Being Human (Paperback)
  • Being Human (Paperback)

Being Human (Paperback)

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Paperback 512 Pages
Published: 30/03/2011
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Being Human is the third book in the Staying Alive series of anthologies. Staying Alive and its sequel Being Alive have introduced many thousands of new readers to contemporary poetry. Being Human is a companion volume to those two books - a world poetry anthology offering poetry lovers an even broader, international selection of 'real poems for unreal times'. It was followed by a fourth volume, Staying Human: new poems for Staying Alive (2020). The range of poetry here complements that of the first two anthologies: hundreds of thoughtful and passionate poems about living in the modern world; poems that touch the heart, stir the mind and fire the spirit; poems about being human, about love and loss, fear and longing, hurt and wonder. There are more great poems from the 20th century as well as many recent poems of rare imaginative power from the first decade of the 21st century. But this book is also rare in reflecting the concerns of readers from all walks of life. Such has been the appeal of Staying Alive and Being Alive that many people have written not only to express their appreciation of these books, but also to share poems which have been important in their own lives. Being Human draws on this highly unusual publisher's mailbag, including many talismanic personal survival poems suggested by our readers.

Publisher: Bloodaxe Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781852248093
Number of pages: 512
Weight: 680 g
Dimensions: 216 x 138 x 26 mm

A book that makes the heart sing, which shows that the best of today's a joy to behold, "charged", as Ezra Pound said, "with meaning to the utmost degree". Being Human, which runs to more than 500 pages, offers a glut of poetry from across the globe and, in so doing, renders redundant the "difficult" tag which so dogs the art. Above all it is a celebration of our capacity to embrace whatever's thrown at us... But subjects do not make poems, poets do. Astley's taste is catholic and inclusive and drawn to those who write with lyrical clarity and a keen eye... Being Human is not easy to summarise. It is a poetic Babel, a library in one volume. -- Alan Taylor * The Herald (Scotland) *
Astley is wonderful at selecting poems with the kind of talismanic lines that really speak to people... Not only are the poems clustered by broad theme, with a lively introduction to each section by Astley, but within those groupings they speak to each other, in substance or across time...This collection certainly continues the excellent work of its predecessors, bringing new work and poets to audiences, and drawing new readers to poetry, and at a mere GBP12 for 500 poems, no one will be deterred from taking a risk. Being Human is stimulating, inspiring, intelligent, witty and life-affirming, the perfect companion on a journey, literal and otherwise. -- Peggy Hughes * Scotland on Sunday *
Where Staying Alive and Being Alive were filled with poems that felt exigent, essential (even, in the case of Mary Oliver's subsequently much-quoted "Wild Geese", talismanic), the atmosphere of Being Human, as its title suggests, is more contemplative. Time - its passage and our relationship to it - is the overarching subject, and the section that tackles it specifically, "About time", sits at the heart of the book. Trains and rivers wind their way through the poems, memory is interrogated, and the moments of suspension in which, as Louis MacNeice has it, "Time was away and somewhere else", are rejoiced in... That act of noticing is what poetry ought to do, and what many of the superb poems in this anthology achieve. Let's hear it for modern verse. -- Sarah Crown * Guardian *
Neil Astley's indispensable, endlessly surprising trilogy... The newest and last of these contains all the manifold virtues of the earlier two: another startlingly varied, unexpected and entirely accessible collection of contemporary poems - 500 per volume, no small undertaking - exploring the stuff of life, what Louis MacNeice called "this mad weir of tigerish waters/A prism of delight and pain". -- Catherine Lockerbie * The Scotsman *

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“A wonderful comapnion”

A wonderful anthology that has been a real treat to read. It hasn't disappointed in anyway even with my over eager anticipation! Staying Alive was unbelievable and I was slightly disappointed by Being Alive. This... More

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