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Books for National Poetry Day

23 July 2018

Medium reading hack books
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National Poetry Day is an annual celebration that inspires people across the UK to enjoy, discover and share poems. The 2018 theme is ‘change’, and it will be celebrated with events all over the country, but here’s a list of suggestions to get you started. Whether you regularly read poetry or are still to try it, there’s something for you!

Everything All at Once by Steven Camden

An achingly beautiful collection of poems about one week in a secondary school where everything happens all at once. Zooming in across our cast of characters, we share moments that span everything from hoping to make it to the end of the week, facing it, fitting in, finding friends and falling out, to loving lessons, losing it, and worrying, wearing it well and worshipping from afar.

She is Fierce by Ana Sampson

Collected by anthologist Ana Sampson She is Fierce: brave, bold and beautiful poems by women is a powerful collection of 150 poems written by women. From the ancient world right up to today it includes stunning poems on friendship, resistance, protest, body image, mental health, nature, joy, love and more from some incredible poets. From suffragettes to school girls, from spoken word superstars to civil rights activists, from aristocratic ladies to kitchen maids, these are the voices that deserve to be heard.

Hera Lindsay Bird by Hera Lindsay Bird

The poems, like the poet, are sharp, funny and honest, and highly recommended. Hera Lindsay Bird has a cult following in New Zealand and a growing fan base here too – deservedly!

Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith Chatto and Windus

Danez Smith writes poems that are simultaneously jubilant and confrontational. Don’t Call Us Dead focuses unwaveringly on two themes: the uneasy realities of contemporary queer life, and America’s long history of racism, an urgent, unwavering and ambitious collection.

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin has a claim to be among the first fully-fledged works to reckon with the presidency of Donald Trump — and one of the most surprising. In these 14-line, free-verse poems, all with the same title, Hayes examines what it means to be an American, to belong, and how it feels to be haunted and hunted by violent racism.

She Must Be Mad by Charly Cox

Love, Mind, Body, Age: these are the four sections in her debut collection and in them Charly Cox captures the formative experiences of today’s young women from the poignant to the prosaic in writing that is at once witty, wry and heartfelt.

Jinx by Abigail Parry

Abigail Parry worked as a toymaker for seven years, and the poems in Jinx bear a resemblance to dangerous toys or games: patterned surfaces, concealments, trick doors, sliding panels abound.

Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong

’These are poems of exquisite beauty, unashamed of romance, and undaunted by looking directly into the horrors of war, the silences of history. One of the most important debut collections for a generation.’ Andrew McMillan

Get involved

Who are your favourite poets? What kind of poetry do you like? Join in the conversation online using #nationalpoetryday and tagging @readingagency.