Chris McCully's Selected Poems includes work from 1993 to 2009, a representative selection which reveals his precise craft of language and poetic form. The book opens with the prose-poem Dust' from his 2009 collection Polder, a meditation on extinction: dust again the voices of the pages and the voices of the lovers'. Other voices follow, conversations in which civility, memories of friendship, art and literature respond to the desolation of dust, asserting what can be created out of it. In translations from Old English, sonnets, villanelles and ballads, McCully's supple, sparing verse celebrates the fragile areas in which we live, between space and space - / and both are dark'.
Westerns is the classic account of the emergence, growth and flowering of one of the most perennially popular film genres. When it was first published thirty years ago it was welcomed by reviewers in Europe and the United States as a major work. In this new edition, fully revised and updated, with a new introduction, both movie buffs and general readers have the opportunity to engage again with one of the sharpest film critics of our time. The book focuses on the political, historical and cultural forces that shaped the western, dealing especially with the thirty years after World War II. It considers the treatment of Indians and Blacks, women and children, the role of violence, landscape and pokerplaying, and it advances the theory that most westerns of those years fit into four principal categories that reflect the styles and ideologies of four leading politicians of the era: John F. Kennedy, Barry Goldwater, Lyndon Johnson and William Buckley. Since the book was first revised in 1977, there has been, as the author predicted there would be, a steady decline in the number of westerns made for TV and the cinema, but the genre remains highly influential and reflects the social and psychological currents in American life. In the 1990s Academy Awards for best movie went to Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves and Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven, the first time that westerns were so honoured since Cimarron won an Oscar in 1930. French takes in these and other films, such as Heaven's Gate, the costly failure that brought down the studio that produced it, and brings the story of the western into the twenty-first century as the genre that was renewed in Cold Mountain, Open Range, Hidalgo and The Alamo.
Iain Crichton Smith's Collected Poems was awarded the Saltire Prize when it was published in 1992. This completely revised and enlarged edition includes seventy additional poems, mostly from the four books the poet published in the 1990s: Ends and Beginnings (1994), The Human Face (1996), The Leaf and The Marble (1998) and A Country for Old Men and My Canadian Uncle (2000), together with extracts from his 1971 translation of Sorley Maclean's epic Din do Eimhir agus Din Eile (Poems to Eimhir, 1943), a founding moment of modern Gaelic poetry. The new introduction by Matthew McGuire of the Department of Scottish Literature, University of Glasgow, illuminates the range of Crichton Smith's achievement as a poet of Scotland and Europe: rooted in local tradition yet, in Edwin Morgan's words, 'open to the whole intellectual world'.
The Baboons of Hada introduces thirty years of Eric Ormsby's precise and generous poetry. Opening with an exuberant bestiary of spiders and starfish, penguins, snakes and contemplative baboons, the collection moves on to explore a world of intricate wonders and memories: the grandeur of noses, the mayonnaise tornado whipped up by a kitchen whisk, the gossip gravediggers whisper to the dead. An American childhood and kinships are evoked with loving particularity, alongside a flamboyant caliph, Lazarus and his disenchanted wife, and the great medieval Arab poet al-Mutanabbi writing in exile lines that reverberate across all the empty places' of the world.
The erotic and the sexual are richly represented in this new collection, whose subjects of celebration range from the lemons in Robert Graves' garden to a blood-drinking Tibetan deity. At its heart are a group of passionate love poems, and a sequence set in an East London strip club, treated with the imaginative insight and verbal skill that led R.V. Bailey, reviewing Lindop's Selected Poems, to write that, 'All the tricks in the poet's bag work for him as a master, so unobtrusively that it is only at the second or third reading that you become aware that the thought and feeling...are supported by an amazingly intricate web of sound.' This new collection will enhance Lindop's reputation for originality as well as for mastery of poetic tradition. As Kathleen Raine wrote, 'Grevel Lindop celebrates a cosmic harmony that upholds the greatest and the least parts of the universe... His perspectives open on the stories within stories, where what is "real" and what is illusory are woven together. Grevel Lindop does not see the world about him as in need of "improving", for he sees all with the eye of love.
Cities is a book of travels, from Basel to Budapest, Tampico to Tiblisi and from the child in wartime Leicester to a 'fortune beyond any deserving / to be still here' in a London garden, eight decades later. 'Migrations', the book's opening poem, celebrates the recurring 'filigree of migration, symbiosis, assimilation'. Inheriting 'a long history of crossing borders', Feinstein explores the haunted landscape between past and present, public history and personal memory, in simple intense lyrics.
