Fifty years ago this month, Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon and uttered his now infamous phrase: “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
As poets, we continue to be awed, fascinated and drawn into the orbit of our nearest planet.
To celebrate all things lunar, The Frogmore Press have published an anthology of contemporary poetry entitled Pale Fire and packed it with work by more than sixty poets, including Clare Best, Sharon Black, Robin Bolam, Claire Booker, Maggie Butt, Maggie Harris, Seema Kapila, Jane Lovell, Martin Malone, Jessica Mookherjee, Fiona Moore, Grace Nichols, Zel Norwood, Jeremy Page, Cheryl Pearson, John Rice, Myra Schneider, Peter Stewart, Janet Sutherland, Kay Syrad, George Szirtes and Mark Urbanowicz.
The anthology fascinates with its wide-ranging styles and content. Star of the show (no pun intended) is the moon, which sails through the many stories and emotions contained within these poems. Sometimes it’s a “pale orange egg”, or a “ferrier of calm”, or “an astonished semibreve”, or “a factory light burning on the top floor”. Sometimes it’s benign, sometimes threatening, sometimes plain funny. Never is it boring!
Pale Fire is the brainchild of editor Alexandra Loske and includes a series of exquisite illustrations of the moon by Sussex-based painter Fergus Hare (www.fergushare.net).
The book was launched last month at Fitzroy House – a gem of a gothic-revival building in Lewes, East Sussex. Not only did the audience get a chance to enjoy (I hope!) hearing a bunch of us read our poems, but they were also treated to an exhibition of drawings, etchings, paintings and sculpture inspired by the moon which had been curated around this amazing circular room.
“Seeing the moon’s desolate landscape up-close may to some initially have felt like a visual disappointment,” writes Alexandra Loske. “But the magnitude of this human achievement and its impact on our culture and psyche cannot be underestimated.”
Pale Fire is testimony to the poetic impact of the moon. The anthology is available from The Frogmore Press price £10.
For more information go to: Frogmore Press