'So open it anywhere, then anywhere, then anywhere again. We're sure it won't be long before you find a poem that brings you smack into the newness and strangeness of the living present, just as it did us' (from the Introduction)
In The Zoo of the New, poets Don Paterson and Nick Laird have cast a fresh eye over more than five centuries of verse, from the English language and beyond. Above all, they have sought poetry that retains, in one way or another, a powerful timelessness: words with the thrilling capacity to make the time and place in which they were written, however distant and however foreign they may be, feel utterly here and now in the 21st Century.
This book is the condensed result of that search. It stretches as far back as Sappho and as far forward as the recent award-winning work of Denise Riley, taking in poets as varied as Thomas Wyatt, William Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot, Frank O'Hara, Sylvia Plath and Gwendolyn Brooks along the way. Here, the mournful rubs shoulders with the celebratory; the skulduggerous and the foolish with the highfalutin; and tales of love, loss and war with a menagerie of animals and objects, from bee boxes to rubber boots, a suit of armour and a microscope.
Teeming with old favourites and surprising discoveries, this lovingly selected compendium is sure to win lifelong readers.
Other Ways to Leave the Room features the work of three of the most beloved and lauded poets currently at large. Between them, Kathleen Jamie, Don Paterson and Nick Laird write lyrical, luminous and often darkly witty poems about the rugged wildness of the Scottish landscape; about fatherhood; about whisky-drinking, alcohol abuse and tenement life; about sex, love and the pursuit of the spiritual; about childhood in the Ireland of the Troubles, and about the strange possibilities of the technological future. What all three have in common is an ability to combine observations of gritty real life with a sense of the mythical proportions always lurking just under the surface of the everyday.
The Penguin Modern Poets are succinct guides to the richness and diversity of contemporary poetry. Every volume brings together representative selections from the work of three poets now writing, allowing the curious reader and the seasoned lover of poetry to encounter the most exciting voices of our moment.
Don Paterson was born in Dundee in 1963. His previous poetry collections include Nil Nil, God's Gift to Women, Landing Light, Rain and 40 Sonnets. He has also published two books of aphorism, as well as translations of Antonio Machado and Rainer Maria Rilke. His poetry has won many awards, including the Whitbread Poetry Prize, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize and all three Forward Prizes; he is currently the only poet to have won the T. S. Eliot Prize twice. He was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2009.