It has been a privilege to see a preview manuscript of this collection of poems, whilst it is going through the latter stages of preparation for publication, perhaps later this year.
There is a great tradition of Christian poetry through the ages, much of it not necessarily being presented as poems, but it is clearly evident in the many great hymns and worship songs, as well as significant sections of the Bible too. So I was interested to read some modern Christian poetry.
Introductions to books are often very revealing, and the introduction to “Initiate” is especially so. It is fascinating to read the background to the creative process that has led to this collection. Neil is open about having walked a difficult creative journey to get to a place where he is now comfortable with the style and format of his writing, knowing that it is his own style, and not emulating anyone else’s. I got a sense that he now feels at peace with the creative output.
This collection is a series of longer poems, some of them like short stories but much more refined and purified, as though all distractions and surplus content has been removed so they simply convey the pure essence of the story. Every line is agonised over in its creation. Some are more worship orientated, some allegorical, and there is even the inclusion of a down-to-earth honest lament.
As with all good poetry, the words have no doubt been sweated over, carefully selected and arranged to convey the deepest thoughts of the poet. The language is evocative, triggering all the senses of the reader.
Each poem has been Holy Spirit inspired, and after each one there is a brief explanation of what was behind it. It is so good to know the background, see the context and get some insight into the creative process that has gone on. There is a clear expression of the author’s personal thoughts and experiences, which will no doubt be shared by the readers and enhance understanding for many.
Creativity is a gift from God, in fact reflecting the very nature of an infinitely creative God. Neil’s poetry is a clear reflection of the works and words of God, breathing the life of the Holy Spirit into the reader.
Each poem is accompanied by a piece of artwork that helps communicate the overall concept, which is a beautiful way of enhancing the works. An exciting development to come is that each poem will also be available as an audio download via the web site. I am sure it will be a great to listen to these whilst reading the written word, offering a chance to be exposed to the authors own emphasis in each poem. It will be a truly immersive experience that extends the creativity.
Initiate : A Journey Begun, by Neil Axtell, should be available later in 2022, but many of his poems can be found on line now at https://icaruspoet.wordpress.com/