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The Bronze Horseman and Other Poems

Alexander Pushkin (Author) , Antony Wood (Translator)

A new collection of Pushkin's great narrative and lyric verse, translated by Antony Wood

Pushkin's The Bronze Horseman is the second-most famous poem in Russian literature after his Eugene Onegin, and notoriously difficult to translate. This new translation, described by Robert Chandler as 'truly wonderful', is accompanied here by Pushkin's greatest shorter verses. They range from lyric poetry to narrative verse, based on traditional Russian stories of enchanted tsars and magical fish. Together, they show the dazzling range and achievement of Russia's greatest poet.

Threads: Finding pattern in the everyday

William Henry Searle (Author)

Weaving together personal stories and poems, Threads deals with the meanings of intimacy, vulnerability and our affinities with people and places, both wild and tame. It is a deep exploration of the relationships that lend quiet patterns of grace to our busy lives.

William Henry Searle casts an eye back to episodes spent in close and tender relationships with members of his family, childhood friends, dying animals, loved ones, in places that range from his father’s scrap metal yards, to the jungles of Borneo, Dartmoor, Snowdonia, and the Swiss Alps.

This is a lyrical book of the quiet conversations that nourish us, whether we are aware of them or not, celebrating the everyday patterns of connection that lend meaning to our human existence.

Vertigo & Ghost

Fiona Benson (Author)

*SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2018 FORWARD PRIZE*

Violence hangs over this book like an electric storm. Beginning with a poem about the teenage dawning of sexuality, Vertigo & Ghost pitches quickly into a long sequence of graphic, stunning pieces about Zeus as a serial rapist, for whom woman are prey and sex is weaponised. These are frank, brilliant, devastating poems of vulnerability and rage, and as Zeus is confronted with aggressions both personal and historical, his house comes crumbling down. A disturbing contemporary world is exposed, in which violent acts against women continue to be perpetrated on a daily – hourly – basis.

The book shifts, in its second half, to an intimate and lyrical document of depression and family life. It sounds out the complex and ambivalent terrain of early motherhood – its anxieties and claustrophobias as well as its gifts of tenderness and love – reclaiming the sanctuary of domestic private life, and the right to raise children in peace and safety.

Vertigo & Ghost is an important, necessary book, hugely impressive in its range and risk, and dramatic in its currency: a collection that speaks out with clarity, grace and bravery against the abuse of power.

Francis

Ann Wroe (Author)

A life of St Francis in verse


Throughout her career Ann Wroe has constantly confounded expectations, following her own unique path. Now, in Francis, she turns to verse to tell the life of St Francis of Assissi. This is a sequence only Ann Wroe could write, combining a troubadour’s musicality with full grasp of the moment, and a luminous sense of Francis as both myth and man, across history and culture, in nature and community. It is a remarkable and immensely beautiful book.

St Francis was one of the most compelling spirits the world has seen. He was also a poet, a musician and a dancer. His world was coloured by troubador lays, brightened by birdsong, ordered by the bells and chants of the Church and transfigured by the angel-lyres he heard about him. For Ann Wroe, this seems a good reason to write his life in songs. It is also an excuse to record, in songs, the many ways his presence and his music still linger round us. They surprise us in chance encounters in city streets; they waylay us amid the humdrum banalities of working life; they persist in the beauties of nature. Great spirits never leave us. They echo on and on.

Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Retold

William Shakespeare (Author) , James Anthony (Author) , Stephen Fry (Foreword by)

Rediscover the greatest love poetry ever written

‘A dazzling success’ – Stephen Fry

Shall I compare you to a summer’s day?
You’re more delightful, always shining strong;
High winds blow hard on flowering buds in May,
And summer never seems to last that long


Shakespeare’s sonnets are some of the nation’s favourite lines of verse, but the Elizabethan language can make it difficult to really understand them. Many guides offer to clarify the meaning, but lose the magic of the words by explaining them away.

James Anthony has done something boldly different.

He has rewritten the whole series of poems as sonnets using modern language, while retaining the rhythm and rhyme patterns that gives them such power. In doing so he breathes new life into the original poems and opens them up for a modern readership, demystifying Shakespeare’s eternal poetry with provocative new translations and delightful new lines.

Presented as an attractive book with the original sonnets facing their new translations, this is a stunning collection of beautiful love poems, made new.

My Poems Won't Change the World

Patrizia Cavalli (Author)

Two hours ago I fell in love
and trembled, and tremble still,
and haven't a clue whom I should tell.

