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The Best British Poetry


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Table of Contents

  • Introduction by Roddy Lumsden
  • Gillian Allnutt, "in her kitchen"
  • Mike Bannister, "Satin Moth"
  • Chris Beckett, "Boast of the Fly-Whisk"
  • Emily Berry, "Sweet Arlene"
  • Liz Berry, "The Year We Married Birds"
  • Nina Boyd, "Lanterns"
  • James Brookes, "Opiates: Kaliningrad"
  • Judy Brown, "The Helicopter Visions"
  • Mark Burnhope, "Twelve Steps Towards Better Despair"
  • Kayo Chingonyi, "Andrew's Corner"
  • Jane Commane, "Music"
  • Fred D'Aguiar, "The Rose of Toulouse"
  • Emma Danes, "17"
  • Amy De'Ath, "Lena at the Beach"
  • Isobel Dixon, "A Beautifully Constructed Cocktail"
  • Sasha Dugdale, "Shepherds"
  • Ian Duhig, "Jericho Shandy"
  • Josh Ekroy, "78 rpm"
  • Laura Elliott, "White Lace Nightgown"
  • Carrie Etter, "Prairie"
  • Dai George, "Poolside at Le Domaine"
  • Giles Goodland, "Waves"
  • Matthew Gregory, "Young Pterodactyl"
  • Philip Gross, "Later"
  • Kelly Grovier, "A Butterfly in the British Museum"
  • Jen Hadfield, "The Ambition"
  • Aiko Harman, "Hitodama (`Human Soul')"
  • Emily Hasler, "Valediction"
  • Oli Hazzard, "Sonnet"
  • W.N. Herbert, from "Errant"
  • Alexander Hutchison, "Deil Tak The Hinmaist"
  • Sarah Jackson, "Light Over Ratcliffe"
  • Christopher James, "The Retired Eunuch"
  • Katharine Kilalea, "Hennecker's Ditch"
  • Nick Laird, "Collusion"
  • Pippa Little, "Coal End Hill Farm 1962"
  • Chris McCabe, "Kingfisher"
  • Ted McCarthy, "Beverly Downs"
  • John McCullough, "Sleeping Hermaphrodite"
  • Patrick McGuinness, "House Clearance"
  • Kona Macphee, "My Life as a B Movie"
  • Lorraine Mariner, "And then there will be no more nonsense"
  • Sophie Mayer, "Of Other Spaces (Tate St. Ives)"
  • Gordon Meade, "Rats"
  • Matt Merritt, "Pluvialis"
  • Kate Miller, "The Apple Farmers' Calendar"
  • Esther Morgan, "Short-hold"
  • Catherine Ormell, "Delicacy"
  • Richard Osmond, "Logo"
  • Ruth Padel, "Only Here On Earth"
  • Emma Page, "California"
  • Nii Ayikwei Parkes, "Lapse"
  • Abigail Parry, "Hare"
  • Andrew Philip, "10 x 10"
  • Heather Phillipson, "At First, the Only Concern is
  • Milk, More or Less"
  • Kate Potts, "Three Wishes"
  • Vidyan Ravinthiran, "Anti-circ"
  • Deryn Rees-Jones, from "The Songs of Elisabeth So"
  • Sam Riviere, "Honeymoon"
  • Colette Sensier, "Orpheus"
  • Penelope Shuttle, "The Year Strikes the Rock"
  • Jon Stone, "Mustard"
  • Matthew Sweeney, "Communique"
  • George Szirtes, "Some Sayings about the Snake"
  • Lizzi Thistlethwayte, "Scart Gap"
  • Eoghan Walls, "The Long Horizon"
  • Ahren Warner, "Hasard"
  • Chrissy Williams, "Sheep"
  • Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch, "Table Manners"
  • Michael Zand, "on a persian cairn"
  • Contributors' Notes and Comments
  • List of Magazines
  • Acknowledgements

About the Author

Roddy Lumsden (born 1966) is a Scottish poet, who was born in St Andrews. He has published five collections of poetry, a number of chapbooks and a collection of trivia, as well as editing a generational anthology of British and Irish poets of the 1990s and 2000s, Identity Parade. He lives in London where he teaches for The Poetry School.


I really enjoyed some poems in this anthology from writers I knew by name but had somehow bypassed. It's certainly a positive introduction to contemporary writing in Britain - a far wider range of styles and schools (and both the famous and lesser known, both the established magazines and the new) than is customary in British publications. -- Rob A. Mackenzie Surroundings Salt Publishing and Roddy Lumsden have come up with a British parallel to the well established Best American Poetry Series overseen by David Lehman. The first editor is Lumsden himself, to be followed by Sasha Dugdale next year. While the initial volume is a largely mainstream selection (with, strangely, not a prose poem in sight), it possesses greater energy and range than the annual Forward Book of Poetry, as evidenced in poems by Gillian Allnutt, Amy De'Ath, and Chris McCabe, among others. -- Carrie Etter [A]n excellent collection, imaginatively and fairly edited, making it easily one of the books that every reader of poetry wanting to know about new British and Irish poetry should own. I already look forward to the 2012 edition. -- Todd Swift Eyewear The Best British Poetry 2011, edited by Roddy Lumsden, is an anthology of meticulous compilation: after a year spent foraging in the various British literary magazines, Lumsden has gathered 70 poems-representing 70 poets. In a format openly indebted to The Best American Poetry series, each poet has in turn commented on their poem's inception. Fundamental to the nature of this collection is the method of the editor; this is not an anthology of the most celebrated contemporary poets. Rather than being selected by virtue of reputation, each poet wins their place in this book by having a single good poem published in a magazine this year. -- Aime Williams The Oxonian Review For poets, this is a useful anthology because Lumsden's choices are drawn from a wide range of UK poetry magazines and each poem is labelled with the source. In the back there is a handy alphabetical list of quality poetry magazines with their contact details. If you want to submit to these magazines you can read the type of poem the editors approve of. You can also find which magazines you'd like to subscribe to, and let's not forget how much these journals need our support! -- Angela Topping Stride Magazine ... what would do we learn about contemporary poetry from this collection? Well, first, the standard is high. All of the poems are at least competent; clearly there are very many people who devote their lives to the art of poetry, and this is borne out by the results on show here. -- Alan Baker Stride Magazine

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