In a momentous publication, Seamus Heaney’s translation of Book VI of the Aeneid, Virgil’s epic poem composed sometime between 29 and 19 BC, follows the hero, Aeneas, on his descent into the underworld.
In Stepping Stones, a book of interviews conducted by Dennis O’Driscoll, Heaney acknowledged the importance of the poem to his writing, noting that ‘there’s one Virgilian journey that has indeed been a constant presence, and that is Aeneas’s venture into the underworld.
‘The motifs in Book VI have been in my head for years – the golden bough, Charon’s barge, the quest to meet the shade of the father.’ In this new translation, Heaney employs the same deft handling of the original combined with the immediacy of language and flawless poetic voice as was on show in his translation of Beowulf, a reimagining which, in the words of Bernard O’Donoghue, brought the ancient poem back to life in ‘a miraculous mix of the poem’s original spirit and Heaney’s voice’.
‘Patience, Firmness, and Perseverance were my only weapons.’
Agnes Grey (1847) was Anne Bronte’s first novel and a poignant account of her own experience as a struggling governess, obliged to earn her living in one of the few ways open to an educated Victorian girl. Agnes is not a romantic heroine such as those we find in the books of Anne’s sisters Charlotte and Emily, but her story paints a more realistic picture of what happens when an intelligent, sensitive young woman has to endure months of isolation and frustration in an unsympathetic household that is not her home.
Her iconic blonde looks, stunning voice and songs of loneliness and melancholy have endeared her to millions, yet Agnetha Faltskog remains an enigmatic and distant figure. From her success as a teenage singer and songwriter in Sweden in the late 1960s to her years of global superstardom with pop giants ABBA and beyond, Agnetha has fascinated generations of fans. Her beaming smile graced record sleeves, television screens and magazine covers around the world yet never quite managed to conceal her natural shyness and vulnerability. Agnetha Faltskog The Girl With The Golden Hair is the first full-length biography dedicated to the life and career of the one of the most beloved and successful performers in music history.
Charting Agnetha’s journey from her early days fronting a local dance band in the small industrial city of Jonkoping, through her decade as one of the most famous and popular singers in the world, and the years of self-imposed exile that followed until her surprising and successful comeback in 2013, Agnetha Faltskog The Girl With The Golden Hair will delight her many legions of fans and any readers with an interest in the history of popular music.
Three plays, ‘all written for live theatre – with the emphasis on live’, and all first performed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough: The Revengers’ Comedies (1989); Things We Do for Love (1997); and House & Garden (1999).
The Revengers’ Comedies A hugely entertaining pitch that recalls the old movies to which it frequently pays homage – Strangers on a Train, Rebecca, Kind Hearts and Coronets – and expands after intermission to reveal an immensely disturbing vision of contemporary middle-class England poisoned by the rise of economic ruthlessness and the collapse of ethics. New York Times
Things We Do for Love Lloyds Private Banking Playwright of the Year Award One of his best, his most shockingly and uproariously funny: a cruel and hilarious masterpiece of tragic comedy and comic tragedy. Sunday Times
House & Garden The triumph of his ingenuity lies in the fact that you have to see both plays . . . A second time round, in whichever order you take them, characters will deepen, while those you know become the background. It is a superb Ayckbourn joke that a comedy about non-communication should depend on the sharpest communication skills. Sunday Times
Snake in the Grass
“A terrific piece – brilliant, bizarre and yet totally believable… In fact, it’s more than classic; it’s close to the top of its class.” Yorkshire Post
If I Were You
“A blissfully funny comedy that’s also filled with sadness, a devilishly simple theatrical idea that spins out all kinds of complex truths about human nature.” Daily Telegraph
Life and Beth
“A wise, humane, funny play about the inevitability of death and the continuity of life.” Guardian
My Wonderful Day
“A transformation happens as magical as the most magnificent pantomime transformation anyone could ever imagine… the playwright dissolves the paraphernalia of our adult selves and uncovers that space inside each of us that is still the child we once were.” Observer
Life of Riley
“As perceptive as ever… Ayckbourn has once again achieved a satisfyingly rich, tragi-comic complexity.” Daily Telegraph
In this series, a contemporary poet selects and introduces a poet of the past. By their choice of poems and by the personal and critical reactions they express in their prefaces, the editors offer insights into their own work as well as providing an accessible and passionate introduction to some of the greatest poets of our literature. Alexander Pope (1688-1744) was an essayist, critic, satirist, poet and translator. He published “An Essay on Criticism” in 1711 and a republished version of “The Rape of the Lock” in 1714. His “Collected Works” were published in 1717 and he translated the “Iliad and the Odyssey” into English. “The Dunciad” (1728), one of his most famous works, was a vicious satire on Dullness featuring many of his contemporaries.
