a group of people reading poetry

Your reactions

Let us know what your reading group thought of the poetry book you discussed. If the book you read is not on this list, email us.

T. S. Eliot Prize Shortlist 2016 by Various (Various, 2016)

We have been running our annual T. S. Eliot Prize book club since 2010. The Poetry Book Society used to produce notes for reading groups which we would base our discussion on. With the transfer of the prize to the T. S. Eliot Foundation the reading group notes have not been produced this year so here are our notes to use with reading groups.

Introduction to T. S. Eliot Prize:
The T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry has been awarded since 1993 for "the best collection of new verse in English first published in the UK or the Republic of Ireland" in the preceding year. The Prize was started in celebration of the Poetry Book Society's 40th birthday in 1993 and to honour one of its founding poet T. S. Eliot and it used to include the 4 Poetry Book Society Choices on the 10 book shortlist. However, this year the Poetry Book Society ceased after 63 years due to funding difficulties (it lost its regular Arts Council "national portfolio" funding in 2011). Inpress, the UK’s specialist in selling books produced by independent publishers, has taken over the book club strand www.poetrybooks.co.uk, while the T. S. Eliot Prize will now be run by the T S Eliot Foundation tseliot.com and solely funded by the T S Eliot Estate. The PBS Choices will no longer automatically go onto the shortlist but three of the books that were announced as PBS Choices this year have made it on to the shortlist. The winner this year will receive £20,000 and the shortlisted poets will each receive £1,500. Previous winners include Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney, the current Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy and Don Paterson, the only poet to have won the prize twice.  Last year’s winner of the prize was Sarah Howe for Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus) and it was the first time a first collection had won the prize. Here at the Poetry Library Book Club our favourite was another first collection Rebecca Perry with Beauty/Beauty.

The Judges this year are the three poets Ruth Padel (Chair of the judging panel), Julia Copus and Alan Gillis. They read 138 collections.

We looked at one poem from each of the shortlisted collections. We met over 2 consecutive weeks and looked at 5 poets each evening.

Rachael Boast Void Studies (Picador, 2016)


Biography:
Rachael Boast was born in Suffolk in 1975. Her first collection, Sidereal, was published by Picador in May 2011 and won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize. Her second collection, Pilgrim's Flower  (Picador, 2013) was shortlisted for the Griffin Prize. Void Studies, (Picador 2016) realises a project that Arthur Rimbaud proposed but never got round to writing (although some have suggested that Rimbaud's sequence of poems commonly called  Illuminations might be the poems of this project). The project was to consist of works 'written in the spirit of musical etudes and would go beyond the temptation to convey any direct message' [from the notes to Void Studies page 63]. Boast is the editor of The Echoing Gallery: Bristol Poets and Art in the City (Redcliffe Press), and lives in Bristol.

Critical comment:
Reviewing Boast's debut collection Sidereal, Gail McConnell in The Edinburgh Review (no. 132) stated that in Boast's work, "Everthing is in orbit; everything rotates. [The poet] transfers and repeats phrases from one poem to another, producing sonic and semantic echoes within formal structures that mirror their own patterns."

John Field reviewing the current collection on the T. S. Eliot Foundation website states that: "Reading Boast’s Void Studies is a sensual, sensory joy. Like music, it has a simultaneity of effect and presents memory and desire with intoxicating immediacy and authenticity."

You can listen to Rachael Boast reading her poems at the Griffin Prize ceremony here:

We looked at the poem "Quicksilver" on page 14

1. What is this poem about?
2. How does the Willow Tree work for the poem. (Willow has mythological connections with the underworld)
3. How do you feel about the amount of prepositional phrases in the poem e.g. by the water, at the time, of their hand, in a wave, along the length?
4. How do the couplets work for the poem?
5. Might this poem be included in a nature poetry anthology?


Vahni Capildeo Measures of Expatriation (Carcanet, 2016)

 
Biography:
Vahni Capildeo is a Trinidadian British writer whose five books and two pamphlets include Measures of Expatriation (Carcanet, 2016), Simple Complex Shapes (Shearsman, 2015) and Utter (Peepal Tree, 2013). She holds a DPhil in Old Norse and is interested in multilingualism, creative reworkings, and the boundaries between the human and the natural. Her collaborative work on performance and installation includes responses to Euripides' Bacchae, 'Radical Shakespeare', and Martin Carter’s revolutionary writings from Guyana. The Harper-Wood Studentship (St John’s College, Cambridge) supported her travel for research during 2015-16. She was awarded the Forward Prize for Best Collection for Measures of Expatriation in 2016.

