The Path to Kindness: Poems of Connections and Joy


This month I’ve been dipping in and out of, The Path to Kindness, a poetry anthology edited by James Crew.

What I Loved

I really enjoyed the prompts or “reflective pauses” that are peppered throughout the book, this one came after the poem, Chore by Angela Narciso Torres and encouraged you to consider the mundane chores we have to do like loading the dishwasher or hanging out the washing and how those quiet moments in our days are also sacred.

Which also made me think to a poem I’d read earlier in the year called White Towels by Richard Jones.

White Towels

I have been studying the difference
between solitude and loneliness,
telling the story of my life
to the clean white towels taken warm from the dryer.
I carry them through the house
as though they were my children
asleep in my arms.

Small Kindness by Danusha Laméris, is the first poem in this anthology and is also the one I have seen endlessly reposted on social media this year, in the same way, Good Bones by Maggie Smith was the poem that spoke to 2020, Small Kindnesses speaks to now.

The prompt was to make an effort to notice the kindnesses you see or experience in a week. Here are a couple of mine!

Another poem in the anthology that I really loved was, Love Portions by Julia Alvarez, “love should be unbalanced, a circus clown carrying a tower of cups and saucers who slips on a banana peel and lands with every cup still full of hot coffee – well, almost every cup” Julia’s poem reminded me of the famous poem by Auden, The More Loving One.

If equal affection cannot be,

Let the more loving one be me

WH Auden The More Loving one

Other poems were more poignant, like, In Praise of Dirty Socks by Lailah Dainin Shima, ‘long-ago weeks, when chemo pinned me like a butterfly, too nauseous to nag, she cleaned her things, like saying a spell, like making a wish”, which I found unexpectedly touching.

Another thing I really appreciated about this anthology was how diverse it was, there were so many poems by women and women of colour were also represented throughout. I was also impressed with how the poems included for the most part where by living poets.

I received an advanced review copy of this book from Net Galley in return for an honest review, all views expressed my own.

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