Alice and the North is a sequence of prose poems that form a love-song to the North, its post-industrial landscapes, wild uplands, obsession with weather, seasonal change and awkwardness. Like Lewis Carroll’s Alice before her, the lead character shifts and changes as her journey across the North continues; she is at turns playful, sexy, rebellious and adventurous, carving a new identity for the region as she goes.
From herring quines to the hidden corners of Manchester, from Lytham St Anne’s to the canals of Congleton, readers are invited to grow up with Alice as she finds her voice – straddling the territory between prose and poetry, exploring the down to earth cadences of everyday speech and the richness of the North’s many idioms and dialects.
Alice even finds time to gently tease the ‘titans’ of Northern poetry, Ted Hughes and Simon Armitage, whose voices have long shaped the poetry-reading public’s idea of the North. Now, however, they must step aside and make room for Alice.
Jacqueline Saphra’s All My Mad Mothers explores love, sex and family relationships in vivacious, lush poems that span the decades and generations. At the heart of this collection of poems is the portrait of a mother as multitudes – as a magician with a bathroom of beauty tricks, as necromancer, as glamourous fire-starter, trapped in ever-decreasing circles and, above all else, almost impossible to grasp. With an emphasis on the cultures of the different times, we tread a tantalising tightrope between the confessional and the invented. These astute poems step assuredly from childhood’s first exposures to the scratched records and unsuitable lovers of young womanhood, the slammed doors of daughters and sons, the tears and salted soups of friendships, and the charms of late love. All the time, incandescent and luminous as an everlasting lightbulb, at the heart of each of Saphra’s poems is a delicate filament kicking out a heavy-duty wattage.
Shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize for First Collection 2018
Runner-up for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2016
Miriam Nash spent her early years on the Isle of Erraid, West Scotland, where Robert Louis Stevenson’s family once worked as lighthouse engineers. Voices of the island echo through her first collection, All the Prayers in the House, which holds at its heart, the rupture and re-imagining of a family. Bold, honest, playful and inventive, the collection travels far from its coastal beginnings, crossing the Atlantic, visiting a women’s prison and a 17th-century ladies dictionary. Here are poems of ritual and transgression, safety and danger. They take the form of songs, letters, fragments, formal verse many kinds of prayer perhaps, for many kinds of storm.
In this breathtaking cultural history filled with exclusive, never-before-revealed details, celebrated rock journalist Joel Selvin tells the definitive story of the Rolling Stones’ infamous Altamont concert, the disastrous historic event that marked the end of the idealistic 1960s.
In the annals of rock history, the Altamont Speedway Free Festival on December 6, 1969, has long been seen as the distorted twin of Woodstock—the day that shattered the Sixties’ promise of peace and love when a concertgoer was killed by a member of the Hells Angels, the notorious biker club acting as security. While most people know of the events from the film Gimme Shelter, the whole story has remained buried in varied accounts, rumor, and myth—until now.
Altamont explores rock’s darkest day, a fiasco that began well before the climactic death of Meredith Hunter and continued beyond that infamous December night. Joel Selvin probes every aspect of the show—from the Stones’ hastily planned tour preceding the concert to the bad acid that swept through the audience to other deaths that also occurred that evening—to capture the full scope of the tragedy and its aftermath. He also provides an in-depth look at the Grateful Dead’s role in the events leading to Altamont, examining the band’s behind-the-scenes presence in both arranging the show and hiring the Hells Angels as security.
The product of twenty years of exhaustive research and dozens of interviews with many key players, including medical staff, Hells Angels members, the stage crew, and the musicians who were there, and featuring sixteen pages of color photos, Altamont is the ultimate account of the final event in rock’s formative and most turbulent decade.
