Staying alive : real poems for unreal times / edited by Neil Astley.

by Astley, Neil [editor.]Looking glass.

Publisher: Tarset, Northumberland : Bloodaxe Books, 2002.Description: 496 pages ; 22 cm.ISBN: 1852245883; 9781852245887.Subject(s): American poetryLooking glass | English poetryLooking glass | Poetry -- CollectionsLooking glass | Poetry -- Translations into EnglishNote: Includes bibliographical references (pages 471-472) and indexes. Summary: Staying Alive includes many of the great modern love poems and elegies, but it also shows the power of poetry in celebrating the ordinary miracle, taking you on a journey around many of the different aspects of everyday life explored in poems.
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Long loan London College of Communication
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Staying Alive is an international anthology of 500 life-affirming poems fired by belief in the human and the spiritual at a time when much in the world feels unreal, inhuman and hollow. These are poems of great personal force connecting our aspirations with our humanity, helping us stay alive to the world and stay true to ourselves. Many people turn to poetry only at unreal times, whether for consolation in loss or affirmation in love, or when facing other extremes and anxieties. Staying Alive includes many of the great modern love poems and elegies, but it also shows the power of poetry in celebrating the ordinary miracle, taking you on a journey around many of the different aspects of everyday life explored in poems. A strong poem is not just for crisis. Such a poem is there for all times, helping us face or embrace daily change and disruption. It will also speak to us when nothing seems to be happening, when the poem's importance is in helping us stay alive to the world andstay true to ourselves. Staying Alive has reached a wider readership than any other anthology of contemporary poetry. It is a landmark in the history of literary publishing. The first in a series, Staying Alive was followed by a sequel, Being Alive (2004), a companion anthology, Being Human (2011), and by a fourth volume, Staying Human: new poems for Staying Alive (2020). These anthologies have been welcomed not only by poets but by a wide range of well-known people respected for their work infields other than poetry - all avid readers of poetry. They want to recommend these books above all other anthologies of contemporary poetry.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 471-472) and indexes.

Staying Alive includes many of the great modern love poems and elegies, but it also shows the power of poetry in celebrating the ordinary miracle, taking you on a journey around many of the different aspects of everyday life explored in poems.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Wild Geese (p. 5)
  • Poets on poetry (p. 18)
  • Introduction (p. 19)
  • 1 Body and soul
  • Living (p. 31)
  • Orkney / This Life (p. 31)
  • A Northern Morning (p. 32)
  • Happiness (p. 33)
  • My Father's Irish Setters (p. 33)
  • Touch Me (p. 35)
  • Homage to my hips (p. 36)
  • Naked Vision (p. 36)
  • The Hug (p. 37)
  • The Hug (p. 38)
  • Chemin de Fer (p. 39)
  • He Sits Down on the Floor of a School for the Retarded (p. 40)
  • An Absolutely Ordinary Rainbow (p. 41)
  • Some Questions You Might Ask (p. 43)