Critical comment:

"Vahni Capildeo said in a 2012 interview with Zannab Sheikh that 'poetry is a form of concentration'. Her latest collection, Measures of Expatriation, puts this principle to work. Comprised primarily of prose-poems, the book's non-linear, associative narratives require the attention of poetry, yet float across the watery expanse of prose. This technique suffuses both the form and content of Capildeo's work, an aesthetic approach the poet calls 'room-with-exposed-brickwork', lacking a sense of polish, intentionally shirking (traditional) narrative, and rejecting what is studied and exact, coherent and whole." --Amanda Merritt, The London Magazine

"In the middle of Measures of Expatriation are a very solid body of poems which could stand alone without being framed with Capildeo's post-modern takes on autobiography, diary style almost, which begin and end the book. These poems are fine works in their own right. In choosing to frame what may be more conventionally described and identified as poetry this way, Capildeo plays a neat and important trick. The modernity and craft apparent in her work can only be accessed through the complex web of personal histories... Crucially it also places her work very clearly as part of a post colonial, Trinidadian discourse." Cris Paul, Poetry Wales 52 

We looked at the poem 'The prolongation of the spine and the stretched neck approximate the French philosopher only to his own, and airy, beast after Georges Bataille La Bouche’ page 35

Listen to Vahni Capildeo reading the poem:
Start Video at 7mins 22 secs (to 10 mins 37 secs)

1. The poem is a response to a Georges Bataille text. Do you feel the reader needs to have encountered that text in order to appreciate the poem? Read the Georges Bataille text here.
2. Do you feel the stanzas are readable in any order or is there a logic of sorts to the sequence?
3. 'our cinched animality' - cinch might have several meanings here. How do you feel that works for this phrase and for the poem as a whole?
- A girth for a pack or saddle.
- An encircling cord, band, or belt.
- Something easy to accomplish. 
- A sure thing; a certainty.
- To put a saddle girth on (a horse).
- To secure (a saddle) by means of a cinch.
- To tighten (an encircling cord or belt, for example).
- Informal To make certain; secure or guarantee: cinch a victory.
4. How does the title work for the poem?
5. What do you make of the 'python inhabiting the buccal cavity'?


Ian Duhig The Blind Road-Maker (Picador, 2016) 


Biography:
Ian Duhig worked with homeless people for fifteen years before devoting himself to writing activities full-time (some of his writing activities continue to involve a socially active element e.g. recently working with asylum seekers and refugees as writing workshop facilitator). He has won the Forward Best Poem Prize once (for 'The Lammas Hireling') and the National Poetry Competition twice (1987 for 'Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen', and 2000 for 'The Lammas Hireling'). Two of his books, The Lammas Hireling (2003) and The Speed of Dark (2007), were PBS Choices and shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize, and he has published eight poetry collections in all. Of the social role of the poet and poetry he has said: "I don’t have any grand conception of poets' possible social action as I don't feel grand conceptions of poetry now stand up to very much examination. My idea of the role is cooperative and facilitative rather than heroic, but it is not passive." - from the essay 'To witness’ Poetry London, Spring 2016. He lives in Leeds.

Ben wilkinson’s Guardian review contains useful background information on this collection:

Critical comment:
"The Blind Road-Maker is a generous, smart and big-hearted book of poems, from a writer who truly values the whole of life as it is variously lived." Ben Wilkinson The Guardian 

Kathryn Gray (Magma 65) felt "a poem like Canto is so clotted that the reader will require patience and commitment to shoulder in" but described the book as a "thoroughly entertaining collection and [...] the segue between poems reveals a jaw-dropping brilliance in design."

Ian Duhig talking about his poetry:

We looked at "The Scripture of the Jade Pivot" page 53
[Duhig has described this as a love story. It is based on an account from 'Memoirs of a Korean Queen' by Lady Hong (1735-1816). The prince in the actual story is buried alive and takes 5 days to die. "The scripture of the Jade Pivot" is a Daoist text involving the god of thunder. It claims to offer succour to all who recite it during times of illness or difficulty.]

