Forward Publishing, £8.99, 120pp £8.54 from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
The Forward Book of Poetry 2012
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Friday 21 October 2011
To time-poor readers, poetry can seem to bear no weight at all; a passing fancy or (as John Burnside puts it here) a thin shadow, "something chill and slender in this world".
Thanks to the annual Forward anthologies, slender and yet crammed with colour and flavour, ultra-busy poetry-dodgers can catch the year's best. Burnside joins fellow-winners and shortlistees, along with commended poems from the likes of Les Murray and Lavinia Greenlaw, Daljit Nagra and Wendy Cope, in a gathering that feels both nifty and hefty.
Dip and flip, even randomly, and many pieces will leave you both cleansed and replenished – like the listener to a nightingale in RF Langley's winner for "best poem": "I am/ empty, stopped at nothing, as/ I wait for this song to shoot".
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