Dearly, by Margaret Atwood, Chatto & Windus, RRP£14.99/Ecco, RRP$27.99, 144 pages
After a long break from publishing poetry, Atwood returns to her form of choice before she turned to fiction in the late 1960s. She turns her eye to the past, to nature, to fantasy, to current affairs, all with the calm air of a writer who has nothing to prove.
Postcolonial Love Poem, by Natalie Diaz, Faber, RRP£10.99/Graywolf Press, RRP$16, 128 pages
Finalist for the TS Eliot, Forward and National Book Award, Diaz’s second collection is rich in mythical, biblical and historical touchstones but also rooted in the contemporary Native American experience. Bodies of all kinds are here, alongside both the violence enacted upon them and a melodic tenderness.
Poor, by Caleb Femi, Penguin, RRP£9.99, 160 pages
The first collection from Femi, a former Young People’s Laureate for London, is focused on the estate where he grew up in Peckham, south London. Interspersed with his own photography, these poems, by turn concrete and soaring, moving and affectionate, explore the ways in which architecture designs the man.
Rendang, by Will Harris, Granta, RRP£10.99/Wesleyan University Press, RRP$15.95, 80 pages
Harris’s witty and eloquent debut won the Felix Dennis Prize for best first collection, and is shortlisted for the TS Eliot award. The scenes he draws, from dreams and real life, are captivating and inhabit a broad range of forms between which this young poet moves with grace.
Homie, by Danez Smith, Chatto, RRP£10.99, 96 pages
Smith, a Minneapolis-based poet who won the Forward Prize in 2018 with Don’t Call Us Dead, returns with a book dedicated to friendship. In a voice that stays with you long after first reading, these poems call for resistance and solidarity. It’s a collection to read as we reflect on the challenges 2020 has presented to us all.
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