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The Forward Book of Poetry 2020

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'These annual anthologies of the poems in the running for the Forward Prizes remain the best way of encountering the richness that new poetry has to offer.' Daily Telegraph The Forward Book of Poetry 2020 brings together a selection of the best poetry published in the British Isles over the last year, including the winners of the 2019 Forward Prizes - and a foreword by jury 'These annual anthologies of the poems in the running for the Forward Prizes remain the best way of encountering the richness that new poetry has to offer.' Daily Telegraph The Forward Book of Poetry 2020 brings together a selection of the best poetry published in the British Isles over the last year, including the winners of the 2019 Forward Prizes - and a foreword by jury chair Shahidha Bari. She and her fellow judges - Jamie Andrews of the British Library, plus poets Tara Bergin, Andrew McMillan and Carol Rumens - read a year's worth of new collections plus selected poems from magazines and competitions before arriving at their choices. In celebrating today's fresh voices alongside new work by familiar names, this anthology offers both an overview of the current poetry scene and a great introduction to contemporary poets. 'The Forward collection is a cornucopia of sweet and sour delights . . . Why read poetry at all? Because these firework-bursts of words can lighten the darkest skies.' Daily Mail


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'These annual anthologies of the poems in the running for the Forward Prizes remain the best way of encountering the richness that new poetry has to offer.' Daily Telegraph The Forward Book of Poetry 2020 brings together a selection of the best poetry published in the British Isles over the last year, including the winners of the 2019 Forward Prizes - and a foreword by jury 'These annual anthologies of the poems in the running for the Forward Prizes remain the best way of encountering the richness that new poetry has to offer.' Daily Telegraph The Forward Book of Poetry 2020 brings together a selection of the best poetry published in the British Isles over the last year, including the winners of the 2019 Forward Prizes - and a foreword by jury chair Shahidha Bari. She and her fellow judges - Jamie Andrews of the British Library, plus poets Tara Bergin, Andrew McMillan and Carol Rumens - read a year's worth of new collections plus selected poems from magazines and competitions before arriving at their choices. In celebrating today's fresh voices alongside new work by familiar names, this anthology offers both an overview of the current poetry scene and a great introduction to contemporary poets. 'The Forward collection is a cornucopia of sweet and sour delights . . . Why read poetry at all? Because these firework-bursts of words can lighten the darkest skies.' Daily Mail

30 review for The Forward Book of Poetry 2020

  1. 4 out of 5

    Atri

    Firebird Deryn Rees - Jones We were 18, 19, 20. Nobody really counted years or days. Glow worms, fireflies, the liquefaction of your clothes... We could make an evening of it yet. Kingfishers, dragonflies. Someone had painted lines from Auden on the college car park. I shadowdanced with hands across your flat's white walls. ... Words lit us up. The century slipped back and shocklike flames cried out What I do is me: for that I came. * Time deepens: in its nets, the fishgasp loss just keeps on happening. ... We Firebird Deryn Rees - Jones We were 18, 19, 20. Nobody really counted years or days. Glow worms, fireflies, the liquefaction of your clothes... We could make an evening of it yet. Kingfishers, dragonflies. Someone had painted lines from Auden on the college car park. I shadowdanced with hands across your flat's white walls. ... Words lit us up. The century slipped back and shocklike flames cried out What I do is me: for that I came. * Time deepens: in its nets, the fishgasp loss just keeps on happening. ... We text back and forth in darkness. Little hand held world of light and frequencies. What stepping in and back and on is this, this middle age? * Dear friend, sometimes I lose myself. The mind's embodiedness the wounded day's. I wait for bridging light, the early hours. Life happens. So we step across the hours, notice our visitations. Lost threads - days like cuts, electric wires, barbed wire and glass - cliché we learn, routine in our daily repetitions. ... Well, let us all walk into that morning where a room might hold one remnant of the phoenix's flight, its rage.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    Dipped in and out of this in the past few months with the aim to discover new poets, new ideas, new words, and I most certainly did! Favourite poems are: Hugo Williams: “Shadow Pack” Deryn Rees-Jones: “Firebird” set in Bangor! Kei Miller: “To Know Green from Green” Fiona Larkin: “Rope of Sand” Sarah Hymas: “Whale bone corset and other relics” Jonathan Edwards: “Bridge” Lavinia Greenlaw: “The Break”

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alarie

    Somehow (eternal optimist?) I keep returning to annuals that promise me the best poems of the year. I’m usually disappointed. Such collections are better in the years that poets I love edit them, which is sadly rare. I’d never heard of the Forward Prizes because they are awarded in the UK. Aside from listening to Poetry, Please on BBC4, I’m less familiar with contemporary poets outside the U.S. This series has been published since 1992 and is the best of this genre that I’ve seen. I will try to Somehow (eternal optimist?) I keep returning to annuals that promise me the best poems of the year. I’m usually disappointed. Such collections are better in the years that poets I love edit them, which is sadly rare. I’d never heard of the Forward Prizes because they are awarded in the UK. Aside from listening to Poetry, Please on BBC4, I’m less familiar with contemporary poets outside the U.S. This series has been published since 1992 and is the best of this genre that I’ve seen. I will try to find some back issues. If the momentum from the early pages had carried throughout, I’d have given this book 5 stars. It begins with a warm, chatty, hopeful Foreword by Chair of the Judges, Sahida Bari. While I’ve heard the encouraging news that poetry, long considered dead or dying, was increasing in popularity and sales, I hadn’t heard how much they’d accelerated in the UK: “an unprecedented boom, with sales up 50 percent over five years and a record 1.3m books sold in 2018, it seems everyone is reading poetry.” Be still my heart! The next thing to impress me was that the first section is The Forward Prize for Best Collection, followed by the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection. Each section featured two poems by the five poet finalists. Apparently when a judging panel must agree on an entire collection, they’re more likely to hit upon writing that I enjoy and want to read. Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic was one of the most impressive poetry books I have ever read, so I was delighted to see him in this group. Reading two poems by each author gave a better taste of their work. I now want to track down more poetry by Fiona Benson and by three newer poets: Raymond Antrobus, David Cain, and Isabel Galleymore (see link at end). Most of the collection consists of “Highly Commended Poems 2019.” With only one poem to judge from, many of these poets did not convince me to read more. Although a few already favorite authors like Ada Limón and Carol Ann Duffy were included, most of these poems would never make a list of my favorites. The poem “Starfish” by Isabel Galleymore will long haunt me with the strength of metaphors/similes. You may read it for yourself here https://search.proquest.com/openview/...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bookish Bethany

