Sunday, 21 March 2021

The Colour of Hope by Jen Feroze

The Colour of Hope: Poems of Happiness in Uncertain Times by Jen Feroze
Published in the UK by Matador on the 3rd March 2021.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Colour Of Hope is a poetry collection with happiness at its heart. The 45 poems inside were created during lockdown, at a time when finding beauty and comfort in the everyday seemed at once fraught with difficulty and vitally important.

Each was written for a specific recipient, based on three things they guaranteed would make them feel happy. I received a wonderful range of briefs. From the beautifully universal a longing for nature and freedom, time spent with family, summers spent in other lands to the gloriously specific snaffling a Toffee Crisp from the fridge late at night, Fleetwood Mac songs, foam banana sweets, and Ceilidh dancing.

The result is a collection of poems that serves both as a record of this intense and intensely strange year, and as an uplifting reading experience that will connect and resonate with a much wider audience than the individuals they were initially written for. 2020 will be one for the history books, a year that has created emergencies on many fronts, not least the emotional. 60% of adults, and 68% of young people in the UK reported a decline in their mental health during lockdown.

Mental health charities are working harder than ever to provide support to the vulnerable and in need, and every little helps. As such, £2 from the sale of this book will be donated to Mind, to help provide a bit of light in these uncertain times.

Hope comes in many shapes and colours, and it's my hope that you ll find some of your own pieces of happiness, comfort and, yes, hope within these pages.

I was drawn to read this unusual poetry collection when I discovered how the individual poems were inspired. As with much poetry, each work is incredibly personal yet, here, it is personal to its recipient rather than to the poet herself which I thought was a beautiful idea. The Colour Of Hope comprises 45 poems, each dedicated to the woman whose three happiness prompts led to its creation. Obviously I could identify more fully with some than with others, but I was amazed how every single poem brought a smile to my face and several prompted a chuckle too. I'm usually more of a fan of gloomy, angst-ridden poetry, but this happy collection cut straight through my habitual cynicism in a way that I really didn't expect.

I love how Feroze captures a sense of place in the poems inspired by travel and in those that are set within a single room or garden. Many celebrate the simple pleasures of a picnic or a flower (or a secret chocolate bar!). This, I felt, was very much a reflection of Spring 2020 when rediscovering time-consuming rather than time-saving activities (more sourdough anyone?) became a national pastime. In a way, The Colour Of Hope is a snapshot of those months, only at most a year ago, hard though that is to believe. Yet I think the collection also taps into something more essential about the way we live or, rather, the way we would prefer to live and briefly did when the opportunity arose. I hope that The Colour Of Hope won't just be a record of one year, but will continue to quietly remind readers that true happiness is more often found through small acts and time spent with the people we love than as a result of grand, expensive gestures.

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Books by Jen Feroze / Poetry / Books from England


  1. I am always happy to read a wonderful poetry collection, and I love how all of these are such happy poems too. It sounds like a joy to read, and one I might have to pick up as well.

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