[This is the second of two reviews we're running on this new anthology. You can read the first here.]
When I left Leicester after living there for three years I was utterly convinced that nobody would love it as much as I do. The new Welcome to Leicester anthology has proved me wrong. It captures the remarkable and the completely normal about the city so beautifully that I realise now that Leicester stays with each and every person who passes through it.
I thought I knew everything there is to know about Leicester, its history and its culture. Once again this collection corrected me. Reading it is a wonderful, educational experience that only makes me feel closer to the city, rooting me in its fascinating past with poems like Andrew Button's “Ratae Corieltauvorum” and “Ruins steeped in history” by Norbert Gora.
Having only left Leicester a few months ago, I’m still very much homesick for the city. This collection allowed me to fall in love again and again with each page and by the end, it’s as though I’ve been back and visited the city itself. Each poem feels like a personal connection, like it was written just for me. I can hear the Leicester market place, I am part of the hustle and bustle of shoppers in the Highcross, I can smell fireworks after the Diwali celebrations, and if I close my eyes I am walking along Julia Wood’s perfect depiction of Granby Street.
Not being a football fan myself and knowing nothing about the game, I wasn’t particularly bothered by Leicester winning the Premier League this year. What I did love, though, was that the city came alive. People came from all over to our city to celebrate the success of underdogs. It resonated with thousands and that’s something that definitely shines through in “The Art of Winning” by Jayne Stanton and also “On Leicester winning the premiership” by Rob Gee.
It’s impossible to pick a favourite from the collection and I suppose that makes sense. It’s impossible to pick one part of Leicester that I love the most. Perhaps the best thing about the collection is the sense that everyone who has taken part feels proud of the city and it’s not hard to see why. Leicester belongs to everyone from all walks of life: it’s home, it’s beautiful and now everyone can have a small piece of it to keep.
About the reviewer
Kershia Field is a twenty-one-year-old poet currently working on her first poetry collection based on Mental Health and the stigma surrounding it. She has her own blog at http://kershiadoespoems.blogspot.co.uk/