Bloodaxe Books of the Year 2018

Bloodaxe Books of the Year 2018


Jinx by Abigail Parry  Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection

‘Monsters, masquerades and B-movie stars are all serenaded in infectious rhythm and rhyme in the year’s most exciting poetry debut.’ – The Telegraph (2018’s Top 50 Books - all genres)

‘Abigail Parry’s seductive Jinx deserves every horror award going.  Monsters, masquerades and B-movie stars are all serenaded in infectious rhythm and rhyme.  It’s the most exciting debut of the year, only matched for delirious energy by Kaveh Akbar’s Calling a Wolf a Wolf…’ – Tristram Fane Saunders, The Telegraph (Poetry Books of the Year 2018)

'Abigail Parry’s Jinx is pure magic — dangerous, soulful and splendidly virtuosic.’ – Kate Wakeling, Morning Star (Poetry Books of the Year 2018)

‘I’m never really sure what’s meant by “best.” Those that take reality to task or those that provide us with a much-needed escape from it? Poets who do both include... Amy Key (Isn’t Forever), Abigail Parry (Jinx)... and Peter Raynard with his electrifying The Combination.’ - Fran Locke, Morning Star (Poetry Books of 2018)

 

Isn't Forever by Amy Key   Poetry Book Society Wild Card Choice

‘As for poetry, I fell hard for Amy Key’s Isn’t Forever, a gorgeous, sad box of delights about intimacy, bad bodies, sorrow… Key is adept at linguistic surprises, charting women’s lives with a savage delicacy.’ – Olivia Laing, The Guardian (Best Books of 2018)

‘New poetry collection highlights: Hannah Sullivan, Colm Keegan, Amy Key, Leanne O’Sullivan and Doireann Ni Ghríofa.’ - Sinéad Gleeson,  The Irish Times (Books of the Year)

Amy Key’s second collection Isn’t Forever was one of the 'wonderful collections published this year' chosen by Jeremy Noel-Tod for his Best Poetry Books of 2018 in The Sunday Times.

‘I’m never really sure what’s meant by “best.” Those that take reality to task or those that provide us with a much-needed escape from it? Poets who do both include... Amy Key (Isn’t Forever), Abigail Parry (Jinx)... and Peter Raynard with his electrifying The Combination.’ - Fran Locke, Morning Star (Poetry Books of 2018)

 

States of Happiness by Suzanne Batty

‘Suzanne Batty’s States of Happiness is an extraordinary collection that explores mental anguish. It begins with a complex sequence of poems in memory of her twin sister, who died of a rare degenerative disease. Though the book is dark and disturbing, it is also filled with chinks of light. The poems are as compelling as any thriller and full of insight and empathy.’ – Jackie Kay, The Guardian (Books of the Year 2018)

‘Suzanne Batty’s States of Happiness (Bloodaxe) and Zaffar Kunial’s Us (Faber) were both tender and remarkable reads.’ – Jane Commane, Morning Star (Poetry Books of the Year 2018)

 

Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods by Tishani Doshi   Poetry Book Society Recommendation

‘Tishani Doshi’s third collection, Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods, chillingly conjures an uprising of dead women who refuse to be silent victims of male violence... Elsewhere, there are frank and moving poems about the experience of ageing and pressures on women to reproduce, as well as a playful imagined meeting with a young Elizabeth Bishop in Madras and an ode to Patrick Swayze.’ – Sandeep Parmar, The Guardian (Poetry Books of the Year)

Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods is one of the rare poetry collections that wholly captivates its reader from page to page. It absorbs its reader through tides of rage, defiance and peace; line by line it swells with Doshi as she experiences the every day, the violent, the unjust.’ – Beth Cochrane, The Skinny (Best Books of 2018)


Pretend You Don't Know Me: New & Selected Poems by Finuala Dowling

Pretend You Don’t Know Me, by South African Finuala Dowling, is a witty and wise collection of new and selected poems. Her sequence about her mother’s dementia is very touching. Elsewhere, these vital works will have you crying with laughter.’ – Jackie Kay, The Guardian (Books of the Year 2018)