Any hall she reads her poetry in is invariably filled to the gills. In Italy, Patrizia Cavalli is as beloved as Wislawa Szymborska is in Poland, and if Italy were Japan she'd be designated a national treasure. The Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben said of Cavalli that she has written 'the most intensely ethical poetry in Italian literature of the 20th century'. One could add that it is, easily, also the most sensual and comical. Though Cavalli has been widely translated into German, French, and Spanish, she remains little known in Britain; My Poems Won't Change the World is the first substantial gathering of translations of her work into the English language.

The book is made up of poems from Cavalli's collections published by Einaudi from 1974 to 2006, here translated by an illustrious group of poets including Mark Strand, Jorie Graham, Jonathan Galassi and Gini Alhadeff. Thoughtful, sly and full of life, these are poems of the self, the body, pasta, cats, the city traversed on foot or by car, and - always, and above all - love.

Tim Key's Late Night Poetry Programme: The Complete Series 1-4

Tim Key (Author), Tim Key (Read by), Tom Basden (Read by)

Tim Key is never far from stage and screen - from Peep Show to Alpha Papa to Taskmaster. But now he's back doing what he does best - attempting to recite poetry whilst tormenting his friend and musician, the equally brilliant Tom Basden.

'...You never know when Key will suddenly toss you a fantastic joke or startlingly well-constructed line.' Radio Times

'In any other sphere apart from comedy, we'd probably class this way of looking at the world as certifiable. Here it feels like genius.' The Telegraph

Advertisements for Myself

Norman Mailer (Author)

Advertisements for Myself is a comprehensive collection of the best of Norman Mailer's essays, stories, interviews and journalism from the Forties and Fifties, linked by anarchic and riotous autobiographical commentary. Laying bare the heart of a witty, belligerent and vigorous writer, this manifesto of Mailer's key beliefs contains pieces on his war experiences in the Philippines (the basis for his famous first novel The Naked and the Dead), tributes to fellow novelists William Styron, Saul Bellow, Truman Capote and Gore Vidal and magnificent polemics against pornography, advertising, drugs and politics. Also included is his notorious exposition of the phenomenon of the 'White Negro', the Beat Generation's existentialist hero whose life, like Mailer's, is 'an unchartered journey into the rebellious imperatives of the self'

The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem

Jeremy Noel-Tod (Author)

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 19th-century France, through the 20th-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 Cat in the Treble Clef

Louis de Bernières (Author)

A beautiful collection of poems from bestselling author Louis de Bernières.

From the very start of his writing career Louis de Bernières has loved poetry. Here the author of the much-loved Captain Corelli’s Mandolin returns to this first love with his third collection.

The Cat in the Treble Clef focuses on family and the connections we make, and break, with other people. There are moving poems to and about his family: his great grandmother, his mother and father and his children. There are poems about places near and far, about the passing of time, music and about love in its various forms. In this collection, de Bernières shares his passion with his readers, in a beautifully illustrated gift edition.

Green Noise

Jean Sprackland (Author)

Jean Sprackland is celebrated for her tactile, transformative poetry which makes the miraculous seem familiar and the domestic other-worldly. Her new collection is tuned to new and deeper frequencies. ‘Green noise’ is the mid-frequency component of white noise – what some have called the background noise of the world – and these poems listen for what is audible, and available to be known and understood, and what is not. Each poem is an attempt at location – in time, in place, in language. Some enquire into the natural world and our human place in it, by investigating hidden worlds within worlds: oak-apples, aphid-farms, firewood teeming with small life. Others go in search of fragments of a mythic and often brutal past: the lost haunts of childhood, abandoned villages, scraps of shared history which are only ever partially remembered. A physical relic or a mark on the landscape seems briefly to offer a portal, where a sounding is taken from present to past and back again.

Deeply engaged with the flux of the world, these poems are alert, precise and vividly memorable – listening to the ‘machine of spring/with all your levers thrown to max’, ‘hearing the long bones of the trees stretch and crack’.

The Nation's Favourite Poems

Various (Author) , Emma Fielding (Read by), Greg Wise (Read by), John Nettles (Read by), Siobhan Redmond (Read by)

In a nationwide poll to discover Britain’s favourite poem, Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’ was voted number one. This unique anthology brings together over forty poems from the poll including the top ten. Superbly read by John Nettles, Siobhan Redmond, Greg Wise and Emma Fielding, this popular collection includes many classics such as Wordsworth’s ‘The Daffodils’ and Tennyson’s ‘The Lady of Shallot’ alongside contemporary poetry such as Allan Ahlberg’s ‘Please Mrs Butler’ and Wendy Cope’s ‘Bloody Men’.

