Books From The Pantry: A Universe of Love by Deborah. M Hodgetts: reviewed by Claire Faulkner

Over the centuries there have been thousands of poems written about love. Each one perfectly unique. Each one telling us a different story. Each one describing a different intensity of love. In her new poetry collection A Universe of Love, Deborah M Hodgetts invites the reader to join her on a journey to the soul. Her poems are strong and passionate, and cover every aspect of love. The collection is a culmination of Deborah’s work, which she has been sharing on her blog ‘The Beautiful Music of Love’, for the last six years. The collection is also beautifully illustrated by Stewart Clough.

This is a big collection of work, over 60 poems. Each one helping us to see, inspire and appreciate the beauty and complexity that is love. There were a number of poems which stood out to me in this collection. I was immediately drawn into ‘Come Home’, which opens with the line, “We do not see eye to eye” and continues to tell the story of wishing for a lost love to come back.   

There was surprising and questioning love in ‘The Robot Wife’:

“I built you for a purpose, /to serve me through my life. / But then quite absurdly; / I asked you to be my wife.”

For me, one of the most heartfelt poems was ‘Changing Places’, the story of twins being separated at birth. The language was tender and incredibly moving:

“I no longer a double act but a solitary, / twinkling / light, lost feeling cold and half whole.”

Another was ‘The Letter’, which I read over and over. It beautifully captures the act of sending a letter to someone you care about:

“Like a floating leaf, travelling through the air. / You travel through spaces, / people and places unseen.”

Sending a letter is something we don’t seem to do any more, yet we all remember how lovely it is to receive one, and that feeling is captured beautifully in this poem.

In complete contrast, there is also a tense love of life story in ‘Emergency!’:

“Paramedic pumping, to keep me alive. / Tubes and wires attached, to keep life on / my side.”

Not necessarily what you’d expect to see in a collection of love poems, but that’s the reason it works so well.   

This collection has every type of possible love poem you can think of. It’s a remarkable and impressive body of work with beautiful imagery and language.

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