Ò Read Å Emergency Kit by Jo Shapcott Å Poems are such personal things and the early part of this collection resisted me greatly In fact, it wasn t until about half way through that it really hit its stride.
Connected by an invisible thread of themes, so that each poem fits well with the next, although not necessarily in the same way as before, there is pleasure to be had in plotting the course I loved 51 of the poems and quite liked lot the hit rate was about one in two, which is not bad at all What is , most were poems, and sometimes poets, I had never before encountered The collection is subtitled Poems for Strange Times and was published in1994 Looking back from the era of Brexit,Putin andTrump makes one yearn for such simple times again I wasn t expecting cosiness from the introduction, it was clear they were looking for edgy However I was disappointed to find so few poems in this collection that resonated with me most of those that did were already known to me and surprised to find quite so many impenetrable I did enjoy and want to keep in my mind Rat, O Rat by Christopher Logue.
I have been reading this collection of poems, along with the excellent Rattle Bag, for about the past two years dipping into it every few days before bed and reading one or two poems both collections being excellently suited for such a purpose I have thoroughly enjoyed both volumes and feel both are very well thought out and wide ranging collections Having tried reading single poet volumes I must say I far prefer the idea of an anthology, given that many poets often pursue the same themes throughout their work which can get a little tedious at times I have recently returned to reading poetry in the last 10 years and think that there is much to offer in the poets realm, especially in current times where
Emergency Kit is good collection of poems The poets and poems featured are diverse Some great poets are included such as Seamus Heaney, Anne Sexton, Liz Lochhead one of my favourite poets , Robert Graves, Fleur Adcock and Elizabeth Bishop to name but a few There are some excellent poems in this collection and my personal favourites are Hamnavoe Market by George Mackay Brown, My Rival s House by Liz Lochhead, Mr and Mrs Scotland are Dead by Kathleen Jamie, Ecstasy by Sharon Olds and The Applicant by Sylvia Plath I enjoyed this collection but it s not quite as good as Staying Alive from Bloodaxe books The main issue I had with this collection is that the poems are all lumped together Staying Alive organises the poems into groups i.
e Body and Soul, Roads, Dead or Alive I thought the structure of Emergency Kit needed a bit of a work Emerge A wonderful selection of pems to make sense of todays crazy world This is not a poetry to pick you up when you are down collection but a real anthology of truly meaningful poetry that can be read over and over again.
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 This book was given to me as part of a weekend workshop at Faber, led by Jo Shapcott and Daljit Nagra This is poetry of the margins, a collection unified by its unconformity 19 bookmarked poems.
This a great collection of contemporary poetry Flick the book open at any page and you are sure to get a treat.