Kingsley Amis's poetry tackles all the grimly humorous subjects he tackled in his novels--lust, lost love, booze, money and the lack of it, old age, death--and does so with immense formal poise. A master of both traditional and unconventional meters with a perfect ear for parody, Amis wrote satires, epigrams, and rueful and scornful songs that are remarkable not only for their virtuosity and humor but for their scabrous realism. It all adds up to a small, entirely individual, and memorably bracing body of work. As Amis writes: "Beauty, they tell me, is a dangerous thing, / Whose touch will burn, but I'm asbestos, see?"
The wandering poet has always been a feature of our cultural imagination. Odysseus journeys home, his famous flair for storytelling seducing friend and foe. The Romantic poets tramped all over the Lake District searching for inspiration. Now Simon Armitage, with equal parts enthusiasm and trepidation, as well as a wry humor all his own, has taken on Britain's version of our Appalachian Trail: the Pennine Way. Walking "the backbone of England" by day (accompanied by friends, family, strangers, dogs, the unpredictable English weather, and a backpack full of Mars Bars), each evening he gives a poetry reading in a different village in exchange for a bed. Armitage reflects on the inextricable link between freedom and fear as well as the poet's place in our bustling world. In Armitage's own words, "to embark on the walk is to surrender to its lore and submit to its logic, and to take up a challenge against the self."
A generous selection that shows the poet James Lasdun at his lyrically inventive best
Two men grapple with jumper cables, trying "to make a stand // in this last corner of our realm; machinery . . ." A man on his way to see his therapist encounters a female police officer in an elevator and feels himself regressing to "the original essence, the masculine / criminal salt." A teenager is tricked into eating a spoonful of lime pickle by his girlfriend's father. An Englishman in the Catskills ponders the nature of exile, is chased by yellow jackets, gets a haircut. James Lasdun's subjects are often quotidian--but his treatment of them never is. Under his transformative gaze, the familiar becomes strange, the local becomes foreign, and the minor becomes epic.
Lasdun has been winning acclaim since his first collection, 1988's A Jump Start--Helen Vendler has lauded his ability to give "brisk shape to contemporary and classical events"; The New York Times has praised the "sharp, slicing imagery" of his work. Now, in Bluestone, which selects from all three of his previous collections and includes poems from his fourth, Water Sessions, previously available only in the U.K., readers will be able to appreciate the full sweep of this capacious talent: his delicate wit, his gift for invention, his keen observational eye. It is a gathering that affirms Lasdun's position as, to quote Anthony Hecht, one of "the most gifted, vivid, and deft poets now writing in English."
Abigail Parry's first collection is concerned with spells, and ersatz spells: with semblance and sleight-of-hand. It takes its formal cues from moth-camouflage and stage magic, from the mirror-maze and the masquerade, and from high-stakes games of poker.
The phrase rogue states' has been conjured with deadly purpose by major world powers to describe weaker countries who have fallen out of favor with the West. Johnston's new collection adopts the phrase; serious illness is seen as a rogue state, ' a usurpation of the lived ordinary, a form of invasion. Other poems take on the everyday, the speculative, and contemplate the uses of the poetic imagination in a society where, in the poet's view, poetry itself is under siege. Politics and society can never be outside or beyond the poet's critical reach. At a time when poets and writers in less humanitarian societies than our own are suffering imprisonment, or much worse, we have, he would maintain, a duty to use our freedom to speak out against injustice, even at the risk of being labeled rogue' ourselves. Fred has published nine collections of poems, four novels, and two collections of short stories
Ruth Fainlight is one of Britain's most distinguished poets. Born in New York City, she has lived mostly in England since the age of 15, publishing her first collection, Cages, in 1966. Somewhere Else Entirely is her first new collection since Bloodaxe's publication of her New & Collected Poems, in 2010.
Maitreyabandhu's thematically varied debut collection includes poems of spiritual transcendence as well as meditations on love, memory and sexuality. Sometimes comic, often elegiac, the poems convey the pleasures and terrors of childhood as well as the mystical world of fable. Truthful, tender, and written with a kind of wonderment, the collection culminates in 'Stephen', an extended sequence of poems exploring a clandestine, and finally tragic, relationship between two boys. For Maitreyabandhu - a Buddhist teacher and member of the Triratna Buddhist Order for over twenty years - The Crumb Road is an image for the unreliability of memory, and for the vital thread of human value that connects us to the spiritual world.
When British millionaire Felix Dennis began scribbling poetry, his hobby quickly became an obsession. Described as brilliant, bombastic, profane, and ruthless, the enfant terrible whose international publishing empire includes the world's largest selling men's magazine, Maxim, wrote this bestselling volume of 187 poems in a formal meter, spanning the gamut of topics from sex to ecology to the Crusades. Illustrated with pen-and-ink sketches and featuring an audio CD of Dennis reading his work, this unorthodox collection will delight readers everywhere. 1-40135-953-1$12.95 / Time Warner Book Group
Alvi's latest collection of surrealist fables features `Motherbird' and `Fatherbird' - inspired by her Pakistani father's immigration and recent death. Her previous two collections were shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.