New & Collected Poems
This substantial New & Collected Poems covers work written over 50 years, drawing on over a dozen books as well as a whole new collection. It also includes her translations of Sophia de Mello Breyner, Jean Joubert, Sophocles, and several leading modern Latin American poets, including César Vallejo, Blanca Varela, Elsa Cross and Victor Manuel Mendiola, and two of her opera libretti, The Dancer Hotoke and The Bride in Her Grave.
'Ruth Fainlight has always been a painterly poet, sensuous and observant, who has paid particular attention to myth as it shapes destiny or gives meaning…the reader is aware of images being thought and felt through, the mind winding itself into narratives, prompted now by pain, now loss, now keen pleasure' – George Szirtes, Times Literary Supplement 'If there is a suggestion of feminist defiance here, so much the better; at least Fainlight isn't strident. With so much talent and confidence, she doesn't need to be' – Derek Mahon, London Review of Books ‘Her voice can be cutting as well as lyrical…Fainlight is terrific on the subject of ageing’ – Helen Dunmore, Poetry Review 'She combines, often in one poem, the personal and the austerely detached, and excels at the uncanny note of casual recognition' – The Oxford Companion to English Literature 'To my mind, the virtues of Ruth Fainlight's voice have never been more needed. At a time when there are so many ready to urge poets to take their place in the media market-place, Fainlight's poetry is a reminder that poems are not merely products for display and sale, but arise out of privacy and dedication' - Elaine Feinstein, The Jewish Quarterly 'In a tradition various enough to include Emily Dickinson, Mary Coleridge, Christina Rossetti and Charlotte Mew, her poetry gets on with itself, not self-absorbed but quite independent' – John Bayley, London Review of Books
RECENT RADIO PUBLICITY FOR RUTH FAINLIGHT
The Verb, Radio 4, Friday 3 December 2010, 9.15pm
Ruth Fainlight was interviewed at the top of the programme on Friday’s edition of The Verb. She read the poems ‘December Moon’ and ‘Dreaming’, and discussed the process of putting together a collected edition of her poetry with both Ian McMillan and fellow Bloodaxe poet Helen Dunmore, who was there to read a new piece of prose commissioned by The Verb. Ruth ended the piece by reading one of the new poems in the book, ‘Borrowed Time’, the last poem that she wrote before her husband Alan Sillitoe died.
The piece is described on The Verb’s website as follows:
“The distinguished poet Ruth Fainlight describes how it feels to have fifty years' worth of your writing collected in a single, weighty volume.”
Drivetime with Simon Mayo: The Radio 2 Book Club, Radio 2, Monday 20 December 2010, 5 - 7 pm
Ian McMillan chose Ruth Fainlight’s New & Collected Poems his ‘finest poetry offering of the year’ in his Best of 2010 piece on Simon Mayo’s final Book Club of the year. He also chose it as his overall book of the year. (Ian interviewed Ruth Fainlight about her new book on his Radio 3 programme The Verb on 3 December.) He described her writing as ‘amazing’ and admired the progression of her work through the years. He quoted from and talked about her new poem ‘Borrowed Time’.
The McMillan Book of the Year
When asked to select his overall choice from all the categories (fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children's books), Ian McMillan said:
“I’d have to go with Ruth Fainlight, her New & Collected Poems, which is a life’s work in a big fat 500-page book that will keep you going all the way through 2011 if you buy it now.”
Click on the 'listen to Ian’s interview' link on the page below to hear the programme, and then forward to 1.12 to listen to his poetry choice. Forward again to 1.14 to hear Ian choosing Ruth Fainlight’s book as his McMillan Book of the Year:
The Times: Elaine Feinstein’s review of Ruth Fainlight’s New & Collected Poems will be running this week in The Times. It will be illustrated with a cover picture.
The Jewish Chronicle, Friday 11 February 2011
Ruth Fainlight’s New & Collected Poems was described as 'magisterial' in a substantial review in last week’s edition of The Jewish Chronicle. It was illustrated with a colour author photograph.
“Few poets have published a fraction of work as worth reading, time after time, as Ruth Fainlight's is.” – Michael Horovitz
You can read the piece online:
The Times, Saturday 19 February 2011
Elaine Feinstein’s feature review of Ruth Fainlight’s New & Collected Poems appeared in Saturday’s issue of The Times. It was illustrated with a thumbnail colour picture of the cover and a large colour photograph of Ruth Fainlight sitting in her study.
“This collection of more than 50 years’ work has a cover with a Coptic peacock in yellow and blue, which looks primitive and childlike, yet rises out of a sensibility of immense sophistication. So indeed do these poems by one of the most distinguished poets writing in Britain today.” – Elaine Feinstein
(available by subscription only)
Ruth Fainlight will be reading from her work at Jewish Book Week on Monday 28 February, 7.30pm
Ruth Fainlight is one of Britain's most distinguished poets. Born in New York City, she has lived mostly in England since the age of 15, publishing her first collection, Cages, in 1966. Her poems 'give us truly new visions of usual and mysterious events' (A.S. Byatt). Each is a balancing act between thought and feeling, revealing otherness within the everyday, often measuring subtle shifts in relationships between women and men.