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This report is taken from PN Review 73, Volume 16 Number 5, May - June 1990.

Old Year Poetry Choice L.A. Shakespeare
As an altternative to the year-end book lists in newapapers and journals, we asked a number of poets to choose the one book of, or on, poetry published in 1989, which they had most enjoyed, and received two dozen replies


I choose Richard Wilbur's New and Collected Poems (Faber, £9.99). The technique throughout is an example to us all, especially the rhymes. The flashback arrangement works particularly well. The book starts with the brilliantly middle-aged 'The Ride' and ends exactly forty years earlier with the brilliantly youthful 'Cicadas'. And on the way I found 'The Prisoner of Zenda', my favourite light poem because it's so dark.


Anna Akhamatova's Selected Poems trans. Richard McKane (Bloodaxe, £7.95). 'I was a witness'. So is the whole of this astounding book, which travels from the first naked love poems, to the delirious account of loss -

'the dark fresh branch of elderberry...
That is a letter from Marina'-<

to the unforgotten passion of shared suffering:

'I pray not for myself alone
but for everyone who stood with me
in the cruel cold, in the July heat
under the blinded, red wall.'


Deborah Randall, The Sin Eater (Bloodaxe, £4.95). Deborah Randall's poems have a characteristic tone of voice. Hear them once, you would know them again. They are funny, exciting and sad. They ...

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