The Forward Book of Poetry 2010
London, Forward, 2010
The 2010 collection is larger than any other Forward Book of Poetry - it contains some of the longest poems I have read in all the anthologies. But it also consists of a wide variety of subjects and forms, and every poems has memorable images and lines.
I am starting to see familiar names recurring in the collections I have been reading - the more you read, the more you know. I was delighted to see Hugo Williams in the 2010 collection - his 'Poems to My Mother' are warm and honest, consistent with his work I have read elsewhere.
Family is a theme that repeatedly comes up in poetry, but none more so than in this collection. It was presented in so many forms - from admiration to anger, tragedy to humour. Many seemed to be saying good bye, such as Christopher James' heart-breaking thoughts on his father. The words portray the individual poet's battles with their relationships; in particular, the darkness of Brian Henry's 'Quarantine' still haunts me.
War and terror seemed to frequently be explored - even ten years after 9/11, the images of this tragedy remain on the minds of the writers. Clive James' ability to find a dark sort of humour in this subject demonstrates the zanity with which terrorism is thought.
Alongside these are reflections on opportunities missed and lives not fulfilled. Roger McGough, a writer I normally associate with humour, declares, "We didn't make our beds, but we lie in them." And Kevin Hart muses over what life could have been like had he taken a different path.
Many different styles were on show in this collection - from structure, rhyming poems to those without punctuation and correct grammar. In places, words seemed to be thrown at random upon the page, until closer reading revealed love or hope or longing.
The ones I loved the most, as per usual, were those written by women, typically about relationships. The 2010 collection gave me a great selection to choose from, including Lorraine Mariner and Selima Hill, aforementioned favourites. But this collection iintroduced me to Tamsin Kendrick, whose weighing up of 'Peter Pan vs Captain Hook' forces you to reflect on your ideal man; especially when paired with Katy Evans-Bush's 'To My Next Lover', which immediately made me go away and write.
What more can you ask of a collection of poetry?