“Archery in the UK” by Nick Reeves and Ingrid Wilson: A Review by Barbara Leonhard

If you are you looking for a poetry collection that will put a huge smile on your face, this is the book for you. Ingrid Wilson and Nick Reeves have created a book of contemporary lyrical poetry, the likes of which I haven’t seen. 

What began as a joint effort to collaborate on a book in homage to Lyrical Ballads by Wordsworth and Coleridge ended up becoming a love story that unfolds in the slanted rays of sun peeking through the arc of rainbows, wind-blown trees, and birdsong chiming like cathedral bells in iambic rhythm and Pantoum refrains among other poetic forms.

The very title, Archery in the UK, points to their theme of connection. The word “archery” brings to mind Shakespeare’s “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. Just as archery takes skill so does love. The archer has faced battles and overcome obstacles. In fact, the poems allude to “the storm debris of yesterday” (“The Archer’s Postcard”) and more than one reference to “wind-blown trees” in other poems. However, he is ready to awaken from this nightmare (“Prologue”) to open to a new love. The archer…

sees one glove in need of another, and another on the quay; 
two mirrors between stories in the Baltic Gallery

The archer’s arrow represents a readiness to take action for a new beginning, a new “dream”. These lovers are waking from a bad dream and “daring to dream” a new one. In “Winter Love”, Cupid startles the lovers into recognition in these lines.

The choir of angels tuned up
like a band
piping their song
of joy…

The collection of poems goes on to show “the conjoining of two souls”. In “Night Falls”, “an empty hand in glove holds onto something bigger than a dream”. The poems move from recognition of new love to sensual rebirth, “a nascent adventure” in which the archer enjoys “the arch of her lip, her wrist, her notation” (“Beneath Wrought Iron Ribs”).

The arrow quivers passionately now in “sheeted melodies” (“Her Frequency”) and “tomorrow bows her narrow back” (“Stippling”), alluding to a lasting love. In “Drawn”,

We bent toward the dawn in flower,
And, together, we were drawn

Trees and birds play a role in this love story. Linden trees, the sacred tree of Aphrodite, symbolize marital love. Juniper represents the strength, beauty, wisdom and protection of the fertility goddess Asherah, who was also believed to be God’s wife (Mother Nature). The archer’s lover, who had “sheltered her sheets between two wind-blown trees”, awakens to “a holy plainsong / where never sin, nor pain, nor wrong could be” (“Birdsong”). The lovers are paired like cooing doves.

The morning birdsong, wedding bells.

Finally, yew trees, Europe’s oldest tree, represent power, strength, longevity, and regeneration or resurrection. “Where the Yew Trees Grow” shows the archer’s training. Medieval English long bows were made of yew. Another name for juniper, by the way, is mountain yew. The yew tree imagery contributes to the theme of the regenerative power of new love despite “the knotted fingers, eyes faded”.

Reeves and Wilson marry their verses as each wrote an equal number of poems. Although the reader can discern the author in some of the poems as the archer is a male and his lover is a female, the lovers meld into one dream. In “The Wintered Queen”,

Their hearts, their art. Two arcs across the sky
inscribed within this book of poetry

The poems in this collection are not only masterfully designed to carry the story, theme, and nuances, but are also well ordered based on the development of the relationship from season to season with descriptive imagery and metaphor. The poems also bring the reader along to the places the lovers meet, even the most intimate ones. The pace of the poems definitely reaches a climax. I could say more, but I’ll quietly draw the curtains here. (Barbara Leonhard)

Nick Reeves rents an attic in the upper east corner of Penn Beacon. If he squints, the north sea rattles the weirdoes. He hums a vague melody and pockets paper scraps and treasure found in the street. He counts every magpie that he sees; last tally, 10. Which is not to be missed. His most recent publication credits include a chapter in Nothing Is More Real Than Nothing (Valley Press, 2022), Gleam’s Journal of the Cadralor (Issues IV and V), and Free Verse Revolution (Issue VIII).

Ingrid Wilson walks as she writes, and writes as she walks: sometimes rambling, often too fast, but always with purpose. She inhabits the Northlands and roams the borders looking for ley lines and keywords. She also publishes books. Her most recent publication credits include Free Verse Revolution (Issue VII), Gleam’s Journal of the Cadralor (Issue IV), and her debut poetry collection, 40 Poems At 40 (EIF, 2022).

