Gen is the eagerly awaited second collection by Jonathan Edwards, whose debut, My Family and Other Superheroes, won the Costa Prize for Poetry in 2015. This accessible and critically acclaimed young poet has beaten off ‘second collection syndrome’ with a book of sharp yet beautifully warm and humane poems. The title refers to people of Edwards’generation and his recognition of the preoccupations that he shares of this age-group. There are several terrific love poems and poems of romantic yearning, which reflect this.
In addition, Edwards further mines his family for writing which is at once intimate, generous and wry. ‘Harry Houdini on Newport Bridge, 1905’ relates an anecdote where his grandfather, aged 15, makes mischief in the watching crowd. ‘My Father Crashes a Car, 1965’ is a similarly warm and slightly surreal retrieval of a memory from his father. Several of the poems in Gen have already won prizes, and the book must be a contender for more shortlists.