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Robert R Whitford

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Candle On The Reef
by Robert R Whitford   

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Books by Robert R Whitford
· The Word, The Breath, The Saving Grace
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Publisher:  publish america ISBN-10:  1608137333


Copyright:  2009 first printing

No river returns to its source, but all rivers must have a beginning. So say the
creation myths of the Shoshone. Mythologies, legends and histories of
the rivers will never be repeated. They can only be remembered. We can
never repeat our lives, only remember them. These are my efforts. Many of the
mythological, legendary and historical backgrounds have been researched
for this collection. I had a lot of fun doing it. Some of the poems are
biographical and some are outright lies and fabrications. Iíll leave it up to
the reader to discern which is which. Some of these poems extend as far back
as the nineteen seventies and others are from the last few years of writing.
Many memorable people are at the root of this work. Most I never knew, and
some, itís been my privilege to know personally and sometimes only briefly

Candle On The Reef

Poetry of Men and Mud and the River

Available at: (publishers website)


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Reader Reviews for "Candle On The Reef"

Reviewed by PHILIP DODD 3/14/2014
I found Candle On The Reef: Poetry of Men and Mud and the River by Robert R. Whitford an enjoyable, interesting book of poems to read. For me, it was worth buying as a paperback for the wonderful photograph of the riverboat on its front cover alone. One of the main reasons I liked the book is that all the poems in it are held together by one theme, and that is the life of a man who works on the riverboats of America, who happens to be a poet. The book is in fact an autobiography in verse. Being an Englishman, who has never been to America, when I think of boats on the river Mississippi, I think of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, which I enjoyed reading when I was a teenager. Now, thanks to Candle On The Reef, I have learned much of what it is like to work on those riverboats.
Lucky is the man who can see poetry in his work and has the skill to write it down is all I can say. Robert R. Whitford acknowledged the poetry in his work on the riverboats, and wrote it down in clear, confident verses. I am sure that many men who have worked on the same riverboats have seen the poetry in their work and pleasure on the rivers, but not being poets, like Robert R. Whitford, they did not write it down. In that sense, Robert R. Whitford speaks not only for himself in his book, but for all riverboat men.
Candle On The Reef made me think of the novels of Joseph Conrad, such as Heart of Darkness and Lord Jim. In his novels, Joseph Conrad wrote poetically in his prose about life at sea, rooted in his experience as a Master Mariner in the British Merchant Navy. In the same way, Robert R. Whitford has written poems rooted in his experience of life working on riverboats in America. He writes of the sounds made by the riverboats, as in the wonderful poem, Thump Hissss, and the smells, the actions and parts, and adds prose comments to some of the poems, which tell of the often violent history of the men who work on the riverboats.
As someone who is interested in mythology, I was happy and fascinated to be introduced to a new one, that of Native American Indian tribes, through the first three poems in the book, which I found wonderful, intriguing to read, called Father Water (Owoosimaa Waaboo), Piasa: The Bird That Devours Men and Pride. Like all myths, they contain intriguing names, like Ouatuga and Manabus, which act as keys to open the doors to the mythic worlds. The description of the bird that devours men reminded me of the flying fire dragons of Norse myth.
Candle On The Reef invites the reader into a world of its own, the world of the riverboat men, telling of their work, pleasures, tales and history. It is no random collection of verses, but a well thought out, very well written collection of poems, all linked together by one theme, that of the life of men who work on towboats and the river itself. Anyone who enjoys reading good poetry and is interested in history should enjoy reading this book. I have read that T.S. Eliot once worked in a bank. I doubt that such a job inspired him to write many poems. Working on riverboats, however, is another matter. There is poetry there, and with great skill and clarity, Robert R. Whitford has written it down.

Books by
Robert R Whitford

The Word, The Breath, The Saving Grace


Candle On The Reef

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