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Brian Johnstone’s Holiday Poetry Reads


The recent poetry book I’d recommend most heartily is Grace by Esther Morgan (Bloodaxe, 2011) It is an utterly absorbing collection full of writing of mesmeric quality which draws the reader in to a world of quiet attentiveness and grounded intensity.

An older anthology I’d also recommend very much is Emergency Kit (Faber & Faber, 1996) edited by Jo Shapcott & Matthew Sweeney. This does everything a good anthology should do – brings a wide range of styles and topics from an eclectic choice of international contemporary poets, and selects poems that surprise and challenge in equal measure.

Brian Johnstone is the former artistic director of the StAnza International Poetry Festival. His latest book is The Book of Belongings (Arc, 2009) which Sarah Corbett, in a recent poetry books of the month choice, described as an “eloquent mapping of personal and social terrain” in which “The archeology of the land and the body run through the collection and build to a sense of restored belonging, and to an inhabitance of time and space”.

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