The Sycamore Seed

Poems 1980-2012

Poetry - General
362 Pages
Reviewed on 04/05/2013
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Author Biography

I was raised in Northern England, completing my education at De La Salle schools and London University. I began submitting poems to literary magazines while employed as a highschool teacher, earning a publication grant from Northwest Arts and subsequent volume publication by University of Salzburg Press, Envoi Poets Publications and National Poetry Foundation. I also taught in Finland and Switzerland, before moving permanently to the USA in 2000. Other interests are music, painting and outdoor activities. I also write mystery novels based on my travels in Europe, under the name J.D. Mallinson. (See Amazon, B&N etc)

    Book Review

Reviewed by Susanna Bencen for Readers' Favorite

Each "The Sycamore Seed" poem is beautifully composed by J.D. Mallinson. These are not mere trite rhyming couplets to please the ear, but are filled with the details and depth of nature herself. In fact, I would go further and say that "Sycamore Seed" is the song of nature and land as well as the beating hearts that live within. The book is divided into five sections: Nature, People and Place, The Arts, Miscellany and History. The subject matter of each poem is meticulously researched either through direct observation or via other methods. To muse upon these poems is not only a delight to the senses but also instructs you through Mallinson’s learned reflections. J.D. Mallinson uses numerous composition methods. He plays with rhythm as in the ‘Garden Spider’ to describe the tentative weaving of the spider that sits lurking in a corner or creating art in the great outdoors. He plays with voice as in the ‘Slug’ which sings its low song, long and rambling, like wading through the sludge of its trail. In ‘Bird-Watching in Wales’ you can hear the lilt of the Welsh dialect coming through in each verse. You will certainly be ensnared by the spikey consonants of ‘Pruning the Hedge’ or hear the beating wind of the undulating ‘Autumn Gale.’ The poems often end thoughtfully as in ‘Gnats among Pine-Trees.’ He also uses alliteration to great effect. Imagery is crystal clear in such phrases as ‘a Pelican pecking the life-blood from her breast’ in the ‘Rain on the Sea’ or the ‘dream-like nebulae’ of ‘Hollingworth Lake.’ His poems are usually based on reality, but sometimes fantastical stories interweave the phrases such as in the meandering mermaid notes of ‘Copper Beech,’ or the enigmatic interludes of ‘Silverdale.’

Reading these poems is like going on holiday to explore rustic towns and antiquated mysteries. To hear pithy stories of characters and dreams we can go to 'Batsman on Tour’: ‘Success won him the laurel crown / failure saw it wither on his brow.’ Musing on the voices of nature, I find myself naturally attracted to particular poems of birds, flowers, horses and snow. It also happens that those are the creatures and elements which take my interest in real life too. Reading "The Sycamore Seed" is like looking at a mirror that enables one to find their own natural song and rhythm. I find J.D. Mallinson’s work fascinating. "The Sycamore Seed" is a must for anyone wishing to learn descriptive writing as J.D. Mallinson is a master at honing the skills essential for exquisite and reflective composition.

J.D. Mallinson

Many of these poems first appeared in leading poetry magazines. In addition to the imagery and alliteration that Susanna Bencen highlights, some editors have also noted a musical quality in the poems and an economy of words.