So open it anywhere, then anywhere, then anywhere again. We’re sure it won’t be long before you find a poem that brings you smack into the newness and strangeness of the living present, just as it did us’ (from the Introduction)
In The Zoo of the New, poets Don Paterson and Nick Laird have cast a fresh eye over more than five centuries of verse, from the English language and beyond. Above all, they have sought poetry that retains, in one way or another, a powerful timelessness: words with the thrilling capacity to make the time and place in which they were written, however distant and however foreign they may be, feel utterly here and now in the 21st Century. This book is the condensed result of that search. It stretches as far back as Sappho and as far forward as the recent award-winning work of Denise Riley, taking in poets as varied as Thomas Wyatt, William Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot, Frank O’Hara, Sylvia Plath and Gwendolyn Brooks along the way. Here, the mournful rubs shoulders with the celebratory; the skulduggerous and the foolish with the highfalutin; and tales of love, loss and war with a menagerie of animals and objects, from bee boxes to rubber boots, a suit of armour and a microscope. Teeming with old favourites and surprising discoveries, this lovingly selected compendium is sure to win lifelong readers.