In Issue 11's podcast, Adam recommended a collection that takes the form of a personal narrative through addiction and recovery, Richard revealed he had been enjoying a recent Penguin anthology of haiku poetry, Rhys spoke highly of a classic verse novel from Anne Carson, and our guest Rhian Elizabeth recommended a non-fiction account of perhaps the 20th century’s most enduring survival story.
Calling a Wolf a Wolf – Kaveh Akbar
Alice James Books, 2017
Taking the form of a personal narrative that follows a path through addiction and to recovery, Calling a Wolf a Wolf is the much-anticipated debut collection from Iranian-American poet Kaveh Akbar. Originally published by Alice James Books in the USA in September 2017, a UK version was released by Penguin Books in January 2018.
Akbar has revealed that this collection was his way of processing what he experienced as an addict, exploring not only what he felt through the process of recovery but also how addiction completely isolated him from society and made the world around him so surreal. These are powerful, intimate poems of thirst: for alcohol, for other bodies, for knowledge and for life.
Calling a Wolf a Wolf is available to buy from penguin.co.uk
The Penguin Book of Haiku
Penguin Classics, 2018
Now a global poetry, the haiku was originally a Japanese verse form that flourished from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. Although renowned for its brevity, and for its use of natural imagery to make Zen-like observations about reality, in fact the haiku is much more: it can be erotic, funny, crude and mischievous.
Presenting over a thousand exemplars in vivid and engaging translations, The Penguin Book of Haiku offers an illuminating introduction to this widely celebrated, if misunderstood, art form. Adam L. Kern's new translations are accompanied in the anthology by the original Japanese and short commentaries on the poems, as well as an introduction and illustrations from the period.
The Penguin Book of Haiku is available to buy from penguin.co.uk
Miracle in the Andes – Nando Parrado
In October 1972, members of a Uruguayan rugby union team were on a flight from Montevideo to Chile when their plane crashed into a mountain. Miraculously, among the people on board, many survived the initial crash. However, stranded more than 11,000 feet up in the wilderness of the Andes, the survivors soon heard that the search for them had been called off. When what little food they had ran out after 10 days, those still alive agreed that after their death the others should eat their bodies to survive.
Miracle in the Andes is an autobiographical account of the 1972 Andes plane crash and rescue. In this non-fiction book from 2006, survivor Nando Parrado recounts the rugby team's survival on a glacier in the Andes for 72 days.
Miracle in the Andes is available to buy from orionbooks.co.uk
Autobiography Of Red – Anne Carson
Alfred A. Knopf, 1998
Autobiography of Red is a verse novel based loosely on the myth of Geryon and the Tenth Labor of Herakles. In this extraordinary epic poem, Anne Carson bridges the gap between classicism and the modern, poetry and prose, with a volcanic journey into the soul of a winged red monster named Geryon. Sexually abused by his older brother, his affectionate mother too weak-willed to protect him, the monstrous young boy finds solace in photography and in a romance with a young man named Herakles.
A deceptively simple narrative layered with currents of meaning and emotion, Autobiography of Red is a powerful and unsettling story that moves, disturbs, and delights. Originally published in 1998, it was warmly received by authors and critics, and has been called one of the crossover classics of contemporary poetry.
Autobiography Of Red is available to buy from penguin.co.uk
To hear what we said about these books in the 'What We're Reading' segment of the Issue 11 podcast, go here: crunchpoetry.com/issue-11.html