New and forthcoming

The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem

Jeremy Noel-Tod

The last decades have seen an explosion of the prose poem. More and more writers are turning to this peculiarly rich and flexible form; it defines Claudia Rankine's Citizen, one of the most talked-about books of recent years, and many others, such as Sarah Howe's Loop of Jade and Vahni Capildeo's Measures of Expatriation, make extensive use of it. Yet this fertile mode which in its time has drawn the likes of Charles Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein and Seamus Heaney remains, for many contemporary readers, something of a mystery.

The history of the prose poem is a long and fascinating one. Here, Jeremy Noel-Tod reconstructs it for us by selecting the essential pieces of writing - by turns luminous, brooding, lamentatory and comic - which have defined and developed the form at each stage, from its beginnings in nineteenth-century France, through the twentieth-century traditions of Britain and America and beyond the English language, to the great wealth of material written internationally since 2000. Comprehensively told, it yields one of the most original and genre-changing anthologies to be published for some years, and offers readers the chance to discover a diverse range of new poets and new kinds of poem, while also meeting famous names in an unfamiliar guise.

The House with Only an Attic and a Basement

Kathryn Maris

'But back to the summer day the spike
grazed my brother's scalp: I slept beside him
in his racing car bed and my father woke me
and slapped my face, thinking, I assume, of sex,
whereas I was already thinking about death.'

Urban, suburban, observant, obsessive and wickedly witty, the poems in Kathryn Maris's third book range over such subjects as parenthood, marriage, adultery, the politics of children's sports contests, female incarceration and psychoanalysis. The House with Only an Attic and a Basement is that rare thing: a darkly funny collection of poems that courses with keen intelligence, yet carries its sophistication lightly so that it is a pleasure to stride along with every poem.

Don't Call Us Dead

Danez Smith

Award-winning poet Danez Smith is a groundbreaking force, celebrated for deft lyrics, urgent subjects, and performative power. Don’t Call Us Dead opens with a heartrending sequence that imagines an afterlife for black men shot by police, a place where suspicion, violence, and grief are forgotten and replaced with the safety, love, and longevity they deserved back here on earth. Smith turns then to desire, mortality—the dangers experienced in skin and body and blood—and a diagnosis of HIV positive. “Some of us are killed / in pieces,” Smith writes, “some of us all at once.” Don’t Call Us Dead is an astonishing and ambitious collection, one that confronts, praises, and rebukes America—“Dear White America”—where every day is too often a funeral and not often enough a miracle.

history is what it is. it knows what it did.
bad dog. bad blood. bad day to be a boy

color of a July well spent. but here, not earth
not heaven, we can’t recall our white shirts

turned ruby gowns. here, there’s no language
for officer or law, no color to call white.

if snow fell, it’d fall black. please, don’t call
us dead, call us alive someplace better.

we say our own names when we pray.
we go out for sweets & come back.

—from “summer, somewhere”

One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each

Peter MacMillan (and others)

A prize-winning translation of the most widely known and popular collection of Japanese poetry.

Hyakunin Isshu is the most famous and popular collection of Japanese poetry, and the first work of Japanese literature ever to be translated into English. Compiled in the fourteenth century, the book is a collection of one hundred waka poems (a precursor of haiku), dating back to the seventh century. It's had a huge influence on Japanese culture ever since it was first published, and is considered one of the three most important works of Japanese classical literature along with The Tale of Genji and Tales of Ise.

The Poetry Pharmacy

William Sieghart

As heard on BBC Radio 4, the essential prescriptions from William Sieghart's poetic dispensary

When we're grieving, when we're broken-hearted, and when we find ourselves struggling to understand the things we're feeling, we long for the connection poetry can provide. To find the right poem at that crucial moment, one capable of expressing our situation with considerably more elegance than we could muster ourselves, is to discover a powerful sense of complicity, and that precious realization: I'm not the only one who feels like this.

In the years since he first had the idea of prescribing short, powerful poems for all manner of spiritual ailments, William Sieghart has taken his Poetry Pharmacy around the length and breadth of Britain, into the pages of the Guardian, onto BBC Radio 4 and onto the television, honing his prescriptions all the time. This pocket-sized book presents the most essential poems in his dispensary: those which, again and again, have really shown themselves to work. Whether you are suffering from loneliness, lack of courage, heartbreak, hopelessness, or even from an excess of ego, there is something here to ease your pain.

