Author(s): ASTLEY N
'Staying Alive' is an international anthology of 500 life-affirming poems fired by belief in the human and the spiritual at a time when much in the world feels unreal, inhuman and hollow. These are poems of great personal force connecting our aspirations with our humanity, helping us stay alive to the world and stay true to ourselves. Many people turn to poetry only at unreal times, whether for consolation in loss or affirmation in love, or when facing other extremes and anxieties. 'Staying Alive' includes many of the great modern love poems and elegies, but it also shows the power of poetry in celebrating the ordinary miracle, taking you on a journey around many of the different aspects of everyday life explored in poems. A strong poem is not just for crisis. Such a poem is there for all times, helping us face or embrace daily change and disruption. It will also speak to us when nothing seems to be happening, when the poem's importance is in helping us stay alive to the world and stay true to ourselves. 'Staying Alive' has reached a wider readership than any other anthology of contemporary poetry. It is a landmark in the history of literary publishing. A sequel, 'Being Alive' (2004), and a companion anthology, 'Being Human' (2011), complete this poetry "trilogy".
Neil Astley is editor of Bloodaxe Books, which he founded in 1978. His books include two poetry collections and several anthologies, including 'Staying Alive: real poems from unreal times' (2002), 'Pleased to See Me: 69 very sexy poems' (2002), 'Do Not Go Gentle: poems for funerals' (2003), 'Being Alive: the sequel to Staying Alive' (2004), 'Passionfood: 100 Love Poems' (2005), 'Soul Food: nourishing poems for starved minds' [with Pamela Robertson-Pearce] (2007), 'Earth Shattering: ecopoems' (2007) and the DVD-book 'In Person: 30 Poets filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce' (2008). 'Being Human', the third anthology of the Staying Alive "trilogy", is due from Bloodaxe in 2011. He has published two novels, 'The End of My Tether' (Flambard, 2002; Scribner, 2003), which was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award, and 'The Sheep Who Changed the World' (Flambard, 2005). He received an Eric Gregory Award for his poetry and was given a D.Litt from Newcastle University for his work with Bloodaxe Books. He lives in Northumberland.