  • Encounter (p. 44)
  • from The Tenth Duino Elegy (p. 44)
  • Variation on a Theme by Rilke (p. 45)
  • from A Gilded Lapse of Time (p. 46)
  • Dark Angel (p. 47)
  • Temptation (p. 48)
  • Poppies in October (p. 48)
  • "Eyesight of Wasps" (p. 49)
  • The Wasps (p. 49)
  • The Old World (p. 50)
  • Watering the Horse (p. 50)
  • Saint Animal (p. 51)
  • Jarrow (p. 51)
  • Where We Are (p. 52)
  • 2 Roads
  • The Road Not Taken (p. 55)
  • The Bay (p. 55)
  • Tyranny of Choice (p. 56)
  • Not Waving but Drowning (p. 57)
  • Poem (p. 57)
  • Choose (p. 58)
  • Meeting in a Lift (p. 58)
  • "i thank You God for most this amazing" (p. 58)
  • You (p. 59)
  • Begin (p. 60)
  • Entirely (p. 60)
  • Integrity (p. 61)
  • The Bear (p. 63)
  • The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me (p. 66)
  • from Dream Songs (p. 67)
  • from Some mangled Dream Songs for Henry ... (p. 67)
  • A Tale (p. 68)
  • The door (p. 69)
  • The door: anticipation of wisdom (p. 70)
  • Directive (p. 71)
  • The Road Home (p. 72)
  • Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (p. 73)
  • Snow (p. 74)
  • History (p. 74)
  • History (p. 75)
  • Snow (p. 75)
  • That Silent Evening (p. 76)
  • Above Pate Valley (p. 77)
  • The Journey (p. 78)
  • When You've Got (p. 79)
  • Yes (p. 80)
  • Happiness (p. 81)
  • from Blossoms (p. 81)
  • Alone (p. 82)
  • Machines (p. 83)
  • Traveling through the Dark (p. 84)
  • Penitence (p. 85)
  • Slow Animals Crossing (p. 86)
  • The Moose (p. 87)
  • Wife Hits Moose (p. 92)
  • 3 Dead or alive
  • "To eat a pie and to have it..." (p. 95)
  • Trillium (p. 95)
  • "I saw the daughter of the sun..." (p. 96)
  • Stonepicker (p. 97)
  • The arrow (p. 97)
  • Be Not Too Hard (p. 98)
  • Modern Sorcery (p. 99)
  • Tonight of Yesterday (p. 99)
  • Sonnet (p. 100)
  • Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm ... (p. 100)
  • Missing Dates (p. 101)
  • Villanelle (p. 101)
  • Signs (p. 102)
  • from When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone (p. 103)
  • My Dark Fathers (p. 103)
  • Hoping It Might Be So (p. 104)
  • In the Next Galaxy (p. 105)
  • Clear Night (p. 105)
  • Defeated (p. 106)
  • The Waking (p. 107)
  • Mirages (p. 107)
  • How to kill a living thing (p. 108)
  • from Sublimation (p. 109)
  • Hawk's Shadow (p. 111)
  • The Way (p. 111)
  • The way we live (p. 112)
  • Things (p. 113)
  • Warning (p. 113)
  • Thoughts After Ruskin (p. 114)
  • Themes for women (p. 115)
  • What Every Woman Should Carry (p. 116)
  • Handbag (p. 116)
  • In Your Mind (p. 117)
  • Dolor (p. 117)
  • One Art (p. 118)
  • Lamium (p. 119)
  • A Glass of Water (p. 119)
  • Sadness (p. 120)
  • Sweetness (p. 121)
  • The Execution (p. 122)
  • A Note Left in Jimmy Leonard's Shack (p. 123)
  • Epistle on suicide (p. 124)
  • Harold's Leap (p. 124)
  • Her Kind (p. 125)
  • Desdichada (p. 126)
  • Otherwise (p. 127)
  • My November Guest (p. 128)
  • She Dotes (p. 128)
  • The Cry (p. 129)
  • The Leaden-Eyed (p. 130)
  • And the Days Are Not Full Enough (p. 130)
  • A Removal from Terry Street (p. 130)
  • 4 Bittersweet
  • from Ukulele Music (p. 133)
  • The One Twenty Pub (p. 134)
  • Luck in Sarajevo (p. 135)
  • All of These People (p. 136)
  • Shirt (p. 136)
  • Waking This Morning (p. 138)
  • I Am a Cameraman (p. 138)
  • from The Wasting Game (p. 140)
  • Brinkwomanship (p. 143)
  • Here (p. 144)
  • The Unprofessionals (p. 144)
  • Visiting Hour (p. 145)
  • from Changing the Subject (p. 145)
  • The Shade (p. 150)
  • Past-Lives Therapy (p. 151)
  • Diving into the Wreck (p. 152)
  • April 5, 1974 (p. 154)
  • Try to Praise the Mutilated World (p. 155)
  • Kissing (p. 156)
  • How my true love and I lay without touching (p. 156)
  • "You idiot!..." (p. 157)
  • 90 North (p. 158)
  • Watching for Dolphins (p. 159)
  • Goat (p. 160)
  • The Drainage (p. 161)
  • Three Ways of Recovering a Body (p. 162)
  • Bride and Groom Lie Hidden for Three Days (p. 163)
  • Mushrooms (p. 164)
  • A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford (p. 166)
  • Unwittingly (p. 167)
  • 5 Growing up
  • Being the third song of Urias (p. 171)
  • White Asparagus (p. 172)
  • Ultrasound (p. 173)
  • It's Good To Be Here (p. 177)
  • Safe period (p. 178)
  • IVF (p. 178)
  • Miscarriage (p. 180)
  • Freight (p. 181)
  • First Birth (p. 181)
  • Her First Week (p. 182)
  • The Spirit is too Blunt an Instrument (p. 183)
  • Sonnet: How Life Too Is Sentimental (p. 184)
  • Poem for a Daughter (p. 184)
  • Daughter (p. 185)
  • Beattie Is Three (p. 186)
  • from Heart's Needle (p. 186)
  • Supernatural Love (p. 191)
  • Poem from a Three Year Old (p. 193)
  • Cinders (p. 194)
  • A Sword in a Cloud of Light (p. 195)
  • On the Back of a Photograph (p. 197)
  • The Video (p. 197)
  • Young Girls (p. 197)
  • A Puppy Called Puberty (p. 198)
  • A Dog Called Elderly (p. 199)
  • Cuba (p. 199)
  • My Flu (p. 200)
  • "We were so poor..." (p. 201)
  • Those Winter Sundays (p. 201)
  • The Back Seat of My Mother's Car (p. 202)
  • Mirror Image (p. 203)
  • Mirror (p. 203)
  • Father's Old Blue Cardigan (p. 204)
  • This Be the Verse (p. 205)
  • Possession (p. 205)
  • A Night with Lions (p. 206)
  • from A Part of Speech (p. 207)
  • Old Man (p. 209)
  • Thinking of the Lost World (p. 211)
  • Springfield, Virginia (p. 213)
  • Forgetfulness (p. 214)
  • Forgetfulness (p. 214)
  • Unknown Forbear (p. 215)
  • Quoof (p. 216)
  • 6 Man and beast
  • Pigs (p. 218)
  • Experimental Animals (p. 218)
  • Weakness (p. 219)
  • Spiritual Chickens (p. 220)
  • The Heaven of Animals (p. 221)
  • Sacrilege (p. 222)
  • Remembrance of Strange Hospitality (p. 223)
  • Federal Case (p. 224)
  • Animals (p. 224)
  • The stone curlew (p. 225)
  • My Life with Horses (p. 226)
  • Switch (p. 226)
  • A Blessing (p. 227)
  • Horse (p. 228)
  • The Horses (p. 228)
  • The Skunk (p. 229)
  • Considering the Snail (p. 229)
  • For a Five-Year-Old (p. 230)
  • Full Moon and Little Frieda (p. 231)
  • Birds (p. 231)
  • The Trout (p. 232)
  • Night Toad (p. 233)
  • A Bird (p. 233)
  • They Feed They Lion (p. 234)
  • The Thought-Fox (p. 235)
  • Swans Mating (p. 236)
  • The Strange Case (p. 236)
  • Cow (p. 237)
  • Lies (p. 238)
  • Glow Worm (p. 239)
  • Salmon (p. 240)
  • Ants on the Melon (p. 241)
  • A Mosquito (p. 242)
  • Octopus (p. 242)
  • Fable of the mermaid and the drunks (p. 243)
  • The Mermaid Tank (p. 243)
  • The Loch Ness Monster's Song (p. 244)
  • The Death of the Loch Ness Monster (p. 245)
  • Oysters (p. 246)
  • 7 In and out of love
  • My Beloved Compares Herself to a Pint of Stout (p. 248)
  • Finney's Bar (p. 249)
  • Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes (p. 250)
  • Canadian Love Song (p. 251)
  • Bite (p. 252)
  • Desire's a Desire (p. 252)
  • Raisin Pumpernickel (p. 253)
  • Love: Beginnings (p. 254)
  • The Honeycomb (p. 255)
  • The Linen Industry (p. 255)
  • Last Night (p. 256)
  • Definition of Your Attraction (p. 257)
  • The Cinnamon Peeler (p. 257)
  • True Love (p. 259)
  • Lullaby (p. 259)
  • In Defence of Adultery (p. 261)
  • The Did-You-Come-Yets of the Western World (p. 261)
  • The Mistress (p. 263)
  • Ecstasy (p. 263)
  • Zoology Is Destiny (p. 264)
  • Only if Love Should Pierce You (p. 265)
  • Muse (p. 265)
  • Life (p. 266)
  • Distances (p. 267)
  • "As our bloods separate" (p. 268)
  • Woman to Man (p. 268)
  • Snow Melting (p. 269)
  • August (p. 270)
  • The Room (p. 274)
  • Don't Let's Talk About Being in Love (p. 274)
  • Being in Love (p. 275)
  • Poem about heartbreak that go on and on (p. 275)
  • Bitch (p. 276)
  • Bitcherel (p. 277)
  • This Dead Relationship (p. 278)
  • Each from Different Heights (p. 280)
  • Badly-Chosen Lover (p. 280)
  • After the End of It (p. 281)
  • Relationship (p. 282)
  • Hesitate to Call (p. 282)
  • Lady of Miracles (p. 282)
  • Advice to a Discarded Lover (p. 283)
  • The All Purpose Country and Western Self Pity Song (p. 284)
  • Because (p. 286)
  • Cross (p. 287)
  • The Quarrel (p. 288)
  • And they were both right (p. 289)
  • Between (p. 290)
  • When You Are Old (p. 290)
  • Spell (p. 291)
  • Conch (p. 291)
  • "O tell me the truth about love" (p. 292)
  • Lightness (p. 293)
  • In Paris with You (p. 294)
  • 8 My people
  • "The East-West border..." (p. 297)
  • My People (p. 297)
  • Our Own Land (p. 298)
  • Countries and Explanations (p. 299)
  • A Summer Morning (p. 301)
  • The Heron (p. 302)
  • The Door (p. 303)
  • from Going On (p. 303)
  • In Britain (p. 304)
  • from Evagatory (p. 305)
  • Inniskeen Road: July Evening (p. 308)
  • The Toome Road (p. 309)
  • The Sightseers (p. 309)
  • Dream Avenue (p. 310)
  • Overheard in County Sligo (p. 310)
  • Sadie and Maud (p. 311)
  • from To Elsie (p. 312)
  • American Sketches (p. 314)
  • American Classic (p. 315)
  • Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio (p. 316)
  • The Idea of Ancestry (p. 317)
  • from Paragraphs (p. 318)
  • I, Too (p. 320)
  • Mississippi (p. 320)
  • from An Atlas of the Difficult World (p. 321)
  • The Blood Is Justified (p. 322)
  • The Path to the Milky Way Leads Through Los Angeles (p. 324)
  • The Dress (p. 325)
  • Reality U.S.A. (p. 327)
  • America (p. 330)
  • Making America Strong (p. 331)
  • "'Next to of course god america i'" (p. 332)
  • The Disappearances (p. 332)
  • They'll say, "She must be from another country" (p. 334)
  • In my country (p. 336)
  • Modern Secrets (p. 336)
  • Emigrants (p. 337)
  • from What the Light Teaches (p. 337)
  • My Faithful Mother Tongue (p. 338)
  • We Billion Cheered (p. 339)
  • Waiting for the Barbarians (p. 340)
  • Gare du Midi (p. 342)
  • The Coming of the Plague (p. 342)
  • 9 War and peace
  • War Poetry (p. 345)
  • Grass (p. 345)
  • The fly (p. 346)
  • Anthem for Doomed Youth (p. 347)
  • For Wilfred Owen (p. 347)
  • Everyone Sang (p. 348)
  • Returning, we hear the Larks (p. 348)
  • As the team's head brass (p. 349)
  • Ceasefire (p. 350)
  • The Bloomsday Murders, 16 June 1997 (p. 351)
