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10 POETRY COLLECTIONS I COULDN’T DO WITHOUT IN 2002

1. The Light Trap, John Burnside
2. Collected Poems, Tom Raworth
3. Selected Poems, John Ashbery, reissued

4. Dart, Alice Oswald
5. Magpie Words, Ric Caddel
7. The Ice Age, Paul Farley

8. The Nerve, Glyn Maxwell
9. Lintel, Gillian Allnutt (published 2001)
10. From the Pine Observatory, George Messo

      (published 2001, the best first new collection I’ve read in years)

            Andy Brown



TOP TEN BENCHES:

1. Mullion Cove, Cornwall
2. Worcestershire Beacon, Malvern Hills, Worcestershire
3. Courtyard, Saint Michael’s Mount, Cornwall
4. The churchyard, Breedon on the Hill, Derbyshire
5.
Waseley Hills Country Park, Worcestershire
6.
Pendennis point, Falmouth, Cornwall
7. The graveyard, Jordan’s Quaker Meeting House, Buckinghamshire
8.
My garden, Kings Heath, Birmingham
9.
Fox Rosehill Gardens, Falmouth, Cornwall
10. Top of the cliff, Dunwich, Suffolk
11. Saint Anthony in Roseland, Cornwall

            David Hart



In 2002 David Bowie, Kurt Schwitters, Alice Lenkiewicz, Beth Orton, Cassandra Wilson, Chloe Meakin, Patti Smith, Labelle and Laura Nyro compensated for the manias of fundamentalism and the  irrelevance of New Labour.
01 Best art exhibition of the year: Surrealism: Desire Unbound (Tate Modern 2001/2002)
02 Best TV Performance of the year: David Bowie 'Rebel Rebel' on Later: Programme 1 18/10/2002 (BBC2)
03 Best poetry translations of the year: Kurt Schwitters: poems performance pieces proses plays poetics Pierre Joris (trans.) Edited by J Rothenberg (Exact Change)
04 Best new poetry mag. of the year: Neon Highway (ed. Alice Lenkiewicz)
05 Best pop album of the year: Beth Orton. Daybreaker (Heavenly)
06 Best jazz album of the year Cassandra Wilson. Belly of the Sun (Blue Note)
07 Best new poem of the year: Chloe Meakin 'Meteorite Cavern' (in Fire 18)
08 Best reissue of the year Laura Nyro/Labelle. Gonna Take A Miracle (Columbia/Legacy)
09 Best retrospective compilation album of the year: Patti Smith. Land (Arista Records)
10 Most bizarre song of the year: Beth Orton 'Carmella (Four Tet Remix}'

            A.C. Evans



10 BEST FILMS I SAW IN 2002

Monsters Inc
Atanarjuat the Fast Runner
Amelie
In the Mood for Love
ET, 20th Anniversary Edition
The Warrior
Devdas
What Time is it There?
Secret Ballot
Bowling for Columbine

            Huw Spanner



ALAN HALSEY’S TOP TEN 2002 IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER:

Karen Mac Cormack's Implexures, long in progress & at last appearing in magazines, & read in ms

The Monk/Archer/Tippetts/Collins band performing Angel High Wires & Fluvium, particularly the performance at The Cluny, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, October 8th

Geraldine Monk's 50th Birthday Party

John James Collected Poems (Salt)

Lorine Niedecker Collected Works ed. Jenny Penberthy (U. Cal.)

Richard Caddel Magpie Words (West House)

Robert Clark's exhibition at Centro de Arte de S. Joao de Madeira: sections of The Nether Edge Story, with accompanying booklet

David Annwn Euroboros (Ispress)

The Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon

The ring-tailed lemurs at Whipsnade



GARY BOSWELL’S TOP TEN FOR 2002

1. I'd like to be a diamond when I die – new poem collection by John Irwin.
2. ‘Bunsen Burner’ – Rogue Chart entry by John Otway
3. Keith Tyson – Turner Prize winner
4. Estelle Morris – Resigning Education Minister (now back devoted to improving Education Standards!)
5. The Fourth Hand – John Irving's new novel
6. John Culshaw's TV impressions of Ozzy Osbourne & Doctor Who
7. The incomparable League of Gentlemen's third series.
8. An old copy of Dennis Potter's collected prose works I found in a second hand bookshop.
9. The Stanley Spencer retrospective exhibition staged at Kendal's Abbot Hall Gallery in September.
10. The demise of Camelot and the National Lottery (actually, I put this top as the absolute highlight of the Year destined to bring a better quality life to us all!)