Alun Lewis (1915-1944), the remarkable poet and story writer, died, aged 28, in Burma during the Second World War. Some critics see him as the last of the great Romantic poets, a twentieth century Keats. Others view him as the bridge between pre-war poets like Auden and Yeats to post-war poets such as Hughes and Gunn. He was born and raised in Depression-struck south Wales and, following degrees in history at Aberystwyth and Manchester, became a teacher there. Early in 1940, despite his pacifist inclinations he enlisted and, after long periods of training, joined the war in India. Becoming a soldier galvanised Lewis’s writing. By 1944 he had written two collections of poems and one of short stories, all published to considerable acclaim. Firmly established with Keith Douglas as the leading writer of the Second World War, Lewis’s death in an accident while on active service was huge loss to English literature. This Collected Poems comprises a body of work which has endured and which transcends the label ‘war poetry’; it is complete in itself and full of promise of greater things.
As known for her fraught personal life as her chart-topping songs, Amy Winehouse who died at the age of 27 in July 2011 was one of the most compelling vocalists in the world. But despite this fact, it was her self-destructive excesses that made headlines. Drinking binges, self-harm, eating disorders, drug abuse, and a turbulent marriage overshadowed her music even as her record sales soared, and the media watched eagerly as Amy’s world imploded. This richly illustrated biography tells her story in full, from childhood through to the pleasures and pains of superstardom, her blazing talent, the years she lost to her addictions, the final days before her death, and the legacy of her raw and heartfelt music.
An Aviary of Small Birds is both elegy to a stillborn son and testament to the redemptive qualities of poetry as a transformative art. The book opens at the birth, which paradoxically becomes the moment of death when, after a long labour and an emergency caesarean, the baby’s heart gives out. For the mother, her body flooded with endorphins, euphoria gives way to shock, followed by an intense and visceral grief. However, just as grief itself is not linear, so too the book follows an emotional rather than a strictly chronological arc, lyric rather than narrative. At the same time, McCarthy Woolf’s formal experimentation allows an intellectual and metaphysical line of enquiry to emerge. Ultimately, it is a closely felt connection with the natural world, particularly with water and birds, that allows the author to transcend the experience and honour the spirit of her son.
During several months of treatment for a serious illness, the writer decides to turn a necessary evil into an opportunity: the luxury of reading whatever takes her fancy. An Everywhere: a little book about reading is a quietly passionate and witty defence of the joys and consolations of reading in both the difficult and day-to-day aspects of our lives.
This book is about people today Focussing on the poet’s surprising and life-changing encounters in the North-West, Yorkshire and Bangladesh, this collection is a careful listening and a gentle plea for a more shared humanity. Adam Strickson writes about Kurdish refugees, Pakistani women, Van Gogh, Sidney Bechet and the inventor of hydraulics with equal love and attention. An Indian Rug Surprised By Snow is a serious, wise, funny and joyful book, a powerful poetic statement about how this writer has embraced the time and society he lives in.
Philosophical, exuberant, incantatory, sensual, and meditative; these poems embrace the complexities of death, loss, and love. Although observed with a detached eye their unflinching truth is simultaneously intimate and compassionate. The poems, written in both formal and free verse, explore the boundaries within the human situation. Ruth O’Callaghan was awarded a gold medal at the 30th World Congress of Poets in Taiwan, holds the prestigious Hawthornden Fellowship, and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is a mentor and workshop leader both in the UK and abroad.
‘Anchored in Love’ is an inside look into the life of June Carter Cash, through the eyes of her only child with Johnny Cash – John Carter Cash. With skillful prose, he reveals new information about the legendary woman through his tender memories and heartwarming stories.
Bristling with inspired observations and wild anecdotes, this collection offers unique insight into the voice and mind of the inimitable Hunter S. Thompson, as recorded over the decades in the pages of Playboy, the Paris Review, Esquire, in various lectures, and in television appearances, many in print for the first time.
Fearless and unsparing, the interviews detail some of the most storied episodes of Thompson’s life: his savage beating at the hands of the Hell’s Angels, his talking football with Nixon on the 1972 Campaign Trail (‘the only time in twenty years of listening to the treacherous bastard that I knew he wasn’t lying’); his razor-sharp insight into the Bush–Cheney administration, his unlikely run for Sheriff of Aspen, and his successful public battle, during the last years of his life, to free an innocent woman from prison. In addition, Hunter Thompson’s passionate tirades about journalism, culture, drugs, guns, and the law showcase his singular voice at its fiercest.
