June 09 , 2011

To the Moon

An Anthology of Lunar Poems


Carol Ann Duffy's beautiful anthology features an eclectic mix of poems that chart human fascination with the moon across the centuries and around the world.

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In her prize-winning fourth collection, Mean Time, Carol Ann Duffy dramatizes scenes from childhood, adolescence and adulthood, finding moments of grace or consolation in memory, love and language amid the complexities of life. These are powerful poems of loss, betrayal and desire.

Carol Ann Duffy on To the Moon:

'Editing Answering Back, in which living poets replied to poems from the past, I was astonished to see how many of the poems, old and new, referred to the moon. I then started to keep a record of such references, and from my notebook, I see that in one morning alone I came across no fewer than nine poems, from the likes of Coleridge, Graves, Rosetti and Rowe - and it was this selection that initially inspired To the Moon.

There's something incredibly moving, and electrifying, to read a poem from the Chinese Book of Odes, written around 500 BC, and to feel both our distance from and our closeness to the past, and the Moon itself:

I climbed the hill just as the new moon showed,

I saw him coming on the southern road.

My heart lays down its load.

In collecting together poems such as these - poems that span continents and centuries - To the Moon shows what it is to be human; to love, to lose, to dream and to hope. The poems it contains give us a real and profound sense of our time on this planet, and the pleasures they offer are - like space itself - infinite.'

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