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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.
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prose - recollections, reviews and essays from the light-hearted to the serious, taken from a lifetime of published and unpublished work, and all with Cope's lightness of touch.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'.
Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2014. In The Stairwell, his tenth collection, Michael Longley's themes and forms reach a new intensity. The second part of the book is a powerful sequence of elegies for his twin brother, Peter, and the dominant mood elsewhere is elegiac. The title poem begins: 'I have been thinking about the music for my funeral ...' The two parts are also linked by Homer. Longley is well-known for his Homeric versions, and the Iliad is a presiding presence - both in poems about the Great War and in the range of imagery that gives his twin's death a mythic dimension. Yet funeral music can be life-affirming. Longley has built this collection on intricate doublings, not only when he explores the tensions of twinship. The psychologically suggestive word 'stairwell' is itself an ambiguous compound. These poems encompass birth as well as death, childhood and age, nature and art, the animal and human worlds, tenderness and violence, battlefield and 'homeland'.
Winner of the T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2014. Throughout the book - in the stark biography of 'Songs from the Same Earth', the troubling fractured narrative of 'A Dream Book', the harrowing lines of connection in four poems each titled 'Fire', or the cheek-by-jowl shudder of 'Sang the Rat' - Harsent writes, as always, with passion and a sureness of touch.
There are all the famous frontline poets - including Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon and Edward Thomas - but also civilians writing from the Home Front, including Rudyard Kipling and Vera Brittain. The poems are organised into themed chapters, ranging from the war in the air to the impact on families and sweethearts and even the contribution of animals. Two of the poems are previously unpublished gems by an airman called Eric Simson.
Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2014. 'Making is our defence against the dark...' Through images of conflict and craftsmanship, Ruth Padel's powerful new poems address the Middle East, tracing a quest for harmony in the midst of destruction. An oud, the central instrument of Middle Eastern music , is made and broken. An ancient synagogue survives attacks, a Palestinian boy in a West Bank refugee camp learns capoeira, and a guide shows us Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity during a siege. At the heart of the book are Christ's last words from the Cross. Uniting this moving collection is the common ground shared by Judaism, Christianity and Islam: a vision of human life as pilgrimage and struggle but also as music and making. With care and empathy, Ruth Padel suggests how rifts in the Holy Land speak to conflict in our own hearts. 'We identify. Some chasm / through the centre must be in and of us all.'
Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2014. Winner of the 2014 Forward Prize for Best Collection. We watch as the cartographer, used to the scientific methods of assuming control over a place by mapping it, is gradually compelled to recognize--even to envy--a wholly different understanding of place, as he tries to map his way to the rastaman's eternal city of Zion. As the book unfolds the cartographer learns that, on this island of roads that constrict like throats, every place-name comes freighted with history, and not every place that can be named can be found.
Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2014. This is shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. The poems move on archaeological fast-forward from submerged Devonian forests and a Paleolithic cave-bear skull to the site of decommissioned submarines at HMNB Devonport, where the sea is 'still a torpedo-path, / an Armageddon road'. She explores the shared human continuum of bodily longing - from the Prehistoric maker of a wooden fertility fetish, to a modern-day couple wading through summer pollen - and the timeless cycles of conception, birth and child-rearing. A central sequence of dramatic monologues addressed to Van Gogh allows for a focussed exploration of depression, violence, passion and creativity. In these poems, as in all the poems in this impressive debut, we feel keenly the sense of life lived at the edge of threat - catastrophe, even - but also on the cusp of beauty and happiness. Other poems about the bewildering loss of miscarriage are hard to read and impossible to forget, moving with grace and authority through great grief to arrive at a hard-won destination of selfless, unqualified love. 'I remember again the corridor of the labour ward and that woman sitting weeping with her man having given birth to a death small grey face, no breath, something you cannot help but love - habibi, akushla, I go home alone but carry you, courie you, little slipped thing, to the ends of the earth.'
Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2014. LETTER COMPOSED DURING A LULL IN THE FIGHTING captures the many moments that comprise a soldier's life: driving down the Texas highway; waiting for the unknown in the dry Iraq heat; writing a love letter; listening to a mother recount her dreams. Written with honesty and insight, these poems strive to make sense of war and its echoes through human experience. Just as THE YELLOW BIRDS was hailed as the 'first literary masterpiece produced by the Iraq war,' (Los Angeles Times) this collection will prove to be a powerful, enduring classic.
Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2014. Hugo Williams is rightly cherished for his inimitable fusion of autobiography and irony, and a technical glide that allows his writing to 'slip back to the past as effortlessly as a dreamer' (The Times). I Knew the Bride is Williams' eleventh collection of poems, and his first since West End Final was shortlisted for both the T. S. Eliot and Forward prizes for poetry in 2009. This new volume bears - and lays bare - those qualities that have become so characteristic of his work: his unflinching survey of his childhood and adult life alike, alighting on moments of vivacity from his upbringing in a theatrical family in the 1940s and 50s (the title poem a touching tribute to his late sister) through to the romantic peaks and pains of his adult years. Straight-talking, self-deprecating and funny, these recklessly accountable inspections are set against a Williams-esk miscellany of day-to-day backdrops that readers have come to treasure: of record collections, kitchen sinks, shopping bicycles, hotels, bedrooms.
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?