Belonging Street


In the dark of ‘Leaky Roof, This Place‘ a child and mother invent Belonging Street where they hope to move. It may have a b’lue door ‘as in their old place.

Belonging Street is a poetry collection from Mandy Coe. There are poems of longing, such as the title poem, alongside those of observation as in ‘Helping Hands‘ where we compare Grandad’s hands ‘brown/ And rough with rust and oil‘ alongside ‘My aunt’s hands/ …’pale/ inked with many colours.’

Thereafter, there are lyric poems to our natural world like ‘Carry Our Children Away‘- ‘Trees rustle, eager for their seeds/ To escape their shade…’  

What diversity, skill and range within these rich poetry pickings! Furthermore there is a sense of wistful longing,, for example in ‘First Day of Term‘- ‘If his Mum’s car was a rocket/ he would buckle up: three, two, one… lift off!/Gravitational forces pressing him’ I love the poems about the wonder and necessity of nature such as in ‘Find You, Find You‘- ‘Rock pipit, reed bunting, marsh harrier,/ sea eagle, willow warbler, tree sparrow,/ find you, find you, find you.’ 

Bookwagon is happy to have discovered Belonging Street. Mandy Coe’s poetry speaks to and for everyone of us. There is an accessibility and engagement that is direct, empathetic and encouraging. This confident, capable poet merits a wide readership.

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Belonging Street

Poems by Mandy Coe


At ‘Leaky Roof, This Place/ We brush our teeth/ In a washing up bowl.‘ Yet Belonging Street was an idyll ‘invented one night/ Whispering in the dark‘. We can feel, see and hear the words of Mandy Coe’s poems. For example in  ‘A Lake’, as described in ‘For Those Who Don’t Know What to Do With‘… ‘Tie your stars on a pole and fish for wishes’/ catch ripples and wear them in your hair.’ Furthermore, Mandy Coe extends her creations to include considerations of life, ageing and our planet.
For example she suggests that time passes oddly for each of us in ‘The Past Comes in Different Lengths‘. Therefore ‘A camera flash away and you’re captured in a selfie/ in the old days/ the other day/ a laugh away/ a heart beat.’ Yet ‘A flight away, a rush of wind away, family trees uprooting/ in the old days/ the other day/ a laugh away/ a heart beat.’
The poet’s use of devices is assured. Therefore we’re offered riddles as in ‘Two Springtime Puzzles‘ and ‘Two Autumntime Puzzles’. Thereafter, we’ve comparisons, then rhyming couplets as in ‘Watch Out for the Whistler‘ and repetition used in ‘Naming Your Days’. However, it’s the familiarity and accessibility of Mandy Coe’s poems that entrance. We are familiar with the scenes and characters, whether it is comparing hands or flicker book watching the shifting train views. Belonging Street is a confident, engaging and warm poetry experience that Bookwagon recommends.


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