'Astley is wonderful at selecting poems with the kind of talismanic lines that really speak to people... Not only are the poems clustered by broad theme, with a lively introduction to each section by Astley, but within those groupings they speak to each other, in substance or across time…This collection certainly continues the excellent work of its predecessors, bringing new work and poets to audiences, and drawing new readers to poetry, and at a mere £12 for 500 poems, no one will be deterred from taking a risk. Being Human is stimulating, inspiring, intelligent, witty and life-affirming, the perfect companion on a journey, literal and otherwise.' --Peggy Hughes, Scotland on Sunday
'This is not one of those controversial "best of" anthologies but one that expands our definition of greatness to encompass a multiplicity of styles, voices and cultures. Astley aims to introduce poetry to new readers and new poets to seasoned readers. It is difficult to imagine all but the most hardened philistines not being touched and inspired by this wonderful assembly of poems.' --Bernardine Evaristo, The Times
'A book that makes the heart sing, which shows that the best of today's poetry…is a joy to behold, "charged", as Ezra Pound said, "with meaning to the utmost degree". Being Human, which runs to more than 500 pages, offers a glut of poetry from across the globe and, in so doing, renders redundant the "difficult" tag which so dogs the art. Above all it is a celebration of our capacity to embrace whatever's thrown at us… But subjects do not make poems, poets do. Astley's taste is catholic and inclusive and drawn to those who write with lyrical clarity and a keen eye… Being Human is not easy to summarise. It is a poetic Babel, a library in one volume.' --Alan Taylor, The Herald (Scotland)
About the Author
Neil Astley is editor of Bloodaxe Books, which he founded in 1978. He has edited nearly a thousand poetry books and published several bestselling anthologies, including Staying Alive (2002), Being Alive (2004), Earth Shattering: ecopoems (2007) and Being Human (2011) and two collaborations with Pamela Robertson-Pearce, Soul Food: nourishing poems for starved minds (2007) and the world's first DVD poetry anthology, In Person: 30 Poets (2008), which combines six hours of filmed readings with all the texts read by the poets (plus a history of Bloodaxe). He was given a D.Litt by Newcastle University for his pioneering work with Bloodaxe, and won an Eric Gregory Award for his own poetry. He has published two poetry collections, Darwin Survivor and Biting My Tongue, and two novels, The End of My Tether (shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award), and The Sheep Who Changed the World. He lives in the Tarset Valley in Northumberland.