If your bookshelves are looking a bit bare (or even if they’re full to bursting – who are we to judge?) then we hope our half price sale helps you discover new and intriguing collections to add to your ‘must read’ pile.
Until midnight this Friday (13th January), all books on the Seren website are 50% off. This includes hundreds of poetry books – and in an effort to help you with your decision-making, we’ve picked out a few of our favourites.
Carrie Etter’s Imagined Sons is visceral and emotionally intense, a reflection on the experience of a birthmother who gave up her son when she was seventeen. These haunting, psalm-like prose poems are bursting with courage and insight. She describes possible encounters with this son, now in his late twenties, expressing how ‘sometimes the melancholy arrives before the remembering’. These poems leave a mark upon the reader, and explore with profound skill the aching agony of displaced motherhood.
The Museum of Disappearing Sounds by Zoë Skoulding is a collection of densely intellectual poems, experimental, rich and resonant. Rather than aspiring to reach beyond language, these poems focus on the spaces that words occupy, looking at how ‘a sentence reverses itself between two pairs of eyes’ or noting ‘the distance drifted by a word shaken loose from border controls’. Exploratory and alive to the senses, these poems create new perspectives on language and the world in which it exists.
Jonathan Edwards’ My Family and Other Superheroes is (in contrast) utterly joyful and hilarious, and introduces the reader to a mishmash of odd characters, including Evel Knievel, Sophia Loren, Ian Rush, Marty McFly, a bicycling nun and a recalcitrant hippo. Winner of the Costa Poetry Prize, and shortlisted for the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, Jonathan Edwards’ debut has charmed the masses, and is a must-read – if you haven’t already.
Kim Moore’s The Art of Falling twists and manipulates the idea of falling into an abundance of meanings, and weaves this central theme alongside vivid and unabashedly realistic descriptions of the North and ‘My People’: ‘who swear without knowing they are swearing… scaffolders and plasterers and shoemakers and carers’. Blisteringly raw poems appear in the central sequence, ‘How I Abandoned My Body To His Keeping’: the story of a woman embroiled in a relationship marked by coercion and violence. These are poems that confront the reader, steeped in realism, not designed to soothe or beguile. Midnight, Dhaka is the debut collection by Mir Mahfuz Ali. As a boy, Mahfuz witnessed atrocities and writes about them with a searing directness in poems like ‘My Salma’: ‘They brought Salma into the yard, / asked me to watch how they would explode / a bullet into her’. His trauma becomes transformative, and his poetry the key to unlocking memories of a childhood that are rich in nuance, gorgeous in detail and evocative of a beautiful country. Influenced by Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) and Jibanananda Das (1899-1954), as well as modern British poets, Mahfuz brings his own unique voice in these poems, which celebrate the human capacity for love, survival and renewal.
See our full Poetry list on the Seren website, and hurry – sale ends midnight, Friday 13 January.