You are here

Staff Picks July 2021 — Fizzing blue rock music

We're so excited to be open again, we've launched a series of hand-picked recommendations for you!

Image Credit: 

The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa by Chika Sagawa (Modern Library/Penguin, 2020)

This was my lockdown year discovery. Ominous, funny, surreal, succinct and unbelievably contemporary, these poems are as fizzing with energy now, as they were in 1920s Tokyo. Chika Sagawa died tragically young, at the age of 24, and the diary entries from her last days are very moving, filled with her acute and unique vision of the world. 

— Chosen by Chris McCabe

Image Credit: 

Bluets by Maggie Nelson (Wave Books, 2009, republished by Jonathan Cape, 2017)

The first time I tried to read this book, I read the opening pages and thought, ‘How pretentious!’. The second time I tried, when I got to the description of blue tarp flapping in the wind on page seven I was completely hooked and fell in love with these 240 meditations on the colour blue.

—Chosen by Lorraine Mariner

Image Credit: 

So Glad I’m Me by Roddy Lumsden (Bloodaxe, 2017)

Poems about nostalgia and rock history that don’t take the easy paths that these subjects so often dictate. Even the syntax seems to go off in all sorts of exciting directions. And who can resist titles like ‘A Band with Only Ten Good Songs’, ‘Caliban Upon Settee’ and (my favourite) ‘Jupitus Wakes’? The final testament from one of British poetry’s true originals.

—Chosen by Russell Thompson