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Where Urban Lights Reflect Hope — The Homeless Poet

Classification: Modern and contemporary poetry (c 1900 onwards), Housing and homelessness

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Bob Little
Poems' pertinent perspectives
Review date: 22nd May 2024

A regular contributor of poems and stories to The Big Issue magazine, ‘The Homeless Poet’ claims that a love of, and a desire to create, literature has been a constant in his life for many years. In the preamble to his book, ‘Where Urban Lights Reflect Hope’, he expresses the wish to contribute to society through these poems. He states that “enduring street life is tough and adapting [to being] homeless has been transformative.”

His book’s 41 poems explore the issues of homeless life, including the threats and violence that are an ever-present reality; revealing the destitution inherent in that life which can so easily lead to despair, and outlining the approach of ‘society’ to homelessness made manifest by authorities such as the police.

The sentiments expressed may be predictable (as in the poems ‘Homeless Hate’ and ‘Destitution’) and the homeless lifestyle and its consequences seem inevitable (as in the poems ‘January’s Shadow of Death’ and ‘Shelter’) but the poems’ edgy, contemporary style paints a vibrant, unambiguous image of a dystopian real world that barely touches the lives of most of the poems’ readers – an issue which is explored in the poem, ‘The Dosser’.

Towards the end of the book, some poems explore wider, but related issues – such as the murder of George Floyd, a black American man who lost his life on 25th May 2020, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There are also poems of a more personal nature, relating to the poet’s father and daughter; while the final two poems are introspective self-examinations. Not every poet will be able to identify with the first stanza of the final poem (‘The Poet 2’) but very many will echo the sentiments in its final stanza: “I’m a poet shorn of chance, ignored with distain, screaming in outbursts, mocked in pain and impotent to change the circumstances…”

Collections of poems – even those written by well-known authors – rarely become ‘best sellers’, however worthy their crafting or their focus. That doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be more widely read or that their literary value is less than other writings. As a poet of yesteryear, Thomas Gray, wrote, in ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’, “Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”

This ‘flower’ – this collection of 41 poems - deserves not to ‘waste its sweetness’. Rather, its perspectives, especially illuminating the issues facing the homeless, deserve to inform and challenge a wide audience. The Homeless Poet should be praised for speaking out on these issues – and the Endless Bookcase should be congratulated on taking the commercially brave decision to publish his work.

By Bob Little


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Guest Reviewer
Review date: 27th May 2024

A beautiful and profound book of poetry


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Rating: 4.00 out of 5 (1 customer ratings)

Paperback eBook

£5.99
ISBN: 9781917061100
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Description

The poems represented between these pages in this powerful book are Urban shocking vignettes of street homelessness lived and experienced by a man rightly titled The Homeless Poet.
The pieces reflect the serious danger of physical violence, destitution and charity incorporated in the realm of homeless individuals surviving the undiminishing scourge of homelessness prevalent in modern day Britain. The poet relays in brutal honesty contemporary themes of social injustice and family-related issues from the harsh perspective of the street too, but cloaked in the beauty of compassion and love.
This is a must-read poetry book displaying acute insight into the subject of living rough, and witnessing how life impacts the humanity of men and women in the stranglehold of urban street homelessness while endeavouring to retain their dignity and respect. The unpredictable vagaries of street life shaping the short and concise poetical writing here will ignite anger and disbelief in equal measure.
These worded paintings were conceived in a world unfamiliar to the majority of ordinary people; a domain sometimes devoid of safety and security.
This book shines bright in testimony that hope and purpose can be maintained on the streets through strength of mind, unwavering resilience and tenuous family connections. Read the contents of this hard-fought creation, and see the tough reality our society pretends does not exist for men and women deprived of a home.

Further details

Rating: 4.00 out of 5 (1 customer ratings)
5 stars
0%
4 stars
100%
3 stars
0%
2 stars
0%
1 stars
0%

Reviews

Bob Little
Poems' pertinent perspectives
Review date: 22nd May 2024

A regular contributor of poems and stories to The Big Issue magazine, ‘The Homeless Poet’ claims that a love of, and a desire to create, literature has been a constant in his life for many years. In the preamble to his book, ‘Where Urban Lights Reflect Hope’, he expresses the wish to contribute to society through these poems. He states that “enduring street life is tough and adapting [to being] homeless has been transformative.”

His book’s 41 poems explore the issues of homeless life, including the threats and violence that are an ever-present reality; revealing the destitution inherent in that life which can so easily lead to despair, and outlining the approach of ‘society’ to homelessness made manifest by authorities such as the police.

The sentiments expressed may be predictable (as in the poems ‘Homeless Hate’ and ‘Destitution’) and the homeless lifestyle and its consequences seem inevitable (as in the poems ‘January’s Shadow of Death’ and ‘Shelter’) but the poems’ edgy, contemporary style paints a vibrant, unambiguous image of a dystopian real world that barely touches the lives of most of the poems’ readers – an issue which is explored in the poem, ‘The Dosser’.

Towards the end of the book, some poems explore wider, but related issues – such as the murder of George Floyd, a black American man who lost his life on 25th May 2020, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. There are also poems of a more personal nature, relating to the poet’s father and daughter; while the final two poems are introspective self-examinations. Not every poet will be able to identify with the first stanza of the final poem (‘The Poet 2’) but very many will echo the sentiments in its final stanza: “I’m a poet shorn of chance, ignored with distain, screaming in outbursts, mocked in pain and impotent to change the circumstances…”

Collections of poems – even those written by well-known authors – rarely become ‘best sellers’, however worthy their crafting or their focus. That doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be more widely read or that their literary value is less than other writings. As a poet of yesteryear, Thomas Gray, wrote, in ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’, “Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air.”

This ‘flower’ – this collection of 41 poems - deserves not to ‘waste its sweetness’. Rather, its perspectives, especially illuminating the issues facing the homeless, deserve to inform and challenge a wide audience. The Homeless Poet should be praised for speaking out on these issues – and the Endless Bookcase should be congratulated on taking the commercially brave decision to publish his work.

By Bob Little


Verified Purchase
please wait
Guest Reviewer
Review date: 27th May 2024

A beautiful and profound book of poetry


please wait