I imagine that poets prefer to receive anything other than a poetry collection for Christmas, if only to assure themselves that life exists outside the small thin volumes on their shelves. Or perhaps just because people making such a gift invariably choose badly. Or because, in the case of some poets, they don't read or even like poetry (apart from their own of course, which they badly want other people to read and buy).
On the other hand, many people who enjoy poetry aren't quite sure of what to buy. They don't know many of the names and don't want to risk alienating friends by buying them poetry books they might hate.
However, it’s possible to think about this in another way. You could buy yourself or a friend a poetry collection for Christmas, partly as a gift to a small, hard-working publisher. That way, you (or a friend) receive an enjoyable book and also help to keep a poetry press in business through the credit crunch. Everyone wins.
If you’re not sure about what to buy, I would brazenly suggest a book from Salt. Salt is publishing my collection (and Andrew Philip’s) on 1st March next year. However, there are many sound choices at their website at the moment. Even better, if you join the Salt Fanclub Facebook page, you get a discount totalling 33% off every book from now until Christmas Day. There's a UK and USA store for buying online.
If you can’t decide, here’s a list of my top 5 Salt poetry collections, in alphabetical order. You can read about each of them and a sample poem at the links. Of course, there are hundreds of books at the site which you might prefer to these ones:
Me and the Dead – Katy Evans-Bush
Scales Dog – Alexander Hutchison
Cossacks and Bandits – Katia Kapovich
The Harbour Beyond the Movie – Luke Kennard
Travelator – Steven Waling
I’m going to pick up Chris McCabe’s Zeppelins and possibly Andrew Duncan’s Origins of the Underground. Is the latter book as good a read as it sounds? Anyone read it?