Exploring intimate worlds and profound moments, British poet Louise Hastings debut collection will open your mind and haunt your senses. With unique imagery and powerful emotion, you will be consumed as you set sail on an ethereal journey through artistry and imagination. Published by Winter Goose Publishing 2012 and available Amazon Barnes & Noble
What name defines me?‘ asks Louise Hastings in her poem called, simply, Poet. Well, after having savoured the delights of her first collection she is clearly a very talented poet who has the ability to hold the reader in the simple truths and beauty of her words. So many times I found myself stepping out at the end of a poem with a sense of its wholeness fixed firmly within me. That is her writing style. Her poems tend to capture you and hold you in the lilt and sway of her basic, uncomplicated rhythms.
Phases of the Moon is a glorious concoction of poems that paint the richest pictures of an Awakening, `away from the grey and mechanic into the poetic and extraordinary’. In her opening poem, Shadow Dancing, Louise likens her soul to `a blown fuse’ as, through the process of writing, she begins to accept the frightening shadows that have haunted her for so long as spaces of potential discovery, `where there is life, death and love’. Striving desperately to throw off years of shackled emotions, her plea is heart wrenching and obvious in her poem Monday as she craves the `twisted love and yearning’ of life as opposed to one that merely `drips water along the windowpane’.
Her troubled childhood features strongly in many of her poems. In the poem Phases of the Moon she finds herself `walking the asphalt lights with jagged shards of memories’, a child cruelly deprived of `amber flight’. Similarly, in Inner Child we find her `cloaked in moth wings and dust’ as she `trips down present-day halls, corridors that smell of emptiness’.
Yet, far from being confessionals, these beautifully crafted poems shine softly like petals in sunlight: each one an epiphany that carries with it emerging hope as Louise, herself, becomes `a little poem that could’. Love, too, touches her like `a silken tendril along my skin’ as, freed now from the trammels of her past, she finds herself `embraced by the scent of warmer rain’.
Whilst certain themes do emerge from this collection, each poem is always glazed with a degree of purposeful ambiguity. Louise has perfected the technique of wrapping her poems in intrigue as her words take us towards familiar destinations via unfamiliar pathways. Step into any of her poems and there is always something new under the sun for us to discover.
Louise’s very first poetry collection, having touched just about every emotion it is possible to feel, leaves me thrumming with an inner contentment as her words linger like the aftertaste of strong chocolate. And the way in which she dips her poems into the universe and all its mysteries, for me, automatically draws out comparisons with the poetry of Mary Oliver.
It is so hard to choose a favourite poem from so many gems but I will leave you with the final lines of Seeing Zebras, a poem of time, mindfulness and liminal space, where:
`In my underlying consciousness
lies linear time,
full of yesterday and tomorrow,
flowing through heart and lungs,
through endless breath
where love is earth’s glow off its edge.’
~ Peter Wilkin Author of Briannca and the Crystal Dragons.
We share phases of the moon – “This new collection of poetry by Louise Hastings has that rare and special quality that means you return to it again and again. At times poignant and touching, Louise shares her emotional insights into nature – and how it touches our lives.” ~ Review by Tony Riches, author of Queens Sacrifice and The Shell
“The words that spill from Louise’s pen will move you! She has a way of conveying thought and feeling unlike any other modern day poet I’ve read in a while. Her poetry may very well change you.” ~ Review by Nick Papageorgio
Poetry at its best – “Having read and enjoyed many wonderful poets before, this collection came as a breath of fresh air. A variety of poetry is displayed in this short anthology, ranging from quite melancholic work, to light work. Definitely all phases of the moon covered.
Ms Hastings poetry is deep, meaningful and intellectual. All good poetry should make us think after the read, and leave us with questions. In my honest opinion if you’re left with a sense of catharsis after opening poems, then you’re reading the wrong book. Phases of the moon takes us on a journey into one’s psyche. A romp through the authors inner secrets, and secrets that touch upon the whole of humanity.
Intertwining metaphor of nature and impeccable word use, combined with heart, especially in poems such as Hunter’s moon and To where a name could reach, this anthology not only draws you in, but spits you out with a sense of wanting more.
Great read, I would highly recommend” ~ Shan Williams
Phases of the Moon – Louise Hasting’s poetry is delicately wrought. Her poetry weaves a lyrical spell to transport readers into world’s of beauty. She has a magic touch that brings forth the sublime in the most ordinary things. She confronts dark thoughts with immense courage transmuting them to gold. in short, her poetry is inspirational and uplifting without any sentimentality. ~ Marsha Berry, author of Patinas & Spinning
Atmospheric poetry – I am new to this poet, but I was drawn right in as soon as I’d downloaded her book. Louise’s writing is clever, moving, sometimes sombre and sometimes brighter. She connects us with nature in an atmospheric way. I totally recommend her work, and i will return to these poems on the days I need to reach out to nature and my soul. ~ Hemmie Martin, Author of The Divine Pumpkin and In the Attic of the Mind
A Memorable First Collection of Poetry – I finished reading this collection some time ago, but its impressions have lasted; the romantic and lyrical feel of Hastings’ poetry is as undeniable as it is unforgettable.
Intelligent, engaging, gentle, honest, sympathetic, empathetic and laden with poignancy, in her first collection of poetry, Hastings’ reveals no uncertain confidence and maturity in her delivery. She possesses an acute awareness of her environment, which, along with an unwavering eye on the frailty of the human condition and an innate understanding of all things natural, she gives us more than just a glimpse of the natural world, of its wild driving forces and of the beauty of our mother earth, at the same time, she can paint a beautiful picture without actually having to use one single ‘beautiful’ word, as in “Little Owl”. By this I mean the use of everyday words to weave a far greater pulchritude; in this way she achieves true synergy.