MY FAVOURITE TEN POETRY BOOKS 2002
Skid, Dean Young [University of Pittsburgh]
Collected Poems, John James [Salt]
The President of Earth, David Kennedy [Salt]
Slowly, Lyn Hejinian [Tuumba]
Saddling the Rabbit, Iain Sinclair [etruscan]
Magpie Words, Richard Caddel [West House]
Lawrence Booth’s Book of Visions, Maurice Manning [Yale]
Florida Poems, Campbell McGrath [Ecco]
Drafts 1-38, Toll, Rachel Blau DuPlessis [Wesleyan]
A Short History of the Shadow, Charles Wright [Farrar, Straus and Giroux]

            Rupert Loydell



Head spins with too many options, so I'll stick to books and one record album.I read all or listened to in 2002. As good as now.
1. Lorine Niedecker, Collected Works
2. Sven Lindquist, A History of Bombing
3. John Suiter, Poets on the Peaks
4. Jim Harrison, The Raw and the Cooked
5. Robert Gordon, Can’t be Satisfied: the life of Muddy Waters
6. George Evans, The New World
7. Andrew Roth, The Book of 101 Books
8. Dianne Waldman, Joseph Cornell – Master of Dreams
9. Faith Jaycox, The Colonial Era, an eyewitness history
10.Johnny Cash, The Man Comes Around (two-LP record)

            Bob Arnold



TEN BEST THINGS

Usinish light on the port bow, ready to furl the genoa, drop the main,
Loch Skipport opening up.
                                        Stillness dropping with the anchor
as if we had always been here.

Cloud clearing, the islandsí colours deepening.

Buds breaking, spring surge, this much growth on the young trees.

Firelight, of course; friends, laughter. Wim Mertens in the background.

Clean sheets, fresh air folded into them.

Mr. Barwise’s bread, toasted (butter, honey).

The hot bath after a day on the land. More: perhaps a whisky.

Unbroken sleep, all night no dreams.

Goslings; honeysuckle hanging in the old thorn at twilight, new potatoes; the river in spate; stone walls warm under palms long after a red sun has sunk behind the Scots pine.
                   This is cheating:
                                            what constitues home
changes like weather.

Tenth:  the taken-for-granted,
                                           invisible until lost,
                                                                        restored.

            Jane Routh



THE TEN BEST THINGS I CAN THINK OF IN 2 MINUTES AT A PUSH
DECEMBER 23RD 2002 9.30PM
 
 1. The Flaming Lips, live at Sheffield Leadmill
 2. The Flaming Lips: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
 3. Kenneth Koch
 4. Kenneth Koch: A Possible World
 5. Ethan Paquin, The Makeshift
 6. The Human League, live at Nottingham, Rock City (the girls were tremendous)
 7. Milly and Moby, our 2 new kittens
 8. Moby (not the same Moby) live at Sheffield City Hall
 9. Everything by Simon Armitage (just kidding)
 10. The discussions on the British Poets list (really really kidding now)
 
            Martin Stannard



MY FAVOURITE TEN CDs 2002

Science Friction, Tim Berne
( ), Sigur Ros
the light that fills the world, John Luther Adams
out of season, Beth Gibbons & Rustin Mann
The Cutting Room Floor, Over the Rhine
Sea Change, Beck
Amassed, Spring Heel Jack
Beeline, Peter Case
The Original Sound of Sheffield, Cabaret Voltaire
Towards the Wind, Stephan Micus

            Rupert Loydell



TOP TEN POETRY BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2002 (in no particular order):

C D Wright: Steal Away. New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press)
Wendy Mulford: and suddenly supposing. Selected Poems (Etruscan Books)
Nathaniel Tarn: Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press)
Gustaf Sobin: In the Name of the Neither (Talisman House)
George Oppen: New Collected Poems (New Directions)
Lorine Niedecker: Collected Works (University of California Press)
John Ash: Two Books: The Anatolikon / To the City (Carcanet)
Richard Caddel: Magpie Words. Selected Poems (West House Books)
John James: Collected Poems (Salt Publishing)
Federico Garcia Lorca: Collected Poems (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
           
            Tony Frazer



TOP TEN LIVE CDs 2002

Resplendent, Vigilantes of Love
Blue Wild Angel: Jimi Hendrix live at the Isle of Wight
Live and Unreleased
, Weather Report
Fat Time, Miles Davis
The Bootleg Series Vo. 5: Bob Dylan live 1975, The Rolling Thunder Review
The Loom’s Desire: Laura Nyro Live
Live at Town Hall, New York City, September 19-20, 2001
, Laurie Anderson
Magnetic Hands: Captain Beefheart and his Magic Bands live in the UK 72-80
Open, Coma
, Tim Berne and the Copenhagen Art Ensemble
Live at the Roxy Theatre, Brian Wilson