In 2006 Tim Liardet's brother died in mysterious circumstances. The Storm House is a book-length elegy that is both grief-fugue and exploration of family psychodrama. The two parts of the book form a powerful narrative of sorrow and anger, the events recollected in the first part extended by the virtuoso sonnet-sequence of the second. From uncertainty, trauma and silence, Liardet generates force and gravity in the spring and leap / of energy' that is the creative life owed to the dead.
At the Source reflects upon a writer's deep inheritance of language, myth and nature. Her creative journeys begin from those sources. The book opens with a house, Blaen Cwrt. A river rises, a tributary which will flow on to the Atlantic, and a family has its roots there. There the Welsh poet Gillian Clarke writes in what was the byre, looking across a landscape worked and imagined by generations of farmers and poets. Six chapters explore the relationship of places and languages, culture and family, geology and myth, in a poet's imagination. At the heart of the book is a journal of the writer's year. Lyrical, wise, meticulously observant, often humorous, Clarke records the experience of living and working on the land, observing the world from a particular place, the continuity and remaking of the source.
Gillian Clarke's poems are letters from the far countries of personal and ancestral memories, of places and moments of insight. Her acclaimed title poem explores the buried histories of women's lives, the enduring responsibilities that link generations and ensure the continuance of language and traditions. Rooted in rural Wales, Letter from a Far Country celebrates the sources of strength and continuity that bind people to landscape and community.
Some Do Not..., the first volume of Parade's End, introduces the central characters: Christopher Tietjens, a brilliant mathematician; his dazzling, unfaithful wife Sylvia; and the young Suffragette Valentine Wannop. It starts with the cataclysmic weekend that throws Tietjens and Valentine together. It ends in 1917 as the two are on the verge of becoming lovers, before Tietjens prepares to return to the Front and probable death. Some Do Not... is an unforgettable exploration of the tensions of a society facing catastrophe, as the energies of sexuality and power erupt into violence. Some Do Not... includes: the first reliable text, based on the manuscript and first editions; a major critical introduction by Max Saunders, Ford's acclaimed biographer; an account of the novel's composition and reception; a reconstruction of Ford's dramatic original ending, published complete for the first time; annotations explaining historical references, military terms, literary and topical allusions; a full textual apparatus including transcriptions of significant deletions and revisions; a bibliography of further reading.
In Mortal Memory is a collection of lyric poems, celebratory if often melancholy, both elegiac and ironic. Affirming that life is all becoming' McNeillie mourns what that means in terms of loss and sorrow at time passing. The sea is a powerful presence, its meaning drawn both from the northern landscapes in which McNeillie's work is rooted, and from the work of French poets, from Baudelaire and Hugo to Rimbaud and Corbière. The poems pitch up and down across formalities, against the idea of purity, while sustaining a rhyming, singing line.
Smoke and Lilacs is full of play and shadow, whispered intimations of mortality and glances of humour, elegiac lyric playing against steely classicism, an easy modern vernacular eliding with timeless grace. Sibum's meditative narratives move between worlds, modern and ancient, the state of our civic order and the realm of love. Human love and lust exist within the forces of empire - Rome or America. Men and women continue to ask of life 'from what god does it come, / To what serendipity does it go / if chance is all and all there's been?', and the gods 'laugh at those who laugh at chance'. Across centuries, voices create a complex music from their moments on earth, the echoes of their 'gossip in the rain's cold light'.
Here is a portrait of the poet by his wife which has no equal, not even in Mary Shelley's sketches of her husband.New StatesmanUnder Storm's Wing collects all that Helen Thomas (1877-1967) wrote about the poet Edward Thomas (1878-1917): the celebrated volumes As It Was and World Without End, her letters to Edward, and separate memoirs of her meetings with W.H. Davies, D.H. Lawrence, Ivor Gurney, Eleanor Farjeon, Robert Frost and W.H. Hudson. The book has been assembled by Myfanwy, the youngest daughter of Edward and Helen. Myfanwy includes her own enchanted account of childhood with her father, and the tragedy of his death at the Battle of Arras in 1917. She adds an appendix of six letters from Robert Frost to Edward Thomas.Helen wrote As It Was, the story of her courtship and early marriage, shortly after Edward's death, and World Without End a few years later. In the original editions and later reprints fictitious names were used for the protagonists. In this edition the actual names are restored.The book provides a brilliant, lasting evocation of one of Britain's best-loved poets.