1. "It relieves my pent-up anger, Sire, to kill people or animals when I'm depressed." What impression do we get of the prince from this statement?
2. "This was proper. Something I would not dare to criticize." Do you feel the poem offers the narrator a possible way through this propriety to a place where criticism is possible?
3. What do you feel the poem says about the power of words/symbols/texts?
4. The poem has an 8/8/8/7 line stanza sequence. Do you feel the shorter length of the final stanza performed any function for the poem?
5. Is this a comic poem?


J. O. Morgan Interference Pattern (Cape, 2016)


Biography:
J.O. Morgan lives on a small farm in the Scottish Borders. He is the author of five collections of poetry, each a single book-length poem. His first book, Natural Mechanical (2009), won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and was shortlisted for the Forward First Collection Prize; its sequel, Long Cuts (2012), was shortlisted for a Scottish Book Award. His third book from C B Editions, At Maldon, takes its bearings from the Old English poem 'The Battle of Maldon'. In 2015, Morgan published In Casting Off (HappenStance Press), a poem-novella about a love story which is set within a remote fishing community. Interference Pattern is Morgan's first collection with publisher Cape.

Critical comment:
"This is a collection that considers everything from the creation of the world down to the circumstances in which a man might kill a child. Violence is an ever-present thread in the muddle of its yarn. It is vividly miscellaneous poetry. There is an unsettling poem about a bullied boy who steals and steals away, a hyperbolic fantasy about a scribbled nude on a lavatory wall, an alarming poem about yellow smoke that makes us wonder: who will warn of forest fire? In this bracing, original, disruptive book, the sense is always that things could go either way.” Kate Kellaway The Observer


"Having tried reading the book in various different ways, however (poems in italics only, poems in Roman only, etc etc), I think the connections between poems are more subtle and more random than they initially appear. The multifarious voices in the book mostly speak over each other but occasionally to each other, creating an intricate web of echoes and half-echoes. Do the voices recur? Does, for example, the voice that speaks of the benefits of corporal punishment in one poem belong to the same person as the voice that, in another poem, metes out violent justice to a foul-mouthed hitchhiker because of a "firm belief in discipline"? It's impossible to say for certain." Roger Cox The Scotsman


The poems don’t have titles. They just run on from each other but they change from regular type to italics so you know you’re reading a new poem. 

We’re going to look at 2 poems half-way through Dozing through the and Don't forget the... on pages 24 and 25. Some of the poems in the collection are set in a hotel.

Listen to J O Morgan reading some of the poems from the collection:

1. Have you experienced this sort of bar in a hotel?
2. Is this a positive image of alcoholism?
3. What do you make of the poem in italics? Is it a fairytale?
4. Does it have any connection to the poem before it?
5. Looking thought the book are the poems in Roman script one type of poem and the poems in italics another?

Bernard O'Donoghue The Seasons of Cullen Church (Faber & Faber, 2016)


Biography:
Bernard O'Donoghue was born in Cullen, Co. Cork in 1945, later moving to Manchester (aged 16). He is an Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College, where he taught Medieval English and Modern Irish Poetry. He has published six collections of poetry, including Gunpowder (Chatto & Windus), winner of the 1995 Whitbread Prize for Poetry, and Farmers Cross (Faber), which was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2011. He has published a verse translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (Penguin Classics, 2006), and is currently translating Piers Plowman for Faber. He lives in Oxford.

Critical comment:
Karen McCarthy Woolf in The Poetry Review has said of the book:
"O'Donoghue's capacity for spinning a yarn might tempt a reader to dismiss these autobiographical vignettes as anecdotal on a cursory reading. On the contrary many of the books character driven poems are fruitfully complicated, both by an explicit questioning of the narrative in view and its contemporary validity." 

Barney Norris in The Shop (39) has said: "It is very easy to forget the value of what is around us all the time. O'Donoghue seeks to give attention to things that might otherwise be disregarded: "Happy the man who, dying, can / Place his hand on his heart and say / 'At least I didn’t neglect to tell /  The thrush how beautifully she sings.'"

