Skip to content

‘Midnight Robin’ by Maureen Weldon: A Review

May 31, 2015

One evening last November I attended the launch of Maureen Weldon’s latest poetry collection, Midnight Robin, held at Stanley Palace, Chester, a grand black-and-white Tudor house, supposedly haunted. Maureen read or recited poems from the book, several with musical accompaniment. I was privileged to be one of her friends invited to read. Her eleven-year-old granddaughter Elisha also read, and did so brilliantly.

A popular, widely published, prize-winning poet, Maureen is a former professional dancer with the Irish Theatre Ballet. She is from Cork but now resides on Deeside, North Wales, and last October represented Wales at Terra Poetica, the international poetry festival in Ukraine.

Midnight Robin is a varied collection containing twenty-two poems, the shortest just five lines, the longest forty-two. These range from the delightfully coquettish ‘Butterfly’ to the terrifying ‘Liverpool to Dublin: 1943’, in which a little girl and her mother sail on a ship hunted by a German u-boat; from ‘Peaches’, a gorgeous vignette to taste and savour, to ‘Chester – and a Dance with Ashes’, an historical fantasy in which Maureen walks the city walls with a handsome, golden-eyed Roman soldier.

Writing without a wasted word, Maureen brings charm, spirit and great poetic vision to her work. Employing bold imagery, symbolism and metaphor, she is able, so deftly, to render experience and capture profound feelings in a manner comprehensible to all.   Her poetry is visual and rhythmic, down to earth yet magical too, her voice unmistakable.

Her work is deceptively simple. A close look reveals how finely crafted it really is, with internal rhymes, alliteration and brilliant use of perspective. Maureen has a wonderful way of ending a poem too, with an image or phrase ensuring the piece lingers in the mind.

Often, as in Rhydymwyn’, there is a sense of the past haunting the present day.   There is an affinity with nature, as in ‘Reflections Among The Trees’. And social history is to be found in her wartime narrative poems at the centre of the book. Occasionally, as in ‘Watching The Feather’, the surreal breaks through. But underlying much of the work, in one form or another, there is love.

Maureen’s poetry, so good on the page, is wonderful in performance too, something she excels at, having great stage presence from her ballet days and a lovely reading voice coupled with a most compelling delivery, every word, every syllable, every pause charged with meaning, often taking our breath away or touching our hearts.

Versatile and accessible, sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant, Maureen is able to engage readers and audiences across the whole emotional range, and I believe her to be a poet of the people.

‘The Past’ and ‘The Dancer’ are favourites of mine from Maureen’s new collection; the title poem ‘Midnight Robin’ definitely another. But my favourite of all is the shortest, her exquisite love poem ‘As Long As You Are With Me’.

***

Midnight Robin is published by Poetry Space Ltd (ISBN: 978-1-909404-14-4), price £5.00.

Paul Beech

Copyright © Paul Beech 2015

Advertisements

From → Reviews

2 Comments
  1. Maureen Weldon permalink

    Thank you so much Paul.

    Maureen xxx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: