Monday, 30 November 2009

Lists, lists, lists

Good piece by Todd Swift over at Eyewear, talking about the usual glut of year-end book lists. I tend to agree with a lot of what Todd's saying, although it is fair to point out once again that I'm always a bit underwhelmed by Don Paterson. I bought Rain the other day, along with John Burnside's The Hunt In The Forest, and although I will take time to digest and re-read them, I'd have to say I prefer the latter. As usual with Paterson, I find myself thinking "it's good, but is it really that good?"

Meanwhile, Peony Moon is featuring mini-lists from a wide variety of poets. They make very interesting reading, and it's good to see Andrew Philip's wonderful The Ambulance Box and Clare Crowther's The Clockwork Gift cropping up with such regularity. I found it very difficult to narrow things down to three books, because I get the impression it's been a pretty strong year.

With that in mind, I'll be doing my usual round-up of favourite books some time after December 25th, but in the meantime, look out later this week for reviews of Simon Armitage and Tim Dee's anthology The Poetry Of Birds, and the similarly themed US anthology Bright Wings, edited by Billy Collins.

Current reading includes John James' Collected Poems, George Ttoouli's splendid Static Exile, and a selection from Francis Kilvert's diaries (I'd been looking for a cheap paperback of the latter for ages, and found one for £2 in Leicester on Friday).


Michelle said...

Looking forward to your round-up of favourite books, Matt, and to reading The Hunt In The Forest. It's in my pile of holiday books.

James Midgley said...

The new Burnside is pretty pants imv. He needs to stop with this collection-every-year business. I'd like another book like The Good Neighbour, easily his best since the early early collections.

No real opinion on Rain -- which probably says enough by itself, really. It's more or less a given that I'm going to prefer a Burnside collection to a Paterson one anyway.

Matt Merritt said...

I think you're right that he could probably do with slowing things down a bit, James. There's come a stage in all his recent books where I've felt he's forcing things a bit, trying to spread his chosen theme too thin. But like you, I guess it's a given that I'm going to prefer him to Paterson.

I think it's been a pretty strong year, Michelle, and picking three books for your blog has got me putting my thoughts in order a lot earlier than usual (I usually start in a slightly drunken haze some time on Boxing Day).

Michelle said...

More time to sleep in on Boxing Day, Matt!

Thanks so much for your selections. I know it wasn't easy.