Archive for the 'new month’s poets' Category

December part four

Here they are, the last three books I read in 2008 – all chosen while browsing in bookshops looking for the perfect  collections to finish off the year.

Graham Plender, The Common Sharing (Raddle Bank House, 2006)
Charlotte Mew, Selected Poems (Fyfield Books/Carcanet, 2008)
Kathryn Simmonds, Sunday at the Skin Launderette (Seren, 2008)

December part three

More piecemeal updates – late, of course (it’s that time of the year).

A.E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad (Dover Thrift Editions, 1990, following the authorised 1924 edition)
U.A. Fanthorpe, Christmas Poems (Enitharmon/Peterloo 2002)

December part two

Who knows why I’m resisting getting all the rest of my December reading lined up, but I am. Maybe it’s nice to break the rules after almost a year of doing things the same way each month? Anyway this week’s collection is Elizabeth Bishop’s first collection North & South, originally published in 1946. My edition is the very handsome Complete Poems, published by Chatto & Windus. I’ve been wanting to read Elizabeth Bishop for a while now, and I’m loving it so far. But that’s for the end of the week, when I’ve finished.

December part one

I can’t quite believe it: here I am, on the edge of the last month of the year, with only a few more poets to go until I get to the slated fifty-two (although unless I double up on my Christmas holidays I won’t quite have finished before the year is out). Looking back at the list of poets and collections I’ve read feels like looking back over a journey. I’ve enjoyed it a lot.

Unfortunately I’m a bit disorganised this month: usually I’ll have a stack of books ready to go by now, but that’s somehow not happened. I blame busyness, and the run-up to Christmas having already begun. So for now all I have lined up is Maura Dooley’s Life Under Water (Bloodaxe Books, 2008). I’ll post the rest of my December books when I’ve got them.


I somehow didn’t manage to make the time to post about Gwyneth Lewis’s fantastic Parables and Faxes over the weekend – I’ll do that tomorrow, I promise. In the meantime, here are November’s goodies. I’ve started on the first already, and the other three have just been delivered; they look mouth-watering…

Michael Bartholomew-Biggs, Tell it Like it Might Be (Smokestack Books, 2008)
Tom Pow, Dear Alice (Salt Publishing, 2008)
Sam Meekings, The Bestiary (Polygon, 2008)
Helen Farish, Intimates (Jonathan Cape, 2005)


I do so love getting the next month’s worth of poetry, gloating over its shiny covers and promise of new discoveries. This month’s batch includes two collections (Gross and Henderson) liberated from a box of books at my parents’ house (belonging to me), so would count in the original shelf of poetry that I aimed to read this year. The other three were lovingly selected at a shop rather than online (which is what I normally do); one was a recommendation from Tom ‘This is Yogic’ (the Hadfield). I can’t wait.

Sophie Hannah, Pessimism for Beginners (Carcanet, 2007)
Philip Gross, Cat’s Whisker (Faber and Faber, 1987)
Jen Hadfield, Nigh-no-place (Bloodaxe, 2008)
Stewart Henderson, A Giant’s Scrapbook (Spire/Hodder & Stoughton, 1989)
Gwyneth Lewis, Parables and Faxes (1995, from Chaotic Angels: Poems in English, Bloodaxe, 2005)


Here are September’s goodies, which I’ve already started on, given the lateness of my August postings… Interesting that all but one are from last year (not a conscious choice).

Lavinia Greenlaw, Minsk (Faber and Faber, 2003)
John Burnside, Gift Songs (Jonathan Cape, 2007)
Sean O’Brien, The Drowned Book (Picador, 2007) Winner of the 2007 Forward Prize
Fiona Sampson, Common Prayer (Carcanet, 2007)


I’ve already cracked on with the first of August’s collections, but here they are:

Luci Shaw, Polishing the Petoskey Stone (Regent College Publishing, 2003)
Alice Major, The Office Tower Tales (University of Alberta Press, 2008)
Tomas Tranströmer, The Deleted World (Enitharmon Press, 2006)
Jamie McKendrick, Crocodiles and Obelisks (Faber and Faber, 2007)

And as I’m behind on my projected fifty-two poets, what with one thing and another, I’ve added in a bonus collection in case I have time to read one more while on holiday:
Harry Smart, Fool’s Pardon (Faber and Faber, 1995)


Well, last month saw me finish all the collections of poetry I already had on my shelves (not including selections and anthologies) – which meant this month I could go out and stock up. Joy! I chose:

Mimi Khalvati, The Meanest Flower (Carcanet, 2007, Poetry Book Society choice)
Philip Larkin, The Whitsun Weddings (Faber and Faber, 1964, 2001)
Nancy Mattson, Writing With Mercury (Flambard Press, 2006)
Ted Hughes, Crow (Faber and Faber, 1970, 2001)
Kathleen Jamie, The Tree House (Picador, 2004)


George Szirtes and Czeslaw Milosz both got bumped into June I’m afraid; here’s this month’s list. After this lot (assuming I manage all of them that is) I’ll have worked through the unread books on my shelf and every collection from there on will be a new purchase, which is exciting (and will be fun). Any suggestions as to what I should be reading warmly welcomed!

George Szirtes, Reel (Bloodaxe Books, 2004, winner of the 2004 T.S. Eliot prize)
Czeslaw Milosz, Second Space (HarperCollins, 2005)
Don Paterson, Landing Light (Faber and Faber, 2003, winner of the 2003 T.S. Eliot prize and the 2003 Whitbread Poetry Award)
Alice Oswald, The Thing in the Gap-stone Stile (Faber and Faber, 2007 – originally OUP, 1996)