Complete with an exclusive introduction by author, journalist, and cultural critic Christopher Hitchens, Ancient GonzoWisdom genuinely embraces the brilliance of Hunter S. Thompson – his life, his voice, and his legacy – to provide an enduring portrait of the great gonzo journalist.
Outcast, mute, a lone twin cut from a drunk mother in a shack full of junk, Euchrid Eucrow of Ukulore inhabits a nightmarish Southern valley of preachers and prophets, incest and ignorance. When the God-fearing folk of the town declare a foundling child to be chosen by the Almighty, Euchrid is disturbed. He sees her very differently and his conviction, and increasing isolation and insanity, may have terrible consequences for them both.
In this series, a contemporary poet selects and introduces a poet of the past. By their choice of poems and by the personal and critical reactions they express in their prefaces, the editors offer insights into their own work as well as providing an accessible and passionate introduction to some of the greatest poets of our literature.
Andrew Marvell was born in Yorkshire in 1624 and was educated in Hull and Cambridge. He became the unofficial laureate to Cromwell and in 1657 he took over from Milton as the Latin Secretary to the Council of State. Famed as a satirist during his lifetime Marvell was a virtually unknown lyric poet until rediscovered in the nineteenth century. However, it was only after the First World War that his poetry gained popularity thanks to the efforts of T. S. Eliot and Sir Herbert Grierson. Marvell died in 1678.
Writing stories that are extravagant and fanciful, fifteen-year old Angel retreats to a world of romance, escaping the drabness of provincial life. She knows she is different, that she is destined to become a feted authoress, owner of great riches and of Paradise House . . .
After reading The Lady Irania, publishers Brace and Gilchrist are certain the novel will be a success, in spite of – perhaps because of – its overblown style. But they are curious as to who could have written such a book – an elderly lady, romanticising behind lace curtains? A mustachioed rogue?
They were not expecting it to be the pale, serious teenage girl, sitting before them without a hint of irony in her soul.
This unique book, which is both playful and serious, features poems and artwork on animals and species whose existence and well-being is threatened by humankind’s rapacious activities on our planet. The poems themselves can be enjoyed by children and adults alike, while the footnotes to each poem contain fascinating and often startling information on the animals, their behaviour patterns, and how their species may be under threat. There are poems on more than 40 animals birds and insects, including the well-known (skylark, panda, and bumble bee), the little known, (gastric brooding frog, cave racer snake, and skink), to the exotic (Madagascan robber moth). The poems are complemented by Rose Sanderson’s distinctive illustrations.
The children’s novel “Black Beauty” was written by Anna Sewell in her fifties and she sold it outright for GBP20. She did not live to know of its success. This work chronicles her extraordinary life from the tragic accident that left her lame at the age of 14 to the writing of her novel from her death bed.
Shortly after her 13th birthday, Anne Frank and her family were forced into hiding. It was World War II and the German Nazis were rounding up Jewish people and either killing them or sending them to work in concentration camps. During her time in hiding, Anne wrote about her experiences in her diary. What was the fate of Anne and her family? What became of her diary? Find the answers to these questions and more in this fascinating biography.
A vivid, first-hand account of Nobel Prize-winning singer and songwriter Bob Dylan as an artist, friend, and celebrity, illustrated with never-before-seen photographs, and told by an engaging raconteur who cut his own swathe through the turbulent counterculture.
August 2014 marks 50 years since Bob Dylan released his fourth album, Another Side of Bob Dylan. Recorded in one night, in the middle of a turbulent year in his life, the music marked a departure from Dylan’s socially-conscious folk songs and began his evolution toward other directions.
During the years they spent together, few people outside of Dylan’s immediate family were closer than Victor Maymudes, who was Dylan’s tour manager, personal friend, and travelling companion from the early days in 1960s Greenwich Village through the late 90’s. Another Side of Bob Dylan recounts landmark events including Dylan’s infamous motorcycle crash; meeting the Beatles on their first US tour; his marriage to Sara Lownds, his romances with Suze Rotolo, Joan Baez, and others; fellow travelers Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Wavy Gravy, Dennis Hopper, The Band, The Traveling Wilburys, and more; memorable concerts, and insights on Dylan’s songwriting process.
