Books

Penguin Modern Poets 4

Don Paterson (and others)

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.

The Zoo of the New

Don Paterson (and others)

'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'

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 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, Sylvia Plath, William Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot, Frank O'Hara 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.

A Shropshire Lad and Other Poems

Nick Laird (and others)

A.E. Housman was one of the best-loved poets of his day, and A Shropshire Lad and Other Poems is a collection of poems whose elegant simplicity of form belies their hidden complexities. This Penguin Classics edition is introduced by Nick Laird with revisions by Archie Burnett and an afterword by John Sparrow.

'What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?'

In this collection, A. E. Housman's poems, including'To an Athlete Dying Young', 'Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now' and 'When I Was One-and-Twenty', conjure up a potent and idyllic rural world imbued with a poignant sense of loss and sadness. Their scope is wide - ranging from religious doubt and doomed love to intense nostalgia for the countryside and patriotic celebration of the life of the soldier - and they are made all the more memorable by their distinctive diction and perfectly modulated rhythm and sound. This volume brings together the works Housman published in his lifetime, A Shropshire Lad (1896) and Last Poems (1922), along with the posthumous selections More Poems and Additional Poems, and three translations of extracts from Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides that display his mastery of Classical literature.

This edition has been revised by Archie Burnett and includes updated notes on the text and indexes of first lines and titles. In his afterword, John Sparrow discusses Housman's methods of writing and melancholic temperament.

Alfred Edward Housman (1859-1936) usually known as A.E. Housman, was an English poet and classical scholar, now best known for his cycle of poems A Shropshire Lad.

If you enjoyed A Shropshire Lad and Other Poems, you might like John Clare's Selected Poems, also available in Penguin Classics.

Biography

Nick Laird was born in 1975 in Co. Tyrone, and studied English at the University of Cambridge, where he won the Quiller-Couch Award for creative writing. His debut collection, To a Fault (2005), won the Aldeburgh Poetry Prize; his second, On Purpose (2007), the Somerset Maugham Award and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. He is the author of two novels and lives between New York and London.