Dark drama, light hu­mour

The Herald Magazine - - Arts BOOKS -

of a Lit­er­ary Legacy (Pi­cador, Jan­uary). Alice Oswald’s new po­etry col­lec­tion, No­body (Jonathan Cape, Septem­ber), sounds like it might be about one of Kafka’s char­ac­ters, and spec­u­la­tion is all we have with re­gard to that one.

Even the no­bod­ies of the world have read He­len Dun­more, who died in 2017. Fel­low poet Sean O’Brien has praised her “re­mark­able alert­ness, imag­i­na­tive range and gen­eros­ity of spirit”. In Fe­bru­ary, Blood­axe pub­lishes her Col­lected Po­ems: Count­ing Back­wards.

Fi­nally Lawrence Fer­linghetti, the poet and co-founder of San Fran­cisco’s City Lights Book­store, is best known for his col­lec­tion A Coney Is­land of the Mind. He’s one of the last sur­viv­ing mem­bers of the Beat Gen­er­a­tion. In March he will be a cen­tu­rion. His semi-au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal novel Lit­tle Boy (Faber, April) pur­ports to be “the story of one man’s ex­tra­or­di­nary life”. The novel is “steeped in the rhyth­mic en­ergy of the Beats, gleam­ing with Whit­man’s vi­sion­ary spirit and chan­nelling the in­can­ta­tory power of Proust and Joyce. It is Lawrence Fer­linghetti’s last word.” Fair enough.

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