POETRY

POETRY

POETRY REBELLION (Batsford £12.99) galvanises us to notice and care about our glorious natural world

Jen Hadfield doesn’t feature in that anthology, but her THE STONE AGE (Picador, £10.99) transports us to the bleakly beautiful landscape of Shetland, where she lives

NIGHT FEEDS AND MORNING SONGS (Trapeze £12.99) is a joyous collection of poems about motherhood

Can poetry save the world? Shelley thought it might, Auden said it ‘makes nothing happen’ — but anthologist Paul Evans offers passionate words on the environment as a call to action. POETRY REBELLION (Batsford £12.99) galvanises us to notice and care about our glorious natural world, through the words of an army of poets, ancient and modern. Evans’s heartfelt introduction is excellent: unafraid to suggest that the quiet pastoral of the past might be changed by us into a sense of Nature as sacred — therefore worth fighting for.

Jen Hadfield doesn’t feature in that anthology, but her THE STONE AGE (Picador, £10.99) transports us to the bleakly beautiful landscape of Shetland, where she lives. Hers is an uncompromising eye which sees Soul in everything, from a seemingly inanimate standing stone (‘Who knows/how deep this grief goes/down…’) to a limpet (‘locked to your home…’). Strange and challenging, these poems demand as much attention as the poet gives her world.

To return to the human, two anthologies suggest that family love offers a roadmap for the future. Ana Sampson’s NIGHT FEEDS AND MORNING SONGS (Trapeze £12.99) is a joyous collection of poems about motherhood, containing perennial favourites like Sylvia Plath’s Morning Song and Kate Clanchy’s wistful but entertaining look back at her free, pre-baby self, The Other Woman.

Sampson takes us through pregnancy, sleep deprivation, loss of identity, female support, and those milestones in a child’s life which warn us that the day will come, all too soon, when, as in the last line of Imogen Russell Williams’s poem, The First Shoes, ‘I realise how soon you’ll walk away.’

On cue — Carol Ann Duffy’s EMPTY NEST (Picador £14.99) has assembled a tender, elegiac selection of ‘Poems for Families’ — inspired (you feel) by the former Poet Laureate’s own sadness at the ‘Empty Nest’ of her sad, beautiful poem: ‘Dear child, the house pines when you leave.’

But there’s enchantment at the end, for Duffy’s daughter Ella contributes a love poem to her mum, and the page opposite is blank for ‘Your Poem Here’, plus space for a dedication.

Two poetry ‘primers’ offer inspiration. Lucy Newlyn’s The Craft of Poetry (Yale, £12.05) — has pulled off a near-impossible feat with a series of accomplished poems that illustrate every single poetry technique.

Quite different is Kate Clanchy’s HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN POEM (Picador, £14.99). This utterly delightful and encouraging handbook is an energising mixture of anthology, advice and exercises to spark creativity.

Source: Read Full Article