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5 Poems for National Poetry Day

National Poetry Day

Happy National Poetry Day! To celebrate we’ve selected five of our finest poetry collections to share with you.

 

 

FELICITY

by Mary Oliver

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver celebrates love, life and beauty in a collection publishes for the first time in the UK.

 

‘And just like that, like a simple
neighbourhood event, a miracle is
taking place.’

‘If I have any secret stash of poems, anywhere, it might be about love, not anger,’
 Mary Oliver once said in an interview. Finally, in Felicity, we can immerse ourselves in Oliver’s love poems. Here, great happiness abounds.

Our most delicate chronicler of physical landscape, Oliver has described her work as loving the world. With Felicity she examines what it means to love another person. She opens our eyes again to the territory within our own hearts; to the wild and to the quiet. In these poems, she describes – with joy – the strangeness and wonder of human connection.

 

THERE ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAN BEYONCE

by Morgan Parker

Morgan Parker’s highly anticipated, fierce new collection of poetry uses political and pop-cultural references as a framework to explore 21st century black womanhood and its complexities

 

The only thing more beautiful than Beyoncé is God, and God is a black woman sipping rosé and drawing a lavender bath, texting her mom, belly-laughing in the therapist’s office, feeling unloved, being on display, daring to survive. Morgan Parker stands at the intersections of vulnerability and performance, of desire and disgust, of tragedy and excellence. Unrelentingly feminist, tender, ruthless and sequinned, these poems are an altar to the complexities of black American womanhood in an age of non-indictments and déjà vu, and a time of wars over bodies and power. These poems celebrate and mourn. They are a chorus chanting: You’re gonna give us the love we need.

‘Outstanding collection of poems. So much soul. So much intelligence in how Parker folds in cultural references and the experiences of black womanhood. Every poem will get its hooks into you. And of course, the poems about Beyoncé are the greatest because Beyoncé is our queen’
Roxane Gay, author of Bad Feminist

 

 

IF THEY COME FOR US

by Fatimah Asghar

Poet and co-creator of the Emmy-nominated web series Brown Girls captures her experience as a Pakistani Muslim woman in contemporary America, while exploring identity, violence, and healing.

an aunt teaches me how to tell
an edible flower
from a poisonous one.
just in case, I hear her say, just in case.

Orphaned as a child, Fatimah Asghar grapples with coming of age and navigating questions of sexuality and race without the guidance of a mother or father. These poems at once bear anguish, joy, vulnerability, and compassion, while also exploring the many facets of violence: how it persists within us, how it is inherited across generations, and how it manifests itself in our relationships. In experimental forms and language both lyrical and raw, Asghar seamlessly braids together marginalized people’s histories with her own understanding of identity, place, and belonging.

 

 

THE TREES, THE TREES

by Heather Christle

‘Heather Christle’s poems may well be one of the places readers turn when they want to know what it was like to be young and paying attention in the early 21st century . . . Her poems are wide awake’ Mark Doty

 

In The Trees The Trees, each new line is a sharp turn toward joy and heartbreak, and each poem unfolds like a bat through the wild meaninglessness of the world.

‘At least once per poem, you feel like the triple-bars just lined up in the slot machine window and you laugh or cry out’ John Darnielle

‘Ecstatic, breathless, full of incandescent humour and wonder . . . Read and love her seemingly spontaneous utterances, spun from her rapt attention to daily life, nature, solitude, romance, to her own reeling and enchanting imagination’ Cathy Park Hong

‘Heather Christle’s poems are magical’ James Tate

 

 

BRUTE

by Emily Skaja
‘Taut, ferocious . . . This is a book about survival, and a welcome, confident debut’ New York Times Book Review

 

Emily Skaja’s debut collection is a fiery, hypnotic book that confronts the dark questions and menacing silences around gender, sexuality and violence. Brute arises, brave and furious, from the dissolution of a relationship, showing how such endings necessitate self-discovery and reinvention. The speaker of these poems is a sorceress, a bride, a warrior, a lover, both object and agent, ricocheting among ways of knowing and being known. Each incarnation squares itself up against ideas of feminine virtue and sin, strength and vulnerability, love and rage, as it closes in on a hard-won freedom.

Brute is absolutely sure of its capacity to insist not only on the truth of what it says but on the truth of its right to say it. ‘What am I supposed to say: I’m free?’ the first poem asks. The rest of the poems emphatically discover new ways to answer. This is a timely winner of the Walt Whitman Award, and an introduction to an unforgettable voice.

 

 

You can find out about more of our poetry here.