Poetry Shelf, Poet’s Choice: Olivia Macassey makes some picks

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I’m among the many fans of Roger Horrocks’ tour de force The Song of the Ghost in the Machine: Roger’s book is an incredible pleasure to read – thoughtful, questioning, by turns meditative and restless, brimming with intellectual curiosity and energy.

For circumstantial reasons, I often take a while to get hold of poetry, so several of the books that engrossed me in 2015 were published in the previous year. I loved the intelligent, sensitive precision, lyricism and sheer scope of Chris Tse’s wonderful first full collection How to be Dead in a Year of Snakes. Anna Jackson’s I, Clodia and Other Portraits is clever and witty but also intense and strangely moving, with figures whose inner lives haunted me for weeks.

I have enjoyed the sustained, curious voice of Stephanie Christie’s recent Carbon Shapes and Dark Matter, which takes little for granted; and felt rewarded by spending time with Michael Harlow’s selected poems Sweeping the Courtyard and with Leicester Kyle’s posthumously published The Millerton Sequences. I want also to mention the album Desert Fire by The Floral Clocks (White/ von Sturmer), which came out last Christmas – the lyrics are spare, evocative poems by Richard von Sturmer.

Writing this is reminding me that there is so much poetry I’m still trying to get hold of and read. The world is full of poems! It’s a good feeling.

Olivia Macassey


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