What I’ve been reading in 2009 Part 2

Here are some more of the poetry books that found their way into my collection during 2009 (by which I mean I either bought them myself or someone bought them for me – I don’t want anyone imagining I procured them by nefarious means…).  I may have left some books out – it’s all a bit of a blur.  And there are other very interesting-looking collections that were published during the year that I haven’t quite got to yet (like Harvey Molloy’s ‘Moonshot‘. Jessica le Bas’ ‘Walking to Africa’, Michele Leggott’s ‘Mirabile Dictu’ and Selina Tusitala Marsh’s ‘Fast Talking PI‘).

This is a list, rather than a bunch of reviews, because when I try to review something I struggle to get past ‘I liked it’, ‘I didn’t like it’ or ‘I liked it a lot’.  You can assume the following are books I liked, really liked or really, really liked.

‘Shields Sketches’ (Hub Editions), ‘No More Hiroshimas’ (Spokesman Books) and ‘Marsden Bay’ (Red Squirrel Press) by James Kirkup, whom I blogged about in November

‘In Person: 30 Poets’ edited by Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books) – a wonderful DVD book (six hours of poets reading their own poems + a book containing all the poems) featuring great poets like Fleur Adcock, Maura Dooley, Selima Hill, Jackie Kay, Adrian Mitchell, Yang Lian and Benjamin Zephaniah.

‘Earth Shattering: ecopoems’ also edited by Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books) – poems about environmental destruction, climate change, species extinction and so forth, but not all gloomy.  Poets range from Gerard Manley Hopkins and Wordsworth to contemporary poets such as Denise Levertov, Oodgeroo and Susan Griffin.

‘Skin Hunger’ by David Lyndon Brown (Titus Books) – poems about love, sex and death. Here’s an extract from “Icarus Reflects”:

“Look, it’s me

as a courtesan,

lagged in feathers

in a long lobby,

pitied and feared

for my mordant quips

and eloquent tailoring.”

‘A Book of Luminous Things’ edited by Czeslaw Milosz – this one’s been around a while, but I’ve only just got to it and it’s just as the title suggests.  It includes work by many classical Chinese poets, as well as modern American and European poets.

to be continued…

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