New and forthcoming

playtime

Andrew McMillan

In these intimate, sometimes painfully frank poems, Andrew McMillan takes us back to childhood and early adolescence to explore the different ways we grow into our sexual selves and our adult identities. Examining our teenage rites of passage: those dilemmas and traumas that shape us – eating disorders, masturbation, loss of virginity – the poet examines how we use bodies, both our own and other people’s, to chart our progress towards selfhood.

McMillan’s award-winning debut collection, physical, was praised for a poetry that was tight and powerful, raw and tender, and playtime expands that narrative frame and widens the gaze. Alongside poems in praise of the naivety of youth, there are those that explore the troubling intersections of violence, masculinity, class and sexuality, always taking the reader with them towards a better understanding of our own physicality. ‘isn’t this what human kind was made for’, McMillan asks in one poem, ‘telling stories learning where the skin/is most in need of touch’. These humane and vital poems are confessions, both in the spiritual and personal sense; they tell us stories that some of us, perhaps, have never found the courage to read before.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Michael Smith

It is New Year at Camelot and a mysterious green knight appears at King Arthur’s court. Challenging the knights of the Round Table to a Christmas game, he offers his splendid axe as a prize to whoever is brave enough to behead him with just one strike. The condition is that his challenger must seek him out in a year and a day to have the deed returned. Sir Gawain accepts and decapitates the stranger, only to see him pick up his head, walk out of the hall and ride away on his horse. Now Gawain must complete his part of the bargain, search for his foe and confront what seems his doom…

Michael Smith’s translation of this magnificent Arthurian romance draws on his intimate experience of the North West of England and his knowledge of mediaeval history, culture and architecture. He takes us back to the original poetic form of the manuscript and brings it alive for a modern audience, while revealing the poem’s historic and literary context.

The book is beautifully illustrated by throughout with detailed recreations of the illuminated lettering in the original manuscript and the author’s own linocut prints, each meticulously researched for contemporary accuracy. This is an exciting new edition that will appeal both to students of the Gawain-poet and the general reader alike.

Emerald

Ruth Padel

An elegy to a lost mother, Emerald is the moving new collection from prize-winning poet Ruth Padel

‘Here in deep earth, the black
blossom of mourning still sifting within me
I remembered that emerald was my birthstone …’


Prize-winning poet Ruth Padel’s heartfelt new collection is a grief observed: an elegy for her mother on her death at the age of ninety-seven.

Exploring the riches of emerald lore, Padel follows the glint of green – ‘green for awakening / for bringing life back from the dead’ – from memories of her mother, a naturalist, to the black honeycomb of a Colombian emerald mine and sunset-pink of the Emerald City, Jaipur. Beneath everything shines the jewel itself, ‘the only stone in which the flaws are prized’.

Beautifully carved and cadenced, Emerald is a moving chronicle of value and loss, and a celebration of all that is precious in the life that remains.

The Republic of Motherhood

Liz Berry

*'The Republic of Motherhood' shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem*

‘I crossed the border into the Republic of Motherhood
and found it a queendom, a wild queendom.’

In this bold and resonant gathering of poems, Liz Berry turns her distinctive voice to the transformative experience of new motherhood. Her poems sing the body electric, from the joy and anguish of becoming a mother, through its darkest hours to its brightest days. With honesty and unabashed beauty, they bear witness to that most tender of times – when a new life arrives, and everything changes.

Useless Magic

Florence Welch

Lyrics and never-before-seen poetry and sketches from Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine

Songs can be incredibly prophetic, like subconscious warnings or messages to myself, but I often don't know what I'm trying to say till years later. Or a prediction comes true and I couldn't do anything to stop it, so it seems like a kind of useless magic.

'An elegant collaged scrapbook' Observer

'A treasure . . . beautiful. Generous in its honesty, by the end you feel as though you have climbed into the colourful, and sometimes tortured, world of a passionate artist' iNews

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin

Terrance Hayes

The black poet would love to say his century began
With Hughes or God forbid, Wheatley, but actually
It began with all the poetry weirdos & worriers, warriors,
Poetry whiners & winos falling from ship bows, sunset
Bridges & windows. In a second I'll tell you how little
Writing rescues.

So begins this astonishing, muscular sequence by one of America's best-selling and most acclaimed poets. Over 70 poems, each titled 'American Sonnet for my Past and Future Assassin' and shot through with the vernacular energy of popular culture, Terrance Hayes manoeuvres his way between touching domestic visions, stories of love, loss and creation, tributes to the fallen and blistering denunciations of the enemies of the good.

American Sonnets builds a living picture of the whole self, and the whole human, even as it opens to the view the dividing lines of race, gender and political oppression which define the early 21st Century. It is compassionate, hilarious, melancholy, bewildered - and unstoppably, rhythmically compelling, as few books can hope to be.

You can never have enough books…

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