Review of "52 Ways of Looking at a Poem"

52 Ways of Looking at a Poem: a poem for each week of the year, by Ruth Padel. ISBN 0-099-42915-2.

No: one way of looking at 52 poems. But it's a good way: microscopic attention to the sound and sense of the words, informed by an understanding of the poem's social and historical context. Just about any reader will find things in Padel's analyses that they wouldn't have found for themselves. Some of them may even have been intended by the poets.

The poems are all modern, all quite short, all English apart from one (Irish, in English translation). Half are by men, half by women.

The poems and analyses are preceded by a lengthy essay on modern Anglophone poetry.