"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 the editor and founder of Bloodaxe Books. He has published over 20 other anthologies, most notably the Staying Alive trilogy and three collaborations with Pamela Robertson-Pearce, Soul Food (2007) and the DVD-anthologies In Person: 30 Poets (2008) and In Person: World Poets (2017), as well as two novels, The End of My Tether (Scribner), which was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award in 2002, and The Sheep Who Changed the World (Flambard, 2005). He has lived in the North East since 1975, latterly in Northumberland's Tarset valley.