From its title, which runs to 101 words in full, to its wordless concrete poems; from its World Cup fixture list to its transformations of four-letter words, 'We needed coffee but...' is audacious, mischievous, even outrageous. As in his award-winning first collection The Book of Matthew, the poet attends precisely to each detail: the rhythms are musical but unexpected; the brightness control on imagery is turned up high. New in this book is the emphasis on collaboration. Some of this work began in text pieces for art exhibitions or as song-cycle lyrics. Other poems respond to the influences of Gertrude Stein, Raymond Queneau, Inger Christensen, dom silvester houedard, Yoko Ono and Gyorgy Ligeti. Matthew Welton turns rigorous control into a dancing display of wit: we become his collaborators in the shared delight that inventive poetry can contrive.
Sophie Hannah's first book The Hero and the Girl Next Door (Carcanet, 1995), earned her a remarkably big audience: her broadcasts and public readings throughout the country have proved extremely popular. Her poems entertain with a cunning use of traditional form, moving beyond satire to the heart of the modern matter: loves, lusts, losses, worldly foibles, how people see themselves and how others see them, the problems of learning to drive and learning to live with a car. The Poetry Review declared, 'Shall I put it in capitals? SOPHIE HANNAH IS A GENIUS.' Be that as it may, Hotels like Houses provides a new range of romantic ironies, light and dark laughter, for her readership.
Andrew Crozier (1943-2008) was a poet, and an energiser of poetry. A champion of work excluded from the familiar canon, he brought to the English literary landscape of the 1960s and 70s an engagement with the energies of American poetry. As a publisher and critic he helped to create a space for new voices within English poetry: for George Oppen, Carl Rakosi, Roy Fisher, J.H. Prynne. His own poetry is meticulous in its attention to language, exhilarating in its inventiveness and force. Crozier wrote that, for him, becoming a poet had to do with finding a mode for making sense of ... being alive', and his writing is alive with the possibilities of language. Ian Brinton, editor of The Use of English until 2011 and author of Contemporary Poetry Since 1990, has brought together a comprehensive selection of Crozier's poetry and prose, much of it previously out of print or scattered in small press publications. Biographical and critical notes and a detailed bibliography complete this landmark edition of one of the essential figures in modern poetry.
Edwin Morgan's original Selected Poems was published in 1985. It became something of a classic, selling in excess of 20,000 copies. But 1985 is a long time in the world of so inventive and irrepressible a writer as Edwin Morgan. He has published a new Collected and several individual volumes, as well as his essays and celebrated translations.
This New Selected Poems contains most of the work included in the popular 1985 volume, to which Morgan adds a wealth of later material. The complete sequence of Sonnets from Scotland appears in book form for the first time, the poems gaining in relevance now that Scotland's Parliament has been established. Morgan is the unofficial laureate of the new Scotland. Hitherto uncollected is the ambitious and magnificent Planet Wave, a suite of ten poems covering the history of the earth from the Big Bang to the time of Copernicus. It was set to music by the jazz saxophonist and composer Tommy Smith, and was first performed at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in 1997.
Morgan is unique among British poets in the range and courage of his experimentation, his openness to the poetries of other languages and to the poetry of science and science fiction. He explores language less as a medium than as an abundant, self-renewing human resource. However spectacular his leaps in time and space, he always comes back to ground in Scotland, in Glasgow, in a present tense which he inhabits with exuberance and hope, and without cultural regrets. He is a celebrator: his work, with its Scottish and European perspectives, is at once sophisticated and popular.
POETRY BOOK SOCIETY CHOICE SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2009 T.S. ELIOT PRIZE WINNER OF THE IRISH TIMES POETRY NOW AWARD 2010 Sinéad Morrissey's fourth collection explores fertility, pregnancy, and the landscape of early childhood in poems that are by turns tender, exuberant and unsettling. Pitched against the envious dead, these diverse narratives of birth and its consequences are rooted in literary and historical contexts - from Aristotle's theory of spontaneous generation to Lewis Carroll's Alice - that amplify her theme. Infancy is for Morrissey the rich and contested territory in which what it means to be human in a precarious world is disclosed.
