Foodbank Britain is the debut poetry chapbook from local poet and community activist Dee Howard. It is subtitled ‘A mixed bag of poems looking at life in serious, fun and thought provoking ways’. The most important thing to say about this collection, however, is that it has been created to raise money for Hastings Foodbank.

Dee is a regular reader at Sheer Poetry, the open mic spoken word nights that happen every third Thursday of the month between 6-8pm at Hastings independent bookstore, Bookbusters. If you have seen her perform, you will know how passionate she is about social issues, both local and global, and how deft she is at putting these across with a fine balance of seriousness and humour. Foodbank Britain encapsulates her altruism in print.

There are twenty poems here, some personal, most compassionate. A poetic introduction from our mayor Cllr Nigel Sinden sets the tone. Dee cites a performance by Attila the Stockbroker as an inspiration to write about the issues ,that concern her. The chapbook begins with mostly rhyming poems, sometimes couplets, but soon veers into free verse, proving Howard can do both.

In this chapbook we have poems addressing poverty, homelessness, global warming, the origin of St Leonards, invisible illness and more. It’s not gloomy, simply uplifting in its awareness. If you are already a grass roots poetry fan, I recommend this chapbook. If you are new to poetry, then this is a good place to start. If you want to support some of the disadvantaged in our community, buy this book and spread the love.

Foodbank Britain is available from Bookbusters and other outlets. The price is a minimum of £3 but please give more if you can afford it. All profits go to Hastings Foodbank. If you would like to know more or order copies to sell to friends and colleagues to help raise money for this (unfortunately) essential cause you can contact Dee by email: [email protected] 

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