"I didn't want people to read in the same way they might eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, but because I wanted them to know the mind-expanding privilege of walking a mile in someone else's shoes." Cathy Rentzenbrink
Poetry
Spreading their wings

Spreading their wings

I’d like to travel back through time and tell my schoolgirl self that, one day, I’d consider poetry to be a magic carpet. (Although, I suspect she would have looked up from wrestling with a knotty slice of D.H. Lawrence only to roll her eyes!) To me now, though, there is no more efficient escape...
From Tiger Girl

From Tiger Girl

Pascale Petit’s new poetry collection marks a shift from the Amazonian rainforests of her previous work to explore her grandmother’s Indian heritage and the fauna and flora of subcontinental jungles. The ‘Tiger Girl’ of the title is the grandmother, with her tales of wild tigers, but also the endangered predators Petit encountered in Central India. The...
Here and there

Here and there

One of the things we do as poets is to try to preserve experiences, people, places important to us, in an effort to save them from time’s erasure. In Passport to Here and There, I’ve been more conscious of this than in some of my other books and felt that a short introduction to my...
Atlantic

Atlantic

Married as we were to your brown untourist beaches, unconcerned with the many shores you touched, as children, we thought that you, Atlantic, belonged to us, your below-sea-level offspring.   See us playing cricket, turn-down bucket making wicket – ball a spin-off of empire – lost in the applauding waves for six. At Easter, to...
from Ledger

from Ledger

Jane Hirshfield’s new poetry collection is a personal, ecological and political reckoning, a registry of contemporary dilemmas and an urgent call to action on climate change, social justice and the plight of refugees. The poems record both abiding and squandered riches and mourn our many failures, summoning our common responsibility to sustain one another and...
Docta puella

Docta puella

“This book is about a poet who disappeared, about a woman who pursued her career in a blaze of publicity, while leading a secret life that eventually destroyed her, and who left such a legacy of lies and evasion that her true story can only now be told,” writes Lucasta Miller in the preface of...
Kitchen

Kitchen

What would you do if I died right now, here, you asked. Your hand still resting on my thigh. Your eyes focused on the ceiling – on the splash of curry sauce to the left of the light which doesn’t work. We could have been in a field. A wooden spoon dug into my back....
From The Country Between Us

From The Country Between Us

Carolyn Forché’s The Country Between Us bears witness to what she saw in El Salvador in the late 1970s, when she travelled around a country erupting into civil war. Documenting killings and other brutal human rights abuses while working alongside Archbishop Oscar Romero’s church group, she found in her poetry the only possible way to...
Phenomenal women

Phenomenal women

In Summer 2017, I decided I wanted to read an anthology of poetry by women that would cover writers from the ancient world to today. I had edited several anthologies myself, but the remit had always been to include the ‘greatest hits’. I had become uncomfortably aware how few female poets featured in most general...
Before all this

Before all this

Before all this there were phone calls, there were letters, there were postcards, there were badly printed posters in corner shop windows, there were crowded notice boards, there was proper conversation. There were names and numbers written in tipsy scrawl on the peeled-off backs of beermats. There was ink. There was paper. There were crossings-out....