Featured Image: Book Cover for Archery in the UK

Editor: Barbara Harris Leonhard

Amazon Best-Selling Author

Three-Penny Memories: A Poetic Memoir (EIF-Experiments in Fiction, 2022)

Pushcart Nominee, 2022

MasticadoresUSA is open for submissions. Send your submissions to meelosmom@gmail.com.

Facebook: Barbara Harris Leonhard /barbara.leonhard

Twitter: @BarbaraLeonhar4

Instagram: @meelosmom123

Linked In: ExtraordinarySunshineWeaver

Mastodon: @BarbaraLeonhard@msdtn.social

Divider Image: by GDJ on Pixabay

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26 Comentarios Agrega el tuyo

  1. Ingrid dice:

    Thank you for this wonderful review, Barbara! 😊

    Le gusta a 1 persona

    1. Meelosmom dice:

      Thank you, Ingrid and Nick, for writing this beautiful poetry collection! I’m so grateful for your trust in me to review it. 🙂

      Le gusta a 2 personas

      1. Ingrid dice:

        You did a wonderful job, Barbara, thank you!

        Le gusta a 1 persona

  2. Another fine review by MasticadoresUSA. As you have made clear, there is no mistaking the direction of this collection.

    Le gusta a 2 personas

    1. Meelosmom dice:

      Thank you, Ken, for your supportive and kind words.

      Le gusta a 3 personas

  3. merrildsmith dice:

    Another beautiful review for a beautiful collection!

    Le gusta a 2 personas

    1. Meelosmom dice:

      Merrill, it truly is a well-crafted collection that speaks on many levels.

      Le gusta a 3 personas

  4. Wow Barbara! You brought legs and life to Ingrid and Nicks gorgeous poetry. There is such a rhythmic flow and beautiful soothing love woven in each line and love how you shared their lines. It’s such a love story alright! 💞

    Le gusta a 2 personas

    1. Meelosmom dice:

      Aw! Thank you, Cindy! I appreciate your description of my writing in the review. I’m always concerned that I may have misread a book or misstated the theme. I like to dig past the literal.

      Le gusta a 3 personas

      1. You’re so welcome Barbara! It was very touching!!! I think you did a great job!! 💗

        Le gusta a 2 personas

  5. Congratulations to Nick and Ingrid on another wonderful review!

    Le gusta a 2 personas

    1. Meelosmom dice:

      Your review was an amazing write, Liz!

      Le gusta a 3 personas

      1. Thank you very much, Barbara!

        Le gusta a 2 personas

  6. Michele Lee dice:

    I thoroughly enjoy your readings! 😊

    Le gusta a 2 personas

  7. jonicaggiano dice:

    What a beautiful review Barbara. The review itself is so poetically detailed that it reads like a love story itself. Truly gorgeous with lots of reflection about the symbolism and its obvious ties to both nature and love.

    The two authors do a fantastic job of reading pieces from the book and it sounds like a book worth owning indeed. Ingrid and Nick congratulations on these beautiful readings and your lovely soon to be released book. Congratulations Nick on winning an award for your beautiful photograph as well. What a blessing and I am happy for you both.

    Thank you Barbara for sharing this lovely review with us, what a treat.

    I wish you both great success with this lovely book. 🌹🌹

    Le gusta a 2 personas

    1. Ingrid dice:

      How kind, Joni, thank you so much! ❤️

      Le gusta a 2 personas

      1. jonicaggiano dice:

        You are so welcome. The post was beautiful put together. Barbara’s review and you both wrote such beautiful poetry, and I enjoyed the readings so much. Just an amazing review on a beautiful book. 🌹🦋

        Le gusta a 1 persona

      2. Ingrid dice:

        Thank you so much Joni 🥰

        Le gusta a 1 persona

      3. jonicaggiano dice:

        My pleasure 🦋🌹

        Le gusta a 1 persona

  8. 13rrance dice:

    A very nice review mlle Barbara. You really make for a very informative and sensible text. Now I’ll have that many book on my poetry wish list. Both review gave me the knack to read them.

    I have to say that I love natural scene in poetry, and both books seem to evoke quite nicely.


    Congratulation both Ingrid and Nick, the reading are awesome. A very nice video.


    Le gusta a 2 personas

  9. Such a beautiful review, Barbara! And I’m sure it’s well deserved. I’m always impressed and humbled by Ingrid’s poetic mastery.

    Le gusta a 1 persona

  10. Ingrid dice:

    Thank you Dawn! 🙏

    Me gusta

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