New and forthcoming

Three Russian Fairy Tales

Alexander Pushkin (and others)

Alexander Pushkin, Russia's greatest poet, was fascinated by Russia's folk history, adapting its fairy tales into captivating poetic versions. In the early twentieth century, the book illustrator Ivan Bilibin likewise fell under the spell of Old Russia, drawing on both folk motifs and art nouveau to produce beautiful illustrations to accompany Pushkin's poems. This irresistible new edition presents three of Pushkin's fairy tales - 'Tsar Saltan', 'A Fisherman and a Little Fish' and 'The Golden Cockerel' - in versions by the acclaimed translator Antony Wood, alongside Bilibin's sumptuous original illustrations. The result is an enchanting window into Russian poetry, fairy tales and magic.

Mancunia

Michael Symmons Roberts

Mancunia is both a real and an unreal city. In part, it is rooted in Manchester, but it is an imagined city too, a fallen utopia viewed from formal tracks, as from the train in the background of De Chirico’s paintings. In these poems we encounter a Victorian diorama, a bar where a merchant mariner has a story he must tell, a chimeric creature – Miss Molasses – emerging from the old docks. There are poems in honour of Mancunia’s bureaucrats: the Master of the Lighting of Small Objects, the Superintendent of Public Spectacles, the Co-ordinator of Misreadings. Metaphysical and lyrical, the poems in Michael Symmons Roberts’ seventh collection are concerned with why and how we ascribe value, where it resides and how it survives. Mancunia is – like More’s Utopia – both a no-place and an attempt at the good-place. It is occupied, liberated, abandoned and rebuilt. Capacious, disturbing and shape-shifting, these are poems for our changing times.

Summer with Monika

Roger McGough (and others)

Summer with Monika is an honest and touching portrait of a romance, charting the progress of a love affair from the delicious intimacy of the honeymoon, with the milk bottles turning to cheese on the doorstep, through the stage of quarrels, jealousy, recriminations and boredom, to the point where love is as nice as a cup of tea in bed.

Re-issued for its 50th anniversary, Summer with Monika is a hidden gem of British love poetry featuring beautiful illustrations from Children's Laureate Chris Riddell.

One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each

Peter MacMillan (and others)

A prize-winning translation of the most widely known and popular collection of Japanese poetry.

Hyakunin Isshu is the most famous and popular collection of Japanese poetry, and the first work of Japanese literature ever to be translated into English. Compiled in the fourteenth century, the book is a collection of one hundred waka poems (a precursor of haiku), dating back to the seventh century. It's had a huge influence on Japanese culture ever since it was first published, and is considered one of the three most important works of Japanese classical literature along with The Tale of Genji and Tales of Ise.

The Promised Land

André Naffis-Sahely

Flitting from the mud-soaked floors of Venice to the glittering, towering constructions of the Abu Dhabi of his childhood and early adulthood, from the 'disposable cities' composed of shanty towns and rough encampments which spring up wherever new resources are discovered to present-day London and North America, André Naffis-Sahely's bracingly plain-spoken first collection gathers portraits of promised lands and those who go in search of them: travellers, labourers, dreamers; the hopeful and the dispossessed. This is poetry as reportage, as much an act of memory as of sinuous, clear-eyed vision. As this arresting new poet has remarked elsewhere: "I don't like poems that invent memories; I have enough of my own."

Angel Hill

Michael Longley

A remote townland in County Mayo, Carrigskeewaun has been for nearly fifty years Michael Longley’s home-from-home, his soul-landscape. Its lakes and mountains, wild animals and flowers, its moody seas and skies have for decades lit up his poetry. Now they overflow into Angel Hill, his exuberant new collection. In addition, Longley has been exploring Lochalsh in the Western Highlands where his daughter the painter Sarah Longley now lives with her family. She has opened up for him her own soul-landscape with its peculiar shapes and intense colours. In Angel Hill the imaginations of poet and painter intermingle and two exacting wildernesses productively overlap. Love poems and elegies and heart-rending reflections on the Great War and the Northern Irish Troubles add further weight to Michael Longley’s outstanding eleventh collection. Angel Hill will undoubtedly delight this great poet’s many admirers.

Works and Days

Hesiod (and others)

A new verse translation of one of the foundational ancient Greek works by the award-winning poet Alicia Stallings.

The ancient Greeks revered Hesiod, believing he had beaten Homer in a singing contest and that after his dead body was thrown to sea, it was brought back by dolphins. His Works and Days is one of the most important early works of Greek poetry. Ostensibly written by the poet to chide his lazy brother, it recounts the story of Pandora's box and humanity's decline since the Golden Age, and can be read as a celebration of rural life and a hymn to work.

Night Sky with Exit Wounds

Ocean Vuong

An extraordinary debut from a young Vietnamese American, Night Sky with Exit Wounds is a book of poetry unlike any other. Steeped in war and cultural upheaval and wielding a fresh new language, Vuong writes about the most profound subjects – love and loss, conflict, grief, memory and desire – and attends to them all with lines that feel newly-minted, graceful in their cadences, passionate and hungry in their tender, close attention: ‘…the chief of police/facedown in a pool of Coca-Cola./A palm-sized photo of his father soaking/beside his left ear.’ This is an unusual, important book: both gentle and visceral, vulnerable and assured, and its blend of humanity and power make it one of the best first collections of poetry to come out of America in years.

