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Emergency Kit: Poems for Strange Times [Paperback]

Matthew Sweeney , Jo Shapcott
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
Price: 10.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

2 Sep 2004
Emergency Kit is an anthology with many differences. It is, to begin with, a book which gives prominence to poems rather than to the poets who wrote them. It is truly international, bringing together poems not just from these islands but from many parts of the English-speaking world. It is the first book to identify a strain in the poetry of the last half-century which is characteristic of the 'strange times' we live in - an age when, as the editors note, scientific discovery itself has encouraged us to 'make free with the boundaries of realism'. It values imagination, surprise, vivid expression, the outlandish and the playful above ideology and sententiousness. It is, in short, living proof that poetry in the English language continues to thrive and to matter.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New Ed edition (2 Sep 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571223001
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571223008
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 115,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

'Jo Shapcott is doing no less than rewriting the English poetic canon - challenging sources, verse structure, and the primacy of the patriarchal voice.', John Kinsella, Poetry Review

'Shapcott is gifted and original, and it is in work such as hers that the future health of poetry needs to be sought.' Sean O'Brien, Sunday Times

'The excellent title poem ['Of Mutability'], a deceptively casual sonnet, acts as something of a tissue sample for most of the book's concerns, from the mutations of cells to the disruption of the seasons, in a voice as mutable as the phenomena it describes.' Frances Leviston, Guardian

Jo Shapcott's cheekily titled, Her Book: Poems 1988 - 1998 (2000), consists of a selection of poetry from her three earlier collections: Electroplating the Baby (1988), which won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for Best First Collection, Phrase Book (1992), and My Life Asleep (1999), which won the Forward Poetry Prize (Best Collection). Together with Matthew Sweeney she edited Emergency Kit: Poems for Strange Times (1996). Tender Taxes, her collection of conversations with Rainer Maria Rilke's poems in French, was published in 2002. Jo Shapcott has worked with a number of musicians on collaborative projects. She has also collaborated on poetry projects with scientists and medics, and is the editor of Discourses (2002), a collection of new poems by leading poets in response to the work of contemporary scientists. She is President of the Poetry Society. Her most recent book of poems Of Mutability (2010), was shortlisted for the Forward Prize.

Product Description

About the Author

Jo Shapcott was born and continues to live in London. Twice winner ofthe National Poetry Competition, she has published seven collectionswith Faber including Her Book: Poems 1988-1998 which selects fromthree earlier volumes: Electroplating the Baby (1988) which won theCommonwealth Poetry Prize, Phrase Book (1992) and My Life Asleep(1998) which won the Forward Poetry Prize. Her most recent collectionOf Mutability (2010) won the Costa Book Award and in 2011 she wasawarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars essential poetry kit 15 Nov 2006
I have many poetry anthologies on my shelves but this is the one I return to most often. The editors have worked hard to select the most imaginative, inventive and often downright weird poems of the often downright weird twentieth century. Much of the work here could be characterized as surreal or postmodern but the editors have carefully chosen only the more accessible work of giants such as Charles Simic, Frank O'Hara, Elizabeth Bishop and Paul Muldoon (though my own personal favourite is Don Paterson's 'A Private Bottling'). Well worth your time.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a marvellous, stimulating anthology 29 Mar 2010
By Mr. Ian A. Macfarlane TOP 100 REVIEWER
In their introduction, Shapcott and Sweeney explain that they ran poetry classes for adults in London in 1989, that they sought 'bootleg' poetry for these classes (that is, poetry not easily available at that time in England) and that the response was enthusiastic, even to the extent that Tube travellers would laugh and applaud when they read out some of their choices to a blind student travelling home. I can well believe them. This is a generous and very lively anthology with a lot of unfamiliar work in it - and therefore with a lot of freshness. There are clever poems, deeply sad poems, provocative poems, sly poems, laugh-out-loud poems, weird poems, naughty poems, highly personal poems, and above all, covering all these categories, enjoyable and accomplished poems. Many of the authors are well-known, though it is not always the obvious poems by these authors that are chosen ; equally many are not, but nonetheless fully merit their inclusion, indeed add to the value of the anthology because of their unusualness. I liked the book a lot and would recommend it to anyone as a very good and worthwhile read.
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18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A dazzling mix of contemporary poetry. 16 Aug 2001
By A Customer
This book is exactly what it claims to be. It is essential reading of the moment, with outstanding work from Simon Armitage, Tony Harrison and Jackie Kay to mention just a few names. The variety of writing in this anthology is the most stunning element it leaves no poetical stone unturned.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bookshelf must-have 21 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great anthology, can't recommend it enough.
A comprehensive collection of work across the English speaking world; from Kavanagh to Plath, Eilèan Nì Chuilleanàn to Heaney.
A great bookshelf must-have.
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