Lisa Russ Spaar has assembled a collection of poems about London to appeal to most anyone: the student abroad for a semester, the armchair traveler, or the most critical reader of poetry. The book conveys a sense that London, as both city and text, is a place of exile and transplantation, a protean site of history, projection, culture, and personal drama.The collection includes poems written over a five-hundred-year period and represents nearly twenty different languages and cultures, resulting in a distinctive gathering that gives voice to the classic, the contemporary, and everything in-between. In these pages, readers will find the familiar voices of Wordsworth, Blake, Dryden, and Lawrence as well as those less well known but not less resonant - Patience Agbabi, Talvikki Ansel, Rachel Castelete, and Steve Gehrke, to name but a few.Spaar successfully integrates these old and new voices by grouping the poems thematically, using the elements of water, earth, fire, and air. The structure has helped to create not only a collection of superior quality but also one that is (not unlike the city itself) greater than the sum of its parts.This slim volume of provocative and beautiful poems makes London accessible anywhere, be it from a carry-on bag or a bedside table.
It is ideal for anyone in love with or hoping to fall in love with London, in all its complexity.