Reviewed by Tony Cummings
As Christendom's very own Liverpool poet, Stewart has long been a master of the English language, and this latest book, a unique combination of poems, journal explaining the chosen poems' inspiration, travelogue and cultural almanac, is a captivating read. With reflections on a vast variety of people from Emily Dickinson, Federico Fellini and C.S. Lewis to P.G. Wodehouse, Mister Ed and Malcolm McClaren this is an absorbing, thought-provoking and sometimes hilarious read, while his accounts of personal encounters with everyone from broadcaster and raconteur Malcolm Muggeridge to A Wrinkle In Time authoress Madeleine L'Engle are particularly entertaining. Stewart, of course, is well known to followers of Christian music; some of his works have been turned into songs by people like Gareth Davies-Jones and Martyn Joseph, and in fact the latter's "Everything In Heaven Comes Apart" is given a fresh airing here. Christian music historians will also find Stewart's writing about John Pac, whose band Trinity Folk (who were of course to morph into the "Light Up The Fire" hitmakers Parchment) gave Stewart invaluable help in his early days, of real interest. As radio critical Gillian Reynolds once said about Henderson, "He understands the packed power of words; the importance of their use and measure." Stewart is, in fact, a national treasure and this book is recommended both to Stewart's long-term readers and listeners, and those who've only recently discovered his work.
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