Bernard O'Donoghue reading his poem "Westering Home": 
 
We're going to look at the poem "The Din Beags" page 6.

Some notes that might help with the poem:
- A previous poem 'The Humours of Shrone' ( page 26 Selected poems) explains that the boy became blind when he became lost in a blizzard. He was found next day 'with blind holes lime-burned in his face' (his horse was carrying a bag of lime).
- Also the Din Beag family appears in a poem 'History' in previous collection Farmer's Cross
- 'Pencil stone' shale, used for fixing roofs
- Capella is the brightest star in the constellation Auriga the Charioteer. Although it appears to be a single star to the naked eye, it is actually a star system of four stars in two binary pairs. The etymology of the word is complex and partly refers to Capriole which is a vertical leap of a horse with a backward kick of the hind legs at the height of the leap. (Also the Irish word for horse is Capall so an Irish speaker would make that connection quite quickly).

1. "Robin, the orange mare / with the white star on her brow, loved them / across the gate." How do the two colours mentioned in these lines work for the poem?
2. How successfully do you feel the poet gives us the impression of a world outside of the poem?
3. Do you feel the poem has allegorical meanings?
4. How does the title work for the poem (it's pronounced the din byugz -  din is a family name (probably something like Dunne in contemporary English) and beag means small - so the little dunnes)
5.. Are these stanzas or paragraphs?



Alice Oswald Falling Awake (Cape Poetry 2016)


Biography:
Alice Oswald has won the T S Eliot Prize before and withdrew from the prize five years ago. Alice Oswald lives in Devon and is married with three children. Her first collection of poetry, The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile (1996), received the Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection and her prize-winning streak has continued since then. Her second collection Dart, won the 2002 T. S. Eliot Prize and was a Poetry Book Society Choice, Woods etc. won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, A Sleepwalk on the Severn won a Hawthornden Prize, Weeds and Wildflowers, illustrated by Jessica Greenman, won the Ted Hughes Award and, most recently, Memorial, a reworking of Homer’s Illiad, won the Warwick Prize for Writing. Memorial was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize in 2011 but Oswald asked that it be withdrawn as she objected to the prize's sponsorship by an investment company (the prize is now sponsored solely by the T. S. Eliot estate). Since Dart Oswald has been published by Faber but Falling Awake, is published by Cape.


Critical comment:

"Her intimacy with the land is one that resists romanticisation and gives her verse an idiosyncratic, getting-your-hands-dirty feel... Throughout Falling Awake, the hours and the seasons, as well as the insistent course of river currents, are felt as the internal rhythms of the poetry. Everything in Oswald's work pulses with these adopted natural rhythms." Charlotte Runcie The Telegraph 


"The most striking poems in this volume are brief and tightly-formed, resembling woodcuts in their ability to record strokes of light and shade. Rarely longer than a page, they employ quick, untrammelled lines to sketch the contours of a scene... The simplicity, however, is deceptive. These carefully-knit pieces position themselves as heirs to a long alliterative aural tradition, and rely on the inner music of each line... to echo in the mind. Some draw directly on the onomatopoetic potential of both familiar and invented words to illuminate moments which would have been imperceptible to the eye, but not the ear... with an insistent care for the sounds we have become deaf to, [Oswald] writes to convince us that there is still a language for the shock of being alive." Theophilus Kwek The London Magazine


Here is Oswald reading a poem from the collection "Shadow":

We looked at the first poem in the book "A Short Story of Falling" page 1.

1. Do you like the rhyme and rhythm of this poem?Does it make you think of rain?
2. Oswald rarely uses punctuation in her poems. What effect does this create?
3. Is this poem scientific?
4. Is this an environmental poem?
5. Why call this poem "A short story..."?


Jacob Polley Jackself (Picador, 2016)


Biography:
Jacob Polley was born in Carlisle in 1975. He has published four books of poetry with Picador:  The Brink (2003), Little Gods (2006), The Havocs (2012) and Jackself (2016) and both The Brink and The Havocs were shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. His first novel, Talk of the Town, was published in 2009 and won the Somerset Maugham Award the following year. Polley won an Eric Gregory Award in 2002 and was selected as one of the Next Generation British poets in 2004. He was the poet in residence at this year's Ledbury Festival, where he performed some of the poems in Jackself with musician John Alder. He has also held residencies at Trinity College, Cambridge and the Wordsworth Trust.  He teaches at the University of Newcastle, where he lives.