Nearly all her poems are brief, rarely more than a page long – seventy eight poems covering ninety two pages – but each one contains elements and flow of a continuing story, a conversation with self here, or a descriptive observation there. An example of this is the title poem “Phases of The Moon”. “Morning Glory”, is quite simply a beautiful evocation of awakening. Even the poems’ titles are lyrical: “Wings Over Waters”, “River Music”, “Starry Nights”, “Wind Chimes”, “Night Lover”, “Footprints in The Snow”… every inch of this collection is packed with such lyricism. From the beautiful “Morning Glory” to the melancholy “Inner Child”; from the desperation of “Broken” to the plainly enigmatic “Fireweed”; from the evocation of a twilight world in “Midnight Lights” to floating on the edge of consciousness in the hypnopompic “Awakening”; from the poignant “A Hard Rain” to what I can only describe as the shortest story of war and the hope of peace… ever in “Star of Peace”, from beginning to end of this book, Hastings’ poems will leave you in thrall and, above all else, full of hope. Yes, in spite of some darkness and chaos, the whole collection will elevate your spirits like nothing else can.
A truer piece of self awareness you will not find than in the words of Louise Hastings herself. In “Poet”, she asks “What name defines me?” and answers “Woman, dreamer, poet”. She is certainly all of those things. In “First”, a poem that feels like a three minute natural history of the living planet, she delivers a killer line, which perfectly describes how I felt after reading this remarkably good collection of poetry… “hidden in an afterglow of thought” ~ John Anstie
‘How long is a moment?’ – A question which is worthy of thought before you give your answer.
‘Phases of the Moon’ is a carefully crafted and selected collection of some of the very best of Ms Hastings poetry. In this debut anthology she shows us the wide spectrum of her poetic ability. There are poems both joyful and melancholy, ones that will tease your heart or mind and sometimes both. It is a magical journey to savour this book cover to cover, or to just dip in and pluck a single poem out to read and leave you thinking about the questions asked.
Louise’s writing proclaims her love of the natural world, also her emotional connections to the ethereal or other worldly side of this precious thing we call existence.
I highly recommend this book for both seasoned poetry lovers and those who may feel intimidated by the complexity of poetry, her soft yet powerful style of writing will set you at your ease and absorb your senses in the most wonderful way.
To return to the question Ms Hastings asks in ‘Fireweed’ a moment when reading this book maybe longer than you realise but you will not mind getting lost in its pages.~ The Linnet
Takes your breath away! – I first read Louise’s poetry over on her blog ‘Wings Over Water,’ and became an immediate fan. With so much good (and free content) on her blog, I was thrilled to find Louise still had enough original content to fill a book, and on downloading it I wasn’t disappointed.
The poetry is simple yet powerful, atmospheric and elemental. Phases of the Moon taps into the dusky regions of the mind and leaves you spellbound.
I can’t recommend this book enough! ~ Darren Hawbrook
Such a lovely escape – I read this lovely volume of poetry slowly because I wanted to savour it. Reading each poem is like visiting another world. I have every intention of reading it again, letting myself fall into its melodic language. I truly loved it and recommend it highly. ~Josephine Robin
Magical Read – Louise Hastings and “raw emotion” are synonymous in her debut collection “Phases of the Moon.” Her experiences, her voice, her strengths, and hopes all shine, as she goes deep inside herself to find what appeals to her readers senses, both emotional and tactile. Read this one and add it to your collection to read again and again. ~ Monty Wheeler, author of Many Shades of Dark
Spellbound – Louise weaves a magical tapestry of heartfelt words revealing her love of nature, probing the mystery of love…all done with spellbinding skill causing the reader to return again and again to absorb her magic. A must read for poets and lovers of poetry. ~ Jackie Dick
A how-to of self-discovery and love – I believe even readers who don’t think they would like poetry would love reading Louise’s touching book of verse. Consider it a travelogue to a world of vivid senses and imagination, a soul biography, a how-to of self-discovery and love. A can’t miss!! ~ Joseph Hesch
What name defines me? Although I have only recently received this book as a gift and have delved into it several times I feel that I must write a review of it. The reason for this is simple, if I wait until I have absorbed every nuanced clever phrase I shall be a very old man indeed and the PC may no longer hold quite the allure it does today.
This is an astonishingly good first collection of poetry that seems to come as natural to the writer as a river gently flowing through the narrow bends of the countryside. Louise manages to convey her emotional attachment to the environment without resorting to trite or over used expressions or ideas. She often does so by inserting herself directly within the poem and can therefore describe the experience from the inside out. It is a clever device and it feels that the poetry she writes must often just appear to her this way. There are many writers who would wish to have such a gift.
This is a collection of honest reflections on the many facets of nature; not least our own, for their is a deep sense of melancholy and thoughtfulness here. I fully endorse all of the other reviews here that acknowledge, sometimes in detail, the merits of both this book and Louise’s writing in general.
In a poem called “Poet” Louise asks, “What name defines me? Woman, dreamer, poet.” The answer is of course easy: All of these and much, much more. I am so glad to have read such a delightful book and would recommend it to anyone who appreciates intelligent, lyrical poetry where the writer wears their heart on their sleeve. – Brian Shirra @ScotiaNightPoetry
Stunning Debut Collection – A talented poet whose work everyone can relate to, Phases of the Moon invokes a range of emotions and such beautiful imagery. Nature is a muse in my own writing and I love that Louise’s work speaks of this too. Particular favorites were Shadow Dancing, We Talk Of Weather, Night Moth, The Song Never Sung, Fireweed, The Angels and Broken. – Kathryn Dechairo