Hip Hops

Christoph Keller (Edited by)

From Li Bai's 'Bring in the Ale' to Ted Kooser's 'Beer Bottle'; from Robert Burns's' John Barleycorn' to Carol Ann Duffy's 'John Barleycorn' (no, you are not seeing double), the poems collected here attest to humankind's long and joyous (mostly) relationship with the world's most popular alcoholic beverage. A surprising number of authors, and perhaps some surprising authors, have added their tributes to the brew. Here, to name but a few, we find Charles Baudelaire, John Betjamen, William Blake, Bertolt Brecht, Raymond Carver, Amy Clampitt, Emily Dickinson, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Graves, Langston Hughes, Eric Idle, E. Nesbit, Flann O'Brien, Frank O'Hara, Sylvia Plath, Arthur RImbaud, Rumi and Hank WIlliams, all rather less than sober. Unsurprisingly, 'Anon.' is widely represented, in particularly exuberant spirits. There are recipes, and hangovers (inevitably); there's singing ... a hymn to NInkasi, ancient Sumerian goddess of beer, Prohibition protest songs and old English drinking catches; there is philosophy (of a sort), and consolation. Whether pulling up at the celestial bar in Keats's 'Mermaid Tavern' or at the grittier, jazzier one in Carl Sandburg's 'Honky Tonk in Cleveland, Ohio', lovers of beer and poetry are sure to find something to celebrate in these pages.

The Scottish Ambassador

Robert Crawford (Author)

One of Scotland’s most celebrated poets, Robert Crawford has long been a passionate and articulate ambassador for his country and its culture, its people and its landscape. The Scottish Ambassador fuses individual and communal voices in poems that resonate far beyond their points of origin. Engaging with Zoroastrian, Chinese and Greek as well as with Scottish antecedents, Crawford’s poems have an arresting range and a lyrical energy. He negotiates with intensity and wit between a deep sense of human universals and a heartfelt fidelity to individual places. Ranging from Jerusalem to Iona, New York City to Shetland, this is a collection of international range that continually zeroes in on the particular – and the particularly Scottish. At the book’s centre is a series of intimate, funny, eloquent portraits of cities which are at once remarkable public poems and outpourings of love.

Penguin Modern Poets 7

Toby Martinez de las Rivas (Author) , Geoffrey Hill (Author) , Rowan Evans (Author)

Grappling with nature, religion, violence and politics, poems of lucid intensity and astonishing power from three remarkable British poets

Geoffrey Hill (1932-2016) was often considered the greatest English-language poet of his generation.Penguin Modern Poets 7: God Is Distant gathers a selection spanning Hill's full body of poetry, from the astonishing power and compression of the first five decades to the greater experimentalism and fluency of the creative outpouring that began in 1997, and places it alongside work by two younger British poets: Rowan Evans, whose 'tirelessly inventive' and 'vivid lyrical work' (Denise Riley, Eric Gregory Award citation) plays with the legacy of late modernism to create poetry of great beauty, energy and precision; and Toby Martinez de las Rivas, whose first two collections have seen his 'visionary disposition' (Guardian) build to rhetorical heights of Blakean dimensions.

Taken together, these are poems of lucid intensity, high seriousness and knowing sidelong glances, as alert to the natural world of the British countryside as they are to the body that suffers and to questions of the soul. They take a long view of humanity's riches and crises, and consider along the way such issues as morality, faith, innocence, redemption, the public spaces of democracy and the acts of violence that rupture them, as well as that patron animal of the Modern Poets series: the urban fox.

The Half-Finished Heaven

Tomas Tranströmer (Author)

Over the course of his career, Tomas Tranströmer - a poet who could look on the barren isolation of Sweden's landscapes and seascapes like no other, and find in them something hauntingly transcendent - emerged as one of the 20th century's essential global voices. By the time he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2011, his luminous, almost mystical work had been translated into more than 50 languages.

Gathering his poems from the early, nature-focused work to the later poetry's widening of the scope to take in painting, travel, urban life, and the impositions of technology on the natural world, and stirred throughout by the poet's profound love of music, The Half-Finished Heaven is a unique selection from Tranströmer's work. It is also, in its way, a deeply intimate one: the poems hand-picked here are not only the most beloved, but also those which were translated in the course of Tranströmer's nearly thirty-year correspondence with his close friend and collaborator, the American poet Robert Bly. Few names are more strongly associated with Tranströmer's; and few people have understood not only his poetry, but the processes behind it, more profoundly. The result is perhaps the best English-language introduction to this great and strange poet's work that there could be.

playtime

Andrew McMillan (Author)

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 (Author)

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 (Author)

‘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 (Author)

‘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.

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