"From new sorcerors (Hannah Lowe, Helen Mort) to master wizards (Anne Stevenson, Dannie Abse, Clive James), this latest gathering of poems shortlisted or commended for the Forward prizes spotlights the everyday magic of verse. A hard-won everyday transcendence looms large (as in Hugo Williams's "From the Dialysis Ward", or Simon Armitage's "Poundland"). Relish too its fine balance (to cite Rosie Shepperd's almost Betjeman-esque tale of motel passion) of "seedy" (or earthy) narrative against "moments of lyrical stillness" (The Independent)
"The annual Forward anthologies, a collection of poems from the cream of contemporary poetry published in Britain and Ireland in the previous year (sixty plus poets in this volume) offer a really useful introduction to what is out there, especially if, like me, you look at the poetry section in a bookshop and wonder where to start. There is longevity to poetry, a constant revisiting and re-reading that will last a lifetime, making it such a good investment, but choosing a book of poetry is so utterly subjective. We may all need differing degrees of consolation, or teaching, or warning, or cheering, or uplifting, or empathy at any one time, and words have the power to achieve it all in great measure, but the buying decision can be a hard one to make on the hoof. This anthology offers the opportunity to explore many different voices, and I loved it from the minute I opened it and discovered Steve Ely's Incipit Euangelium Secundum Wat Tyler.. (DoveGreyReader)
In my bookcase are ranged the Forward prize collections for the last five years. They look so neat, lined up together in their plain white jackets. I bought the Forwards automatically and compulsively each year since 2009 as a poet trying to improve, and eager to read the best. Sometimes the sense of some poems eluded me; sometimes their high quality rather overwhelmed me; but always they provided a guide to the state of modern British and Irish poetry. (WriteOutLoud)
The book includes poems from collections shortlisted for Britain's most coveted poetry awards - the Forward Poetry Prizes - plus 50 poems highly commended by the judges. The poets interviewed are those shortlisted for 2013 Best Collection awards: Emily Berry, Marianne Burton, Steve Ely, Rebecca Goss, Hannah Lowe, Glyn Maxwell, Sinead Morrissey, Jacob Polley, Dan O'Brien, Michael Symmons Roberts and Adam White.
The anthology - the 22nd of its kind - is introduced by Jeannette Winterson, who chaired the jury which chose the Prizes' three winners from a shortlist of 16 and 50 highly commended poems. contents. The jurors - Paul Farley, Sheenagh Pugh, David Mills and Samuel West - read a total of 162 recently published poetry collections and 159 single poems before settling on the ones they loved most. In the words of Winterson, this is "a genuine showcase of the scope and depth of poetry now".
If you buy only one poetry book this year, this deserves to be it.