There are poetic ways to fill your days… BEL MOONEY shares the top books that you can gift to those who enjoy rhymes this Christmas

  • Bel Mooney selected a few of the most popular books for poets 
  • Ana Sampson encourages Wonder to Celebrate the Natural History Museum 
  • Kim Moore’s feisty collection All The Men I Never Married delights women  


Do poems exist for certain moments in historical events? In a time of increasing environmental awareness, Ana Sampson’s latest anthology directs attention to the natural world, through an inspirational celebration of the Natural History Museum. Wonder (Macmillan, £14.99) offers a cornucopia of words about bugs, birds, fossils, fish, plants, people and dinosaurs, of course. Marketed for children, it’s a wonderful, varied collection for all ages .

Also of the moment — the #MeToo protest moment — is the fine, prize-winning poet Kim Moore’s latest, feisty collection,The Men I Never Married (Seren, £9.99) which many women will greet with hoots of delight. Moore confronts the evil men do with courage, humor, sadness and anger. Yet these are not ‘victim’ poems but proud assertions of strength and defiance.

Wonder (Macmillan, £14.99) offers a cornucopia of words about bugs, birds, fossils, fish, plants, people and dinosaurs

Kim Moore¿s latest, feisty collection, All The Men I Never Married (Seren, £9.99) which many women will greet with hoots of delight

Bel Mooney, a UK-based literary critic has selected the top books for poets. Pictured left: Wonder by Ana Sampson, Pictured right: Kim Moore’s All The Men I Never Married

You believe that some poets can endure for ever. They have work that examines both personal and public life, but doesn’t whine. Ian Duhig or Michael Symmons Roberts are two examples of such poets. Selected and new poems (Picador £14.99) is a master class in elegance, wit and fierce intelligence. One gem of a ‘love’ poem, ‘Bridled Vows’ ends with the laconic line, ‘I think it’s worth a shot’ — and should be read with a smile at weddings.

Former Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy calls Duhig ‘the most original poet of his generation’ and this satisfying chunky volume should bring him more admirers.

There are two more anthologies for you to enjoy. Allie Esiri’s last three anthologies selected a year’s worth of daily readings for day, for night, and of Shakespeare. You are now There’s a Poet for Every Day of the Year (Macmillan £20) introduces poets ancient and modern with lively, imaginative introductions to each. From the anonymous Beowulf poet to Bob Dylan, Esiri’s chosen poets fulfil her aim, ‘to transport you from the Roman Forum to the Harlem Renaissance, from a Chinese tea ceremony to a summer cricket match.’ This book will start my mornings in 2022.

It will. 100 Poets selected by John Carey (Yale University £14.99, 320 pp). He starts with Home and ends with the Australian Les Murray, and in between there isn’t one choice I’d contest.

Introductions to each writer are lightly erudite and Carey’s aim is to find poems that will remain with his readers ‘for life’. This sparkling collection is a great place to start for anyone new to poetry. It also contains insight into the human condition.

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