Today, I’m pleased to be able to bring you my reviews of a collection of poetry books written by local Leamington Spa poet Phil Hill, which will be of interest not only to all those who love cutting edge contemporary poetry, but also to those who wish to gain a deeper insight into mental health issues in our society.
The books are as follows and may be purchased through Phil’s own poetry website Phil Hill Poetry – Books, Amazon Books, Books, Poems
Beyond the Wilderness by PM Hill pub 2018 chipmunkapublishing
Love/Resistance/Rebellion by PM Hill pub 2020 chipmunkapublishing
The End of A Rainbow by Phil Hill pub Jem Stone Publications
Hero by Phil Hill pub Jem Stone Publications
The Heroine by Phil Hill pub Jem Stone Publications
This is a very touching, insightful and vivid collection of poems commemorating the life of Geraldine, the author’s wife, who suffered much from mental illness, and from whose struggles we can all learn, described in spare, unsentimental lines of poetry by Phil Hill.
The poems chart Geraldine’s life from the time she and Phil met through their growing relationship, through some of the challenges of their twenty year marriage and Geraldine’s eventual tragic death, too young.
I found many of the poems very touching and poignant, often giving real insight into how it feels to go through the ill health that Geraldine suffered, with such distressing experiences as panic attacks and obsessive eating binges.
Yet within the poems there are flashes of humour, in the poet’s sharp observations of daily life. His admiration and love for Geraldine shines through. Highly recommended to all those who like the Own Voice genre of literature and who value poems which shine a light on areas of life many may fear to contemplate or would prefer to avoid. If we have never suffered as Geraldine did, we can count ourselves blessed and we can learn from reading of her brave life.
Phil Hill is a poet whose observations of contemporary society are both sharp and discerning. He covers major themes such as loss, regret, integrity, conformity and commercial manipulation.
His voice is sensitive, emotionally stirring and both raw and vulnerable. In these poems we see our society reflected back to us, with all its irony, its disposable values, social conditioning and its shaky hold on truth. With touches of humour and flashes of anger, this poet’s voice is one to listen to, and he offers a testimony from which we may leamany orn much.
In many of Phil’s poems, his own voice shines through: strong, powerful and challenging: often showing us how the judgement and labels of others is the very worst thing of all.
Greater education and communication and knowledge and understanding are still desperately needed, although mental health issues are becoming much more prominent on the public agenda. There is a long way to go, for this to infiltrate people’s minds throughout society, but the more people learn about it and gain new understanding and share imaginative and engaging media about it, the more things will improve: ignorance is our greatest enemy.
Phil’s poems are often very emotionally stirring: sharp, and relevant to the emotional and psychological landscape of the times we are living through.
His poem about lockdown conveys the feeling of insecurity, fear, disconnection, uncertainty, with very few words. It opens our eyes to the profound psychological effect this will have on so many, long after we have got R down to zero (if we ever do). I look forward to Phil’s first poem when he clearly sees light at the end of the tunnel!
Other poems are sad and yet touching, written with Phil’s characteristic simplicity and economy of words. These are dangerous and uncertain times for all of us.
And Phil writes from a deep place within himself.
The books may be purchased from Shop | Phil Hill Poetry
I recommend Phil’s poetry to you, and to all those who wish to gain a deeper insight into mental health issues.