The Forward book of poetry, A Graph Review

A Graph Review
60 with highpoints 75

The Forward Book of poetry  2015

978 057131524 6      paperback       £8.99

Did you Remember National Poetry Day 2014?  A UK event organised by the Forward Arts Foundation for the last 19 years.  Well, this annual event has once again produced a compilation from a wide ranging number of authors.  The finings of a year’s selection from best collection, best first collection and best single poem, from Oct. 2013 to Sept. 2014. forward book of poetry 2015 cover imageThis includes  winners and highly commended of each section.
The panel, including and chaired by Jeremy Paxman consisted of ….. Dannie Abse, Vahni Capildeo, Helen Mort and Cerys Mathews.

So, what is offered by The Forward book of poetry 2015?

Simple, 70 of the best poems written by the best of writers in English.  Authors in all ranges and style, stages and ages.  What have they in common?  Quality.

The Foreward by Jeremy Paxman states that more than half the poems in this collection are by new and emerging writers.  Many are names that I have not previously read but that is my shortcoming and I am happy to follow them up.  I was happy to see (read!) Ruth Padel and a long term favourite, Douglas Dunn.  Also Andrew Motion and Louise Gluck, who has caught my attention quite recently.  More authors who grabbed my attention as I read through this collection are: Robert Crawford, Theodore Deppe, Carrie Etter, David Hersant and Emily Wills, not forgetting Kei Miller who gets a mention below.  Having said that, this was a real pleasure throughout.  A treasure of modern verse with takes and echoes and rhythms to be read over and again.  Each poet, each poem, deserves its place here.

Any regrets?  None. Well, maybe for myself in now having to wear glasses to read the smaller font size in books and perhaps sit under a brighter than previous light.  Is this relevant?  It is when you have to catch time when available to read so much good verse.  Incredible value for £8.99.

One last point:
Next generation Poets:
Check out the names of the poets in this Forward anthology of 2015 (2014 poets, prize winners, shortlisted and commended) and then compare them with the names of the ‘Next Generation Poets 2014’ ( ). This is a commendation of the best new poets in UK and Ireland which is considered every ten years and this October was it. You will find three names on both lists:

Kei Miller, short listed by Forward.
Jen Hadfield, Highly Commended by Forward and in 2014 collection
Hannah Lowe, Highly Commended by Forward and in 2014 collection

Kei is published by Carcanet and Jen and Hannah both published by Bloodaxe.

So, maybe statistically, we have three poets to watch particularly.  I just hope they continue to write their own poetry in their own way without having to worry about any such weight on their shoulders.

But then you know what statistics are, so grab a chance to read them all, find who you like and follow their writing.  However the only way to enjoy particular poets is to read around them too.  All tastes and styles change over time for both the reader and the writer.  I was just about to mumble on about pools and ripples but then I remember statistics and teaching grandmother to suck eggs!   I have just been reading James Elroy Flecker, now there’s a different kettle of fish.     Enough! Enough!


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