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Soul Food


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Soul Food includes Anna Akhmatova, Maya Angelou, Coleman Barks, William Blake, John Burnside, Paul Celan, Chuang-Tzu, Emily Dickinson, Thich Nhat Hanh, Jane Hirshfield, George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Kabir, Jane Kenyon, Lal Ded (Lalla), DH Lawrence, Denise Levertov, Thomas Merton, Czeslaw Milosz, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mary Oliver, Amrita Pritam, Rainer Maria Rilke, Rumi, St John of the Cross, Edith Soedergran, Anna Swir, Wislawa Szymborska, Shinkichi Takahashi, RS Thomas, and many others...

About the Author

Neil Astley is editor of Bloodaxe Books, which he founded in 1978. His books include novels, poetry collections and anthologies, most notably the Bloodaxe Staying Alive trilogy: Staying Alive (Bloodaxe, UK 2002/ Miramax, US 2003), Being Alive (2004) and Being Human (2011), along with Essential Poems from the Staying Alive Trilogy (2012). His other anthologies (all these from Bloodaxe) include Earth Shattering: ecopoems (2007), The Hundred Years' War: modern war poems (2014), and three collaborations with with Pamela Robertson-Pearce, Soul Food: nourishing poems for starved minds (2008), and the DVD-books In Person: 30 Poets (2008) and In Person: World Poets (2017). He has published two novels, The End of My Tether (2002), which was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award, and The Sheep Who Changed the World (2005). In 2012 Candlestick Press published his selection of Ten Poems About Sheep in its renowned pamphlet series. In 2015 he guest-edited a special international issue of the American literary journal Ploughshares, its first all-poetry issue in its 44-year history. He received an Eric Gregory Award for his poetry from the Society of Authors in 1982 and was given a D.Litt from Newcastle University for his work with Bloodaxe Books in 1995. He is a trustee of Ledbury Poetry Festival, and a Visiting Fellow at Newcastle University. He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2018.


'These poems illuminate the path of life.' - Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times 'These poems will reconnect you with happiness, kindness, beauty and joy. They will teaqch you how to be here, now, fully aware and alive... Buy this book! You will be investing in happiness for days - and even dark lonely nights - to come.' - Anne Ashworth, Universalist: The Journal of the Quaker Universalist Group 'A friend gave me a copy of Soul Food as a gift... I thought it was so good that I gave it away to another friend within a matter of days, and bought myself a new copy, which I also gave away... I continue to buy copies for friends... I have read this book through from beginning to end a number of times now, and each time I am left with my spirit uplifted and a wondrous sense of warm joy in my soul. Not only is each poem fine, but reading the whole collection reads feels like the privilege of sharing another human's spiritual journey for a while.' - Henry Morgan, The Merton Journal 'Soul Food is an extremely attractive book. Of all the books lying about my house, more visitors have been drawn to wanting to borrow this than any other... It contains work by many of my favourite poets, but more importantly it whets my appetite with new discoveries... I recommend buying copies to keep and give away.' - Chris Kinsey, Envoi 'Soul Food, like another Bloodaxe anthology, Do Not Go Gentle: poems for funerals, captures the elusive overlapping oval in the Venn diagram of poetry-that-is-serious and poetry-that-breaks-your-heart.' - Martin Wroe, Church Times

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