Bonnie’s Crew is a tiny anthology with a huge purpose. When poet and editor Kate Garrett gave birth to her precious daughter Bonnie Melissa, she needed the care of Leeds Congenital Hearts. Thankfully, Bonnie is fine and thriving – and just turned one year old, but Kate Garrett was so appreciative of their care, and so empathetic with other parents whose child needed help, she decided to bring out an anthology in support of the unit as a fund-raiser. She also runs a blog of the same name and is still accepting submissions for that.
This darling little A6 pamphlet anthology is a little jewel. The artwork is by Marija Smits, and it’s a striking cover, but also eminently suitable as Bonnie is named for a famous pirate, Ann Bonny, as anyone who has read Garrett’s pamphlet Deadly, Delicate (Picaroon) knows.
The resulting anthology is full of poems about courage, heart, childhood and hope. Louisa Campbell excels at verbs; the child in her poem can ‘wobble’, ‘splunch’ and ‘spin’ in her play, while her mother has to ‘flame away the dark’ at night. (Sandbags) Sharon Larkin writes of a mother ‘praying in tongues’ as her very ill newborn suckles ‘half-heartedly’, both literally and metaphorically true, as the baby has a suspected heart defect. Maureen Weldon’s poem of hope, ‘Midnight Robin’, is one I have always been fond of, and Finola Scott has an utterly gorgeous poem about feeling her daughter’s child move: ‘feel in my daughter/ her daughter dance beneath my hands’, similar to Angi Holden’s golden grandchild moment of her daughter ringing her to say she’d heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. Ben Banyard, like every parent, lives in fear of anything happening to his young ones or his wife, an anxiety I can empathise with as it has never left me since my first child was placed in my arms.
My own poem in here is a short and previously unseen by anyone poem about the wonders of what’s inside our bodies, a topic I am trying to write more poems about.
Copies can be bought here: https://bonnieandcrew.wordpress.com/
It makes a lovely little gift even for those who are not into poetry, as it is very accessible and enthralling.