Christina Rossetti was in a sense the first poet of the Pre-Raphelites, her Goblin Market and Other Poems (1862) having been - as if by accident - the writing from that group which first caught public attention. It contains many of her best poems. Later work - devotional poems, love lyrics and descriptive pieces - extended the themes and forms of her first remarkable collection. It is remarkable, but in a quiet and intense way, not in the manner of those who seem to have learned from her among her contemporaries. Ford Madox Ford, who had a subtle ear for the unemphatic excellence of the nineteenth-century writers, called her 'the most valuable poet that the Victorian age produced'. Her modern admirers are many, especially among the poets. Philip Larkin speaks of her poetry as 'unequalled for its objective expression of happiness denied and a certain unfamiliar steely stoicism'. In this selection C.H. Sisson presents a wide range of her work and in his biographical and critical introduction suggests fresh perspectives on it. Sisson also includes here Rossetti's long-unavailable 'Maude, A Story for Girls', which was written when she was very young and gives some indication of her cast of mind and her skills as a writer of prose fiction. The character of Maude is a severe self-portrait, wry at her own expense. As Sisson says, 'with any poet the starting-point, social as well as literary, is worth finding out about'.
Sujata Bhatt's first book of poems, the award-winning Brunizem, appeared in 1988. In a very short time she has gained recognition as one of the distinct and reckonable new voices. She has things to say about her native India and her native tongue (Gujarati), about America and Britain, and about Germany where she now lives. She is, the New Statesman declared, 'one of the finest poets alive', and alive in a unique way to language, to issues of politics and gender, to place and history. Hers is a remarkable complete imagination, generous and at the same time unsparingly severe in its quest for the difficult truths of experience.
FOUR NOVELS: Out (1964), Such (1966), Between (1968) and Thru (1975) The Brooke-Rose Omnibus brings together four unexpected novels: Out, a science-fiction vision of a world surviving catastrophe; Such, in which a three-minute heart massage is developed into a poetic and funny narrative; Between, a glittering experience of the multiplicity of language; and Thru, a novel in which text and typography assume a life of their own. Linking them all is wit, inventiveness and the sharply focused intellegence of Christine Brooke-Rose, a great European humanist writer.
Ford Madox Ford can never quite keep out of it. The more self-effacing he seems, the more his the writing becomes: scenes of preternatural clarity. 'Memory doesn't work like that,' said one critic. Well, Ford's does. 'Truth to the impression' was his aim. How it seemed, how memory took it in, is more alive than how it 'actually' was, whatever that means. Memory is for Ford as for Wordsworth re-creation. His memoirs have the authority of fiction because they are half way between fiction and fact. Return to Yesterday (1931), his most fascinating memoir, follows on Ancient Lights and covers the years from 1894 to the outbreak of World War I - his transition from privileged godson of the Pre-Raphaelites to the great Modern writer and editor he became. Here he evokes England at large, and London in particular, its literary community, the political world of anarchists (the world of his friend Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent). If the Rossettis, Ford Madox Brown, Swinburne and Morris gave their blessing to his youth, it was Pound and Lawrence, Joyce and Rhys, who were blessed by his maturity. C.H. Sisson writes: 'Ford remains a profound influence on the poetry as on the prose of the century, for he found English literature poetical and left it spare.
The Border Ballads are rooted in the wild and beautiful lands that lie between England and Scotland, a traditionally lawless area whose inhabitants owed allegiance first to kin and laird, and only then to the authorities in London or Edinburgh. Recording a violent, clannish world of fierce hatreds and passionate loyalties, the ballads tell vivid tales of raids, feuds and betrayals, romances and acts of revenge. They celebrate ungovernable heroes and powerful women, often in laments for the murderous results of breaking tribal codes, and they evoke the presence of an older border, between the natural and the supernatural worlds. The Border Ballads were long regarded as primitive poems. This selection restores their identity within the oral tradition, setting them in the context of their time and place with the aid of maps and a glossary.
A Journey with Two Maps begins with an anecdote: one afternoon, Eavan Boland saw one of her mother's paintings for sale in a gallery, signed by her famous teacher. It is the starting point for an exploration of concepts of art and womanhood, of what it means to be a woman poet, finding her own voice within a tradition. Boland's discussion is both critical and deeply personal, an account of her development as a poet that traces her experiences as a woman, wife and mother in the light of influences such as Adrienne Rich, Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks and Sylvia Plath. Boland considers the ways in which influences themselves may be changed as a tradition is remade. In the final part of the book, Letter to a Young Woman Poet', she addresses an unseen poet of the future who will redraw the maps once more, remaking the past and the present.