I began writing the Lifesaving Poems series of blog posts in May 2010. The idea was to celebrate the poems that I had spent the previous year copying by hand into a notebook. This is a personal anthology of arbitrary tastes and rules: to include a poem I had to be able to remember where I was when I first read or heard it; and I only allowed myself one poem per poet.

You can read ten most popular Lifesaving Poems visited on my site so far here:

Here are the next ten:

Derek Mahon: Everything is Going to Be All right

While I am inside what John Gardner calls the dream of its narrative I am once again prepared to believe and live it a little stronger.

Elizabeth Jennings: A Letter to Peter Levi

A masterful exercise in delayed gratification.

Ann Gray: ‘mercifully ordain that we may become aged together’

All that happens is a man helping his wife into her coat in a coffee shop. It is completely harrowing.

Patrick Kavanagh: Wet Evening in April

 I broke the habit of a lifetime and discussed money with my wife.

Moniza Alvi: I Would Like to be a Dot in a Painting by Miro

‘But it’s fine where I am’.

Sharon Olds: Looking at Them Asleep

When you need poetry to breathe and make sense of who you are as much as you do food and a roof over your head.

Stephen Berg: Eating Outside

An almost Chekhovian sensibility, with its cataloguing of ‘beautiful women’, ‘talk about work and love’ and overt symbolism of the moon.

Naomi Jaffa: Some of the Usual

A kind of force-field of rapt inclusivity.

Raymond Carver: Prosser

The lines move from natural symbol, to simple action, to emotional discovery.

Hugo Williams: Tides; Douglas Dunn: Roofs of Terry Street

We were sitting on the balcony with coffee and the papers, having got up late one Saturday morning, when I began glancing through this little book of poems…

Lifesaving Poems