Celebrate Valentine’s Day with poetry collections that explore many different kinds of love. Don’t forget to sign up to our book club for 20% off all books you buy directly from us.
The Brittle Sea: New and Selected Poems by Paul Henry
With a musician’s ear and an artist’s eye, Paul Henry’s poems of love and fatherhood, informed by the Welsh-speaking community of his childhood, bridge both the rural and urban experience. The Brittle Sea reacquaints readers with Henry’s vast gallery of characters, from the boy having his hair cut in ‘Daylight Robbery’ to the ghosts of his long, Newport poem, ‘Between Two Bridges.’ The new poems section includes the popular ‘Steel’, inspired by the Welsh national rugby team; others which revisit some of ‘The Visitors’ from The Milk Thief; and a moving elegy for the painter Anthony Goble.
Heat Signature by Siobhán Campbell
Heat Signature is the intelligent, provocative new collection of poems from Siobhán Campbell. An Irish poet, Campbell has inherited a rich vocabulary, the necessary ‘slant’ point of view, and a store of lively anecdote. This is a poetry that resists rapture and/or easy solutions, it rather glories in difficulty: the cussed, intractable nature of humanity, of a natural world beset with swarming bees, weeds and feral horses. There is a beautiful balance throughout between the forthright and the ironical. Heat Signature continues her fascination with her homeland in all its incarnations, both ancient and modern. These poems challenge preconceived notions as they resist cliché.
Masculine Happiness by David Foster-Morgan
Masculine Happiness is a provocative yet subtle collection which explores the author’s ambivalence towards models of masculinity handed out to us by the media and modern society. Complex, ironic, layered, fashioned with an acute and subtle intelligence, these poems are as likely to reference Elvis as Borges. There is also a considerable amount of humour here, along with astute satire and insightful character poems. Foster-Morgan’s work repays the careful attention of thoughtful readers.
You by John Haynes
You is a book-length poem by the late poet John Haynes. The ‘You’ of the title is the narrator’s partner and wife of many years. The book is not just a celebration of, and meditation on, personal love and devotion, but a record of how such love moves out of a family and is refracted out into the community and the wider world. The tensions inherent in this are compounded by the cross-cultural nature of the union. The narrator is a white British man and his wife was born and raised in Nigeria. Exploring a partnership based on culturally quite different – and in some aspects painfully incompatible –conceptions of ‘love’, the poem is knit together by philosophical themes of ‘I’ and ‘you’ seen from many perspectives. Shortlisted for the T.S Eliot Prize.
Other Women’s Kitchens by Alison Binney
Other Women’s Kitchens by Alison Binney’s introduces us to a gifted new voice who writes with flair and feeling about coming out and coming of age as a gay woman in 21st century Britain. Winner of the Mslexia pamphlet prize for poetry, the collection explores the challenges of discovering and owning a lesbian identity in the 1980s and 1990s and the joy of finding both love and increased confidence in that identity as an adult. An adroit admixture of the heart-wrenching and the humorous, the book features shaped and ‘found’ pieces, traditional narrative and compact prose poems. Beautifully entertaining, pointedly political and often very funny, Other Women’s Kitchens is essential reading.
Erato by Deryn Rees-Jones
Taking its title from the muse of lyric poetry, Rees-Jones’s fifth collection Erato questions how we know and write about the beauty and the horrors of the world. Documentary-style autobiographical narratives are set alongside lyric fragments and poetic sequences as the repetitions of trauma and the errors and erasures of memory are explored. This is a book full of flames and scars, landscapes and animals; at its heart is a desire for the transformative music that runs beneath words, and an understanding of the bodies we inhabit when we love. Shortlisted for the T.S Eliot Prize.
A Second Whisper by Lynne Hjelmgaard
A Second Whisper is a thoughtful and sensitive collection that reflects the changing identities of a woman: in motherhood, in widowhood, in friendship and grief. There are elegies to the loss in 2014 of her mentor and partner, the poet Dannie Abse which are a tribute to their deep friendship. There are also poems to her late husband who died in 2006 and for their children and for relationships from the author’s past in New York City and Denmark. The poems are both elegiac and celebratory: they move and change tone as the author travels to the past and negotiates through the geography of grief and feelings of displacement in London, and finally opens to her new life in the present.