558 results 1-20

Assurances

J. O. Morgan (Author)

A war-poem both historic and frighteningly topical, Assurances begins in the 1950s during a period of vigilance and dread in the middle of the Cold War: the long stand-off between nuclear powers, where the only defence was the threat of mutually assured destruction.

Using a mix of versed and unversed passages, Morgan places moments of calm reflection alongside the tensions inherent in guarding against such a permanent threat. A work of variations and possibilities, we hear the thoughts of those involved who are trying to understand and justify their roles. We examine the lives of civilians who are not aware of the impending danger, as well as those who are. We listen to the whirring minds of machines; to the voice of the bomb itself. We spy on enemy agents: always there, always somewhere close at hand.

Assurances is an intimate, dramatic work for many voices: lyrical, anxious, fragmentary and terrifying; a poem about the nuclear stalemate, the deterrent that is still in place today: how it works and how it might fail, and what will vanish if it does.

The Penguin Book of Haiku

Adam L. Kern (Translator) , Anon (Author) , Adam L. Kern (Translator)

The first Penguin anthology of Japanese haiku, in vivid new translations by Adam L. Kern.

Now a global poetry, the haiku was originally a Japanese verse form that flourished from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. Although renowned for its brevity, usually running over three lines in seventeen syllables, and by its use of natural imagery to make Zen-like observations about reality, in fact the haiku is much more: it can be erotic, funny, crude and mischievous. Presenting over a thousand exemplars in vivid and engaging translations, this anthology offers an illuminating introduction to this widely celebrated, if misunderstood, art form.

Adam L. Kern's new translations are accompanied here by the original Japanese and short commentaries on the poems, as well as an introduction and illustrations from the period.

The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem

Jeremy Noel-Tod (Author)

The last decades have seen an explosion of the prose poem. More and more writers are turning to this peculiarly rich and flexible form; it defines Claudia Rankine's Citizen, one of the most talked-about books of recent years, and many others, such as Sarah Howe's Loop of Jade and Vahni Capildeo's Measures of Expatriation, make extensive use of it. Yet this fertile mode which in its time has drawn the likes of Charles Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein and Seamus Heaney remains, for many contemporary readers, something of a mystery.

The history of the prose poem is a long and fascinating one. Here, Jeremy Noel-Tod reconstructs it for us by selecting the essential pieces of writing - by turns luminous, brooding, lamentatory and comic - which have defined and developed the form at each stage, from its beginnings in nineteenth-century France, through the twentieth-century traditions of Britain and America and beyond the English language, to the great wealth of material written internationally since 2000. Comprehensively told, it yields one of the most original and genre-changing anthologies to be published for some years, and offers readers the chance to discover a diverse range of new poets and new kinds of poem, while also meeting famous names in an unfamiliar guise.

Wade in the Water

Tracy K. Smith (Author)

Even the men in black armor, the ones
Jangling handcuffs and keys, what else

Are they so buffered against, if not love's blade
Sizing up the heart's familiar meat?

In Wade in the Water, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Tracy K. Smith's signature voice - inquisitive, lyrical and wry - turns over what it means to be a citizen, a mother and an artist in a culture arbitrated by wealth, men and violence. The various connotations of the title, taken from a spiritual once sung on the Underground Railroad which smuggled slaves to safety in 19th-century America, resurface throughout the book, binding past and present together. Collaged voices and documents recreate both the correspondence between slave owners and the letters sent home by African Americans enlisted in the US Civil War. Survivors' reports attest to the experiences of recent immigrants and refugees. Accounts of near-death experiences intertwine with the modern-day fallout of a corporation's illegal pollution of a major river and the surrounding land; and, in a series of beautiful lyrical pieces, the poet's everyday world and the growth and flourishing of her daughter are observed with a tender and witty eye. Marrying the contemporary and the historical to a sense of the transcendent, haunted and holy, this is a luminous book by one of America's essential poets.

The House with Only an Attic and a Basement

Kathryn Maris (Author)

'But back to the summer day the spike
grazed my brother's scalp: I slept beside him
in his racing car bed and my father woke me
and slapped my face, thinking, I assume, of sex,
whereas I was already thinking about death.'

