This time round I’ve decided to recommend some poetry collections, and as always, you’re all invited to share your own recommendations in return. Since some people can feel a bit intimidated by poetry, I decided to pick collections that I think are approachable no matter how experienced or otherwise you may be with the form.
Undying by Michel Faber
This is actually the most recent poetry collection that I have read, though for its stark honesty and raw emotion, I had to include it here. Through these poems, Faber chronicles the loss of his beloved wife to cancer and certainly doesn’t dress the situation up to look pretty. So whilst this may not feature the most intricate of word play and so forth, it will hit home for anyone who has experienced loss.
Rapture by Carol Ann Duffy
Duffy is the UK’s current Poet Laureate, and as such, she tends to write for the masses. As such, her poetry is very easy to approach, tackling universal themes, though is in no way lacking when it comes to beautiful language and imagery.
Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth by Warsan Shire
Shire’s work in this short collection has an incredibly sensual feel, exploring topics such as gender, sex and religion, wrapped up in beautiful language. Speaking for itself, my favourite poem from here is called In Love and In War and simply reads: To my daughter I will say, / when the men come, set yourself on fire.
milk and honey by Rupi Kaur
I think this one is a particularly great choice for anyone new to poetry who worries they won’t ‘get it’, as the tiny poems found in this collection read more like journal entries, daydreams or fleeting thoughts and ideas captured in words. It makes them very readable, but charming in their simplicity.
Why God Is a Woman by Nin Andrews
Perhaps another good offering for those normally a lot more comfortable with fiction – though I recommend it to pretty much everyone – Nin Andrews’ collection of connected prose poems tells the ongoing story of an island where men are descendants of angels and women come from the sea. Their gender roles are the polar opposite of our own world, with the women browbeating their husbands to prepare them for a life of domesticity and sexualising young boys when their wings begin to sprout. A fiercely intelligent and beautifully written satire; it has a lot to say, all of it relevant.
Which poetry collections would you like to recommend?