            Rupert Loydell



TOP TEN MOST DISAPPOINTING READS 2002  

10. Peter Carey, True History of the Kelly Gang (Faber)
This is great stuff really. But. It’s takaing an awfully long time to finish. Because I never know the ending? Nah. Because the ceaseless narrative (almost entirely unpunctuated) started to grate a whole back. Plus the lack of a glossary for the slang. I’m three quarters of the way done and determined to see it through to the death. Sorry. That was cheap.
9. Doris Lessing, The Summer Before the Dark (Penguin)
A charity shop find, and old now (1973) it’s ‘a summer journey of self-discovery’; mid-life crisis to you and me. But it’s so out of date and so very middle-class that empathy with the main character is impossible. I don’t see why this subject should date though. Women still age, still have to work hard negotiating the internal shifts via the often overwhelming external view of ageing. I’ve grown up with Doris Lessing novels; they’re part of my literary landscape. So I suspect that the leafy suburban setting is now a motorway, as I don’t recognise this place at all.
8. Aristotle, The Nichomachean Ethics (OUP)
I read this twice, because I had to. I appreciated the structure of the arguments without retaining much of the content. Odd, that. The disappointing bit is my inability to grasp what seems, when reading it, to be perfectly clear. It’s so... slipper. How did he do that? And why? We’ll never know.
7. Chris Stewart, Driving Over Lemons (Sort Of Books)
I bought this after hearing it reviewed on radio 4. I thought I’d like it because it was about rural Spain, and it had the added curiosity value of  being penned by an ex-drummer of Genesis. It’s a clam, gentle, plodding, autobiographical tale of buying and working a smallholding in Andalucia. It isn’t meant to be ‘literature’, which is just as well. One for convalescing after a minor op. (I shan’t be buying the sequel though.)
6. Howard Marks (ed.), The Howard Marks Book of Dope Stories (Vintage)
OK. I didn’t read it. But Steve did, and Steve says it’s like trying to get a buzz from a packet of sage and onion stuffing mix.* An obscure collection of fact and snippets of fiction (mostly lifted from other anthologies), compiled by some dodgy geezer who is old enough to know better. At £7.99, and because Steve said as much, I’m going to assume it’s a rip off. (*He didn’t actually say this, but he definitely didn;’t enjoy the book. Please don’t try sage and onion at home. I made that bit up.)
5. Anita Shrieve, The Pilot’s Wife (Abacus)
I didn’t hate this at all. In fact, it was quite pleasant. It’s what it is. And what it is is adequate, marketable storytelling. I put it on my list because on the inside front cover there’s a scarey full-page photo of the author. Bloody hell! Shoot that publicist!
4. Judi Henricks, Bread Alone (Orion)
A first novel, which is always interesting of itself, wherein we are supposed to feel sorry for a woman so boring her husband has an affair. She makes bread a lot. She seems to find overweight women offensive. She buys throws for the sofa. Good grief. Forget ‘journey of self-discovery’; this is a one-stop bus ride to the supermarket for a bag of flour.
3. Pamela Stephenson, Billy (Have given, it away so don’t know the publisher offhand)
You know what this one’s about. Enough. Don’t be tempted to buy it. Well, if you must, there’ll be plenty in the secondhand bookshops after Christmas.
2. Martin Stannard, Conversations With Myself (Stride)
To paraphrase a Harry Enfield character, ‘Oi! Stannard! No, it ain’t funny, it ain’t clever, and yer insights are about as deep as Barbie’s navel!’ This book is really Adrian Mole’s ‘A’ Level English Lit essays. (Top mark, C+ for self-belief.) I am very upset. I have always liked Mr. Stannard’s poetry, so what more natural than to branch out into this collection of reviews? Unfortunately, I can’t see the point in having convictions about poetry which are continually undercut by appeals to fairmindedness. Better to be an honest bastard than a dishonest sweetie. The P. Violi crits are the best of a bad bunch.
1. And finally the Award for Most Disappointing Read of 2002...
Simon Armitage, Litte Green Man (Penguin)
This story should have stopped after the brilliant introductory chapter: a chunky description of the noises in an attic and the memories called forth... ‘Lying awake some mornings, I hear a click in the airing cupboard under the stairs – the central heating clocking on – and the boiler, calling for gas from under the North Sea. Then the ignition, when the sleeping genie of the pilot light explodes into life – whap! Then the ticking of the junctions and joints as the pipework rouses itself, stiffens with heat... the cistern sounds like it could blast into orbit around the Earth. That’s how it feels. It feels like this.’ Now wouldn’t you think, reading that passage, that this was going to be a good novel? Wrong. After that, the story blunders from one offensive scene to the next. I couldn’t finish it. I read up to the sheep slaughter and decided to stop punishing myself. Blokish nonsense such blokes would never read. Hideous.

            Sandra Tappenden



TEN CDs RELEASED IN 2002

Lispector: Lispector
July Skies: Dreaming of Spires
St Etienne: Finisterre
ballboy: a guide for the daylight hours
Delgados: Hate
Augie March: Strange Bird
Russian Futurists: Let's Get Ready To Crumble
Cody: Distance Learning
Future Bible Heroes: Eternal Youth
Vitesse: You Win Again, Gravity!
Mum: Finally We Are No-one


Alistair Fitchett