What has been added to our collection this month? Here are a few highlights:
4 Steps From The Wire / James Caley
Bristol : Prote(s)xt, 2018
Caley created this body of collage and ‘blackout poetry’ in a four-week period leading up to his (unsuccessful) suicide attempt. He explains how, in a state of psychosis, writing in the usual way seemed impossible, but he could ‘play games with existing words’. The resulting collection is part of Poem Brut - a movement that engages with alternative experience and the messy underside of life and ‘affirms the possibilities of the page, the pen, the pencil for the poet in a computer age’.
Vaster than Empires : Poems about Vegetables / edited by Joy Howard
Kendal, Cumbria : Grey Hen Press, 2018
Perfect for the festive period when a lot of unhealthy eating takes place, this is an anthology to make you feel like you’re getting your five a day. Grey Hen is an independent publisher that publishes poetry by older women, usually in themed anthologies, and poets including Alison Brackenbury (Beet), Wendy French (Chard), Katherine Gallagher (Shallot) and Myra Schneider (Aubergine & Swede) have contributed. There are even carrot and onion shape poems. We’re getting hungry for a bowl of veggie stew just writing about it.
Hearing Things : the work of sound in literature / Angela Leighton
Massachusetts : The Belknap Press, 2018
Poet and academic Angela Leighton begins her musings on the work of sound in literature while sitting on a terrace in Sicily listening to the waves break on the rocks below. She proceeds to explore her subject through a close examination of the work of poets such as W.S. Graham, Elizabeth Bishop, Jorie Graham, Les Murray, Wallace Stevens, Christina Rossetti, and others. Arguing that ‘to know by hearing or listening requires a [...] reorganisation, almost, of the ways in which we think we know at all,’ Leighton delicately and playfully examines our relationship with sound, music, language, art. The book might make an interesting companion piece to our current exhibition, Constructing Spaces.
Tokaido Road / Nancy Gaffield
Ise City, Japan : Kogakkan University Press, 2018.
When it was first published in 2011 by CB Editions, Tokaido Road by Nancy Gaffield, a poetic response to the woodcut print series Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido by Japanese artist Hiroshige Utagawa, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize. This Japanese translation by Hisayo Ikeda has recently been published and it takes the book to a whole new sensory level. Each poem, in parallel English and Japanese, accompanies an image of the print it was written after and the book, which has the quality of an exhibition catalogue, includes a DVD showing the prints, each one introduced by music played on traditional Japanese instruments followed by Nancy Gaffield reading the poem for that print. There is also an essay on the poems by the translator and an essay on the print series by an art historian. A poetry book to truly immerse yourself in.