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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.
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'.
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.'
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?