Inspired by a remark of Seamus Heaney, Lifesaving Poems began life as notebook, then a blog. How many poems, Heaney wondered, was it possible to recall responding to, over a lifetime? Was it ten, he asked, twenty, fifty, a hundred, or more?
Lifesaving Poems is a way of trying to answer that question.
Giving himself the constraint of choosing no more than one poem per poet, Anthony began copying poems out, one at a time, as it were for safekeeping. He asked himself: was the poem one he could recall being moved by the moment he first read it? And: could he live without it?
Then he posted each poem on his blog and said why he liked it. Word spread and soon his blog had thousands of followers, everyone reading and responding to the poems he talked about – and sharing his posts.
Now Lifesaving Poems has turned into an anthology, not one designed to be a perfect list of ‘the great and the good’, but a gathering of poems he happens to feel passionate about, according to his tastes. As Billy Collins says: ‘Good poems are poems that I like’. Anthony’s popular personal commentaries are included with the poems.
There are Lifesaving Poems by John Ashbery, Elizabeth Bishop, Raymond Carver, Carol Ann Duffy, Thom Gunn, Seamus Heaney, Marie Howe, Jaan Kaplinski, Brendan Kennelly, Jane Kenyon, Galway Kinnell, Philip Levine, Norman MacCaig, Ian McMillan, Derek Mahon, Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Jo Shapcott, Tomas Tranströmer, Wislawa Szymborska, and many, many others.
Packed with energy and ideas, this engaging book is a must-have for poetry teachers across the age phases. Accessible workshop activities for the classroom show how to bring poetry alive on the tongue, in the mind and the body. Pleasure and play rub shoulders with attention to language, interpretation and meaning, and conspire to inspire. A book to read, use and enjoy.
Teresa Cremin, Professor of Education, The Open University, on Making Poetry Happen (Bloomsbury, 2015)
This rich and invigorating book provides a much-needed argument for the place of poetry in 21st century English curriculum, and a grounded and practical resource for reading, teaching, writing, analysing, performing and making poetry. Bringing together academics, practising poets and classroom teachers, it offers a set of nuanced and wide ranging reflections on the pragmatics and possibilities of teaching poetry and timely and sensitive instances of good pedagogy and responsive teaching in current times.
Catherine Beavis, Professor of Education, Griffith University, Australia, on Making Poetry Happen (Bloomsbury, 2013)
Each poem is a small marvel on grave themes.
The Poetry Book Society Autumn Bulletin, 2012, on Riddance (Worple Press, 2012)
Riddance deserves to be in every oncologist’s waiting room and given to every cancer patient’s family because it tells us how it actually feels to be treated for cancer, and it resists the ‘othering’ of cancer patients.
Judi Sutherland, on Riddance, the Dr Fulminare blog
Takes you through the roller coaster ride of cancer, in every detail.
James Landale, The World at One, on Love for Now (Impress Books, 2012)
A tone of domestic awareness which never drifts into the mawkish, a quiet register of the relationship between humans and time. Wilson understands the fact that ‘objects contain absent people’.
Ian Brinton, The Use of English, on Full Stretch (Worple Press, 2006)
Makes for inspiring reading and gives a clearer definition of the world of creativity, while also offering coherent maps to navigate it.
Huw Thomas, Times Educational Supplement, on Creativity in Primary Education (2005, 2009, 2015)
In both style and content a mix of casual and formal. All the poems feel genuinely personal. Anthony Wilson’s poetry has an easy-going surface but a thoughtful interior.
Paul Munden, The North, on Nowhere Better Than This (Worple Press, 2002)
Anthony Wilson’s acute and astute observations are witty, humorous and often poignant. He looks at what it means to occupy various roles as son, brother, father, husband, teacher —and the best of these poems create a finely balanced tension, tantalizing, resonant.
Catherine Smith, The Frogmore Papers, on Nowhere Better Than This
An inspired compilation
Times Educational Supplement, on The Poetry Book for Primary Schools (The Poetry Society, 1998)
Shaped by wit and compassion, Anthony Wilson’s work creates a more rounded picture of a full life than most poetry dreams of.
Mark Robinson, Scratch, on How Far From Here is Home? (Stride Publications, 1996)
Economical, witty and observant. An habitual and natural delicacy covers the more primitive emotions that thrive beneath the Carver-like surface.
Marita Over, Ambit, on How Far From Here is Home?Follow @awilsonpoet
Join Anthony on Facebook here