  • from The T.E. Lawrence Poems (p. 352)
  • Vergissmeinnicht (p. 354)
  • September Song (p. 355)
  • There is no greater crime than leaving (p. 355)
  • September 1, 1939 (p. 356)
  • On the Anniversary of Her Grace (p. 359)
  • Selective Service (p. 360)
  • Cambodia (p. 360)
  • Ode for the American Dead in Asia (p. 361)
  • Facing It (p. 362)
  • Phrase Book (p. 363)
  • The Persian Version (p. 364)
  • Every Day (p. 365)
  • from Spain, take away this cup from me (p. 366)
  • The End and the Beginning (p. 366)
  • The People of the Other Village (p. 368)
  • 10 Disappearing acts
  • Rain--Birdoswald (p. 371)
  • Bjorn Olinder's Pictures (p. 371)
  • Now Light Congeals (p. 372)
  • Psalm (p. 372)
  • Someone (p. 373)
  • Aubade (p. 374)
  • "Death does not come from outside..." (p. 375)
  • "Good creatures..." (p. 376)
  • Thrall (p. 376)
  • Bookends (I) (p. 377)
  • For My Mother (p. 378)
  • Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night (p. 379)
  • "Do not stand at my grave and weep" (p. 379)
  • Funeral Blues (p. 380)
  • Death of an Irishwoman (p. 381)
  • Water-burn (p. 381)
  • The dead (p. 382)
  • Death's Secret (p. 382)
  • "Pity the drunks" (p. 383)
  • The Gas-poker (p. 383)
  • On a Dark Night (p. 384)
  • Four Years (p. 385)
  • Poems (p. 386)
  • A Last Marriage (p. 386)
  • Curtains (p. 387)
  • Metamorphosis (p. 388)
  • Sorting Through (p. 389)
  • This Is What I Wanted to Sign Off With (p. 389)
  • Wake (p. 390)
  • About Death (p. 390)
  • The Vacuum (p. 391)
  • Inside Our Dreams (p. 392)
  • The Reassurance (p. 392)
  • She (p. 392)
  • A Glimpse of Starlings (p. 393)
  • Dead Woman (p. 394)
  • Yes (p. 395)
  • Close (p. 395)
  • Inscription (p. 396)
  • "Buffalo Bill's" (p. 397)
  • The Dead (p. 397)
  • Proofs (p. 398)
  • On Walking Backwards (p. 398)
  • Cemetery Nights (p. 399)
  • Father, Mother, Robert Henley who hanged himself in the ninth grade, et al (p. 400)
  • Resurrection (p. 400)
  • Eden Rock (p. 401)
  • When I Died (p. 402)
  • All Souls' (p. 402)
  • from Lessons (p. 403)
  • Where Souls Go (p. 405)
  • The Wild Iris (p. 406)
  • Ophelia's Confession (p. 407)
  • Antarctica (p. 408)
  • Why Brownlee Left (p. 408)
  • Robinson (p. 409)
  • Folderol (p. 410)
  • Tracks (p. 410)
  • Night and the House (p. 411)
  • I Know a Man (p. 411)
  • Distant howling (p. 412)
  • 11 Me, the Earth, the Universe
  • Homage to Isaac Newton (p. 414)
  • New Gravity (p. 414)
  • Morning (p. 414)
  • Making for Planet Alice (p. 415)
  • Brief reflection on accuracy (p. 416)
  • Zoom! (p. 417)
  • from Lightenings (p. 418)
  • On the Uncountable Nature of Things (p. 418)
  • The Sun Underfoot among the Sundews (p. 420)
  • "I stretch my arms" (p. 421)
  • A Downward Look (p. 421)
  • I Am the Song (p. 422)
  • from Games (p. 422)
  • Earth (p. 423)
  • Waking (p. 423)
  • Places We Love (p. 424)
  • Moorland (p. 424)
  • Three Ways of Looking at God (p. 425)
  • The Avatar (p. 426)
  • Sacrament (p. 426)
  • Journey of the Magi (p. 427)
  • The Snow Man (p. 428)
  • Sanctity (p. 428)
  • Via Negativa (p. 429)
  • To the One Upstairs (p. 429)
  • Moment (p. 430)
  • El Hombre (p. 430)
  • Delay (p. 431)
  • Summer farm (p. 431)
  • Tinily a star goes down (p. 432)
  • Star Whisper (p. 432)
  • from Zero Gravity (p. 433)
  • Rent (p. 434)
