Great news for anyone who wants poetry on the go (and why wouldn’t you?) – the incredibly successful Staying Alive trilogy is to be condensed into a new pocketbook selection of 100 essential poems for modern life cherry-picked from across the three anthologies. Essential Poems from the Staying Alive trilogy, edited by Neil Astley, is published by Bloodaxe Books – the publisher behind the trilogy in full – in handy, travel-compact form as well as an e-book from tomorrow.
Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times was published a decade ago, providing 500 life-affirming poems filled with a belief in humanity and helping keep us connected to ourselves and our aspirations in a world where it is easy to lose track. Its aim was to bring contemporary poetry to a broader audience than it would generally receive and has surpassed all expectation, proving to be a literary landmark: the anthology has to date sold over 200,000 copies in Britain and America, is the biggest selling modern poetry anthology of the last ten years and has garnered praise from a number of high-profile names in the world of literature (Philip Pullman, Helen Dunmore, Andrew Motion) and beyond – Mia Farrow and Meryl Streep are amongst its fans. It’s also a favourite here at The Reader Organisation, going down well in many of our Get Into Reading groups – so Get Into Reading members can count themselves in good company.
Staying Alive was followed by two more accompanying anthologies, Being Alive and Being Human, featuring even more poems about what it is to be alive and be human: covering everything from love and loss, fear and longing, ageing and mortality…and much more besides. Now, Essential Poems… takes 100 definitive poems from the 1,500 included in the trilogy which encapsulate the spirit of the series. They include the favourite choices of readers and writers and many ‘talismanic’ poems from Mary Oliver, Robert Frost, Rainer Maria Rilke, Jane Hirshfield and Langston Hughes. Editor Neil Astley also provides background notes on all of the poems included, which have been received very warmly by an international audience.
Essential Poems from the Staying Alive trilogy, edited by Neil Astley, is published by Bloodaxe Books on Thursday 28 June 2012, priced £7.99 (paperback), £12.99 (hardback) and £5.51 (e-book).