Modern and contemporary poetry (c 1900 onwards)

Such a Sweet Singing

Such a Sweet Singing

Author: Kirsty Gunn Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/04/2022

Complied by novelist and short story writer Kirsty Dunn, with its title taken from a Gertrude Stein poem, Such a Sweet Singing is a soul-stirring collection of poems that have been chosen for their power to empower women. Sharing female voices that sing through the centuries - from Sappho through to contemporary writers - it’s a volume to savour and return to. A book to share and gift.  As Dunn sets out in her lucid, rousing introduction, “we go to poetry to be nourished”, and so she’s selected poems that might nourish women from all walks of life - women of “all ages and backgrounds”. The selections have been smartly themed, with chapters covering Courage, Love, Imagination, Family, Home, and Life, and every spread supplemented by stylish, unobtrusive illustrations. Possessing the sway to slow us down, fire us up, and spark meaningful reflection, Such a Sweet Singing is a book worth shouting about, whispering with, and treasuring. 

Books of the Month
Call Us What We Carry

Call Us What We Carry

Author: Amanda Gorman Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/12/2021

In 2021, Amanda Gorman delivered the inaugural poem on the day Joe Biden became President and became about as famous as a poet can be. This poetry collection is the follow up to that award-winning The Hill We Climb she delivered that day which received critical acclaim and international recognition. She was a ray of sunshine in her yellow suit. I was spellbound, and I’ll be honest, frantically googling her to find out more about her. On the cover of Call Us What We Carry Malala Yousafzai says: "this is a book of poetry so alive you want to hold it and protect it, to read it all at once and then immediately read it again." And I couldn’t agree more. Call Us What We Carry is dedicated to all of us "both hurting and healing who choose to carry on". It features 70 poems which talk about the collective grief of a global pandemic as well as touching upon the themes of race, identity, grief. The book closes with The Hill We Climb. The poems enclosed within are hopeful. They are powerful. They are beautiful. They are honest. It’s all so powerfully and beautifully structured and cleverly presented and her poems feature wonderful wordplay.  They shout out to be read aloud. And I found myself doing just that during the several times I have already read it. Gorman revisits history throughout the book, speaking about living through the pandemic and linking it back to historical times. Referring back to the inspirations for the poetry. It feels very intimate whilst so all-encompassing and so very timely. Of now.

All The Names Given

All The Names Given

Author: Raymond Antrobus Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/09/2021

Raymond Antrobus's astonishing debut collection, The Perseverance, won both Rathbone Folio Prize and the Ted Hughes Award, amongst many other accolades; the poet's much anticipated second collection, All The Names Given, continues his essential investigation into language, miscommunication, place, and memory. Throughout, All The Names Given is punctuated with [Caption Poems] partially inspired by Deaf sound artist Christine Sun Kim, which attempt to fill in the silences and transitions between the poems, as well as moments inside and outside of them. Direct, open, formally sophisticated, All The Names Given breaks new ground both in form and content: the result is a timely, humane and tender book from one of the most important young poets of his generation.

The Heeding

The Heeding

Author: Rob Cowen, Nick Hayes Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/06/2021

A year of looking, listening and noticing across four unique seasons and thirty-five beautifully illustrated poems. The world changed in 2020. Gradually at first, then quickly and irreversibly, the patterns by which we once lived altered completely. The Heeding paints a picture of a year caught in the grip of history, yet filled with revelatory perspectives close at hand: a sparrowhawk hunting in a back street; the moon over a town with a loved-one's hand held tight; butterflies massing in a high-summer yard - the everyday wonders and memories that shape a life and help us recall our own. Across four seasons and thirty-five luminous poems and illustrations, Rob Cowen and Nick Hayes lead us on a journey that takes its markers and signs from nature and a world filled with fear and pain but beauty and wonder too. Collecting birds, animals, trees and people together, The Heeding is a profound meditation to a time no-one will forget. At its heart, this is a book that helps us look again, to heed: to be attentive to this world we share and this history we're living through, to be aware of how valuable and fragile we are, to grieve what's lost and to hope for a better and brighter tomorrow.

