Wednesday, 18 December 2013

My Favourite Poems Of the Last Few Years...More Or Less

I'm not really one for end-of-year lists. The timing of this list-oriented entry may seem suspicious, but it's (more or less) coincidental; at any rate, it's not a "best of 2013".

While I've often written about classic poems on this blog, I particularly wanted to highlight some of the new (or new-ish) poems that I've discovered and loved since I started The Stone and the Star - or at least, that I've discovered in recent years.

Vague enough? Well, let's say the list that follows includes ten of my favourite poems of the last few years, or at least not too long ago (so if something is five or ten years old, don't write to me in protest). Some of them I've written about already, and where links are provided they should either take you directly to the poem, or to an entry I've written about them (which should contain either the poem, or a link to the poem). Where I haven't yet written about these poets, you may see more of them in 2014 on the blog. The main thing to know is that these poems are a good way to spend some time.

Travel Papers (Carolyn Forché)
Fast Is the Century (Nikola Madzirov)
At Roane Head (Robin Robertson)
Man Praying, King's Cross, 34° (Toby Martinez de las Rivas)
Hennecker's Ditch (Kate Kilalea)
Vita Contemplativa (Adam Zagajewski)
Migration (Karen Solie)
How To Build Your Dream Garden (Kapka Kassabova)
Author's Prayer (Ilya Kaminsky)
Garden Statues (Al-Saddiq Al-Raddi)

The countries represented include the United States, Macedonia, Scotland, England, South Africa, Poland, Canada, Bulgaria, the Ukraine, and Sudan, and three (four?) of the poems are in translation from other languages. This international range was not at all deliberate, by the way, but I think it's pretty interesting. It certainly highlights the fact that my exciting poetic discoveries of recent years have often been international and/or in translation.


  1. Which of these is Bulgarian? Great collection, by the way.

    1. Kapka Kassabova is Bulgarian and here the poem appears in both English and Bulgarian. However, I'm not sure which version was written first. I think she lived in Bulgaria until she was a teenager and is now based in Scotland. Ilya Kaminsky falls into a similar category as his family moved to the US when he was young, and he writes in English, but identifies a lot with his culture of origin. It's a bit hard to know how to classify these poets, but anyway, I don't think that matters so much, except in that it makes things interesting.