What has been added to our collection this month? Here are a few highlights:
I am not from here / Amerah Saleh
[Birmingham: Verve Poetry Press, 2018]
This is my comfort
I know these Brummie street like I know a pen.
Amerah Saleh’s first collection explores what it means to be a British Muslim woman of Yemeni descent and the complexities of living in two languages, English and Arabic. The writing is clear-headed, taking on several voices as it explores identity and politics - yet these poems never lose sight of the poet and her day-to-day world: “I am my stage in English and Arabic, Hatha masrahi bil engleezi wal arabi.”
Anniversary epistle to Allen Ginsberg / David Gascoyne
[London: Enitharmon Press, 2016]
This is the text of a 1986 letter written by David Gascoyne as part of a festschrift for his friend and fellow-poet Ginsberg. Gascoyne, the great British surrealist, is in chatty, meandering form as he describes drunken nights (“more bottles of wine than I was by then capable of counting”), stoned poetry readings (with Kathleen Raine and W.S. Graham) and encounters with John Cage, ee cummings, William Carlos Williams and Theodore Roethke. But, at its centre, his respect and affection for Ginsberg shines through: “Last week was the 40th anniversary of Hiroshima/Nagasaki. If only the date could have been marked by a broadcast of your ‘Plutonian Ode’ to an audience as large as that recently reached by Anglo-American Band-Aid’!”
The world speaking back.... to Denise Riley
[Norwich : Boiler House Press, 2018]
Published by Boiler House Press, a new poetry publisher headed by Nathan Hamilton at the University of East Anglia where Denise Riley was Professor of Literature with Philosophy, this is a tribute published to mark Riley’s seventieth birthday. Framing itself as a response to the title of Riley’s 2016 collection, Say Something Back, it features contributions from 96 authors inspired by Riley’s work as poet, philosopher and teacher - friends, fellow poets and former students; including Emily Berry, Vahni Capildeo, Sophie Collins, Fanny Howe, Geraldine Monk, George Szirtes and Peter Riley. A fitting linguistic reply to one of our finest poets.
The republic of motherhood / Liz Berry
[London : Chatto & Windus, 2018]
Liz Berry’s poem, 'The Republic of Motherhood', has been shortlisted for this year’s Forward Prize for Best Single Poem and Chatto & Windus, who published Berry’s award winning first collection Black Country, have published this beautiful pamphlet that includes the poem and other poems on the theme of pregnancy, birth and new motherhood. The poems take you to a wild, sleepless place of sacrifice and unconditional love, “Feedingcleaninglovingfeeding”, captured in Berry’s lilting and earthy Black Country voice.
Do angels need haircuts? / Lou Reed
[New York : Lou Reed Archive / Anthology Editions, 2018]
"I'm a poet," Reed proclaimed from the stage of St. Mark's Church in March 1971. After his disillusioned retreat from the alternative underground rock and roll scene, the musician found solace and creative inspiration in writing verse. This handsome edition includes photographs and ephemera, a new foreword by Anne Waldman, and a previously unreleased audio of the 1971 reading on short-play vinyl.