Literature

Poetry Books of the Year by Suzi Feay

Elaine Feinstein celebrates the writers and translators she has known in her latest collection Portraits (Carcanet £9.99). The bulk of the poems are elegies: “April Fool’s Day” for the First World War poet Isaac Rosenberg, referencing the “cosmopolitan rat” of his best-known poem, “Break of Day in the Trenches”.

Paperbacks of the Year 2 of 3, by Brandon Robshaw

I’ve long been a big fan of Steven Pinker. His book The Better Angels of Our Nature was the best and most interesting book I read in 2011. In 2015, he has treated us to his thoughts on how to be a good writer, in The Sense of Style. Unlike most style manuals, which tend to be written by pompous pedants who think the language should have been fossilised in about 1900, this book is informed by genuine expertise – Pinker is a cognitive scientist and linguist, able to explain Chomskyian linguistics so that laypeople can understand, with a far deeper knowledge of grammar than the self-styled “language mavens”.

The Best Paperbacks of 2015: Part 1 - book reviews

Clarice Lispector was also a literary Modernist, an innovator who conjured glittering surfaces and dark psychological depths. Her biographer, Gregory Brabassa, said she looked like Marlene Dietrich and wrote like Virginia Woolf

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Jose Emilio Pacheco: Poet, essayist and novelist who won the Cervantes

Jose Emilio Pacheco was considered one of the finest writers in the Spanish language, winning the Cervantes Prize for Literature in 2009, the highest award for writers in what is the native language of more than 300 million people. The award from the Spanish Ministry of Culture was presented at the University of Alcala by Spain's King Juan Carlos. In his later years Pacheco became visiting Professor of Literature at the University of Essex.