I am pleased to have recently received new poetry anthologies from three excellent independent presses.
First to arrive was Vanguard Editions #2 Poetry Anthology. It is an eclectic collection, beautifully made, full of surprises and great value at only £5. There is an impressive selection of work from the likes of Ian Duhig, Dan O’Brien, Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch and many other fine contemporary writers. I’m grateful to the editor, poet, writer and director of the Faber academy, Richard Skinner, for asking me to contribute and pleased that my fairly newly minted poem, ‘The Glass Delusion’ was to hand when Richard contacted me. We agreed a couple of small changes to line breaks were needed and I’m very happy with the version that appears the anthology.
Next came ‘New Boots and Pantisocracies’ from Smokestack Books. This project started as a blog set up in the aftermath 2015 UK general election by Professor Bill Herbert and Andy Jackson who initially decided to publish a poem a day for the first hundred days of the new government in order to record responses, in poetry, to the prevailing political atmosphere. The project grew and remerged in order to take in responses to the outcome of the EU referendum. At 181 pages it is an impressive tome, and contains work from Daljit Nagra, Hannah Lowe, Suzannah Evans , Jon Stone and many others. I’m pleased my own poem, ‘Election Night’, which was specifically written in response to the result and casts an eye back to nineteen-seventy nine, is sandwiched between poems by Clare Pollard and Helen Mort as I have long been an admirer of their work. You can read some reflections on the anthology from Sheenagh Pugh here.
Finally, there is ‘Millstone Grit’, an anthology of work by poets associated with Sheffield Hallam university. I attended Hallam a couple of years ago to study a postgraduate course, and was pleased to be asked to contribute by editors Noel Williams and Rosemary Badcoe. The book represents a new venture into publishing for the editors of Antiphon magazine, and contains poems by T.S Eliot Prize shortlisted poets Katherine Towers and Ruby Robinson, as well as wonderful poets like Julie Mellor, Beverley Nadin, James Giddings (who has a new book out with Templar Press) and Suzannah Evans. There are also two poems from me. You can see a list of contributors and order a copy here for the very reasonable price of £6.50 (UK) including post and packing.
All three anthologies give an idea of the wide range of work being produced and published by poets in the UK, both in terms of stylistic approach and subject matter. The ‘New Boots’ book might be of particular interest to those who feel poetry is divorced from contemporary events and are looking for responses to current affairs. Both the other books contain varied reflections of contemporary life by some of the best poets currently producing work in the English language.