To celebrate National Poetry Day on 8th October 2015, here are ten of our favourite poetry collections of the moment ...
One of the most beautiful collections of recent years, from the pen of South West poet Rachael Boast.
Sidereal is stunning work. Technically striking and emotionally powerful, it won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for Poetry.
“I loved being poet-in-residence in Cyprus Well,” says Alyson Hallett. “From the very first moment that I stepped down into the front room, I felt at peace. It was utterly instinctive – and unexpected.”
On Ridgegrove Hill is the superb collection that stems from Alyson’s Charles Causley Residency in Cornwall.
Charles Causley is sometimes unfairly labelled as being all about the ballads. This deeply personal collection from 1984, though, is a clarion call for the fully rounded and acclaimed contemporary poet who won the Queen’s Medal for Poetry – for what The New Criterion described in 1990 as Causley’s “masterful, and at times breathtaking, translation of emotion.”
In the haunting ‘New Year’s Eve, Athens’, for example, with its “high, unsweet goat-bells, and the shepherd’s clear/Transistor clinking in the grove.”
Many of us first discovered this wonderful poet in the Alejandro González Iñárritu movie, 21 Grams – Sean Penn reads a few lines from one of the most beautiful poems in the book, ‘The Earth Turned to Bring Us Closer’.
This astonishing book is always of the moment.
One of the great beauties of poetry is when it is given as a gift, when a friend shares poetry they are sure we will love. It was just so with the work of Olav H Hauge.
“These calm days of September with their sun.” he writes. “It’s time to harvest.” This yearning, elegiac collection is superb.
This brilliant collection by South West poet Julia Copus is intense and intimate, heartbreaking in places and always inventive and technically accomplished.
“This is a beautiful, arresting, sympathetic collection,” said Kate Kellaway in The Guardian.
With Thomas Hardy very much in our minds during the Writing Places project with National Trust and Poetry Archive, this is an excellent sampler of his poetry, selected and introduced by Claire Tomalin.
Tomalin’s biography of the writer, Thomas Hardy: The Time-torn Man is out in paperback.
We’re looking forward to Isabel Galleymore’s upcoming 2016 Charles Causley Residency.
“At once hair-fine and resolute,” says Robert Crawford, “these poems are filled with the quiet nuances of intimacy, hinting deftly at the moments and gestures that are vital to our most treasured relationships.”
In his beautiful Cornish exploration Rising Ground, Philip Marsden speaks of Clemo transforming “the land around him into a mythical place and Dantesque arena of progressive intensity.”
Just as Clemo’s collections were growing harder to find and his literary legacy increasingly in the balance, Enitharmon and editor Luke Thompson have done an immeasurable service for the writing of our region with this essential volume.