READS OF THE YEAR 2014: A.C. Clarke

Thomas Travisano (ed.), Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell (2010)

bishopA great book to dip into before settling down to write oneself. Gives a vivid portrait of the post-war literary scene, especially in America as well as being a gripping (really!) narrative of an emotionally (not physically) passionate relationship and full of trenchant insights into the creative process. Also salutary to learn that RL considered himself, according to one letter, inferior as a poet to the critic I A Richards, whose poetry is now forgotten.

Nathan Filer, The Shock of the Fall (2014)

Told from the point of view of a schizophrenic and so convincing that I thought the author had himself experienced the condition. A masterpiece in empathy – though spoiled by a soggy ending.

Michael Pedersen, Play With Me (Birlinn, 2013)

Spoiled for choice where poetry is concerned but this book is quirkily engaging, poignant, without a single dull poem and with a highly individual flavour.