‘These are poems of exquisite beauty, unashamed of romance, and undaunted by looking directly into the horrors of war, the silences of history. One of the most important debut collections for a generation.’ Andrew McMillan

Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals

Patricia Lockwood

What if a deer did porn? Is it legal to marry a stuffed owl exhibit? Do men deserve to be hypnotized for their crimes? And what would the tit-pics of famous dead Americans Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson really look like? Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals is the only book that dares to answer these questions - or, at the very least, to come tantalisingly close before dancing mournfully away again, its pert rump twirling through the artificial night of the last great gorilla actor's costume.

Taking in a philosophically-minded Loch Ness Monster, a younger brother's military tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the autobiographical poem 'Rape Joke', Patricia Lockwood's second collection shows one of today's most original poets at her virtuosic best, combining a free-wheeling and surreal sense of humour on the surface with a deep seriousness and an intricate technical mastery lurking always just below it.

Penguin Modern Poets 4

Three Poets (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.

How Freakin’ Zeitgeist Are You?

Murray Lachlan Young

How Freakin’ Zeitgeist Are You? is the definitive collection of Murray Lachlan Young’s poems from 1994 to the present day.

It tracks his career as a writer and performer, from his arrival as a wide-eyed, twenty-something in London, through his sideways look in and around the music, fashion and film businesses, as well as a few observational works from what he now refers to as his ‘Cornwall years’. From his humorous and witty take on social phenomena to dark commentary on today’s society, Murray covers a wide range of topics from the weather, hair and machines to the UK festival culture, sex, men’s issues, pop music and God.

The book also contains sixteen of his original illustrations and several of the sketch poems he was commissioned to write through his hugely popular slots as poet-in-residence on BBC Radio 6 Music and Radio 4’s Saturday Live.

Anyone who has watched or listened to Murray perform will recognise the range of his work, from whimsical comedy and several darker pieces through satire into cosmology, theology and metaphysics. Though primarily written for the ear, with a radio listener in mind, his incurable addiction to rhyme is evident from the first page and the whole collection is designed to be read out loud and shared with friends.

So open it up, find the beat and enter the strange and marvellous world of Murray Lachlan Young.

Is That all You People Think About?

Gordon Gordon

‘I’m in here!’ yelled Mum.
Hide and seek was spoilt again.
We never found Dad.

The word ‘Haiku’ invokes images of misty mountains, running streams and falling leaves. But where are the haiku that reflect the modern world we live in? The real world of overflowing baths, train delays and Pierce Brosnan?

In this collection, you will find a haiku for every moment of modern life, all rendered in no more or less than 17 syllables.

James Merrill Poems

James Merrill

James Merrill once called his poetic works 'chronicles of love and loss', and in twenty books written over four decades he used the details of his life - comic and haunting, exotic and domestic - to shape a compelling, sometimes intensely moving, personal portrait. Sophisticated, witty and ironic, his poetry also engages passionately with topical issues - war, terrorism, political corruption, AIDS, climate change and the destruction of nature. An admirer of Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop and W. H. Auden, Merrill, like them, has left a legacy that will speak to readers for years to come.

The Zoo of the New

Don Paterson (and others)

Selected by Nick Laird and Don Paterson, two of our most lauded and beloved living poets, and conceived of as a collection of their favourite poems, The Zoo of the New is set to establish itself as the classic anthology of our time. Laird and Paterson have brought together an inspired and diverse selection, ranging from undisputed masterpieces to rare discoveries, as well as drawing upon works in translation and traditional poems from oral cultures. In effect, this anthology will transform the way we define and appreciate poetry, and it will continue to do so for years to come.

Including writers from Shakespeare and Blake to Sylvia Plath and T. S. Eliot, The Zoo of the New is eclectic, instructive and inspiring at the same time.

Deaths of the Poets

Michael Symmons Roberts (and others)

From Chatterton’s Pre-Raphaelite demise to Keats’ death warrant in a smudge of arterial blood; from Dylan Thomas’s eighteen straight whiskies to Sylvia Plath’s desperate suicide in the gas oven of her Primrose Hill kitchen or John Berryman’s leap from a bridge onto the frozen Mississippi, the deaths of poets have often cast a backward shadow on their work.

The post-Romantic myth of the dissolute drunken poet – exemplified by Thomas and made iconic by his death in New York – has fatally skewed the image of poets in our culture. Novelists can be stable, savvy, politically adept and in control, but poets should be melancholic, doomed and self-destructive. Is this just a myth, or is there some essential truth behind it: that great poems only come when a poet's life is pushed right to an emotional knife-edge of acceptability, safety, security? What is the price of poetry?

In this book, two contemporary poets undertake a series of journeys – across Britain, America and Europe – to the death places of poets of the past, in part as pilgrims, honouring inspirational writers, but also as investigators, interrogating the myth. The result is a book that is, in turn, enlightening and provocative, eye-wateringly funny and powerfully moving.

Still Life with Feeding Snake

John Burnside

From our earliest childhood experiences, we learn to see the world as contested space: a battleground between received ideas, entrenched conventions and myriad Authorised Versions on the one hand, and new discoveries, terrible dangers, and everyday miracles on the other. As we grow, that world expands further, to include new species, lost continents, the realm of the dead and the lives of others: cosmonauts swim in distant space, unseen creatures pass through a garden at dusk; we are surrounded by delectable mysteries.

The question of this contested, liminal world sits at the centre of Still Life with Feeding Snake, whose poems live at the edge of loss, or on the cusp of epiphany, always seeking that brief instant of grace when we see what is before us, and not just what we expected to find. In ‘Approaching Sixty’, the poet watches as a woman unclasps her hair: ‘so the nape of her neck/is visible, slender and pale/for moments, before the spill/of light and russet/falls down to her waist’. This, like each poem in the book, becomes an essay in still life and a memento mori, illuminating transient experience with a profound clarity and a charged, sensual beauty.

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