In this, his first volume of original verse since the award-winning Landing Light, Don Paterson is found writing at his most memorable and direct. In an assembly of masterful lyrics and monologues, he conjures a series of fables and charms that serve both to expose us to the unsettling forces within the world and simultaneously offer some protection against them. Whether outwardly elemental in their address, or more personal in their direction, these poems - to the rain and the sea, to his young sons or beloved friends - never shy from their inquiry into truth and lie, embracing everything in scope from the rangy narrative to the tiny renku. Rain, which includes the winner of this year's Forward Prize for the Best Individual Poem and an extended elegy for the poet Michael Donaghy, is Don Paterson's most intimate and manifest collection to date.
Since his debut, Nil Nil, won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 1993, Don Paterson has lit up the poetry scene in the U.K. His dazzling, intensely lyric and luminous verse has delighted readers ever since, and won many awards along the way. God's Gift Women took the T. S. Eliot Prize in 1997, Landing Light won it again in 2003 and the Whitbread Award besides, and Rain (2009), his most recent collection, won the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. This selection, drawn from twenty years of work, is made by the author himself and includes not only those poems from his four single volumes, but his thrilling and original adaptations of the poems of Antonio Machado and Rainer Maria Rilke. For any readers unfamiliar with Don Paterson's work, this Selected Poems offers the perfect introduction to this most captivating of writers; and for fans, an essential gathering from a master craftsman.
Shakespeare's Sonnets are as important and vital today as they were when first published four hundred years ago. Perhaps no collection of verse before or since has so captured the imagination of readers and lovers; certainly no poem has come under such intense critical scrutiny, and presented the reader with such a bewildering number of alternative interpretations. In this illuminating and often irreverent guide, Don Paterson offers a fresh and direct approach to the Sonnets, asking what they can still mean to the twenty-first century reader. In a series of fascinating and highly entertaining commentaries placed alongside the poems themselves, Don Paterson discusses the meaning, technique, hidden structure and feverish narrative of the Sonnets, as well as the difficulties they present for the modern reader. Most importantly, however, he looks at what they tell us about William Shakespeare the lover - and what they might still tell us about ourselves. Full of energetic analysis, plain-English translations and challenging mini-essays on the craft of poetry - not to mention some wild speculation - this approachable handbook to the Sonnets offers an indispensable insight into our greatest Elizabethan writer by one of the leading poets of our own day.
Nil Nil, Don Paterson's first volume of poetry, won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 1993 and heralded the arrival of a major new talent. The book presented a new and urgent poetry of dream-life, mystery and music, sexual obsession and the consolations of drink - all delivered with great formal skill and imaginative daring
This new collection from Don Paterson, his first since the Forward prize-winning Rain in 2009, is a series of forty sonnets. Some take a more traditional form, some are highly experimental, but what these poems share is a lyrical intelligence and musical gift that has been visible in his work since his first book of poems, Nil Nil, in 2009. Addressed to children, friends and enemies, the living and the dead, musicians, poets and dogs, these poems display an ambition in their scope and tonal range matched by the breadth of their concerns. Here, voices call home from the blackout and the airlock, the storm cave and the sance, the coalshed, the war, the ringroad, the forest and the sea. These are voices frustrated by distance, by shot glass and bar rail, by the dark, leaving the 'sound that fades up from the hiss, / like a glass some random downdraught had set ringing, / now full of its only note, its lonely call . . .' In 40 Poems Paterson returns to some of his central themes - contradiction and strangeness, tension and transformation, the dream world, and the divided self - in some of the most powerful and formally assured poems he has written to date. This is a rich and accomplished new work from one of the foremost poets writing in English today.
'Smith': a reader's guide to the poetry of Michael Donaghy is the first substantial critical work to be written on one of the UK's best-loved poets. Donaghy, a hugely popular, influential and much-loved figure in the UK poetry scene, died tragically early at the age of fifty in 2004. In fifty short essays accompanying fifty of Donaghy's best poems, his friend and editor Don Paterson makes the argument for Donaghy to be recognised as one of the greatest poets of recent years, and author of some of the most powerful, complex, moving and memorable poems to have been written in our lifetime. Unusually for a work of criticism, his commentary combines sharp and witty analysis of Donaghy's poems with biographical sketch and personal reminiscence, setting Donaghy's work in both a literary and a human context. This book coincides with the tenth anniversary of Donaghy's death, and the publication of the new paperback edition of his Collected Poems.