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Book of the Week: The Valley Press Anthology of Yorkshire Poetry

Posted on July 31, 2017 by Rebecca Robinson

This anthology, featuring the likes of Carol Ann Duffy and Ian McMillan, pays homage to Yorkshire, the region often hailed as the home of English poetry. 

The poems and poets included prove to be as diverse as the county itself, acknowledging more than just the picturesque yet dangerous landscape, writing too about the urban. The poems comment on how the wild expanses of open land have been tamed and changed by man in the past few centuries, to the varied county they now know and love.  

For many of the poets in this anthology, Yorkshire is home; where they were born, raised, or still live. As a result, the poems are a very personal response to a part of Britain that they feel particularly close to, revealing an often raw emotion in their poetry. Far from the praises of the wild, unruly landscape of the poets of the past, this anthology considers the people in this modern and changing landscape and their relationships with one another and with nature. 

The train’s too fast for catching names,
though –stone must play a part, and –field.
The bridges have a solid, four-square set
about their jaws, and mortar sitting proud-
gritty assurance that they’re built to last.
-‘Heading North’ by D A Prince

 

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The Golden Rule by Earnest Noyes Brookings

Posted on January 27, 2017 by Rebecca Robinson

The Golden Rule

Some elderly people in nursing homes take to watching television endlessly, doing crosswords or gazing out of the window, but Esrnest Noyes Brookings was set a task by David Greenberger to write poems. Greenberger would supply a topic for the poetry and the next day, whilst working at the nursing home, he would receive the finished poem. Brookings’ poems all follow an ABAB rhyme scheme but the utter lack of concern with literary devices and self-consciousness which often strangles writers is a fresh relief when reading this large, enduring collection.

While all flake cheese

Pressed out of milk

Requires no sneeze

No relation to silk

On plates evident

Relieving partial hunger

Costs more than a cent

But a delicious wonder.

- ‘Cheese’

Available to buy on the Inpress website here, now on sale!

On Friday 27th January there will be a chance to get your hands on all of the books featured on the blog this week, check back then to see how you can win!

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Don't Mention the Children by Michael Rosen

Posted on January 26, 2017 by Eimantas Zolondauskis

Michael Rosen has written and edited over 140 books, known as a children’s author and poet, this is Rosen’s first collection for adults in eight years. Keeping the child-like honesty and humour in his writing, Rosen discusses his daily thoughts, from politics to his children’s first words. With the mundanities of life described in his dead-pan fashion to the absurdities of his imagination, Don’t Mention the Children is a joyous and thought-provoking read.

 

Boy: Are you Michael Rosen?

Me: Yes.

Boy: Really?

Me: I am Michael Rosen.

Boy: You look just like him.

- Conversation on a Bus

 

Available to buy on the Inpress website here, now on sale!

On Friday 27th January there will be a chance to get your hands on all of the books featured on the blog this week, check back then to see how you can win!

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My Mother is a River by Donatella Di Pietrantonio

Posted on January 25, 2017 by Rebecca Robinson

Translated by Franca Scurti Simpson.

My Mother Is a River is Di Pietrantonio’s first novel. The novel chronicles the relationship between a daughter and her aging mother who has dementia and is slowly drifting away from reality and into her own perception of the world. The relationship between mother and daughter is strained, but the narrator, as eldest daughter, takes care of her and helps her cope with her identity which is fading away.

Some days the illness eats away at her emotions too. The body is listless, it leaks the emptiness that drains it. It loses the ability to feel. It doesn’t suffer, it doesn’t live, not then.

The check-ups are for my benefit. They reassure me; it wasn’t I who made her sick and the progression is slow. Some abilities are partially preserved. I go with her, I look after her, I am a good enough daughter.

 

Available to buy on the Inpress website here, now on sale! 

On Friday 27th January there will be a chance to get your hands on all of the books featured on the blog this week, check back then to see how you can win!

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The Fetch by Gregory Leadbetter

Posted on January 24, 2017 by Eimantas Zolondauskis

The broad spectrum of form, genre and content in Leadbetter’s poems make The Fetch, Gregory Leadbetter's first full collection, a captivating read. The poems are constructed with precision and care woven into each word; his phrasing and rhythm remaining tight and specific throughout. Leadbetter’s topics range from life and death to love, to the supernatural and magical. A collection to read when you’re in the mood for all sorts of poetry.

 

I know it was a blessing

when she landed like a fly on my forehead

as I was trying to write,

her cicada rustle scribbling in and out

before the flick of my hand sent her to hide

in the plumbing, where she whined for weeks

until I found her, toad-shy and morning-blind

in the kitchen sink. I held her, for the first time then,

revived her with what has become her favourite wine.

- 'Imp' by Gregory Leadbetter

 

‘Leadbetter’s poems are finely-made and quietly powerful – every word is the right word. But they can also be deceptive and unsettling, showing us the darkness at the edges of our everyday lives. As he puts it in ‘The Departed’: “I see what the part of me that died has seen.”’ – Patrick McGuinness

 

You can pick up a copy of The Fetch here, now on sale!

On Friday 27th January there will be a chance to get your hands on all of the books featured on the blog this week, check back then to see how you can win!

 

 

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