Urban, suburban, observant, obsessive and wickedly witty, the poems in Kathryn Maris's third book range over such subjects as parenthood, marriage, adultery, the politics of children's sports contests, female incarceration and psychoanalysis. The House with Only an Attic and a Basement is that rare thing: a darkly funny collection of poems that courses with keen intelligence, yet carries its sophistication lightly so that it is a pleasure to stride along with every poem.

Asylum

Sean Borodale (Author)

Like his two previous books, Asylum was written live on-site; in this case deep within the caves, mines, quarries, geological and archaeological horizons of the Mendip Hills in Somerset. The poems stage modes of exile in the darkness of earth, enacting solidarity with those others who have made their journey into the underworld – Dante, Orpheus, blinded Oedipus, Euripides. These are semi-dramatic voicings, staged across the thirty-mile theatre of the Mendip subterranean: each an act of recovery, of rescue. Traversing the broken, collapsed, eroded stones, looking for voices that express the damaged and the damned, Asylum pays homage to the darkness of the human cave: its memories and ancient histories, and to its more contemporary signals – internationally owned quarries, abandoned coal mines, decommissioned Cold War bunkers.

As with Bee Journal and Human Work, these poems take on the nature of the experience recorded. Written blind, as it were, the diction here becomes mineral, deeply tactile – hard and granular, alert to sound in its own blackness. Descending underground with the poet is to enter a theatre of heightened senses, and these extraordinary poems feel both unearthed and unearthly.

The Peace of Wild Things

Wendell Berry (Author)

I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

The poems of Wendell Berry invite us to stop, to think, to see the world around us, and to savour what is good. Here are consoling verses of hope and of healing; short, simple meditations on love, death, friendship, memory and belonging; luminous hymns to the land, the cycles of nature and the seasons as they ebb and flow. Here is the peace of wild things.

Not Waving But Drowning

Stevie Smith (Author)

'Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.'

Moved by love, death and a powerful eye for the joy and absurdity of life, these are bizarre, mischievous and often deliciously barbed poems by one of the twentieth century's most popular poets.

Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Stevie Smith; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outerspace.

I Have More Souls Than One

Fernando Pessoa (Author)

'But no, she's abstract, is a bird
Of sound in the air of air soaring,
And her soul sings unencumbered
Because the song's what makes her sing.'

Dramatic, lyrical and ranging over four distinct personae, these poems by one of Portugal's greatest poets trace a mind shaken by intense suffering and a tireless search for meaning.

Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Stevie Smith; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outerspace.

Television Was a Baby Crawling Towards That Death Chamber

Allen Ginsberg (Author)

'Wives in the avocados, babies in the tomatoes!-and you, García Lorca, what were you doing by the watermelons?'

Profane and prophetic verses about sex, death, revolution and America by the great icon of Beat poetry.

Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem andGeorge Orwell to Stevie Smith; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outerspace.

The Survivor

Primo Levi (Author)

'Back, away from here, drowned people, go. I haven't stolen anyone's place'

A selection of poetry from the author of If this is a Man and The Periodic Table.

Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Stevie Smith; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outerspace.

William Carlos Williams (Author)

'The alphabet of
the trees

is fading in the
song of the leaves'

Filled with bright, unforgettable images, the deceptively simple work of William Carlos Williams revolutionized American verse, and made him one of the greatest twentieth-century poets.

Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Stevie Smith; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outerspace.

The Great Hunger

Patrick Kavanagh (Author)

'I have lived in important places, times
When great events were decided . . .'

By turns comical, grouchy and exalted, and including his tragic masterpiece 'The Great Hunger', some of the key poems by the writer who transformed Anglo-Irish verse.

Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Stevie Smith; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outerspace.

The Dialogue of Two Snails

Federico Garcia Lorca (Author)

My heart
brims with billows
and minnows
of shadows and silver

Beautiful, brutal, strange and lovely: this is Lorca reborn, in a selection of previously unpublished pieces and masterful new translations.

Penguin Modern: fifty new books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series, with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary, international flavour. Here are authors ranging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin, Truman Capote to Stanislaw Lem and George Orwell to Stevie Smith; essays radical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan, New York's underground scene to the farthest reaches of outerspace.

