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Poetry from the UK & Ireland

Over 150 titles of contemporary poetry from the UK and Ireland.

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Showing 1 - 10 of 222 results
Time Begins to Hurt

Pippa Little

Time Begins to Hurt

Time Begins to Hurt responds to our extraordinary times of pandemic, refugee migration and species extinction. The poems interweave the intimate and the worldly to explore growing older and the sometimes unlikely or surprising connections which sustain us.

In a book by Pippa Little I know I will find the kind of directness one can trust. So I wasn’t at all surprised when I opened Time Begins to Hurt on a poem called ‘Churchyard’, and immediately found myself confronted with memory and a sense of recognition that was another’s and yet all too real. That is what Pippa Little does so well. And she does it with wide range, with different modes and various poetics… Which is to say, we recognise ourselves in these pages, our days, our questions. And the pages fortify. Why? Because these are honest, very moving and beautiful poems.

Ilya Kaminsky

I love this book – it’s fierce bright poems with their fierce bright women. Scattered throughout are lines and images I will carry with me as touchstones, reminders of what makes for good poetry… So many of her poems have a physical, visceral quality which lifts them clean off the page and into your palm. The world of Little’s poems is a dark one where ‘the harm / the damage’ we humans inflict, on the environment and on one another, is rendered unflinchingly. Love is present too, often inextricably bound up with the pain it can cause, but expressed in such startling language, it is its own reward.

Esther Morgan
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No Cherry Time

Jennie Feldman

No Cherry Time

In its geographical sweep – from Israel-Palestine ("Where a hillside's being shaken /out of the dream") westward across Europe – No Cherry Time reflects a personal tale of estrangement, departure and quest. Fine-tuned to the natural world, sustained by its fragile continuities, the poems play out a restive music. As the focus comes to settle on Greece, it is above all the Mediterranean ("Sea Between the Lands") that buoys the imaginative spirit, blurring East and West.

A beautiful and extraordinary piece of work, written with such attentiveness to the world, to sound, to the poetic legacy. Many of the poems are touched with sharp sadness, a deep and philosophical awareness of how things are. Human politics, especially in the potent opening poems, speak through the natural world. Finely crafted, meticulously written and trimmed down to the essence of observation and emotion – I don’t read much in contemporary poetry that is so hard won. Time and time again I was struck by the power of individual poems, but simultaneously by their lightness and wryness.

Sasha Dugdale

Jennie Feldman’s writing has an exactitude of word to thought, thought to feeling, that makes her poetry entirely her own, fed as it is by so many different cultures and traditions. As a translator and as a citizen of the world, she travels between languages, histories and places. But her poetry brings something into English that was not here before.

Patrick McGuinness
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Harald in Byzantium

Kevin Crossley-Holland

Harald in Byzantium

The Viking Harald Hardrada was the greatest warrior of his age. After fighting in Russia and serving in the Varangian Guard in Byzantium, he returned to Norway in 1045 to contest, and win, the crown. He was killed at the battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066.

In this sequence of short poems, Kevin Crossley-Holland assumes the persona of Harald during his formative years in Byzantium and writes about his engagement with warfare, leadership and love. Chris Riddell’s striking illustrations bring out the drama, passion and wit of the poems to the full. This partnership of poet and artist, already celebrated for their Arthur, the Always King (2021), can be seen at its best in Harald in Byzantium.

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Places You Leave

James Byrne

Places You Leave

Beginning inside the largest refugee camp in the world (Cox’s Bazar) and ending up with Lorca in Granada, Places You Leave explores questions of travel, place / displacement, self / otherness, race, feminism, national and global politics. Through poems, poetic sequences and the lyric essay, Byrne considers a ‘poethics’ of place and speaks back to the complex nature of human experience. In his most hybrid work to date, including original collages from seven different countries, Byrne advocates for activist but peaceful ways in which language might challenge existing social structures and the dynamics of power.

Places you Leave is relentlessly energetic and politically insistent without ever being pedantic, these are knife-sharp glimpses of the world. The specificity of the details – spindling out over and again – never releases us. We’re yanked along image by image, observation by observation. And, suddenly, it occurs that we’re the angel going backwards with the world collapsing in our wake.

Forrest Gander
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Thirty Poems in Thirty Days

Amanda Dalton

Thirty Poems in Thirty Days

In 2020, Amanda Dalton participated – for the second year running – in National Poetry Writing Month, a project that challenges the public to write a poem every day throughout the month of April. Each midnight, new instructions are posted informing participants what they should write about in the next 24 hours – anything from an ode to life’s small pleasures to a concrete poem, to a poem from the viewpoint of a figure in Bosch’s ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’.

