Today is National Poetry Day! This day is an annual celebration that encourages everyone to enjoy, discover and share poetry. Although it does look a bit better over the horizon, we still need to help provide us with that peacefulness and calmness we often seek after such a huge storm( the storm being the pandemic).
Like last year, I have again come across amazing poetry collections and verse novels that have impacted me. So for today, let us enjoy, discover and share the newly released poetry collections of 2021 that will make you a lover of the genre and appreciate it even more:
In Where Hope Comes From: poems for a broken world, Instagram superstar and poet Nikita Gill returns to her roots with her most personal collection yet. Sharing a number of poems that she wrote when the world went into lockdown, this collection will include the phenomenal Love in the Time of Coronavirus which was shared across social media over 20,000 times, as well as her poems of strength and hope How to Be Strong and Silver Linings. This collection will be fully illustrated by Nikita with beautiful line-drawings, and moves her into an exciting new space in the market as she tackles themes such as mental health and loneliness. (Credit: Hachette Books)
Night Feeds and Morning Songs: Honest, Fierce and Beautiful Poems About Motherhood edited by Ana Sampson
The perfect gift for expectant mothers and new mums, whether it’s her first baby or her fifth.
A collection of honest, fierce and beautiful poems about being a mother, from pregnancy and birth to growing up and leaving home. Curated by acclaimed anthologist Ana Sampson, Night Feeds and Morning Songsexamines motherhood from all angles, capturing the mess and the madness, to the joy and the wonder.
Immerse yourself in classic verse from Carol Ann Duffy, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Jackie Kay and Sylvia Path, to poems from bold new voices Kate Baer, Liz Berry, Nikita Gill and Imogen Russell Williams to name but a few. (Credit: Orion Publishing)
Starry Night, Blurry Dreams by Henn Kim
who are you when you’re alone
Starry Night, Blurry Dreams is a collection of graphic poetry about loneliness, love and existing in our world.
you are not weak just because your heart feels so heavy
When words aren’t enough to describe our emotions, this book will offer comfort, joy and a friend in the dark.
we all have our own beautiful universe (Credit: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC )
Slug and Other Things I’ve Been Told to Hate by Hollie McNish
The new collection of poetry and prose from the Ted Hughes Award-winning author of Nobody Told Me
From Finnish saunas and soppy otters to grief, grandparents and Kellogg’s anti-masturbation pants, Slug is a book which holds a mirror lovingly up to the world, past and present, through Hollie’s driving, funny, hopeful poetry and prose. Slug is about the human condition: of birth and death and how we manage the possibilities in-between. (Credit: Little Brown Book Group)
The Oscillations by Kate Fox
Responding to a world that has been broken by the pandemic into a ‘before’ and ‘after’, The Oscillations explores distance and isolation in poems that are dazzling and open-hearted works of self-discovery. A strong voice sings of what it means to be many things at once: autistic, creative, northern, a woman. Fox measures distances, social or otherwise; how we breach them; and what the view might be beyond them. (Credit: Nine Arches Press)
The Lamplighter by Jackie Kay
In The Lamplighter award-winning poet and Scottish Makar Jackie Kay takes us on a journey into the dark heart of Britain’s legacy in the slave trade.
First produced as a play, on the page it reads as a profound and tragic multi-layered poem. We watch as four women and one man tell the story of their lives through slavery, from the fort, to the slave ship, through the middle passage, following life on the plantations, charting the growth of the British city and the industrial revolution. Constance has witnessed the sale of her own child; Mary has been beaten to an inch of her life; Black Harriot has been forced to sell her body; and our lead, the Lamplighter, was sold twice into slavery from the ports in Bristol. Their different voices sing together in a rousing chorus that speaks to the experiences of all those brutalised by slavery, and lifts in the end to a soaring and powerful conclusion.
Stirring, impassioned and deeply affecting, The Lamplighter remains as essential today as the day it was first performed. This is an essential work by one of our most beloved writers. (Credit: Pan Macmillan)
Tomorrow is Beautiful: Poems to Comfort, Uplift and Delight edited by Sarah Crossan
Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words. This poetry anthology provides the antidote, offering calm, hope and peace to all. Focusing on positivity, this is the perfect collection to dip into whenever you need a boost.
Containing a selection of classic poems from Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti, as well as contemporary poems chosen by Sarah Crossan – the go-to verse novelist in the UK – this beautiful book will lift your spirits time and time again. An essential read and the perfect gift for anyone in need of comfort, joy and hope. For fans of The Poetry Pharmacy and Poems to Live Your Life By. (Credit: Bloomsbury Publishing)
Novels in Verse
The Crossing by Manjeet Mann
Natalie’s world is falling apart. She’s just lost her mum and her brother marches the streets of Dover full of hate and anger. Swimming is her only refuge.
