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The Salt Book of Younger Poets [Paperback]

Roddy Lumsden , Eloise Stonborough
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
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Review

This ambitious anthology offers a rewarding glimpse into the health of current poetry, bringing together 50 poets aged from 18 to 26 who have yet to publish their first full-length collection. It’s a coup for the editors to have found work of such potential. What is immediately striking is the extraordinary range and variety presented here, from the colloquial energy and playfulness of Ashna Sarkar (‘Trawlerman is the most southerly chippie in North Weezy / to do chips with onion gravy’) to Andrew Jamison’s mock-casual meditation on Northern Irish life (‘touching down to a province of ‘politics’ – / we’d call it something else if there was a word for it’), from Oli Hazzard’s deft Ashbery-influenced manoeuvres to Jay Bernard’s compelling ‘11.16’, which bitterly reworks graffiti in a station toilet to evoke Larkin’s famous opening lines: ‘They fuck you up the government / You may not know it but they see / That you’re a mug and so you’ll spend / Nine grand on what they got for free.’ (Charles Bainbridge The Guardian )

The 10 Best Valentine’s gifts. Poetry is always a winner. This anthology showcases the new crop of young British poets and runs the gamut from lovey-dovey stuff to verses about technology. (Samuel Muston The Independent )

What is most lovely to see in the Salt anthology is a wide range of well-written experimental poetry. Rachael Allen produces some stunningly controlled prose poems under that heading. Phil Brown plays with an impressive crossword poem, entitled ‘Diptych’. Amy De’Ath writes tongue-tripping poems reminiscent of free association, setting up meaningful sound echoes that work the brain and are pleasant on the ear. Witness this from ‘Poetry for Boys’. At the other end of the scale, poets such as Emily Tesh, Jack Underwood, James Brooks, Ben Wilkinson and Dai George are writing lavish, well-executed and fairly conventional lyrics that seek to communicate directly with the reader. Jack Belloli, too, wants to speak clearly, to be both accurate and resonant with language (‘Yurt’). Sarah Howe is another original. Her poems surprise and hotwire themselves into your brain as you read. (Jane Holland Poetry Society )

The Salt Book of Younger Poets is both valuable, as an introduction to future big names and an indication of trends in the most contemporary poetry, and enjoyable, as an anthology of intelligent and energetic writing. (Tess Somervell Tower Poetry )

The writing is assured, erudite and beautifully crafted. It is effortless to read, by which I mean that it is accessible — the poets are too good not to be clear, they do not need to impress by obfuscation and obscurity, but communicate directly, as good writing should, to the intellect, the emotions and the senses.

This collection should be an inspiration to older students considering English at degree levels, and also to those who wish to write. The poets here are a demonstration of what is possible, given ‘wide-ranging, hard work and talent’, and an introduction to the ways in which new voices can be heard, not just via the excellent publication cited here, but also through websites on which writers such as these, their ideas and work in progress will be easily accessible. (Frank Startup School Librarian )

Review

Lumsden hosts a supremely eclectic party for 85 "new" British and Irish poets — more women than men, for once — whose newness turns on book-length debuts within the past 15 years rather than calendar age. (Boyd Tonkin The Independent )

Identity Parade is an anthology which clearly achieves its objective of introducing its audience to a broad-church of today’s talent. (Phil Brown Hand + Star )

About the Author

Roddy Lumsden (born 1966) is a Scottish poet, who was born in St Andrews. He has published five collections of poetry, a number of chapbooks and a collection of trivia, as well as editing a generational anthology of British and Irish poets of the 1990s and 2000s, Identity Parade. He lives in London where he teaches for The Poetry School.

Eloise Stonborough was born in London in 1988. She studied English Literature at St Edmund Hall, Oxford where she was also Secretary of the Poetry Society, and she is currently pursuing a Master's degree in 20th century English Literature, also at Oxford.
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