in Reviews

The Best British Poetry 2011: A Brief Review

Roddy Lumsden, ed./ The Best British Poetry 2011

£7.99 / Salt / ISBN: 978-1-907773-04-4

The Best British Poetry 2011 collects poems published across different magazines over the last year, & shows a wide range of different poets & styles. It includes biographies, as expected, but also features short explanations by the poets of their poems, which is a fascinating way to become involved with the included writers & their work; one spends a lot of time in this book flicking forwards & backwards. Anthologies can sometimes submerge the individual authors & smooth over their differences, but the expanded end-matter included by Lumsden prevents this, & makes it much more likely for readers to explore the writers they find within. The anthology is also perhaps a testament to the Poetry Library in the Southbank Centre (which is a very nice place to visit, & which maintains copies of many poetry magazines online). Overall, The Best British Poetry 2011 is a great overview of what is happening in contemporary poetry, & is certainly the start of an important series.

Incidentally, Salt’s poetry seems to be working in overtime this autumn, with their forthcoming Salt Book of Younger Poets (also edited by Lumsden), their apparently accelerating publication of the Salt Modern Voices series of pamphlets (including Claire Trévien’s Low-Tide Lottery, which I reviewed last week, & Emily Hasler’s natural histories, which I am reading currently), & their 99c sale of backlist poetry titles on the Kindle.


Rob Mackenzie has a more thorough (& more interesting) review of the anthology on his blog. Also, Carrie Etter has written a little bit about it. (She is also in it.)