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Being Alive

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  313 ratings  ·  22 reviews
This poetry collection is the sequel to 'Staying Alive'.
Paperback, 512 pages
Published 2004 by Bloodaxe Books
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4.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  313 ratings  ·  22 reviews

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Bionic Jean
Mar 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Being Alive, published in 2004, is a huge anthology of contemporary poetry. It is the second in the three compilations edited by Neil Astley: the first is entitled "Staying Alive" and the third, from 2011, "Being Human". The three books form a trilogy. Neil Astley has also now selected 100 poems from the entire collection of 1500, as a "'Staying Alive' travel companion".

Just as with "Staying Alive", Being Alive is almost a reference book, in that it provides a first glimpse at so many poets. Nei
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, favorites, poetry
Ditto my review of the first anthology "Staying Alive". Another excellent sampling of poems.

A Jar of Honey

You hold it like a lit bulb,
a pound of light,
and swivel the stunned glow
around the fat glass sides:
it's the sun, all flesh and no bones
but for the floating knuckle
of honeycomb
attesting to the nature of the struggle.

Jacob Polley
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, 2016
It's impossible to tell how many of the poems here I missed, as I didn't read it front to back, so I hesitate to shelve this as finished. I will probably loan it again.

Great poetry collection. With a little bit of everything inside.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
It's the sequel to 'Staying Alive' which I absolutely loved. I realised that for most of my life I've treated poetry anthologies like reference books, purely to be dipped in and out of, never thinking to read them cover to cover. Astley crafts his anthologies beautifully, the poems connected to one another like rooms in a well designed house. My only recently acquired advice to myself for reading poetry is: 1) read them cover to cover to start off with, then dip in for your favourites; 2) each p ...more
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
For some reason the star rating system has disappeared. I awarded the book 4 stars.
I really enjoyed this book. I am not enamoured with poetry anthologies built around some 'theme' - in this case life and it's developing stages. It seems a little synthetic to me. Is not all poetry about life? Anyway not a big deal.
Most of the chosen poems and poets I thought to be excellent and I was often surprised, in a good way, about the innovative approaches taken to structure and language by some poets.
I f
Catriona Kelch
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Kept me alive and comforted me through some damned dark times
Parrish Lantern

I recently bought a set of three poetry Anthologies, called Staying Alive, Being Alive and Being Human, or to be more accurate I purchased “Staying Alive” was so impressed that I bought the next and then the next (and even gave one as a prize in a Literary Giveaway), and they did that impossible thing – each was as good / if not better than the previous, in fact individually they easily stacked up against my benchmark poetry anthology “The Rattle Bag – edited by Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney”, co
Emily  Cross
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This book is one of the best poetry collections that I have ever read. The editor Neil Astley in his introduction states he wanted to bring together poetry which "speaks to us with the same unnerving power now as when we first came across them".

This book includes some of the best poems by the great poets of recent history like Yeats, Frost, Kavanagh, Heaney, Auden etc. but also includes works which English speakers will not know such as the translated works of Polish, Hungarian and Swedish poets
Mark Foulkes
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Adding this one in as a 'read' book as I am currently reading the third of this excellent series of poetry anthologies 'Being Human'.
This is the strongest of the three in my view. All of the books make an effort to introduce the reader to new poets (which it certainly does). If there is a thematic link it is around poetry as a talismanic and life-protectingforce:text as touchstone.
I do not know if I view poetry in quite this way but I am sure many people do.
In any case the selection is excellent
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Of the three books in this series I think I like Being Human best - but I've only dipped into that in a library copy. Being Alive has a fabulous range of poems from a range of writers both well known e.g.- Larkin, Adcock and less wellknown, favourites of which include Happiness by Jane Kenyon, Fight Song by Jane Garrison and Pleasure by David Constantine. Its a brilliant book to open at random and see what treasure is revealed
Nick Davies
Jan 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, book-group
A good fat anthology of poems I was given to read for my book group, but which I wasn't able to find a suitable way to consume. I dipped in and out, read just under half (the poems are gathered into themed chapters) and enjoyed quite a few of what I read, but much of it barely made an impact - which I suppose is the nature of the format/genre. Nevertheless, had I owned rather than borrowed this, I would have dipped in and out over a longer period and got more from it.
Jan 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This is a companion to Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times. It's a similar collection, with a range of themes and different poets. A pretty diverse collection. I haven't read every poem in it, but I love the fact that I can dip in and out of it and almost always find something I want. I think these two anthologies will be staying with me.
John-Paul Flintoff
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Why does It astonish me that there are so many good poems in here? The selection includes poems that are touching, chilling and funny. Some in translation, some by native English writers. I think Neil Astley, the editor, is a genius.
Aug 02, 2011 added it
a great anthology - just spotted this at the library and had to try it
Swithin Fry
Apr 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If I had to recommend only one poetry book, this would be it. There's something for everyone, for every moment, from some of the best writers in the world.
Elder Adok
Dec 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A good balance and range
Ellie Fearn
Mar 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
A beautiful collection of poems- unflinching and brave
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I registered a book at!
Sarah Traynor
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Lives on my bedside locker, I love this book.
Michelle (Fluttering Butterflies)
Really love the variety in these poems
Pete Kelly
Jul 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
More great poetry. Read a poem a day - it's good for you. Oh and listen to Beethoven too - life changing.
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Neil Astley is editor of Bloodaxe Books, Britain’s leading poetry imprint, which he founded in 1978. His own books include novels, poetry collections and anthologies, most notably the Bloodaxe Staying Alive trilogy. He is also a trustee of Ledbury Poetry Festival and Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts, and a development committee member of Cúirt International Festival of Literature in Galway, ...more
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