Tag Archives: Anne Berkeley

Some Favourite Poetry Collections of 2009: Part One

I hope you will enjoy these recommendations and consider buying a few collections, pamphlets and anthologies published this year by a range of presses. A huge thank you to the poets who gave me their choices for the year.
What’s your favourite volume of 2009? Feel free to include your recommendations in the comments section.
Moniza Alvi
Natural Mechanical by J O Morgan (CB Editions)
Cold Spring in Winter by Valérie Rouzeau, translated by
Susan Wicks (Arc Publications)
Continental Shelf by Fred D’Aguiar (Carcanet Press)
Ian Duhig
Rain by Don Paterson (Faber & Faber)
Grain by John Glenday (Picador)
Voice Recognition: 21 Poets for the 21st Century, edited by
Clare Pollard & James Byrne (Bloodaxe Books)
Sheenagh Pugh
How to Fall by Karen Annesen (Salt Modern Poets)
The Men from Praga by Anne Berkeley (Salt Modern Poets)
A Village Life by Louise Glück (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Dorianne Laux
End of the West by Michael Dickman (Copper Canyon Press)
Cradle Song by Stacey Lynn Brown (C&R Press)
Snowbound House by Shane Seely (Anhinga Press)
Alison Brackenbury
Rain by Don Paterson (Faber & Faber)
Nothing Like Love by Jenny Joseph (Enitharmon Press)
Samuel Menashe: New and Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books)
Clare Pollard
Caligula on Ice and Other Poems by Tim Turnbull (Donut Press)
Third Wish Wasted by Roddy Lumsden (Bloodaxe Books)
Farewell My Lovely by Polly Clark (Bloodaxe Books)
Tamar Yoseloff
The Men from Praga by Anne Berkeley (Salt Modern Poets)
How to Fall by Karen Annesen (Salt Modern Poets)
Beneath the Rime by Siriol Troup (Shearsman Books)
The Clockwork Gift by Claire Crowther (Shearsman Books)
Annie Freud
Rain by Don Paterson (Faber & Faber)
Furniture by Lorraine Mariner (Picador)
Faber New Poets: Heather Phillipson (Faber & Faber)
John Wilkinson
Stress Position by Keston Sutherland (Barque Press)
Weak Link by Rob Halpern (Slack Buddha Press)
Clampdown by Jennifer Moxley (Flood Editions)
Marilyn Kallet
Practical Water by Brenda Hillman (Wesleyan Poetry)
Warhorses by Yusef Komunyakaa (Farrar, Straus & Giroux,
Sassing by Karen Head (WordTech Communications)

Anne Berkeley’s The Men from Praga

Anne writes: 
“As well as on recent 50p coins, Britannia used to appear on the old British pennies. The influence of society’s, and the state’s, demands on individual identity is something that has troubled me for many years.”
Anne Berkeley
Careful not to soil her dainty Ferragamos,
the grand piano moves discreetly through the herbaceous border,
a sheaf of cuttings in her handbag:
a cardinal, the Queen’s gynaecologist, a dozen QCs.
She has come for the music, of course,
but the atmosphere’s lovely, such elegant lampshades.
There is always some Government in the garden
where the sheep are kept in their rightful place
safely grazing beyond the haha.
There are twenty-two minutes before curtain up.
The wind is cold, there’s a whimper of rain
but the picnic must go on and be such fun:
an open window serves coloratura with paté de foie gras.
Everyone has a rug for their knees, and she reminds us
again of her night at the Albert Hall,
the swallowing blue of a million delphiniums.
We can almost believe in her cloak-pin and shield.
It’s not what it was, she says: the vulgar new building,
every year the path to the lily pond more overgrown –
a negotiation of unripened blackberries and birtwistle.
Hemlines are rising; already accountants wash up on the lawn.
Even today, out at sea with Johnny Foreigner,
I hear her triumphant arpeggios over the waves,
the Broadwood’s fin patrolling round the violins.
‘Britannia’ is published in The Men from Praga
(Salt Publishing, 2009).
Read more about Anne and The Men from Praga here.
Visit Anne’s blog here.