Sammy has fled his home and family in Eritrea for the chance of a new life in Europe. Every step he takes on his journey is a step into an unknown and unwelcoming future. (Credit: Penguin UK)
Manjeet Mann has delivered another emotional juggernaut that will stay with readers for many years to come. I sat in awe and amazement after I finished the book. With spiritualism filled with hope and realism, I don’t think I have enough words to explain how truly amazing this book is. I also loved how Mann told such a powerful story in two perspectives…in verse! I’ve never seen that done before and really demonstrated how Sammy’s and Nat’s story, although different, intertwined. If I could give this 10 stars, I would.
The Girl Who Became Free: A Story Told in Poems by Joseph Coelho and illustrated by Kate Milner
Daphne is unbearably sad and adrift. She feels the painful loss of her father acutely and seeks solace both in the security of her local library and the escape her phone screen provides by blocking out the world around her. As Daphne tries to make sense of what has happened she recalls memories of shared times and stories past, and in facing the darkness she finds a way back from the tangle of fear and confusion, to feel connected once more with her friends and family. The Girl Who Became a Tree sees Joseph Coelho deploy a wide variety of poetic forms with consummate skill in its narration of events. He seamlessly but searingly weaves together the ancient legend of Daphne, who was turned into a tree to avoid the attentions of the god Apollo, and a totally modern tale, mixing real-life and fantasy, in which a latter-day Daphne seeks her own freedom. This a heart-stoppingly imaginative story told in poems, at times bleak and even tragic, which is layered, rich and ultimately a tour de force of poetic skill and energy. (Credit: Otter-Barry Books)
My love for novels in verse continues with another book that is both heartbreaking and inspirational that really touches the human soul. Partnered with breathtaking illustrations that are both haunting and enchanting, this CILIP Carnegie Longlisted book (and I’m not surprised why it was nominated) brings out the really hard truths of the grieving process and the feelings a person may have during it is so realistic that the reader will have a hard time not feeling what the main character is going through. I also love the tie in with mythology, that was a very nice touch and actually added a deeper meaning to legend. Such a beautiful and profound book did with innovation and cleverness but keeping true to a compelling story.
If I Tell You The Truth by Jasmin Kaur
In this stunning sophomore novel, acclaimed writer Jasmin Kaur explores trauma, fear, courage, community, and the healing power of love in its many forms.
Kiran flees her home in Punjab for a fresh start in Canada after a sexual assault leaves her pregnant. But overstaying her visa and living undocumented brings its own perils for both her and her daughter, Sahaara.
Sahaara would do anything to protect her mother. When she learns the truth about Kiran’s past, she feels compelled to seek justice–even if it means challenging a powerful and dangerous man. (Credit: HarperCollins)
Wrecked by Louisa Reid
Selected for 2021 National Poetry Day
Joe and Imogen seem like the perfect couple – they’ve been in a relationship for years and are the envy of their friends at school. But after accidentally becoming involved a tragic fatal accident, they become embroiled in a situation out of their control, and Joe and Imogen’s relationship becomes slowly unravelled until the truth is out there for all to see … Structured around a dramatic and tense court case, the reader becomes both judge and jury in a stunning and page-turning novel of uncovering secrets and lies – who can be believed? (Credit: Guppy Publishing)
The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig and illustrated by Chris Mould
Wherever she is, whatever the day, She only has one kind of thing to say. Just as cats go miaow and cows go moo, The Truth Pixie can only say things that are true. (Credit: Canongate Books)
The Girl and the Goddess by Nikita Gill
Let her be a little less human, a little more divine
Give her heart armour so it doesn’t break as easily as mine
One girl’s wild journey of strength, beauty and growth as she discovers who she really is.
Lyrical wonder, spiritual revelation and revolution meet with epic mythical landscapes in this deeply intimate coming-of-age story, one that teaches us all, no matter how small we feel, to become the masters of our own destiny. (Credit: Ebury Publishing)
Deep Wheel Orcadia by Harry Josephine Giles
Astrid is returning home from art school on Mars, looking for inspiration. Darling is fleeing a life that never fit, searching for somewhere to hide. They meet on Deep Wheel Orcadia, a distant space station struggling for survival as the pace of change threatens to leave the community behind.
Deep Wheel Orcadia is a magical first: a science-fiction verse-novel written in the Orkney dialect. This unique adventure in minority language poetry comes with a parallel translation into playful and vivid English, so the reader will miss no nuance of the original. The rich and varied cast weaves a compelling, lyric and effortlessly readable story around place and belonging, work and economy, generation and gender politics, love and desire – all with the lightness of touch, fluency and musicality one might expect of one the most talented poets to have emerged from Scotland in recent years. Hailing from Orkney, Harry Josephine Giles is widely known as a fine poet and spellbindingly original performer of their own work; Deep Wheel Orcadia now strikes out into audacious new space. (Credit: Pan Macmillan)
Cherry Cola by Mara Nkere
Cherry Cola focuses on a girl and a boy’s unfiltered relationship; giving a voice to both narratives and their individual internal struggles. The poetry centres around the journey of falling in love and it’s aftermath. (Credit: Eyewear Publishing)