    I love the premise of this collection - being the poetry of minority groups, refuges and those who have moved to the UK from overseas. A lot of these poems are about language, loss, displacement, home and new beginnings. There is absolutely stunning work in here, however I don't think the collection as a whole will have a lasting effect on me as a lot of the poems were mediocre at best. There's some absolutely brilliant work by Raymond Antrobus (specifically 'the Perseverance'), Jay Bernard and I love the premise of this collection - being the poetry of minority groups, refuges and those who have moved to the UK from overseas. A lot of these poems are about language, loss, displacement, home and new beginnings. There is absolutely stunning work in here, however I don't think the collection as a whole will have a lasting effect on me as a lot of the poems were mediocre at best. There's some absolutely brilliant work by Raymond Antrobus (specifically 'the Perseverance'), Jay Bernard and Jericho Brown (who is one of my favourite poets). And a lot of interesting and insightful work from poets I've never encountered before. The best poems in the collection are as follows: • Jericho Brown - Monotheism • Raymond Antrobus - The Perseverance • Jay Bernard - Pace • Gary Allen - Technically speaking • Carol Ann Duffy - Empty Nest • Shangyang Fang - Argument of Situations • Theresa Lola - wikiHow to Mourn: Mourning in Healthy ways • RA Villanueva- Namesake

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hayley

    Just a 3 star for me. Good to discover new poetry but only a few that I liked.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Peter Longden

    An eclectic mix of energy, enjoyment and enlightenment. This is the second Forward Book of Poetry that I have read and now review and I find it an anthology that gives access to some of the best contemporary poets of this time, including, in this volume, the real heavyweights of Carol Ann Duffy, John Kinsella, Hugo Williams and Liz Berry, refreshing to see the bigger names turning out in force. It will always be the case that some of the poems will strike a chord with the reader while others won’t An eclectic mix of energy, enjoyment and enlightenment. This is the second Forward Book of Poetry that I have read and now review and I find it an anthology that gives access to some of the best contemporary poets of this time, including, in this volume, the real heavyweights of Carol Ann Duffy, John Kinsella, Hugo Williams and Liz Berry, refreshing to see the bigger names turning out in force. It will always be the case that some of the poems will strike a chord with the reader while others won’t. What is good about the Forward anthologies is that the opening of pages gives the chance for opening minds to the wealth of poetry being written in Britain now, across varied topics such as deafness, inequality and tragedy such as the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. Excerpts are included of Truth Street by David Cain which combines the eye-witness testimonies of the survivors at the second inquest to create this evocative and saddening epic-poem as an oral history: ‘he was brought to me. He was on a broken down billboard.’ Other notable poems for me include: Vona Groarke’s ‘No one uses doilies anymore’ 'an inkling of words, as ornament, the way stars and, yet, flowers are’; Kei Miller, ‘To Know Green From Green’; Morgan Parker, ‘I Feel Most Coloured When I Am Thrown Against A Sharp White Background’ which are nestled in the heart of the anthology, a trilogy of gems in this treasure chest of words.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Phil

    Favourites: Fiona Benson - Eurofighter Typhoon; Raymond Antrobus - The Perseverance; Kei Miller - To Know Green From Green; Julian Stannard - Eau Sauvage; and the first part of Ann Wroe - At San Damiano.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Wood

    I'm sure some of the poetry was good, but I found some of it just not easy to read and understand what was going on. I'm sure some of the poetry was good, but I found some of it just not easy to read and understand what was going on.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jude Brigley

    Really enjoyed the variety of poems. Very engaging collection.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jon Margetts

    The usual mix of decent and odd poetry.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Hayden

    A good collection of poetry - there's quite variety in this collection, so not all of them worked for me, but it was still enjoyable. Liz Berry's 'Highbury Park' was my favourite by far. A good collection of poetry - there's quite variety in this collection, so not all of them worked for me, but it was still enjoyable. Liz Berry's 'Highbury Park' was my favourite by far.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Falguni Panchamatia

  13. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Carter

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  16. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Frost

  17. 4 out of 5

    Z

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emilie Desassis

  19. 4 out of 5

    Katie Coleman

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jo Swingler

  21. 4 out of 5

    BennyDebruyne

  22. 5 out of 5

    Caline

  23. 4 out of 5

    Hayley

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rosie Love

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nina

  26. 4 out of 5

    rae

  27. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nick Rowley

  29. 4 out of 5

    Clefairy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Pablo

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