Bone

Yrsa Daley-Ward (and others)

'yrsa daley-ward's 'bone' is a symphony of breaking and mending. an expert storyteller. of the rarest. and purest kind - daley-ward is uncannily attentive and in tune to the things beneath life. beneath the skin. beneath the weather of the everyday.' nayyirah waheed. author of salt. and nejma

'You will come away bruised.
You will come away bruised
but this will give you poetry.'

Raw and stark, the poems in Yrsa Daley-Ward's breakthrough collection strip down her reflections on the heart, life, the inner self, coming of age, faith and loss to their essence. They resonate to the core of experience.

'Sharing is her form of survival ... A powerful collection of a woman facing tumultuous inner and external battles head on, delivered with a hard-hitting directness, yet with inflections of optimism throughout' i-D Magazine

'Bone has been one of my favourites so far' Florence Welch

Doctor Who: Now We Are Six Hundred

James Goss (and others)

I went into a box and it wasn’t a box.
I asked the box to go wandering.
We could go to planets
We could visit stars
Or Tuesday.
That box could go anywhere at all.

And so we did.


A magical collection of fifty poems inspired by the world of Doctor Who.

The Language of Flowers

The language of flowers is as old as language itself. In the earliest poetry familiar plants were used to represent simple emotions, ideas, or states of mind: love, hope, despair, fidelity, solitude, beauty, mortality. Over time these associations entwined with myth and legend, with religious symbolism, folk and herbal lore. By the early 19th century the 'Language of Flora' had become increasingly refined, especially in England and America, where sentimental flower books listing flower meanings and illustrating them with verse were perennial bestsellers.

The Everyman Language of Flowers without sacrificing the charm of its Victorian predecessors aims to provide extended, updated and rather more robust floral anthology for the 21st century, presenting poetry from ancient Greece to contemporary Britain and America, and spanning the world from Cuba to Korea, Russia to Zimbabwe.

Here are Rumi and Rilke on the rose; Herrick and Louise Glück on the lily; Chaucer, Emily Dickinson and Jon Silkin on the daisy; Mary Robinson and Ted Hughes on the snowdrop; Lorenzo de Medici, John Clare and Alice Oswald on the violet; Hugo and Roethke on carnations; Ovid and Goethe on poppies; Blake and Eugenio Montale on the sunflower; Christina Rossetti on heartsease and forget-me-nots; Emily Brontë on harebells and heather, Seamus Heaney on lupins, Pasternak on night-scented stock...

Eastern cultures, rich in flower associations, are well represented: there are Tang poems celebrating chrysanthemums and peonies, Zen poems about orchids and lotus flowers, poems about jasmine and marigolds from India, roses, tulips and narcissi from Persia, the Ottoman empire and the Arabic world.

Flowers are arranged by season, with roses and lilies in a section of their own. In a final section poets comment directly or indirectly on the language of flowers itself. The book concludes with a selected glossary drawn from several celebrated Victorian collections.

Poems of Gratitude

Emily Fragos

For centuries poets in all the world's cultures have offered eloquent thanks and praise for the earth and its people. Both an emotion and a conscious practice, gratitude is a cherishing of what is over what has been or could be. It celebrates the joy in our lives while acknowledging the sorrows and losses that give that joy its keenness. The voices collected here range from Horace to Herrick, from Wordsworth and Keats, Yeats and Frost, to Czeslaw Milosz, Constantine Cavafy, Primo Levi, Langston Hughes, Anne Sexton, Nikki Giovanni, and many many more. Devotional lyrics drawn from the major religious traditions offer their perspectives, alongside poetic tributes to autumn and the harvest season that draw our attention to nature's bounty and poignant beauty as winter approaches.

Three Russian Fairy Tales

Alexander Pushkin (and others)

Alexander Pushkin, Russia's greatest poet, was fascinated by Russia's folk history, adapting its fairy tales into captivating poetic versions. In the early twentieth century, the book illustrator Ivan Bilibin likewise fell under the spell of Old Russia, drawing on both folk motifs and art nouveau to produce beautiful illustrations to accompany Pushkin's poems. This irresistible new edition presents three of Pushkin's fairy tales - 'Tsar Saltan', 'A Fisherman and a Little Fish' and 'The Golden Cockerel' - in versions by the acclaimed translator Antony Wood, alongside Bilibin's sumptuous original illustrations. The result is an enchanting window into Russian poetry, fairy tales and magic.

