Last week Salt Publishing offered five copies of Best British Poetry 2011 (BBP) as prizes on Twitter, and I was one of the lucky winners. I received it very quickly, and I’ve now read it, so my thanks to Chris and Jen.
I’ve been buying the long-running series Best American Poetry (BAP) since it started, and I donated my set of the early volumes to the Scottish Poetry Library a while back. So I was very interested to see how BBP compares. On opening the book I was struck by the resemblances in book design to the American series. It’s clearly an hommage to a successful format, and it brought a smile to my face. But what about the contents? Well, I’ve found some of the American yearbooks indigestible, and one nearly unreadable! (Each volume has a different guest editor, and thus reflects their tastes). I read BBP straight through though, and with increasing admiration for the skills of its editor, Roddy Lumsden. Naturally, I didn’t like all of Roddy’s choices – every reader is different – but I found some wonderful poems by authors new to me, as well as some excellent poems by authors I’ve read previously.
The selection is from British magazines and web publications, and Roddy has included a wide variety of sources for his choices.
At the back of the book is a section for Contributors’ Notes and Comments, and this makes really interesting reading as does the corresponding section in BAP.
I recommend this book very strongly.