Present perfect

Ten War Poems, selected and introduced by Andrew Motion (Candlestick Press, £4.95)

I love this idea, in fact long before this little collection landed on my desk, I'd already brought the London poetry pamphlet

for my mother as a birthday card and the cats one for a friend. I live in hope that'll I get the bicycle one, but not yet - I need to hint harder.

It's just so cleverly simple, instead of a card you get a book of 10-12 poems all on one topic and for around the same price or not much more. Subjects are as varied as Puddings (I wouldn't mind that one either) and Revenge (jilted lovers? rubbish bosses?) or as comfortable as mothers and Christmas, which, unsurprisingly, runs to seven volumes. It the perfect present for all those times when a card is not enough but a gift is too much. And it comes with a bookmark where you can write a personal message.

Most are selected by well-known poets such as the laureate Carol Ann Duffy and Sophie Hannah or well-known enthusiasts, the broadcaster Jenni Murray chose the poems for Dogs and Sophie Dahl the ones on Tea. And because of this, the booklets don't contain the obvious classics, but less well-known verses chosen to meet the reader head on.

How Andrew Motion whittled his choice down to ten from the vast tradition of war poetry this country has to draw on, I'll never know but his selection is fresh and engaging and includes less well-known contributions from Walt Whitman and Wilfred Own which makes me want to explore their work again.

#TenWarPoems #AndrewMotion #CandlestickPress #ABookThisBedtime #bookreview

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