Thursday, 20 September 2012

Some recently published books

Three which have caught my eye anyway ...

Peter Robinson (ed.), Bernard Spencer: Essay on his Poetry & Life (Shearsman Books): a collection of essays about one of those mid-20th-century poets who have been routinely overlooked in the past. Spencer's published output in his lifetime was relatively small, but his original poems and translations (of Greek poet George Seferis, in particular) are well worth discovering. As well as their own intrinsic virtues, they cannot help but seem - with the benefit of hindsight - precursors for or, perhaps, tributaries into the post-war non-mainstream. for these essays - and for the poetry, translations and selected prose.

David Caddy, So Here We Are (Shearsman Books): another interesting-looking book of essays from Shearsman, this one bringing together the Tears In The Fence founding editor's Alistair Cooke-style letters on English poetry, from thematic studies of 'forests' and reflections on Caddy's own introduction to poetry to vignettes on individual poets such as JH Prynne and Andrew Crozier.

Kate Behrens, The Beholder (Two Rivers Press): the opening salvo of Two Rivers' series of debut full-length poetry collections - and an impeccably fine piece of work, full of insight, compassion and wit (in the proper sense of the word). Poems about nature, family, love, sex which, for all their apparent 'difficulty' - i.e. slip-slidy grammar, ellipses and lacunae - have attracted endorsements from the likes of Brian Patten and John Hegley.

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