Poetry books and poetry anthologies

Poetry books

Click on the book covers for the purchase links on Amazon

Open a new door

Open a New Door is a poetic peep into the lives of the poets, Kim Blades and Robbie Cheadle, both of whom live in South Africa.

The book is divided into four categories: God bless Africa, God bless my family and friends, God bless me and God bless corporates and work. Each part is sub-divided into the good, the bad and the ugly of the two poets’ experiences, presented in rhyming verse, free-style, haiku and tanka, in each of these categories and include colourful depictions of their thoughts and emotions.

The purpose of this book of poetry is encapsulated in the following tanka and haiku poems:
What drives me to write?
To share my innermost thoughts
The answer is clear
It’s my personal attempt
To make some sense of this world.

Inspiration blossoms
Like the unfurling petals
Of the Desert Rose

5-star Amazon review:

Two authors open doors to new vistas in their collaborative collection of poetry, Open a New Door. Both authors, Robbie Cheadle and Kim Blades are British ex-pats now living and writing in South Africa. Their poems mingle themes relevant to women in the workplace: motherhood, illness, divorce, and disillusionment with politics, the corporate world, and desire for conservation of the environment.

The writers, whose poems alternate on a given theme, play with rhythm and rhyme as they discourse on the good, the bad, and the ugly. Readers who want to learn more about exotic animals in South Africa will not be disappointed as they introduce us to special species of birds like hadidas, or rain birds as they are called. Poems about lions, the cheetah, and hyaenas also make an appearance.

Both poets are skilled with emotive description. Poet Robbie reviews her stages of life in “My Minds’ Eye,” comparing her accomplishments to colors of an artist’s palette and warning readers of the need to adapt or die: “Change your colours often gold, red, orange, blue and green You need to become a chameleon in your function.” Another passage that caught my attention from Kim Blades: “My mother who bore me in the wild midland hills the old beggar who shares his scant food and the people of my village who give without question have taught me that we receive what we give and only in our living and giving does Nature live so that the Love of Nature is what leads to Love of Man.”

Like singers in a duet, these poets harmonize their thoughts and feelings uniquely, enhanced by photographs from author Cheadle’s son, Henry. I highly recommend this collection to lovers of nature and those curious about two modern women’s experience living in South Africa.

Behind Closed Doors

What goes on behind closed doors: in the boardroom, after death, in the home, during lockdown, and in nature? This collection of poems, ranging from rhyming verse to twisted nursery rhymes, captures the emotions and thoughts people hide behind the masks they present to the world.

                                                   What thoughts are hidden

                                                   Behind her immobile face

                                                   Quite expressionless

                                                   Eyes cold and indifferent

                                                   Scrutinising me – hawk like

This book includes some of Robbie Cheadle’s spectacular fondant art and cakes.

5-star Amazon review

I give Robbie Cheadle’s book of poetry Behind Closed Doors a collection of unusual poems my highest recommendation. Robbie Cheadle is an excellent writer of both fiction and poetry, and her work continues to be of the highest quality.

In this collection of poems, Robbie Cheadle deals with a wide variety of issues and uses a variety of forms of poetry, among them Tanka, limericks, and haiku, and she does this with great passion and control of her art.

Several of the poems resonated with me in particular, including “Opportunity”, “Hope”, “Making a splash”, “Perspective”, “Lockdown in poverty”, and “I saw a fish a-swimming”.

Choosing these poems to highlight was difficult, because Robbie’s work is excellent throughout the book.

If you enjoy poetry, you need to get and read this book!

Poetry Anthologies

Poetry Treasures

A collection of poetry from the poet/author guests of Robbie Cheadle on the “Treasuring Poetry” blog series on Writing to be Read in 2020. Open the book and discover the poetry treasures of Sue Vincent, Geoff Le Pard, Frank Prem, Victoria (Tori) Zigler, Colleen M. Chesebro, K. Morris, Annette Rochelle Aben, Jude Kitya Itakali, and Roberta Eaton Cheadle.

5-star Goodreads review

This compilation spearheaded by Roberta Eaton Cheadle includes a wide range of poetry, written by a delightfully diverse group of authors from across the globe, such as Geoff Le Pard and Annette Aben.
If you love poetry, don’t miss this.

Poetry Treasures 2: Relationships

A collection of poetry from the poet/author guests of Robbie Cheadle on the “Treasuring Poetry” blog series on Writing to be Read in 2021. Relationships are golden and each of Arthur Rosch, Elizabeth Merry, D Avery, Robbie Cheadle, Harmony Kent, Lauren Scott, Julespaige, Leon Stevens, Colleen M. Chesebro, Miriam Hurdle, Marjorie Mallon, and Lynda McKinney Lambert pay poetic tribute to their most intense personal moments.

5-star Amazon review

I enjoyed the first Poetry Treasures anthology and decided to give this one a try as well. The anthology includes a selection of poems from twelve poets, and as the title suggests, the theme of relationships guided the work. Despite the unifying theme, the poems were quite varied in content and style, and I enjoyed the diversity of forms and voices.

In many anthologies, there’s a range of skill, and some pieces reflect more talent than others. I have to say that in this case, I found all of the poems well-crafted and a pleasure to read. Some of them I recognized from previously published anthologies, and it’s a good sign of their quality that they were so memorable.

That said, I did have some favorites—too many to list, of course. Here is a handful that I especially enjoyed: “The Red Petticoat” by Elizabeth Merry, “A Jar” by D. Avery, “She Lives and Yet She’s Dead” by Robbie Cheadle, and “Fat Belly Joy” by Marjorie Mallon. And so many more.

Prior to each set of poems there’s a short biography of the poet. Many of these poets have their own published collections for readers who didn’t get enough here. The book took me about an hour to read (approximately 36 poems in all) and it was an hour well spent. Highly recommended.