Being Alive, edited by Neil Astley

being alive
This anthology of poems from many sources is a follow up to the excellent “Staying Alive” edited by Astley, also. What a delight this book is, you can dip into it when you have a spare few minutes or indulge yourself of a wet day, sitting by the fire, gorging on it’s riches.

You will find poems here from a diverse range of nationalities and viewpoints. From well- known poets such as Elizabeth Bishop and Pablo Neruda to unfamiliar gems from poets whose work is presented in translation, this collection covers an impressive span of human experiences and emotions. It manages to be intensely unique and personal while having that universality of feeling and experience that characterise all good literature and art. The personal in the poet speaks to us.

The anthology is arranged in a satisfying set of themes, such as “Taste and See”, “Family”, “Love life”, “Being and loss”. It truly lives up to it’s title as it covers a great deal of the experiences and questions that concern us all in being alive. The thing about this book is, it will entwine itself around your heart and you won’t be able to return it to the library. I’m afraid you will just have to buy a copy. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Neil Astley for gathering this rich array of treasures for us in one volume. The power of poetry to transform lives was never more evident than in this wonderful book.


You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

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