BOOKS FOR CHRISTMAS CHAPTER & VERSE

BOOKS FOR CHRISTMASCHAPTER & VERSE2 Pamela Norris's beautifully produced Through the Glass Window Shines the Sun (Little, Brown pounds 13.99) brings together verse and painting from the Middle Ages. Illustrations from illuminated manuscripts accompany texts culled from Boccaccio, Chaucer, Malory and Anon: "Green groweth the Holly" is Henry VIII's charming contribution - a paean to fidelity, the hypocritical old so-and-so.

2 Lovers, Rakes and Rogues (ed John Wardroper, Shelfmark pounds 9.99), picks up just after Norris leaves off with its saucy verses and ribald songs from 1580 to 1830. The collection ranges from the innocuous to the filthily exuberant world of punks and poxes. The editor thoughtfully glosses the slang: blowens, brimstones, doxies, mopsies and cullies are all whores. Shelfmark Books is at 60 St Paul's Road, London N1 2QW.

2 A more respectable stream of English poetry is navigated in So to the Land edited by Diana Rigg (Headline pounds 5.99). Despite the chocolate-box presentation - the large photo of the actress on the back, the landscape of dreaming stooks on the front - this is a delightful anthology of nature poetry. "Ode to Autumn" is inevitably here ("Some poems are too good to omit") but there is a host of less familiar pieces, themed around the four seasons. "I love poetry and never more than when a poet's art flushes my imagination from its accustomed torpor," Rigg says in her enthusiastic introduction.

2 Women's Poetry of the 1930s, ed Jane Dowson (Routledge pounds 8.99). The towering figures of that heady poetic decade were all male. This lively anthology attempts to salvage and reassess the women poets who worked in the long shadow of the Auden generation, and such familiar names as Naomi Mitchison, Sylvia Townsend Warner and Stevie Smith sit well with interesting lesser-knowns.

2 The contributors to Caribbean New Voices 1, edited by Stewart Brown (Longman pounds 5.50) nearly sink under the weight of their billing of "important new writing from the Caribbean", but this harvest of poetry and prose from new and unfamiliar writers is accessible and energetic. It's fascinating to see how freely writers move between impeccable formality and patois; Michael Gilkes, for example, who can say in one poem: "Doan tell me 'bout Guyana/I wuz a small boy in farty-eight" and begin another: "By night/in this enchanted wood/a jewelled toad comes down to drink/its own reflection in the stream."

2 Poems on the Underground (ed Gerard Benson, Judith Chernaik, Cicely Herbert, Cassell pounds 6.99) is in its Fifth Edition, now a substantial rattlebag that includes all the poems in the last four, plus the 16 poems currently soothing our nerves on the Tube. Good value, but the lack of a thematic linking can make these volumes feel like a lucky dip: you always get a present, but it might not be what you wanted.

2 Patrick Crotty's Modern Irish Poetry (Blackstaff Press pounds 14.99) justifies its price by providing a full 400 pages of rich and varied verse. His "modern" category starts with the century and encompasses, along with MacNeice, Beckett, Kavanagh, Heaney, Muldoon et al, translations from the Gaelic and work by the younger generation. A solid selection.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones