World Poetry Day: Top 4 Poetry Books

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Thursday 21st March is World Poetry Day, a yearly celebration of verse and creativity. These four books are a great place to start if you’re looking to get stuck into some poetry.

1. The Nation’s Favourite Poems

Nationwide polls brought together this delightful collection of Britain’s favourite poems, with Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’ voted as number one. This unique anthology comprises the nation’s 100 best loved poems.

Among the selection are popular classics such as Tennyson’s ‘The Lady of Shallott’ and Wordsworth’s ‘The Daffodils’, alongside contemporary poetry such as Allan Ahlberg’s ‘Please Mrs Butler’ and Jenny Joseph’s ‘Warning’. A must-have for any poetry lovers, the book is an uplifting and inspiringly varied collection of great poems. Auberon Waugh called it “the best popular anthology ever printed in Britain”.

2. A Poem For Every Day of the Year

The perfect book to dip in and out of, this is a magnificent collection of 366 poems carefully compiled, with one to share on every day of the year. Reflecting the changing seasons and linking to events on key dates – funny for April Fool’s Day, festive for Christmas – these poems range from thoughtful, inspiring and humbling, to epic, upbeat and empowering!

Ideal for reading aloud and sharing with all the family, A Poem For Every Day of the Year is bursting at the seams with familiar favourites and exciting new discoveries. T.S. Eliot, John Betjeman, Lewis Carroll, William Shakespeare and Christina Rossetti sit alongside Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Carol Ann Duffy, and Kate Tempest. This soul-enhancing book makes for a great gift that will last the whole year, with a little bit of poetry to read and be inspired by every single day.

3. Poems to Live Your Life By

In Poems to Live Your Life By, Chris Riddell, political cartoonist for the Observer, has selected his favourite classic and modern poems about life, death and everything in between.

This gorgeously illustrated collection includes 46 poems and is divided into sections covering: musings, youth, family, love, imaginings, nature, war and endings. Chris Riddell brings them to life with his exquisite, intricate artwork in this beautiful anthology.

This perfect gift features famous poems, old and new, and a few surprises. Classic verses from William Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, W. B. Yeats and Christina Rossetti sit alongside poems from Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Carol Ann Duffy, Neil Gaiman and Roger McGough to create the ultimate collection.          

4. Sincerity by Carol Ann Duffy

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s Sincerity is her last full collection as Poet Laureate, an impressive achievement from the greatest living poet of our time. A frank, disarming and deeply moving exploration of loss and remembrance in their many forms, presented in a beautiful, foiled book.

“I like the word ‘sincerity’,” she says. “To speak and act out of one’s beliefs, thoughts, feelings.” She was also drawn to its etymology, derived from the way in which “dodgy sculptors” in ancient Greece and Rome would conceal mistakes or flaws by covering them with wax. So “without wax” (sine cera in Latin), “means genuine, not duplicitous,” she explains. “I liked that as a title.”

Images: Goodreads, Waterstones, Amazon UK