  • Full Moon (p. 435)
  • Preparation for the Big Emptiness (p. 435)
  • The Shampoo (p. 436)
  • Mountains (p. 437)
  • The Other Side of the Mountain (p. 437)
  • 12 The art of poetry
  • from Songs from Below (p. 440)
  • Ars Poetica (p. 441)
  • The Beast in the Space (p. 442)
  • An Exchange of Gifts (p. 443)
  • Note to the reader: this is not a poem (p. 443)
  • Meditation at Lagunitas (p. 444)
  • "Once I got a postcard..." (p. 445)
  • from March 1979 (p. 445)
  • Animal Languages (p. 446)
  • The story of a story (p. 446)
  • Not Ideas about the Thing but the Thing Itself (p. 447)
  • Detail (p. 448)
  • O (p. 448)
  • Eating Poetry (p. 449)
  • The Painter Dreaming in the Scholar's House (p. 450)
  • Epilogue (p. 453)
  • Oatmeal (p. 454)
  • Consider the Grass Growing (p. 455)
  • Note (p. 455)
  • Postscript (p. 456)
  • Late Fragment (p. 456)
  • The Sound of Poetry (p. 458)
  • Glossary (p. 464)
  • Acknowledgments (p. 471)
  • Index of writers (p. 481)
  • Index of titles & first lines (p. 487)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

If you purchase only one collection of poetry this year for your library (or for yourself), consider this anthology. Ranging from the lyrical to the edgy, from the thoughtful to the political, British poet Astley's montage of modern poetry never fails to delight both the intellect and the senses. The 500 poems are arranged in 12 thematic sections (e.g., "In and Out of Love"), allowing for some telling juxtapositions. Richard Wilbur, correctly identified as one of the "supreme formal technicians of our age," appears alongside poets whom he influenced, such as Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, and Michael Donaghy, while Robert Frost and e.e. cummings share space with Thom Gunn, Adam Zagajewski, and a wealth of others from around the world. Astley's sense of the political and evolutionary nature of poetry is evident not only in his eye for selection but in the introductory essays that grace each section. A good introduction to recent and current writers; recommended for both public and academic collections.-Diana McRae, San Lorenzo Lib., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Neil Astley is editor of Bloodaxe Books, which he founded in 1978. His books include novels, poetry collections and anthologies, most notably those in Bloodaxe's Staying Alive anthology series: Staying Alive (2002), Being Alive (2004), Being Human (2011), and Staying Human (2020), a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation; and three collaborations with Pamela Robertson-Pearce, Soul Food: nourishing poems for starved minds (2008), and the DVD-books In Person: 30 Poets (2008) and In Person: World Poets (2017). He has published two novels, The End of My Tether (2002), which was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award, and The Sheep Who Changed the World (2005). He received an Eric Gregory Award for his poetry, was given a D.Litt from Newcastle University for his work with Bloodaxe Books, and in 2018 was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He also guest-edited a transatlantic all-poetry issue of the American literary journal Ploughshares, the firstsuch issue in its 43-year history. He lives in the Tarset Valley of Northumberland, England.

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