Before I moved to Leeds I loved poetry but I didn’t have a good grasp of the contemporary scene; despite reading poetry often it felt quite impenetrable. For my birthday a couple of years ago I received a subscription to The Poetry Review (published quarterly by The Poetry Society) and it has been a wonderful bridge into the thriving and diverse current poetry scene.
So far I have received eight copies and my latest one arrived this weekend. It’s a real treat when it drops through the letterbox. It looks beautiful. Each edition has an illustration on the front and the same artist illustrates a number of editions in a row such as these below by Manshen Lo. They also pull a quote from one of the poems inside which are a beautiful sliver of words. My favourite makes me think about reading poetry in Leeds; “I want to visit the lucid forest in the north”.
Each Review opens with a two page essay by the editor Emily Berry and they are a great introduction. She quotes from a number of the poems and essays in the collection to form a narrative about the edition. Alongside the poems by each featured poet there are essays, reviews and sometimes photographs, paintings and illustrations.
I have discovered a number of writers on my ever growing list of ‘poets to read’ from The Poetry Review and these include Heather Christle, Alison Brackenbury, Mary Jean Chan, Hugo Williams, Richard Price, Helen Grant, Paul Birtill, Kayo Chingonyi, Jen Hadfield, B.C. Leale, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, Amy Key, James Sutherland-Smith, Padraig Regan, Beverley Bie Brahic, Fiona Benson, Doireann Ní Ghríofa and Jack Underwood.
It’s 21.44. I am going to wash up, put my packed lunch in the fridge and go to bed to read my latest copy and add to my dizzying list of poets whose collections I would like in my library.
Find out more about The Poetry Review here https://poetrysociety.org.uk/publications-section/the-poetry-review/