Lyrical Ballads

William Wordsworth (and others)

Lyrical Ballads (1798) is a landmark collection of poems that marks the beginning of the English Romantic Movement in literature. Co-written by friends William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the collection broke away from traditional poetic form. Of the twenty-three poems, Wordsworth penned works such as 'Lines written a few miles above Tintern Abbey' and 'The Idiot Boy' that use colloquial speech and take the everyday as their theme. The collection also includes Coleridge's greatest poem 'The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere', a supernatural tale of a sailor's voyage.

The Temple

George Herbert

A collectible new Penguin Classics series: stunning, clothbound editions of ten favourite poets, which present each poet's most famous book of verse as it was originally published. Designed by the acclaimed Coralie Bickford-Smith and beautifully set, these slim, A format volumes are the ultimate gift editions for poetry lovers.

On his deathbed George Herbert entrusted the manuscript of The Temple to his friend Nicholas Ferrar, asking him to publish it if he thought it was worthy. Herbert died in 1633 and the collection was published the same year to great acclaim, subsequently becoming one of the best-loved collections in the English language. The Temple is an astounding collection of verse poems: an extended meditation on man's relationship to God that is characterised by Herbert's clarity and directness of style. It includes such favourites as 'The Collar', 'The Pearl' and 'Love', with its beautiful opening lines: 'Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back, / Guilty of dust and sin'.

Songs of Innocence and of Experience

William Blake

A collectible new Penguin Classics series: beautiful clothbound editions of the most famous verse collections by ten favourite poets. Designed by the acclaimed Coralie Bickford-Smith and attractively set, these slim, A format volumes are the ultimate gift editions for poetry lovers.

Songs of Innocence and Experience is one of the best-loved poetry collections of all time, an innovative and groundbreaking experiment in which Blake intertwined text and image to dazzling effect. The volume, published sometimes as two separate collections, juxtaposes the innocent world of childhood with the corrupt and repressed one of adults, and includes such favourites as 'The Lamb', 'The Chimney Sweeper' and 'The Tyger'.

Goblin Market and Other Poems

Christina Rossetti

A collectible new Penguin Classics series: stunning, clothbound editions of ten favourite poets, which present each poet's most famous book of verse as it was originally published. Designed by the acclaimed Coralie Bickford-Smith and beautifully set, these slim, A format volumes are the ultimate gift editions for poetry lovers.

Goblin Market and Other Poems was Christina Rossetti's first full volume of poetry, published in 1862. The collection received widespread critical praise and established Rossetti as the foremost female poet of her time. Tennyson, Hopkins and Swinburne all admired her work. The title poem 'Goblin Market' is arguably her most famous, a fairy tale entwining themes of sisterhood, temptation and sexuality. This collection also includes 'Up-hill', an allegorical dialogue on life and death and 'Maude Clare', a ballad of a woman scorned.

The Tower

W B Yeats

The Tower was W. B. Yeats's first major collection of poetry as Nobel Laureate after the receiving the Nobel Prize in 1923. It is considered to be one of his most influential collections. The title refers to Thoor Ballylee Castle, a Norman tower that Yeats purchased in 1917 and later restored. The Tower includes some of his greatest and most innovative poems including 'Sailing to Byzantium', a lyrical meditation on man's disillusionment with the physical world; 'Leda and the Swan', a violent and graphic take on the Greek myth of Leda and Zeus and 'Among School Children', a poetic contemplation of life, love and the creative process.

Poems

Wilfred Owen

A collectible new Penguin Classics series: stunning, clothbound editions of ten favourite poets, which present each poet's most famous book of verse as it was originally published. Designed by the acclaimed Coralie Bickford-Smith and beautifully set, these slim, A format volumes are the ultimate gift editions for poetry lovers.

Poems is Wilfred Owen's only volume of poetry, first published posthumously in 1920 and edited by his friend and mentor, Siegfried Sassoon. Owen is regarded as one of the best poets of World War I and composed nearly all of his poems in just over a year, between August 1917 and September 1918. Owen was virtually unknown at the time of his death, yet his poetic account of a soldier's experience of war has shaped our impression of the horrors of the Western Front. This collection includes the well-known 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' and 'Dulce et Decorum Est'.