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A Poet's Guide to Britain (Penguin Hardback Classics) [Hardcover]

Owen Sheers
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

29 Oct 2009 Penguin Hardback Classics

Introduced and selected by the poet-presenter Owen Sheers, A Poet's Guide to Britain is a major poetry anthology that ties in with the BBC series of the same name.

Owen Sheers passionately believes that poems, and particularly poems of place, not only affect us as individuals, but can have the power to mark and define a collective experience - our identities, our country, and our land. Under the headings of six varieties of British landscape - London and Cities, Villages and Towns, Mountains and Moorland, Islands, Woods and Forest, and Coast and Sea - he has collected poems that evoke qualities of the land, city and sea and have become part of the way we see these landscapes. The anthology follows a similar format to the BBC series, while also supplementing the poems included in the programme with his own personal favourites.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (29 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014119202X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141192024
  • Product Dimensions: 3.5 x 15.3 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 592,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Owen Sheers was born in Fiji in 1974 and brought up in Abergavenny, South Wales. The winner of an Eric Gregory Award and the 1999 Vogue Young Writer's Award, his first collection of poetry, The Blue Book (Seren, 2000) was short-listed for the Welsh Book of the Year and the Forward Prize Best 1st Collection 2001. Owen has also written for Radio, TV and newspapers. In 2004 he was Writer in Residence at The Wordsworth Trust and was selected as one of the Poetry Book Society's 20 Next Generation Poets. Owen's 2nd collection of poetry, Skirrid Hill (Seren, 2005) won a 2006 Somerset Maugham Award. Owen's first novel, Resistance (Faber, 2008) won a 2008 Hospital Club Creative Award and was short-listed for the Writers Guild Best Book Award. Resistance is translated into nine languages.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sheer delight 22 Nov 2011
This is not 'the book of the TV series', but a complementary anthology. If you want to see the televised series, do purchase the excellent DVD: the care with which Sheers put together the stories behind each poem in that series was impressive, as was the creativity he brought to presenting the visual, literary and historical clues to an understanding of content, style and context of each of the six poems featured. It would be good to see a commentary to accompany that series, also, to provide greater depth to the insights concerned and to see together in one place the well-chosen verse contributions of living poets such as Simon Armitage. However, this anthology of 200 poems is a remarkable achievement in its own right, grouping poems thoughtfully into themes such as 'mountains and moorlands', 'islands, 'woods and forests' and 'coast and sea', while beginning right at the capital itself (and other cities) and followed by several affecting poems on towns and villages. The poem that introduces each section was one of the six poems featured in the televised series. What is distinctive about the collection is the panorama of contemporary British poetry that Sheers provides us with, alongside the pre-Second World War classics and the later 20th century 'moderns'. This is not a simple assembly of 'favourite poems' but a cornucopia of much of the best in poetic responses to the distinctive moods and presences of the British scene.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good anthology 11 Dec 2011
This book, which is beautfully produced, brings to attention many poems by poets alive and long dead, some of which are well known to everyone, others which few will have heard of let alone read. I thoroughly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Journey 15 April 2013
I didn't see the TV programme. But I love this book. I like anthologies generally - it's a good way to get to know new poems or new poets without having to buy a whole book. This way an anthology can guide your book-buying choices. But most anthologies are either "new voices", which can be hit or miss, or based around a well-worn theme such as Love Poems. But the theme of this book is slightly different, based, as it is upon a journey around The British Isles. There's a tremendous variety of poems ranging from long ago (an anonymous poem about London Bridge from 1726) to contemporary poets like Simon Armitage and Tony Harrison, written in many different styles and moods. Short poems. Long poems. And all of the poems very good. All in all an excellent collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A leisurely stroll through Britain's landscapes 20 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a joy throughout: a leisurely journey through the varied land and city scapes of Britain. Introduced to the book through the BBC4 series with Owen Sheers - one of that rare species, a TV ''natural''. Many of the poems included in the anthology were familiar; some of them less so; a few, unknown. Made a conscious decision to read slowly and carefully and when moved to do so, re-read...again and again eg Tony Harrison's ''Illuminations'', Ted Hughes ''Wuthering Heights''. It is a book which almost DEMANDS to be read in this way. Enjoy!
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