On my bookshelf

I usually read a fair number of books at the same time – not simultaneously, you understand, because that would be physically impossible, not to mention silly. Anyway, I have a shelf of books I’m currently reading. I pick up the leftmost one, read some of it, move my bookmark, and replace it on the right. Then I pick up the next one and do the same. You following this so far? The method works just fine for poetry, because, frankly, reading a whole collection at one gulp is a bit indigestible.

So what’s on the Sunny Dunny bookshelf at the moment?

The Best American Poetry 2007. I’m interested to see if any of the controversy which has surrounded Heather McHugh’s guest editorship is justified. Just read the preliminaries so far.

The Skipper’s Daughter, by A P Reid. A 19th century novel, set in the local village of Aberlady (see earlier posts). My copy is a beatifully rebound copy (quarter-leather, gold-tooled, marbled paper covered boards, t.e.g.) given to me by Ian King of Diehard Publishers, who bound it himself.

Wallace Stevens: Opus Posthumous. A fascinating mix of poetry, prose pieces, aphorisms etc, which I bought on the strength of Katie’s blog.

W S Graham: New collected poems. Result of Matthew Sweeney’s Guardian Workshop.

O Benson & J Stangroom: Why truth matters. A philosophical work (my earlier research was epistemological, and I’m still interested).

Mario Petrucci: Flowers of Sulphur. Poetry. Excellent.

Nick Laird: On Purpose. Poetry. Not really getting into this one.

Richard Price: Greenfields. Poetry. Extremely good, and very interesting.

Blithe Spirit. Latest issue just arrived.

Poetry Review. Ditto.

Matthew Sweeney: Black Moon. Wonderful poetry.

Sean O’Brien: The Drowned Book. Ditto.

And the newest addition to the shelf, which arrived yesterday:

Barbara Smith: Kairos. Really looking forward to reading this Barbara, and many thanks for the inscription.

Getting ready for the Tyne & Esk Writers festival of writing today, which kicks off with four workshops this afternoon, followed by a quiz, a buffet, and in the evening the presentation of our Writer of the Year awards. Here’s a photo of the trophy, a piece of engraved glass by Alison Kinnaird. I’m insanely jealous of the winner – I want it!


About sunnydunny

Poet, publisher, gardener
This entry was posted in poetry, reading lists. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to On my bookshelf

  1. Cailleach says:

    I agree with you about Sweeney’s poetry and isn’t it great that everyone is digging out W.S Graham’s work to savour?That is an interesting way to work your bookshelf: you’re way more organised than me, which finds my books scattered all over the house, but mostly about my bed. My husband laughs at me because when he comes to bed he always finds books under the pillows… He thinks that one day he will wake up and find me <>in<> a book somewhere.Hope you enjoy the collection, Colin, many thanks for your support 🙂

  2. Colin Will says:

    My bookshelf habit’s maybe because I’m an ex-librarian – before it overflowed, my poetry bookcase was arranged in alphabetical order. Good luck with the MA course, by the way Barbara. When you were describing learning research methodology I got all nostalgic, because that was part of my early training too.

  3. Rob says:

    Good list, Colin. Must get hold of the Price. Have meant to for ages.I’m interested in your take on Best American Poetry 2007. Especially Heather HcHugh’s student’s first published poems. Seems indefensible to me. There are lots of good poems out there.

  4. Cailleach says:

    You’re tagged for an easy book meme, Colin. I think you might find it easy to do…

  5. Cailleach says:

    I forgot to add thanks for your warm wishes for the MA – I’ve been hanging out with the librarians today, and they make it all seem so interesting and accessible… at this rate, I’ll never finish college; I keep finding new things to read about!

  6. Colin Will says:

    Thanks Rob. On the face of it, Heather’s judgement is questionable, but I’ll read the collection first before commenting. Mind you, I judged the poetry entries for the Tyne & Esk Writer of the Year comp, and I gave the Best East Lothian poetry prize to one of my fellow Dunbar group members. To be fair to myself, it was judged blind, I genuinely didn’t know it was her, and the two runners-up were Midlothian poets I’ve never heard of, let alone met. It was a great night last night, and I’ll post something tomorrow.See you tonight at Shore Poets.

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