This chapbook contains the unedited versions of the thirty poems that Amanda wrote. By turns witty (often very funny), clever, moving and erudite, this short collection represents an astonishing achievement by an outstanding writer.

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The Night We Were Dylan Thomas

Mara Bergman

The Night We Were Dylan Thomas

Like a great photographer, MARA BERGMAN celebrates the moment and detail at the core of memory. Together, her poems show the great changes families experience – the free and fearless life of a young woman set alongside a dying mother hanging on so she can hold a great-grandchild, the one-sided conversations we have with the dead.

Her dynamism is infectious – you are drawn into this family’s wonder, love, compassion, grief and happiness. Bergman’s poems remind me of Pablo Neruda’s belief in the driving force of love: ‘Hold on to that, don’t let it get away …’ and one of the fi nal poems, ‘The Happiness’, delivers the book’s message: ‘Before it leaves, I will bury it deep enough to save.’

After reading these poems, you’ll feel braced and ready, you’ll feel wiser and more generous, you’ll want to hold on to moments that contain your own astonishment.

Jackie Wills

A welcome and most welcoming varied new collection of Mara Bergman’s richly textured and sharply focused poems that explore and celebrate what she memorably calls ‘the gloriously ordinary’.

Michael Laskey
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Travellers

Michelene Wandor

Travellers

MICHELENE WANDOR’s new poetry collection travels in many directions, through Europe, the Middle East and beyond, with travellers as various as Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, Isabella d’Este and Lucrezia Borgia. Thematically, the poems alight at Greek mythology, gender, and the evergreens of love, anguish, power and tragedy.

The first and final touchpoints lie in the language itself, which is both guide and sustenance. Lyrical, narrative and startlingly evocative, the words and poetic shapes travel down and across pages and spaces, and continue to resonate in mind and memory.

A rich and remarkable collection — Alan Brownjohn

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Gravity for Beginners

Kevin Crossley-Holland

Gravity for Beginners

In Kevin Crossley-Holland’s first new collection of poems for six years, time and thought and memory – the breath of life – are the prevailing winds, while much of the ground it inhabits is the ‘heavenly squelch’ of his own north Norfolk where ‘the word on the tip of your tongue may be sacramental’.

Crossley-Holland uncovers not only words but an entire landscape which haunts and is rich in echoes.

Helen Dunmore, The Observer

His language has been honed by the Norfolk and Suffolk climate itself, and has the polish of split flint.

Ronald Blythe

His poetry is accessible yet uncompromisingly contemporary...

John Greening, Country Life

It takes a pause in the familiar current of one's consciousness to come to one's accustomed place afresh and — as Eliot put it — 'know the place for the first time'. [...] The ability to see the essence behind the appearance is an art in which Crossley-Holland has few, if any, equals.

Grahame Davies, Book 2.0
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The Marks on the Map

Brian Johnstone

The Marks on the Map

The treasure's there / only for the finding.
Every good poem is an expedition of sorts. In lesser work we are led towards a carefully landscaped revelation which always belongs wholly to the poet, but in the effective poem we're set loose and, following a map partly of our own making, find ourselves at last in a distant corner of ourselves. In The Marks on the Map Brian Johnstone takes us on a remarkable journey, not just to discover what is there, but also what was there, mapping time as well as space. This is one map I would urge readers to follow, because the world through which Johnstone guides us is so utterly moving, so totally familiar and so
entirely new.

John Glenday

Surefooted in his work as cartographer of the overlooked, Johnstone takes us on an expansive journey in this absorbing collection of tributes, stories and memories as he maps out the effects of time on people and places. Throughout, we encounter that characteristic Johnstone timbre — one of respect, sophistication and, above all, grace.

Rachael Boast
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Diary of a Divorce

S. D. Curtis

Diary of a Divorce

An unsentimental, forensic account of the breakup of a marriage, told without rancour and with a humanitarian resolution. An exceptional first book.

The whole pamphlet is heartbreakingly beautiful.

Ian McMillan

... incredibly powerful, forensic and unwavering, and of course word-perfect. I'm very taken by how unexpected so many of your turns of phrase are, the way you move between powerful punches and graceful almost-analytical perspectives. A work of art...

Patrick McGuinness
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