Poems for a World Gone to Sh*t

Review published on March 10, 2018.

I’m a huge fan of poetry anthologies and look forward to each year’s new offerings, although it can often feel as if once you’ve read one, you’ve read them all – with the same poets featuring again and again and even the same poems being regurgitated. So I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Poems for a World Gone to Sh*t, which at least sounds as if it’s going to do things a little differently. The opening poem, however, Philip Larkin’s much-published ‘This be the Verse’ had me slightly worried, although it suits perfectly the theme of the anthology. An extract from Macbeth follows, which was somewhat less predictable and then any preconceptions I had began to melt away as poems by li ch’ing-chao, Thomas Hood, Hollie McNish, Lemn Sissay and Matthew Prior featured in the first section. These were backed up with poems from the likes of T.S. Eliot, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Wendy Cope, but the poetic choices too were often refreshing, with Eliot represented by a four-line excerpt from the lesser-known or at least certainly less anthologised poem ‘The Hollow Men’. And this mixture of traditional and modern poets, as well as the choice of poems themselves continues to be original and diverse across the entire collection. Of course, there are some more familiar poems in there, but by and large it is an eclectic and unexpected spread. The poems themselves suit the anthology’s theme and mood brilliantly, and I enjoyed the novel premise behind this collection. The anthology certainly offers a unique and refreshing blueprint for how modern anthologies can be, and I think there’s plenty of scope for future projects such as this, with even greater diversity and mix of poets and poems. Having said that, this anthology introduced me to a host of new poems and a few new poets, many of whom I really enjoyed reading, and I just loved the energy and verve of this collection as a whole. A job well done.

Jade Craddock 4/-

Poems for a World Gone to Sh*t
Quercus 9781787471030 hbk Mar 2018

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