On January 26th, 2001, after recording more than 24 hours of taped memories in preparation for writing this book, Victor Maymudes suffered an aneurysm and died. His son Jacob has written the book, using the tapes to shape the story.
This first anthology of ‘Apocalyptic’ or neo-romantic poetry since the nineteen-forties includes over 150 poets, many well known (Dylan Thomas, W.S. Graham), and others quite forgotten (Ernest Frost, Paul Potts). Over forty of the poets are women, of whom Edith Sitwell is among the most exuberant. Much of the contents has never previously been anthologised; many poems are reprinted for the first time since the 1940s. The poetry of the Second World War appears in a new context, as do early Tomlisnon and Hill. Here readers can enjoy an overview of the visionary-modernist British and Irish poetry of the mid-century, its antecedents and its aftermath. As a period style and as a body of work, Apocalyptic poetry will come as a revelation to most readers.
Are we corrupt or innocent, fragmented or whole? Are responsibility and freedom irreconcilable? Do we value memory or succumb to our forgetfulness? Application for Release from the Dream, Tony Hoagland’s fifth collection of poems, pursues these questions with the fierce abandon of one who needs to know how a citizen of 21st-century America can stay human. With whiplash nerve and tender curiosity, Hoagland surveys the damage and finds the wonder that makes living worthwhile. Mirthful, fearless, and precise, these poems are full of judgment and mercy. Tony Hoagland’s poems poke and provoke at the same time as they entertain and delight. He is American poetry’s hilarious ‘high priest of irony’, a wisecracker and a risk-taker whose disarming humour, self-scathing and tenderness are all fuelled by an aggressive moral intelligence. He pushes the poem not just to its limits but over the edge.
David Clarke’s first full collection of poems, Arc, follows on from an acclaimed and award-winning pamphlet Gaud (winner of the 2013 Michael Marks Pamphlet Prize, published by Flarestack). Follow the trail of these fleet-footed poems, and you’ll be swept along from sonnets for Scott Walker to Orpheus as white van man, via ‘epic fails’ and sword-swallowing for beginners. It’s a memorable trip you’ll want to start afresh as soon as you finish reading. By turns subtle, bittersweet and wickedly sharp, this is a debut collection of poems to be savoured and shared.
With Armour, the great Australian poet John Kinsella has written his most spiritual work to date – and his most politically engaged. The world in which these poems unfold is strangely poised between the material and the immaterial, and everything which enters it – kestrel and fox, moth and almond – does so illuminated by its own vivid presence: the impression is less a poet honouring his subjects than uncannily inhabiting them. Elsewhere we find a poetry of lyric protest, as Kinsella scrutinizes the equivocal place of the human within this natural landscape, both as tenant and self-appointed steward. Armour is a beautifully various work, one of sharp ecological and social critique – but also one of meticulous invocation and quiet astonishment, whose atmosphere will haunt the reader long after they close the book.
‘This powerful and endlessly mysterious collection of poems is a book of fables, of spells, of revised narratives, and of realigned songs, brightly lifted above our bodies by music that is as unpredictable as it is marvellous.’ – Ilya Kaminsky
Arrow is a debut volume extraordinary in ambition, range and achievement. At its centre is ‘Dear, beloved’, a more-than-elegy for her younger sister who died suddenly: in the two years she took to write the poem, much else came into play: ‘it was my hope to write the mood of elegy rather than an elegy proper,’ following the example of the great elegists including Milton, to whose Paradise Lost she listened during the period of composition, also hearing the strains of Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s Song, of Alice Oswald and Marie Howe. The poem becomes a kind of kingdom, ‘one that is at once evil, or blighted, and beautiful, not to mention everything in between’.
As well as elegy, Chakraborty composes invocations, verse essays, and the strange extended miracle of the title poem, in which ancient and modern history, memory and the lived moment, are held in a directed balance. It celebrates the natural forces of the world and the rapt experience of balance, form and – love. She declares a marked admiration for poems that ‘will write into being a world that already in some way exists’. This is what her poems achieve.