 

The Coming of the Little Green Man by John Agard, winner of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2012  Poetry Book Society Special Commendation      

‘In the year when we learnt of the damage and cruelty that the UK’s hostile-environment policies inflicted on the Windrush generation, John Agard strikes back with these cleverly crafted parables of an outsider.  The little green man’s encounters and observations, his mix of wonder and wise caution, are given a voice that manages to be both naïve and incisive.’ – Maria Crawford, Financial Times (Poetry Books of the Year 2018)

 

Mama Amazonica by Pascale Petit   Poetry Book Society Choice  Winner of the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2018

‘Pascale Petit’s Mama Amazonica powerfully twists together fantasy and experience.  Over a sustained sequence of poems, Petit transfigures her mother’s desperate and disturbed life through fabulous imagery of the rainforest and its flora and fauna, moving towards a kind of extreme, Ovidian release into metamorphosis.  It won the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize this year, a first for a book of poetry.’ – Marina Warner, The Tablet (Books of the Year 2018)

 

Supernatural Love: Poems 1976-2000 by Gjertrud Schnackenberg, winner of the Griffin International Poetry Prize

‘Is there another woman poet so good at the historical stuff [as U A Fanthorpe]? There is, and her name is Gjertrud Schnackenberg, whose Bloodaxe collection Supernatural Love (Poems 1976–2000) teems with thought-packed things, and thing-packed thoughts, that even Fanthorpe would have had to bless for their richness.’ – Clive James, Times Literary Supplement (Books of the Year, 2018)

Clive James will also be talking recommending Gjertrud Schnackenberg's work on Front Row Late, BBC Two, to be broadcast on Friday 21 December 2018 at 11.05pm.  Watch live or after broadcast here.

 

Collected Poems by Ken Smith

'Books that stick in my head are two from Bloodaxe, Ken Smith's Collected Poems and Helen Dunmore's Inside the Wave, published last year but which I've just got around to reading.' -
Paul Summers, Morning Star (Poetry Books of the Year 2018)

‘My book of the year arrived late and with a resounding thud. It was the Collected Poems of Ken Smith, published by Bloodaxe (he was its first poet over thirty [40] years ago) and a veritable door-stopper at almost 650 pages… He was always writing and lived to write. There are 632 poems in this lovingly edited and constructed volume. As a solid testament and memorial it is almost lapidary. But nothing for Kenneth John Smith was set in stone: it was modern, fluid, on the move, and he was always chasing it.’ – Nigel Jarret, The Lonely Crowd (Books of the Year 2018)

 

A Quarter of an Hour by Leanne O’Sullivan

‘New poetry collection highlights: Hannah Sullivan, Colm Keegan, Amy Key, Leanne O’Sullivan and Doireann Ni Ghríofa.’ - Sinéad Gleeson,  The Irish Times (Books of the Year)

 

Luck is the Hook by Imitaz Dharker, winner of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry 2014 

‘My 2018 began with Imtiaz Dharker’s Luck is the Hook. Subtle and rewarding, it's a gem of a book.' – Jane Commane, Morning Star (Poetry Books of the Year 2018)

 

Assembly Lines by Jane Commane

‘Coventry poet Jane Commane’s Assembly Lines (Bloodaxe) captures the desolation haunting Midland towns and indeed the whole state as Brexit looms.’ – John Gohorry, Morning Star (Poetry Books of the Year 2018)

Assembly Lines was also chosen by Peter Raynard as one of his recommended poetry collections in the Morning Star.

 

Feral by Kate Potts   Poetry Book Society Recommendation

Kate Potts’s Feral is a revelation of beauty, precision and force’ – Kate Wakeling, Morning Star (Poetry Books of the Year 2018)

 

Inside the Wave by Helen Dummore  Costa Book of the Year 2017

'Books that stick in my head are two from Bloodaxe, Ken Smith's Collected Poems and Helen Dunmore's Inside the Wave, published last year but which I've just got around to reading.' -
Paul Summers, Morning Star (Poetry Books of the Year 2018)


[05 December 2018]


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