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WOW

£10.99

A Poetry Book Society Winter 2020 Recommendation

 

Bill Manhire’s Wow opens with the voice of an extinct bird, a song from anciency, and takes us forward into the present and the darkening future of other extinctions. For Manhire, the reach of the lyric is long: it has the penetration of comedy, satire, the Jeremiad, but also the delicacy of minute detail and the rhythms of nature’s comfort and hope, the promise of renewal. In the title poem the baby says ‘Wow’, and the wonder is real at the world and at language. But the world will have the last word.

 

Writing of Manhire, Teju Cole declared, ‘Being the leading poet in New Zealand is like being the best DJ in Estonia, impressive enough on its own terms. But Bill Manhire is more than that: he’s unquestionably world-class. As with Seamus Heaney, you get a sense of someone with a steady hand on the tiller, and both the will and the craft to take your breath away.’

 

Bill Manhire was New Zealand’s first poet laureate. He established and until recently directed the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington. This is the ninth of his Carcanet books in 30 years. They include a Selected and a Collected Poems.

Yeah Yeah Yeah

£7.95

Roddy Lumsden’s first collection Yeah Yeah Yeah is a large and varied debut collection which uses the lives of lovers and losers, eavesdroppers and entertainers to explore romance, faith and last orders at the bar. The poems are formal but with a frantic edge; they are lyrical, but laced with a cruel streak and a measured dose of indulgence. Roddy Lumsden is concerned with how relationships shift and twist and restore an order, with how people meet and part. The poems range over weddings, revenge and phobias, beer, girls and the need `to get these answers right’. Yeah Yeah Yeah was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. Now out of print, most of the poems in the book are included in Mischief Night: New & Selected Poems (2004).

You’re So Vain You Probably Think This Book Is About You

£8.95

Barring Geoff Hattersley, you’d think most contemporary poets have never done a proper days work in their life. For me this poetic vacuum, this space walked around or avoided, leaves me unable sometimes to link myself to poetry and poets. We all work don’t we? So in, You’re So Vain You Probably Think This Book Is About You (YSVYPTTBIAY), I wanted to address this balance, to tackle work, the toad as Larkin called it, to show the vicissitudes of the work place, how employment shapes us and what it does to us. In doing this I use a sometime working class hero Crusoe whose mix of fecklessness and bad luck acts as a conduit for my own socio-political brand of Hulldonian existentialism. Either that or I just chew the fat about the workaday.

 

As the author, it would be completely wrong of me to tell you the subtext or underlying themes of this book, which are of course a virulent and rational hatred of Margaret Thatcher and a new blast in the re-emerging class war. So since my last book Cowboy Hat, I’ve pulled together all the poems about the toad and here they are. It’s not all work though, I can be found smashing up my old sofa in the kitchen, or telling you about Badger the Cadger, the slotterhodge blagging a free meal, or me being tied to Animal on a three legged pub crawl, or Renwick the serial chorer. Mostly it is work. You’re So Vain You Probably Think This Book Is About You, is a tribute to Bobby the TWOCKER, Ox the toilet door kettle balancing nutcase and the motley gang of wonderful workmates and workbanes I’ve had the fortune to work with. For me, a poetry book should be like a good night out with your mates, when you’re wearing a new snazzy shirt. It encompasses storytelling, drama, emotion, courage, humour and ultimately belief and spirit. Work will never diminish my spirit and my faith will remain strong. So here I come with my Northern Heart on one sleeve and my Yorkshire Soul on the other. I’ve bared my heart in this book to give you these poems. Now it’s your turn reader, chuffing eck, buy the book.

Your Inner Hedgehog

£14.99

In the latest entertaining and hilarious Professor Dr Dr Moritz-Maria Von Igelfeld novel, our hopelessly out-of-touch hero is forced to confront uppity librarians, the rector of the university and a possible hostile takeover, all while trying to remain studiously above it all.

 

Professor Dr Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld and his colleagues at the University of Regensburg’s Institute of Romance Philology pride themselves on their unwavering commitment to intellectual excellence. They know it is their job to protect a certain civilized approach to the scholarly arts. So when a new deputy librarian, Dr. Hilda Schreiber-Ziegler, threatens to drag them all down a path of progressive inclusivity, they are determined to stop her in the name of scholarship – even if that requires von Igelfeld to make the noble sacrifice of running for director of the Institute. Alas, politics is never easy, and in order to put his best foot forward, von Igelfeld will be required to take up a visiting fellowship at Oxford and cultivate the attentions of a rather effusive young American scholar. Still, von Igelfeld has always heeded the clarion call of duty, especially when it comes with a larger office.

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