Works and Days

Hesiod (Author) , Alicia Stallings (Translator)

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

Hesiod was the first self-styled 'poet' in western literature, revered by the ancient Greeks. Ostensibly written to chide and educate his lazy brother, Works and Days tells the story of Pandora's jar and humanity's place in a fallen world. Blending the cosmic and the earthy, and mixing myth, lyrical description, personal asides, astronomy, proverbs and down-to-earth advice on rural tasks and rituals, it is also a hymn to honest toil as man's salvation. This vibrant new verse translation by award-winning poet A. E. Stallings conveys the clarity and unexpected humour of a founding work of classical literature.

Calling a Wolf a Wolf

Kaveh Akbar (Author)

I could not be held responsible
for desire
he could not be held at all

In Calling a Wolf a Wolf, the reality of love can all too often prove disappointing at best, and life-threateningly ineffectual at worst. As Kaveh Akbar puts it in 'Heritage', a poem dedicated to an Iranian woman executed for killing the man who was attempting to rape her: 'in books love can be war-ending/...in life we hold love up to the light/ to marvel at its impotence.' Yet, as it brings us along on its author's struggle with addiction, this darkly sumptuous first collection by an award-winning poet also shows us that there can, after all, be a power and a beauty to our desires, in the strength of their flow, in their achievements and frustrations, and in the pain and joy of denying oneself for one's own sake.

These are poems of thirst: for alcohol, for other bodies, and for knowledge. They find the speaker poised between life's clatter and rattle, wanting to retreat yet hungering for more; and, though they rush forward at full tilt through a stream of reflections, memories and emotions, they are never simply indulgent. This refreshingly honest and often breathtaking addition to the canon of addiction literature will carry readers with it just as the poet is carried, and leave behind indelible images of an existence richly felt.

Don't Call Us Dead

Danez Smith (Author)

*Longlisted for the National Book Award for Poetry*

“[Smith's] poems are enriched to the point of volatility, but they pay out, often, in sudden joy.” --The New Yorker

Award-winning poet Danez Smith is a groundbreaking force, celebrated for deft lyrics, urgent subjects, and performative power. Don’t Call Us Dead opens with a heartrending sequence that imagines an afterlife for black men shot by police, a place where suspicion, violence, and grief are forgotten and replaced with the safety, love, and longevity they deserved here on earth. Smith turns then to desire, mortality?the dangers experienced in skin and body and blood?and a diagnosis of HIV positive. “Some of us are killed / in pieces,” Smith writes, “some of us all at once.” Don’t Call Us Dead is an astonishing and ambitious collection, one that confronts, praises, and rebukes America?“Dear White America”?where every day is too often a funeral and not often enough a miracle.

One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each

Peter MacMillan (Translator) , Peter MacMillan (Translator)

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.

Kalevala

Elias Lonnrot (Author)

Kalevala is the poetic name for Finland: ‘the land of heroes’. Here you’ll find the cultural essence of a young country but an old land, the stories, songs and poems that recount the mythical adventures of humankind. Ambition, lust, romance, birth and death can all be found within its pages, as well as the sampo, a mysterious talisman that brings great happiness to its possessor and over which great battles will be fought.

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY HORATIO CLARE

The Shepherd’s Hut

Jonathan Bate (Author)

Jonathan Bate believes that the slow, meditative reading of poetry – absorbing ourselves in the images of a poem, slowing to its beat, allowing our minds to rest in the pause of a line-ending – can bring us tranquility as we find echoes of our own experiences on the page. Experiences of beautiful places, strong feelings and moments that lift the human spirit.

In The Shepherd’s Hut, Bate introduces us to the diet of swans, the quest for inner peace in ancient Chinese poetry, the English seaside and the summer Mediterranean, a rose garden and a snow-covered moor. He reminds us what it is like to fall in love and to say goodbye.

These are poems of memory and of mourning; quick-fire thoughts and longer meditations inspired by the great poets of the past.

All author proceeds will be donated to ReLit, a small charitable foundation established by Jonathan Bate and his wife, author Paula Byrne, devoted to the act of reading as an invaluable form of stress relief in our busy world.

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