Solace in the Silence – Amanda Bonnick

Solace - front cover 4

Amanda Bonnick’s unusual, uplifting and imaginative collection of sixty poems, in a diary covering mid-2019 to Easter 2021, is the outcome of her period as Poet in Residence at Worcester Cathedral. It is a highly personal reflection on her experiences during that time, a ‘pilgrimage’.
The poems cover her profound faith, her interviews with the groups making up the Cathedral community…and her love for the building itself, which she describes as ‘a place of solace and refuge and beauty’. They tell their stories straightforwardly, without self-indulgence or overstatement, and relate not only to the Bible but to today’s everyday life…

A review of Amanda’s collection arrived recently from Dr Charlotte Barnes PhD, known to most of us as Charley, here are her thoughts on Solace in the Silence:

‘Amanda Bonnick’s ‘Solace in the Silence’ truly is something special. A walk through a city’s iconic structure – Worcester Cathedral itself – and the time that saw the Cathedral doors close – the Covid-19 pandemic. Bonnick treats both elements with respect, bringing an artistry that explores the time and place, and her changing relationship to the latter through the former. Bonnick’s own documentation of her times in residency at the Cathedral are thought-provoking and commendably honest, and they have here paved a rich avenue into the writing insights behind this collection.

‘Throughout, there are flavours of religion and its many interpretations. Far from sermon-like, though, the facts of religious celebration are brought about throughout poetic device and distinct eyes for detail. Bonnick’s ‘How I’d Start a Church’ was a personal favourite – the wonderful use of short lines making for an instructive feel – alongside ‘The Size of Everything’, the first lines of which still linger with me now. The poet pinpoints dates in the Worcestershire calendar, with a nod to various events in the city, as well as moments in the religious calendar, handling both with care.

‘The poetic works are sandwiched around Bonnick’s experiences of working within this special space add both feeling and a personal touch, giving us a taste of the true voice of experience behind the book. This is the personal alongside the universality of recognised religious practices, and the two make for excellent bedfellows.

‘Humorous, tailored and expertly delivered, ‘Solace in the Silence’ is a gem of a publication from Worcester and one of Worcester’s talents. In all, a beautiful new release from Amanda Bonnick.’

Dr Charlotte Barnes, Author, Poet, and Academic

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