Identity Parade, Edited by Roddy Lumsden

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The Independent Culture

Forget this generous anthology's iffy title: it brings to mind the tick-box poetry-by-label one contributor – Tim Wells – gently mocks in "The 1980s are a Long Time Dead".

Instead, Lumsden hosts a supremely eclectic party for 85 "new" British and Irish poets – more women than men, for once - whose newness turns on book-length debuts within the past 15 years rather than calendar age. So we have Diane Pooley (b.1941) as well as Ahren Warner (b.1986).

They mingle with generation-definers such as Daljit Nagra and Kate Clanchy, Colette Bryce and Alice Oswald, and a host of guests who will count – for many readers – as smart or seductive discoveries. The overarching theme? That there isn't one. Pluralism is our poetic blessing – and curse?