The Poetry School staff have chosen their 26 books of the Year, including nine pamphlets, and two collaborations (Matthew and Michael Dickman’s Brother, and Karen McCarthy-Woolf and Sophie Herxheimer’s Voyage).
Picador and the Poetry Business lead the way with four books chosen from each publisher, with Carcanet not far behind on three choices. Independent punlishers Peepal Tree, Clinic, Penned in the Margins, and The Emma Press are all represented, as are three U.S. publishers, Copper Canyon, Graywolf and Akashic Books.
The choices are designed to shed light on brilliant books that may not have had the publicity they deserve, so pamphlets like Chloe Stopa-Hunt’s debut White Hills and Trouble by Alison Winch share the list with the TS Eliot shortlisted Jackself (Jacob Polley), The Remedies (Katharine Towers), and Void Studies (Rachael Boast).
The recently-revived Pengiun Modern Poets series, The Poetry Business’s new Laureate’s Choice pamphlet series selected by Carol Ann Duffy, and The Rialto’s series of Bridge Pamphlets were all welcome additions to the publishing scene this year, and all feature.
Find the list in full and The Poetry School write-up here.
“Although not, by popular consensus, a brilliant year generally, 2016 has been a good year for poetry: sales of poetry books topped £10m for the first time, poet Warsan Shire featured on Beyonce’s latest album, Penguin reopened its poetry list, and, for the second year in a row, the Forward Prizes were cleaned up by women. The BBC even gave over a whole Saturday evening to poetry with Railway Nation: A Journey in Verse,” wrote Admin and Marketing Coordinator of The Poetry School Ali Lewis.
“Trend-wise, it’s been all about long poems and small publishers, difficult, avant-garde collections that open up with patient reading, and lyrical, political calls to action. It seems the very terribleness of this year’s events has been the catalyst for poetry’s resurgence, with poems like Maggie Smith’s Good Bones and Ross Gay’s A Small Needful Fact capturing the grieving but defiant mood of the year best.”
Founded in 1997 by poets Mimi Khalvati, Jane Duran and Pascale Petit, The Poetry School is a national arts organisation and registered charity providing inspiring tuition and opportunities for poets and poetry audiences.