"Staying Alive", "Being Alive" and "Being Human" have introduced many thousands of new readers to contemporary poetry, and have helped poetry lovers to discover the little known riches of world poetry. Each anthology in the Staying Alive trilogy has 500 poems to touch the heart, stir the mind and fire the spirit. These books have been enormously popular with readers, especially as gift books and bedside companions. The poems - by writers from many parts of the world - have emotional power, intellectual edge and playful wit. This new pocketbook selection of 100 essential poems from the trilogy is a Staying Alive travel companion (also available as an e-book). As well as selecting favourite poems from the trilogy - readers' and writers' choices as well as his own favourites - editor Neil Astley provides background notes on the poets and poems. This format makes it even more suitable as a gift book for all those people you're sure would love modern poetry if only they were familiar with these kinds of poems.
These essential poems are all about being human, being alive and staying alive: about love and loss; fear and longing; hurt and wonder; war and death; grief and suffering; birth, growing up and family; time, ageing and mortality; memory, self and identity; faith, hope and belief; acceptance of inadequacy and making do - all of human life in a hundred highly individual, universal poems.
Neil Astley is editor of Bloodaxe Books, which he founded in 1978. His books include novels, poetry collections and anthologies, most notably the Bloodaxe Staying Alive trilogy: Staying Alive (2002), Being Alive (2004) and Being Human (2011), and now Essential poems from the Staying Alive trilogy (2011). His other anthologies include Passionfood, Do Not Go Gentle, Earth Shattering: ecopoems, Soul Food [with Pamela Robertson-Pearce] and the DVD-book In Person: 30 Poets filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce. He has published two novels, The End of My Tether, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award, and The Sheep Who Changed the World. He received an Eric Gregory Award for his poetry and was given a D.Litt from Newcastle University for his work with Bloodaxe Books. He lives in Northumberland.