Book review: Half man, half poet by Brendan Conboy

Brendan Conboy’s latest poetry collection is being launched this month. I have read and enjoyed some of his earlier poems in The Book of Psalms in Rhyme and Popcorn Poetry. Like me, he is a member of the Association of Christian Writers and of an online poetry group. I received a digital ARC (Advance Review Copy) on the understanding that I would post an honest review.

Half man, Half Poet An enzyme of rhyme designed for this time is a collection of sixty four new poems arranged according to their subject matter. After the title poem, there are sections for Life Observations, Health, Social Issues and Christian poems.

Conboy uses rhyme and is not afraid to invent words. Some of the poems are autobiographical, others imagine other people’s viewpoints. Some are mischievous. There are poems for various moods, some aimed at young people, others about ageing and failing physical health.

Quotations from the Bible introduce each section.

These poems were written during a time when Conboy’s health was not good and he underwent major surgery.

Conboy’s YouTube channel includes a video of him reading or reciting his poem Half man, half poet. That will give you a flavour of his work.

There is to be an online launch event for Half man, half poet on Monday 17th April 2023, the day following publication of this review. You are welcome to join by Zoom or Facebook.


Where do you feel at home?

In this post I am sharing a poem I wrote in 2021 for the topic home. As with all writing and photos on the internet, I ask that you please respect my copyright.

Feeling at home

Where do I feel at home?
Where the people speak with voices
And accents I recognise,
Away from unfamiliar noises.

Where do I feel at home?
Where I can be of help
Or walking on the beach
Looking for sea-life like kelp.

Where do I feel at home?
Where the people worship God
In ways I feel happy with
In places other pilgrims trod.

Where do I feel at home?
In church in the front stall
Singing with the altos
Making music to praise God withal.

Where do I feel at home?
In our house or elsewhere
If a welcome is extended.
Welcome is having time to share.

Where do you feel at home?
When we are together
I hope that you feel at ease
And not at the end of your tether!


Looking back over 2022 and forward to 2023

During 2022 I have continued to blog at least weekly on Sue’s Trifles and weekly on Sue’s words and pictures. Once again I took part in the blogging from A to Z in April challenge and was privileged to have two guest posts on the official A to Z blog – A reverie on 21st April and (with help from J Lenni Dorner) #AtoZChallenge An Alphabet of Blog Tips on 2nd August 2022. My theme for the A to Z 2022 challenge was Christmas, with posts including links to Christmas carols.

I am now a reserve for the Association of Christian Writers’ More than Writers’ blog and have had four posts on it during the year:

Are you thinking of blogging?

Meandering along the writing path

Genealogy then and now

Problems Pantsers avoid

Annmarie Miles interviewed me about my poetry and my faith. The radio interview was aired in a programme on UCB Ireland – The Writer’s Trail and repeated on Sunday 19th June 2022 at 7am BST. It was subsequently available as a podcast.

On 23rd July two of my poems were published in Agape Review Multifaceted Light and Space and Time and on 14th August a 75-word story on Paragraph Planet.

After writing a post about books on nature and climate change, I added a page, Books about Nature and Climate Change, which I am keeping updated with new links.

Many of my posts are reviews of books of my own choice, which I have read and enjoyed. I was also invited to review a few other books including the following four:

Brisbane: A novel by Eugene Vodolazkin translated by Marian Schwartz

Book Review: Popcorn Poetry by Brendan Conboy

Book Review and author interview: The continued times of Isabella M Smugge by Ruth Leigh

Book review and author interview: The Wanderer Reborn by Natasha Woodcraft

I have continued to write poetry mainly from prompts issued for an online poetry group affiliated to the Association of Christian Writers. Not many of these poems have appeared online. Some of them are part of a project I have begun, writing poems about our 900-year-old church building. One previously unpublished poem written in 2021 featured in my post: A surprising event

Away from the world of social media I have attended committee meetings, choir practices, church services and done some voluntary work. At home I have enjoyed gardening, knitting and local walks.

My word for the year has been generosity. This follows on from previous words I have tried to focus on in earlier years.

For 2023 I have picked the word Listen. I write in the living room and concentrate on what I can see rather than what I hear. When the news is on the radio, I don’t concentrate on it for long. I need to pay more attention when people are speaking as well. There is also the question of ‘listening’ to what God might be telling me. I believe that God speaks through the Bible, through other people and angels, and sometimes directly as to the prophets. The prophet Isaiah exhorted the people to listen. In Isaiah 48 he was speaking to the people of Israel and Judah, and in Isaiah 49 to people of distant nations.

My regular readers will know that words fascinate me. My three words (20162017 and 2021)  have a progression of shared letters – ReST – TRuST; TrUSt – FocUS. My word for 2022, GenerOSity, and for 2023, LISTen, continue this trend.

My writing and blogging goals include finishing my poetry project and publishing it, taking part in the A to Z challenge again, reading and reviewing more books, including one I have been invited to review and have already read and enjoyed. This is Beneath the Tamarisk Tree by Rob Seabrook, which I’ll be reviewing at the beginning of February. On Sue’s words and pictures I intend to continue with Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge.

Thank you for reading. I am praying a New Year’s blessing on all my readers.

Photo of an orchid with hand-written text New Year Blessings