These newly-published poetry collections will offer a helping hand through Lockdown 2.0:
THE FIRE OF JOY Roughly Eighty Poems to Get by Heart and Say Aloud by Clive James published 1 October 2020
If you buy just one book compilation of poems, choose this one. The introduction alone by the eloquent poet himself is a joy. Clive James chose poems that he could remember and still say out loud in the final months of his life. They come alive here with anecdotal notes to accompany each poem, whether they are well-known ones such as The Kraken by Alfred Tennyson or lesser known ones such as Wild Peaches by Elinor Wylie.
The Poetry Pharmacy Returns by William Sieghart published 26 September 2019
I adored the first collection and this beautiful blue, cloth-covered book hits the mark again. Cleverly grouped into ‘cures’ to common emotional ‘ailments’ such as Loneliness, Feeling Lost, Fear of Change and many more relevant troubles. For instance, for Grief, John O’Donohue will bring comfort; or, for Unfulfilled Talents, turn to It Felt Love by Hafiz.
Dearly by Margaret Atwood published 10 November 2020
Published this week, Atwood’s latest collection of poems were written between 2008 and 2019 when ’things got darker in the world’. It is quite brilliant addressing themes of love, loss, time passing and nature. Once you’re devoured this, go back to her earlier poetry, in particular Eating Fire, which covers her poetry 1965–1995.
Home Body by Rupi Kaur published 17 November 2020
This stunning set of poems by the author of the bestsellers Milk and Honey and The Sun and Her Flowers is published this week too. She continues her ‘lessons for life’, where everyday observations will take you by surprise. A worthy companion to her other words, it is powerful reading for women of all ages.
Swimming Lessons by Lili Reinhart published 29 September 2020
Important life lessons for young women in this first collection of poems by the actress Lili Reinhart. Poems about growing up, falling down and getting back up again.
She is Fierce by Ana Sampson published 6 February 2020
This is a brilliant compilation of women’s poetry from Helen Dunmore to Pam Ayres, George Eliot to Maya Angelou. Uplifting and life-affirming; have by your side at all times.
Grimoire: New Scottish Folk Tales by Robin Robertson published 1 October 2020
A beautiful book by the author of The Long Take, which was short-listed for the Booker Prize, with stunningly original illustrations by his brother Tim. ‘Grimoire’ means literally ‘a manual of black magic’ so it’s not for the faint-hearted; it is a raw exploration of inner most fears through the mythical creatures and characters of Celtic folk tradition.
Before the Donnachaidh Falls
the river in me is black.
I am the god, the beast that leaves no prints,
the pounce of the wind on the sea, that place
where the lake darkens
and the surface breaks. I went,
taking the shape of the water.
How to Fly (In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons) by Barbara Kingsolver published 6 August 2020
I love this book, split into three sections with a marvellously – often highly amusing – first How to collection … How to be Hopeful, Married, Divorced etc … then a Making Peace poems involving coming to terms with (or not) death or friendships and finally there are odes to nature.
The Lost Spells by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris published 1 October 2020
This is the sister book to the runaway bestseller The Lost Worlds. The sumptuously illustrated pocket-sized book is brimming with joy from the animal world from the depths of the ocean to the top of the highest mountain.
Great Goddesses: Life Lessons from Myths and Monsters by Nikita Gill published 5 September 2019
This is a breathtakingly brilliant collection of poems about women empowerment, sisterhood, hardship and indignation. If you love Greek Myths, you will devour this.