Pick Of The Year

Books

The Odyssey of Homer, trs Robert Fagles, Viking pounds 25. The ultimate story-teller given a modern spin in this new translation which captures the sweep and flow of the original. Fagles's colloquialisms inject new vigour, but occasionally it's more C&W than ancient Greek, more Iowa than Ithaca.

The School Bag eds Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes, Faber pounds 20/pounds 12.99. More solid and pedagogical than their earlier anthology, The Rattle Bag, this is a gallop through EngLit with detours into unfamiliar Irish, Welsh, Scots and medieval territory. The rule of one poem per poet occasionally makes for dull-but-worthy choices, but there's lots of fresh, unfamiliar stuff too. The notable failure is with women: surely Sylvia Plath is a significant omission.

Making for Planet Alice ed Maura Dooley, Bloodaxe pounds 8.95. The ideal corrective to Heaney and Hughes, this showcases 30 women poets who have published a first collection in the 1990s. And what a gang: Kate Clanchy, Sarah Maguire, Lavinia Greenlaw, Jackie Kay, Maggie Hannan, Alice Oswald, Ruth Padel, Sinead Morrissey and Katherine Pierpoint among them.

Kissing a Bone by Maura Dooley, Bloodaxe pounds 6.95. Dooley's own poems are alert, careful, and usually very short. She moves across registers from the political to the personal with ease, leaping from the Irish famine to the Berlin wall to her record collection and the contents of a handbag ("kleenex / several Polo mints (furry), a tampon, pesetas / a florin").

Salt Water by Andrew Motion, Faber pounds 7.99. A taut, enjoyable new collection, split into two halves: the first, poetical meditations on water, both fresh and salt; the second, a prose account of the sea voyage Motion took in an old sailboat, in the wake of John Keats.

Tales From Ovid by Ted Hughes, Faber pounds 14.99/pounds 7.99. Hughes's vigorous free translations of episodes from the Metamorphoses were the highlights of After Ovid, last year's anthology of modern responses to the Latin. Hughes has gone on to craft a book-full of these tours de-force. Hughes tears out bloodied gobbets from Ovid's intricate whole, and retells them to great effect.

A Painted Field by Robin Robertson, Picador pounds 12. "The Flaying of Marsyas", another Ovidian extemporisation, is the stand-out, a grisly account of the punishment meted out by Apollo to the satyr who tried to rival him. Startling in its gore and viscera, it's not typical of this observant, lucid, perhaps rather mild-mannered collection.

God's Gift to Women by Don Paterson, Faber pounds 6.99. There's wit and self- consciousness here, plus shovelsful of irony, as Paterson tackles the "difficult" second collection. A clever-clogs with soul, he likes Zen jokes, circumlocutions, obliquity, blank pages, enigmatic titles - and some not so enigmatic ("Buggery"). Dazzling.

Bargain With the Watchman by Eva Salzman, OUP pounds 6.99. "Masques", a 12-poem sequence, transposes the classical Muses into the modern world, where they meet in pubs, turn to crime or become hypochondriac. Elsewhere Salzman's cool, appraising eye and sharp tongue get to work on sex and men in an enjoyable second collection.

The Marble Fly by Jamie McKendrick, Oxford pounds 6.99. The title-poem sees the poet at Pompeii, admiring the detail of a wall relief showing a lizard "canopening" a cricket, "a mouse airlifted by an owl" and a fly. So hard, so still, perfectly preserved: "It can't have been long after / that much the same idea / occurred to Vesuvius". McKendrick has a fine eye for ironies, and for vivid images.

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

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

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test