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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.
From the multi-award-winning author of The Poet X and With the Fire on High comes Elizabeth Acevedo’s exceptional dual-voiced novel about loss, love and sisterhood across the sea, a story partly sparked by the fatal crash of a flight from NYC to Santo Domingo in 2001. Camino Rios has always lived in the Dominican Republic with her aunt Tia, “a woman who speaks to the dead, who negotiates with spirits”, a woman who’s like a mother to her: “Even when Mama was alive, Tia was the other mother of my heart.” Life’s not easy for them on the island, but they have it better than their neighbours as a result of Camino’s beloved Papi working in the US for most of year. To Camino, Papi is a “A king who built an empire so I’d have a throne to inherit”, and she lives for the summer months when he comes home to them. But all life is thrown into terrible disarray when she goes to meet Papi at the airport and learns that his plane has fallen from the sky, and then: “I am swallowed by this shark-toothed truth.” This story is blessed with such divinely piercing language throughout. At the same time, across the Atlantic, Yahaira Rios learns that her hero Papi has died in a plane crash. She already knew he had a wife on the island (but not of his secret daughter), and has always longed to reconcile her Dominican heritage with her American life: “Can you be from a place you have never been? You can find the island stamped all over me, but what would the island find if I was there? Can you claim a home that does not know you, much less claim you as its own?” When it emerges that Papi wishes to be buried back in DR, Yahaira’s Mami insists that she will never let her “touch foot on the sands of that tierra.” But Yahaira has other plans, not least when she’s contacted by a girl named Camino Rios who bears an undeniable resemblance to Papi, and to her too. As well as being exceptionally affecting on grief, forgiveness and family secrets, Clap When You Land is also devastatingly sharp on the exploitative tendencies of tourism. In Camino’s words: “I am from a playground place…Our land, lush and green, is bought and sold to foreign powers so they can build luxury hotels...Even the women, girls like me, our mothers and tias, our bodies are branded jungle gyms…Who reaps? Who eats? Not us. Not me.” Overflowing with truths of the heart, and truths about inequalities that need to be broken, while also addressing the complexities of what it means to be of a place, I can’t praise this highly enough. Read our 'Book-aneers of the Caribbean' listicle to find more unforgettable books by Caribbean writers. Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.
From the beginning, the poet was a wanderer, a storyteller, an imaginer of bridges between worlds. Zaffar Kunial is just such a poet and guide for us today. Yet his territory extends much further afield than those of the past - through Kashmir, where his father was born and now lives, to the Midlands of his mother's birth, and further north to ancestors in Orkney, as well as through language, memory and time. Already an acknowledged star of the Faber New Poets scheme, Kunial has won admirers in such measure as to ensure that Us is one of the most anticipated debuts in recent times. Across its pages, he vocalises what it means to be a human being planting your two feet upon the dizzying earth - and he does so delicately, urgently, intimately - in some of the most original and touching ways that you will read.
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.
A distillation of prescriptions given – and taken – on William Sieghart’s online Poetry Pharmacy. No harm to be got from these prescriptions, instead there is comfort, love, advice and experience aplenty. I was immediately taken by the poems of Hafiz, a C14 Persian poet, short sublime poems, had to google to find more so a poets index would have been useful. As anthologies such as this are useful springboards, short author biographies would too have been welcomed. Overall though, a calming collection of words for troubled souls and lovely to have a cloth bound book to treasure. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading: Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times by Neil Astley The Novel Cure: An A to Z of Literary Remedies by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin
Cope's mordant humour and formal ingenuity are in evidence, even as she remembers the wounds of a damaging childhood; and in poems about love and the inevitable problems of aging she achieves an intriguing blend of sadness and joy. Two very different sets of commissioned poems round off a remarkable volume, whose opening poem sounds clearly the profound note of compassion which underlies the whole.
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.
July 2011 Guest Editor Alexander McCall Smith on Poems... In my view Auden is without equal among twentieth century poets. His is a profound voice, full of insight and wisdom. This is a handsome edition of his work. I first picked Auden’s Collected Shorter Poems off the shelf of a library. I had no idea at the time that this book would influence me so much. In fact, I think it changed my life, in that it very profoundly affected my outlook on so many things. Now I press that volume into the hands of anybody who asks me what to read.
In 'New Beginnings' Victoria Day-Joel chronicles some of the more important recent events in her life in verse. From finally meeting her 'man of the earth, mind of the universe' to looking for her 'home in the sun.....my new beginning' the poems describe the development of her relationship and the processes in her decision to move abroad in intimate and relatable detail. Each individual poem is followed by an eloquent explanation of the circumstances that gave rise to it. I really enjoyed the honesty and beauty of these verses and their imagery and I think readers will be left hoping that she successfully makes the move to Spain in the search for her spiritual home. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
Poetry Inspired By Oliver Fantasy & Friendship is a collection of poems I’m sure a lot of us have felt we could have written at one point in our lives or another. Following the thread of an unrequited or, as it says in the synopsis, “perhaps unrecognised” love. This collection of poems cover meeting, getting to know and desiring a person, her muse, as well as including brief italicised comments about the feelings or events that inspired the poem above. These are written quite poetically themselves. This is an indulgent collection of poetry that explores both friendship and sensual/erotic desires for a person. I think that most people will be able to find something to relate to although there is certainly bravery and honesty here in publishing these poems for all to read. There is a part of me that wonders whether Oliver is a real person and how he feels about these poems and that fact that they have been published. The tone of the collection reminds me of Andrew Lincoln’s character in Love Actually. I think there’s an argument to be had for whether these poems are a romantic gesture or perhaps should remain as private thoughts, and I think it depends on whether these poems are inspired by one person, and what their reaction is. I’m undecided about where I fall on that spectrum of debate, but taking the poetry collection on its own, I admire the vulnerability required to share these private thoughts with us and I like how it creatively explores the themes of unrequited love. This is a poetry collection that is quick and easy to get through to form your own reaction.
Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2006. Costa Book Awards 2006 Judges' comment: "Fierce poems with striking imagery and fine control of pace and tone."
The Forward Book of Poetry 2019 brings together the best poetry published in the British Isles over the last year, including the winners of the 2018 Forward Prizes. In showcasing the range and ambition of today's fresh voices alongside new work by familiar names, this anthology is a perfect introduction to contemporary poetry. 'The Forward Prizes are invaluable in finding the most essential, exciting voices, highlighting the contemporary poets who are at the top of their game and whose words will travel far and reach many readers.' Bidisha, chair of judges, Forward Prizes for Poetry 2018.
'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.
Through a programme of mentorship, bursary and pamphlet publication, the Faber New Poets scheme offers four poets a year the time, guidance and encouragement they require to help in the development of their work in the longer term. In 2010, the awarded poets are Joe Dunthorne, Annie Katchinska, Sam Riviere and Tom Warner.
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?