I went upstairs this morning to look for a book that I need to complete something, and found myself absorbed by looking through some other books that I acquired across last year (yes, I can now call it last year). So I wrote them down:
Me & The Dead, Katy Evans Bush; accomplished debut collection from Salt.
More About the Song, Rachel Fox; another debut, from a very interesting writer.
New Room Windows, Greagoir O Duill; first English collection from a charming and erudite Irish writer, Doghouse Books.
Down the Sunlit Hall, Eileen Sheehan; breathtaking second collection, Doghouse Books.
Time Gentlemen, Please, Kevin Higgins; second collection from well-known Galwegian poet, Salmon.
Big Pink Umbrella, Susan Millar DuMars; another accomplished first collection, Salmon.
Torching the Brown River, Lorna Shaughnessy; and another... Salmon.
The Glass Swarm, Peter Bennet, Flambard Press Poetry; think this was a Poetry Book Society Choice - must renew that oul subscription.
The Company of Horses, Peter Fallon; the editor of Gallery Press himself, some cracking poems in this.
Dissonances, Nigel McLouglin; a fabulous fourth collection from Bluechrome, some real magic in this.
Thornfield: Poems by the Thornfield Poets; think I mentioned this elsewhere, but it's a good reader for what's contemporary in poetry (by Irish Women) right now - Salmon.
The Bees, Sally Evans; a Diehard publication, this is a virtuoso collection of cantos written in terza rima - not something everyone tries and my children really enjoyed the beautiful illustrations that accompany the text.
The Enthusiast Field Guide to Poetry; this book is very entertaining, well worth the read; from Quercus.
Europa, Moniza Alvi; another Poetry Book Society choice; grim and disturbing reading, but still a worthy choice.
Smoke & Skin, Aoife Casby & Celeste Auge; a dual chapbook featuring two Galway based poets, showcasing their work, Lapwing.
Tornadoes for the Weathergirl, Celeste Auge; a pamphlet of poetry from Invincible Poetry Pamphlet Press.
Paris Stories, Mavis Gallant; recommended by WRW, I'm still reading this, slowly and with savour.
William Hazlitt: The First Modern Man, Duncan Wu; I'll be making my mind up about this soon, OUP.
Hungry For Home: Leaving the Blaskets, Cole Moreton; I'll be honest, this is a gorgeous book - I reviewed it for Verbal Magazine, August issue; even got an interview with Cole!
Slipping Letters Beneath the Sea, Joseph Horgan; another Doghouse poet who won the Patrick Kavanagh in 2005 with the ms that makes up the most of this book about the immi/emigration from/to Ireland. Chilling and startling, and very, very relevant now, given that our 'Celtic Tiger has turned into a Deflated Baboon' (The Guardian, today).
The Canals of Memory, Aine Moynhan; another worthy Doghouse poet whose bilinguality peppers this collection.
The Collected Poems of Geoffrey Holloway; from Arrowhead Press, I am still working through this brilliant resource.
Brace: A New Generation in Short Fiction; from Comma Press, this is a good reader and has some lovely imagistic resonances in the way that the stories reverberate off each other. A notable introduction by the editor, Jim Hinks and a story by a writer who lives locally, Jaki Mc Carrick.
On Form, Angela Leighton; for the early chapter on form itself, a spectacular book and a resource I'll use over and over again, from OUP.
Sister Morphine, Catherine Eisner; another unusual fiction book from risk-takers Salt.
Veronica Forrest-Thomson & Language Poetry, Alison Mark; this should be treated as a companion book to:
The Collected Poems of Veronica Forrest-Thomson; both interesting books, one sheds light on the other's poetry and VFT is overlooked, but hopefully going to get plenty of attention in the future.
Thow in the Vowels, Rita Ann Higgins; since Rita Ann chose a poem of mine to be placed in the Feile Filiochta Competition, I thought it only fair that I purchase and read one of her books - very enjoyable poetry that will have a second relevance in these straitened times.
Letters of Ted Hughes, edited by Christopher Reid; I loved this book from Faber, another valuable resource, I reckon.
The Lost Leader, Mick Imlah; I had terrible trouble trying to get hold of this - it took me three trips to Dublin to finally get hold of this tome from Faber.
Selected Poems of Michael Longley; had to get hold of this when I'd been working with him last year.
Selected Poetry of John Hewitt, ed. Longley & Frank Ormsby; one I'd had on the wishlist for ages, this Blackstaff number was enjoyable for reading the poet of whom Heaney has referred to as the 'Daddy of us all,' with reference to NI poets.
Tattoo: Tatu, Nuala Ni Chonchuir; another worthy solo debut collection from Arlen Press. Nuala is known for her short stories, but her poetry is equally worth reading.
Walk the Blue Fields, Claire Keegan; I've been singing the praises of these short stories to all my classes - justifiably so: they are so, so good, from Faber.
Buzz, Templar Poetry anthology; the pick of the crop of 08's competition entries, a good read of what's up and coming in poetry.
Consorting With Angels, Deryn Rees Jones; despite the title, this is a valuable resource, examining women's poetry from the more recent side of the 20th century, from Bloodaxe.
I can see that it's mostly poetry; no surprises there. Now I'm looking forward to getting my hands on some more poetry this year: especially looking forward to seeing what comes from the Salt stable, amongst many publishers that I'm watching - and the poets; well interesting times ahead for us, I think. Now, back to trying to find that book I was looking for!