A Blood Condition

A Blood Condition

Author: Kayo Chingonyi Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/04/2021

The moving, expansive, and dazzling second collection from award-winning poet Kayo Chingonyi Kayo Chingonyi's remarkable second collection follows the course of a 'blood condition' as it finds its way to deeply personal grounds. From the banks of the Zambezi river to London and Leeds, these poems speak to how distance and time, nations and history, can collapse within a body. With astonishing lyricism and musicality, this is a story of multiple inheritances -- of grief and survival, renewal and the painful process of letting go -- and a hymn to the people and places that run in our blood.

The Hill We Climb

The Hill We Climb

Author: Amanda Gorman Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/03/2021

On 20 January 2021, Amanda Gorman spoke a message of truth and hope to millions. Aged twenty-two, she delivered a poetry reading at the inauguration of US President Joe Biden. Her poem, 'The Hill We Climb', addressed the country and reached across the world: a call for a brave future. This special edition, which includes an enduring foreword by Oprah Winfrey, marks that poem and offers us courage, consolation and the inspiration to make change.

Eat Or We Both Starve

Eat Or We Both Starve

Author: Victoria Kennefick Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/03/2021

Shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize 2021. Victoria Kennefick's daring first book, Eat or We Both Starve, draws readers into seemingly recognisable set-pieces - the family home, the shared meal, the rituals of historical occasions, desire - but Kennefick forges this material into new shapes, making them viable again for exploring what it is to live with the past - and not to be consumed by it. Rebecca Goss writes: 'Victoria Kennefick writes with a fresh urgency, giving us poems that are honest and fearless. She once said: Poetry has saved my life, made my life. Reading and writing it have taught me bravery and discipline. Kennefick is unafraid to explore bereavement, sex and the female body in her poetry. She writes with a visceral originality. Her poems are rich with physical sensations. She is able to find beauty in the big subjects like sorrow and desire, offering us the finest, most startling details. Her identity as a young Irish woman is hugely important to her, something she explores with intelligence and candour. I have always felt there is nothing Victoria could not tackle. The scope in her work is exhilarating.'

A Scattering and Anniversary

A Scattering and Anniversary

Author: Christopher Reid Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/08/2019

This edition brings together A Scattering and Anniversary into a single book of lamentation and remembrance, its subject being Christopher Reid's wife, the actress Lucinda Gane, who died of cancer at the age of fifty-five. A Scattering was first published in the UK in 2009 to wide acclaim, winning the Costa Book of the Year Award. This moving and fiercely self-reflective collection is divided into four poetic sequences. The first was written during a holiday a few months before Gane's death with the knowledge that the end was approaching; the second recalls her last courageous weeks, spent in a hospice in London; the third continues the exploration of bereavement from a variety of perspectives; and the fourth addresses her directly, celebrating her life, personality and achievements. Pairing A Scattering for the first time with Anniversary, which was written to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Gane's death, this volume brings Reid into dialogue, again, with the wife he loved. A moving exploration of the stages of grief and how the 'weighty emptinesses' that remain after bereavement change us, A Scattering and Anniversary show us what it means to love, lose and - forever changed - continue on.

Deaf Republic

Deaf Republic

Author: Ilya Kaminsky Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/06/2019

BBC Radio 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK FORWARD PRIZE 2019 SHORTLIST POETRY BOOK SOCIETY CHOICE 2019 The long-awaited new collection from Ilya Kaminsky: a remarkable parable in poems which asks us, what is silence? Deaf Republic opens in a time of political unrest in an occupied territory. It is uncertain where we are or when, in what country or during what conflict, but we come to recognise that these events are also happening here, right now. This astonishing parable in poems unfolds episodically like a play, its powerful narrative provoked by a tragic opening scene: when soldiers breaking up a protest kill a deaf boy, the gunshot becomes the last thing the citizens hear - in that moment, all have gone deaf. Inside this silence, their dissent becomes coordinated by sign language. The story then follows the private lives of townspeople encircled by public violence: a newly married couple, Alfonso and Sonya, expecting their child; the daring Momma Galya, instigating the insurgency from her puppet theatre; and Galya's puppeteers, covertly teaching signs by day and by night heroically luring soldiers one by one to their deaths behind the curtain. At once a love story, an elegy, and an urgent plea, Deaf Republic confronts our time's vicious atrocities and our collective silence in the face of them.