a group of people reading poetry

Choose a poetry book

Here are some poetry books you might discuss in your group. Click on the titles to find out more about each book. You can get your books from the Poetry Book Society's Poetry Bookshop Online, which also offers a special reading group discount.

Let us know what you thought of the book.

Derek Mahon

New Collected Poems by Derek Mahon (Gallery Press, 2011)

New edition of Derek Mahon's collected poems, published in the year of his 70th birthday.

Adoption Papers book cover

The adoption papers by Jackie Kay (Bloodaxe Books, 1991)

Jackie Kay's crucial first collection, inspired by her personal experience of adoption.


Ten : new poets by editors Bernadine Evaristo and Daljit Nagra (Bloodaxe Books in association with Spread the Word, 2010)

Groundbreaking anthology of ten new poets who truly reflect the multicultural make-up of contemporary Britain.


The book of demons by Barry MacSweeney (Bloodaxe Books, 1997)

Barry MacSweeney wrote poetry with the same energy with which he lived his life. By the age of sixteen he was becoming known as a distinctive and unique voice in poetry, as well as starting out on what would become a long struggle with alcoholism.

Human cell

Of mutability by Jo Shapcott (Faber and Faber, 2010)

Bold and memorable collection celebrating a life and world in flux


Love poems by Carol Ann Duffy (Picador, 2010)

Love poems collected from eight poetry collections by the Poet Laureate.

Stars in outer space

Dark matter : poems of space by the editors Maurice Riordan and Jocelyn Bell Burnell (Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 2008)

An anthology of poems about the stars and planets and our place in the universe.


Newborn by Kate Clanchy (Picador, 2004)

Kate Clanchy's book Newborn charts her pregnancy and the beginning of her son's life.

Life Mask

Life Mask by Jackie Kay (Bloodaxe Books, 2005)

Jackie Kay, the author of Trumpet, has also written short story collections, novels for children, plays, and poetry for children and for adults. She believes that poetry is important because it "manages to say in words things that you can't otherwise say [...] gives a voice to the voiceless".

Panoramic Lounge Bar

Panoramic Lounge Bar by John Stammers (Picador, 2001)

Dean works at the Poetry Library, and he has chosen to introduce this book by a poet he knows well, John Stammers.


Swithering by Robin Robertson (Picador, 2006)

Swithering has just won the Forward Prize for best poetry collection of 2006. Robin Robertson is also appearing at the Poetry International festival at the South Bank Centre.

Too Black Too Strong

Too Black, Too Strong by Benjamin Zephaniah (Bloodaxe Books, 2006)

This poet made the news three years ago when he refused an OBE on political grounds. For Benjamin Zephaniah, such political principles are integral to his work. For principled poetry, read on...

The Poetry Cure

The Poetry Cure by Julia Darling and Cynthia Fuller (Bloodaxe Books, 2005)

An anthology of poems about coping with illness. The editors believe that 'poetry can make you better'.

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