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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.
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.
An ebullient collection of favourite Scottish rhymes and songs for adults to read to their children. These verses show how the old rhymes are still popular with children – despite the arrival of newer technologies - and that they are inspiring the creation of new versions with a contemporary twist. Armed with this collection no adult will ever be short of a rhyme or a song!
Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2014. When Chaucer composed Troilus and Criseyde he gave us, some say, his finest poem, and with it one of the most captivating love stories ever written. A Double Sorrow, Lavinia Greenlaw's new work, takes its title from the opening line of that poem in a fresh telling of this most tortured of love affairs. Set against the Siege of Troy, A Double Sorrow is the story of Trojan hero Troilus and his beloved Criseyde, whose traitorous father has defected to the Greeks and has persuaded them to ask for his daughter in an exchange of prisoners. In an attempt to save her, Troilus suggests that Criseyde flees the besieged city with him, but she knows that she will be universally condemned and looks instead to a temporary measure: pretending to submit to the exchange, while promising Troilus that she will return to him within ten days. But once in the company of the Greeks she soon realises the impossibility of her promise to Troilus, and in despair succumbs to another. Lavinia Greenlaw's pinpoint retelling of this heart-wrenching tale is neither a translation nor strictly a 'version' of Chaucer's work, but instead creates something new: a sequence of glimpses from the medieval poem that refine the psychological drama of the classical story through a process of detonation or amplification of image and phrase into original poems. In a series of skillfully crafted seven-line vignettes, the author creates a zoetrope that serves to illuminate the intensity with which these characters argue each other and themselves into and out of love. The result is a breathtaking and shattering read -contemporary and timeless - that builds into an unforgettable telling of this most heartbreaking of love stories.
Winner of the Costa Poetry Award 2014. The superheroes in question are a motley crew. Evel Knievel, Sophia Loren, Ian Rush, Marty McFly, a bicycling nun and a recalcitrant hippo - all leap from these pages and jostle for position, alongside valleys mams, dads and bamps, described with great warmth. Other poems focus on the crammed terraces and abandoned high streets where a working-class and Welsh nationalist politics is hammered out. This is a post-industrial valleys upbringing re-imagined through the prism of pop culture and surrealism. If the author's subjects have something in common with RS Thomas, or even Terry Street-era Douglas Dunn, his technique and approach owe at least as much to contemporary American poets like James Tate and David Wojahn.
This is shortlisted for the 2014 T.S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize for Best Collection. In this absorbing, brilliant new collection - his first since Black Cat Bone - John Burnside examines our shared experience of this mortal world: how we are 'all one breath' and - with that breath - how we must strive towards the harmony of choir. Recognising that our attitudes to other creatures - human and non-human - cause too much damage and hurt, that 'we've been going at this for years: a steady delete of anything that tells us what we are', these poems celebrate the fleeting, charged moments where, through measured and gracious encounters with other lives, we find our true selves, and bring some brief, insubstantial goodness and beauty into being. He presents the world in a series of still lifes, in tableaux vivants and tableaux morts, in laboratory tests, anatomy lessons, in a Spiegelkabinett where the reflections in the mirrors, distorted as they seem, reveal buried truths. All the images are in some sense self-portraits: all are, in some way, elegies. One of the finest and most celebrated lyric poets at work today, John Burnside is a master of the moment - when the frames of our film seem to slow and stop and a life slips through the gap in between - and each poem here is a perfect, uncanny hymn to humanity, set down 'to tell the lives of others'.
The First World War holds a unique place in the nation's history; the poetry it produced, a unique place in the nation's hearts. To mark the centenary of the First World War in 2014, the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, has engaged the most eminent poets of the present to choose the writing from the Great War that touched them most profoundly: their choices are here in this powerful and moving assembly. But this anthology is more than a record of war writing. Carol Ann Duffy has commissioned these same poets of the present to look back across the past and write a poem of their own in response to the war to end all wars.
Bethlehem is normally a quiet little town on the edge of the desert. But tonight, as dusk falls, there is a sense of something special in the air. An inn packed with revellers, shepherds sprawled on the grass, animals in their stables: everything will be changed when a bright star bearing news arrives in the sky. Carol Ann Duffy's evocative new poem will transport you to Bethlehem, capturing the sights, the sounds and the atmosphere of this ancient and magical place.
BBC Radio 4's Poetry Please is the longest-running broadcast of verse anywhere in the world. This book presents a treasure trove for our most requested and most listened to poems of all time.
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, this title includes poems that deal with everyday and universal subjects.
Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2013. This is shortlisted for the T.S Eliot prize 2013. A stone is lobbed in '84, hangs like a star over Orgreave. Welcome to Sheffield. Border-land, our town of miracles. ('Scab'). From the clash between striking miners and police to the delicate conflicts in personal relationships, Helen Mort's stunning debut is marked by distance and division. Named for a street in Sheffield, this is a collection that cherishes specificity: the particularity of names; the reflections the world throws back at us; the precise moment of a realisation.
Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2013. Renowned critic and poet Clive James presents the crowning achievement of his career: a monumental translation of Dante's Divine Comedy.
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?