as three poetry collections. Her writing confronts the nature of self; her novels feature main characters on a dark psychological journey who have a crisis of identity and create a new sense of being. She began writing for publication while working as an English teacher in Japan, a career pathway that has influenced themes in her writing. Her former career as an Archaeologist has also inspired her writing and she has incorporated elements of archaeology and mythology into both her fiction and poetry. In addition to promoting her own work, Leilanie runs Bindweed Magazine, a creative writing literary journal with her writer husband, Joseph Robert. Aside from publishing pursuits, Leilanie enjoys spending time with her husband and their lively literary lad, a voracious reader of sea monster books. CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA: https://mailchi.mp/75c5a1ad6956/leilanie-stewart-author-info

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