Title: Poems for a World gone to Sh*t
Publisher: Quercus Books
It can feel like the world has gone to shit at the moment, can’t it? The perfect book then is surely this poetry anthology, compiled, and published by Quercus books. The inside describes it as, ‘Here in this little book you will find inspiration to guide you though, from that first instinct to just get the f**k away from it all, via what the hell you can do about any of it, to realising that the birds are still singing. These poems are about remembering to keep looking at the stars, whatever sh*t life is throwing at you,’
I like the yellow inside, the simple design of the book cover, and interior chapters. It’s a book that is going to brighten up your bookshelf. I like too that this not another book of collected poetry from poets that have been republished in anthologies so many times your eyes roll right back in your head. Holly McNish, Nikita Gill, and Lemn Sissay feature in this book.
The opening poem though is an old favourite This be the Verse by Philip Larkin, “they fuck you up your mum and dad,” The chapter titles are aptly named. This be the Verse is from Chapter 1 What the F**k?
The poems selected use the autumnal season to illustrate the misery of the poet, while other subjects included are homelessness, the masks we wear, and arguments. It’s cynical, bleak, and makes you question your existence.
Human Life Matthew Prior
What trifling coil do we poor mortals keep; wake, eat, and drink, evacuate, and sleep.
Chapter 2 Get me the f**k out of here … is a fraction chirpier. The poems selected take on movement, and getting away, although in poem On a tired Housewife by Anon it suggests the only way to get away is by death.
Chapter 3, 4, and 5 have the titles Keep your Sh*t together, Let’s do something about this Sh*t, and Life is still f**king beautiful, which are comprised of poems bursting with joyous moments of youth, nature, and love.
There is a great mix of female poets. One I liked was Anne Bronte and her poem Lines composed in a Wood on a Windy day in Chapter 2 “the long withered grass in the sunshine is glancing,
The bare trees are tossing their branches on high,
The dead leaves beneath them are merrily dancing,
The white clouds are scudding across the blue sky,”
One of my favourite recent poetry anthologies, modern, with some new poems that may well become classics, ebullient, and not quite as offensive as the title might suggest.