I only got two books for my birthday, so I bought myself some (and some before then, and before then too) and am now on a self-imposed ban until the New Year. Nobody at work believes I can make it two weeks without buying something which is an extra incentive to make it this very short period of time without giving in. Staff discount makes it hard to resist - but mum asked me to pick myself a good selection as Christmas presents and I've gathered quite the backlog so I really do need to stop for a while.
'The Golden Treasury of Scottish Verse' edited by Kathleen Jamie, Don Paterson, and Peter Mackay was irresistible, it turned up at work yesterday (nobody was surprised it was for me) and I've had the chance to have a bit of a look at it. It looks like a big book online but was both thinner and lighter than I expected - and then almost magically contains far more than I expected. It's an absolute bonus when a hardback turns out to be paperback light to handle.
I really like a good poetry anthology - and by good, I mean one that works for the reader, as this one does for me. There's a good proportion of things I'm familiar with (hello Robert Burns and Hugh MacDiarmid particularly) and plenty that I'm not. I've found a couple of new favourites already and will continue reading with enthusiasm over the coming months.
Poetry is a tricky thing to write about, although it's easier to say why I like an anthology rather than talk about my response to a single writer's work. What I like so much about this one is the way it showcases the richness of Scottish creativity. These are writers of all sorts - some are internationally renowned, some are translated from the Gaelic, some feel fairly obscure. There are over 300 poems ranging from the early medieval period to the present day, and that's a lot of territory to explore.
Some look inwards towards Scotland and the affairs of the poets day, others just happen to be by poets connected with Scotland - and that range is why I'm so excited about this collection and being able to spend time enjoying it. The cover is also really pretty.
Well worth investigating, and seeing as it's that time of year, an excellent potential present if you have anybody in your life who loves Scotland or poetry.