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Short and sweet poems and sonnets or lyrical and lengthy epics, sit back and relax while you enjoy the work of these wonderful wordsmiths.
Agbabi, Armitage, Burnside, Duffy, Dunmore, Fanthorpe, Heaney, Motion, Nagra, O'Brien and more Poems of the Decade brings together more than one hundred poems from the many thousands submitted to the Forward Prizes for Poetry in the first decade of the 21st century. The Forwards are among the world's most coveted poetry honours. They have been awarded annually since 1992 for the Best Collection, Best First Collection and Best Single Poem published in Britain and Ireland, and the roster of winning, shortlisted and highly commended poets regularly juxtaposes familiar canonical names with fresh voices. This anthology of anthologies draws on the ten Forward Books of Poetry published to accompany the prizes between 2001 and 2010. It is the perfect introduction to a wide range of contemporary poetry: works that speak of violence, danger and fear, of love and all that opposes love, in forms of language broken and reshaped by the need to communicate what it is to be alive now, here. These annual anthologies of the poems in the running for the Forward Prizes remain the best way of encountering the richness that new poetry has to offer. (Daily Telegraph).
From William Shakespeare to Carol Ann Duffy, our most popular and best loved poets and poems are gathered in one essential collection, alongside many lesser known treasures that are waiting to be discovered. These are poems that help you to see the miraculous in the commonplace and turn the everyday into the exceptional - to discover, in Kipling's words, that yours is the Earth and everything that's in it.
In 'The Swifts' and 'The Pyracantha Anthem' she marvels at nature, while 'A Patient's Prayer' and 'Litter Moron' offer wry views on Modern Britain. From the dog being afraid of the toaster to your son leaving home for university; and from the search for that perfect swimsuit to becoming a gran for the first time - Pam's poems are beautifully crafted, and her subjects the everyday and the universal.
Frances Leviston's first collection, Public Dream, was one of the most acclaimed debuts of recent years, and praised for combining 'technical mastery with a lucidity that verges on the hypnotic' (The Independent). Leviston's keenly-anticipated second book sees both an intellectual and dramatic intensification of her project. We often credit poetry as a kind of truth-telling, but it can also be an agent and a vessel of disinformation: in the course of making its proofs and confessions, it also seeks to persuade and seduce by any means it can. Leviston uses both sides of poetry's tongue to address one of the key questions of the age: how have we come to know what we think we know? In the title poem, a woman preparing for a child's birthday party suddenly glimpses the invisible screen of false data behind which she lives - and her own complicity in its power. Disinformation challenges us to rescue our idea of identity from that mass of glib truth and persistent falsehood - and proposes how we might begin to think of poetry itself as a means to that end.
'It's the way that you say I don't usually do this.' Romance and poetry seem to go hand in hand but - implicit, explicit, nuanced or starkly frank - sex itself has long been a staple subject for poets. And little has changed over the centuries, from Ovid describing a summer afternoon of love-making to Rosemary Tonks telling the Story of a Hotel Room. Sophie Hannah's selection ranges from ancient Rome to modern New York, from gay to straight, from marital bliss to furtive adultery, but her principle has been to go low on the sugar and high on the excitement.
'What will survive of us is love.' Whether in marriage or heartbreak, friendship or infatuation, whether in pursuit of the unattainable ideal or else settling down together for life, whether in love or out of it, you will find poems here to touch the heart. It is a vital assembly of our most treasured and enduring love poems.
Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2014. Wandering, digging, falling, coming to terms with unsettlement and uncertainty, finiteness and fallibility, exploring intersections between the sacred and the sensual, searching for ways to step in and out of stories, cycles and frames - these are some of the recurrent themes. These poems explore various ambivalences - around human intimacy with its bottlenecks and surprises, life in a Third World megapolis, myth, the politics of culture and gender, and the persistent trope of the existential journey (which intensifies in the new poems). Arundhathi Subramaniam's previous book from Bloodaxe, Where I Live: Selected Poems (2009), drew on her first two books published in India plus a whole new collection. When God is a Traveller is her fourth collection of poetry.
Wendy Cope has long been one of the nation's best-loved poets, with her sharp eye for human foibles and wry sense of humour. For the first time, Life, Love and the Archers brings together the best of her prose - recollections, reviews and essays from the light-hearted to the serious, taken from a lifetime of published and unpublished work, and all with Cope's lightness of touch. Here readers can meet the Enid-Blyton-obsessed schoolgirl, the ambivalent daughter, the amused teacher, the sensitive journalist, the cynical romantic and the sardonic television critic, as well as touching on books and writers who have informed a lifetime of reading and writing. Wendy Cope is a master of the one-liner as well as the couplet, the telling review as well as the sonnet, and Life, Love and the Archers gives us a wonderfully entertaining and unforgettable portrait of one of England's favourite writers. A book for anyone who's ever fallen in love, tried to give up smoking, or consoled themselves that they'll never be quite as old as Mick Jagger.
Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2014. The Whole & Rain-domed Universe is Colette Bryce's much-anticipated follow-up to Self-Portrait in the Dark. The book presents the reader with an extraordinarily clear-eyed, vivid and Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2014. sometimes disturbing account of growing up in Derry during the Troubles, with many ghosts both raised and laid to rest. The Whole & Rain-domed Universe is a riveting poetic document of the time; Bryce turns her clear, singing line to darker ends than she has before, describing not just the warmth and eccentricity of family and the claustrophobia of home-life, but also the atmosphere of suspicion, and the real and present threat of terrible violence.
Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2014. The Fauverie of this book is the big-cat house in the Jardin des Plantes zoo. But the word also evokes the Fauves, 'primitive' painters who used raw colour straight from the tube. Like The Zoo Father, Petit's acclaimed second collection, this volume has childhood trauma and a dying father at its heart, while Paris takes centre stage - a city savage as the Amazon, haunted by Aramis the black jaguar and a menagerie of wild animals. Transforming childhood horrors to ultimately mourn a lost parent, Fauverie redeems the darker forces of human nature while celebrating the ferocity and grace of endangered species.
Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2014. Shortlisted for the 2014 Forward Prize for Best Collection 'At last the night surrounded me; / I floated on it, perhaps in it, / or it carried me as a river carries / a boat'. In Louise Gluck's new collection, night takes on the dimensions of myth, becomes the setting for a sequence of journeys and explorations through time and memory, as the speaker of the poems moves backwards into childhood and forwards into 'the kingdom of death'.
From the Haiku to Xanadu, a well-crafted poem can speak of an experience of our world in a way that stays with us for a long time; often for life. Everyone has a poem they learned in school that holds increased sentimental importance as time goes by.
The ability of words and language to define us and the poet’s ability to harness it are what makes poetry such a powerful genre. The field is huge, the subjects covered too numerous to list. From the fields of Flanders to the kitchen sink there are poems that encapsulate all of human life. Funny, thought-provoking, challenging, evocative, story-telling, satire and tribute. All are here. Why not use our special recommendations to find something to inspire you today?