Critical comment:

There are no substantial published reviews of Jackself online yet.  Fellow poet and former editor of The Poetry Review Fiona Sampson wrote that his first collection contained: "short, tough, well-wrought poems, with their satisfying-in-the-mouth vowels, [that] seemed as indebted to song lyrics as to British poetry after Auden... readers interested in the shiftiness and complexity which characterise most human experience will find much to reward them here." The Liberal, 2007

Reviewing Polley’s third collection in The Guardian (2013), Ben Wilkinson said that his "commitment to the nightmarish, creepy and unstable has intensified with each of his books, and tends to feed his best poems" and calls The Havocs "an uneven collection that sometimes finds Polley treading water, but a handful of its poems are so moving and memorable you might just forgive him."

We looked at the poem "Lessons" page 15. In an interview, Polley described the collection as "like a concept album. A very odd book, which tells a story."

Jacob Polley reads his poem "Lessons", set to music:

1. How does the experience of reading the poem compare to the performance of it?
2. What kind of impression do you get of Jackself as a character?
3. The poem ends with a series of similes including 'his mind a corner of beehives'. What do you take this to mean?
4. What kind of mythology is the poet drawing on here and why?
5. The publicity material describes the book as 'fictionalised autobiography'. How much of the poet's personal experience seems to be contained in the poem?




Denise Riley Say Something Back (Picador, 2016)


Biography:
Denise Riley is an acclaimed writer and teacher of both philosophy and poetry, with interests extending to politics, history, feminist theory and visual art. She edited Poets on Writing: Britain 1970-1991 and her collections of poetry include Dry Air (1985); Mop Mop Georgette: New and Selected Poems 1986-1993  and Selected Poems (2000). She is currently Professor of the History of Ideas and of Poetry at the University of East Anglia. Her visiting positions have included A.D. White Professor at Cornell University in the US and Visiting Fellow at Birkbeck College here in London and Writer in Residence at the Tate Gallery. She lives in London.

Say Something Back centres on the death of Riley’s adult son Jacob, in 2008. At its heart is the extended sequence ‘A part song’, which was originally published in The London Review of Books in 2012, the same year as her essay reflecting on the perception of time following the unexpected loss of a loved one Time Lived, Without Its Flow. The collection was also shortlisted for this year’s Forward Prize.

Critical comment:
The book has received much praise by critics and fellow poets such as Fiona Sampson:
"In a world where poets argue endlessly over what makes the ideal poem, Denise Riley's verse stands out immediately as curiously, and deliciously, non-partisan. Yet at first reading it's hard to work out why. Gradually you realise this is because her strengths are so varied: notice one quality you admire, and another follows hard behind." The Guardian, September 2016

American critic and poet Barry Schwabsky: "Riley's name is not very familiar in the United States, but it should be. She is one of the finest writers of the English language; along with the late Anna Mendelssohn (like Riley, born in 1948) she may be the most important British poet of the cohort following that of the remarkable generation born in the later 1930s, of whom Lee Harwood, J.H. Prynne and Tom Raworth may be the most salient names." Hyperallergic, 2012

“The only constant is a commitment to the thing that is song. This is in some way linked to the persistence of hope. Then as I get older this whole business of 'song' only becomes still more mysterious. It is a plain bright mystery.” Denise Riley, interviewed by Kelvin Corcoran for Shearsman Books, 2014.

We looked at the poem "Death makes dead metaphor revive" page 62, which Riley has called ‘a curious piece in that it’s so consciously thought-saturated[...] it might have lived instead as prose; it extends what began in my pamphlet Time Lived, Without Its Flow”.

Denise Riley reads the poem at The Psychoanalytic Poetry Festival, 2015 and says a little about her intentions (5-minute clip from 13:10-18:24):

1. What does the poem say about the experience of time?
2. What does it say about language?
3. The poet has acknowledged the influence of Isaac Watt’s hymns and Emily Dickinson’s metre. Can you see their imprint here?
4. Riley said "I'm struck by rhyme's capacity to lend its mechanical aspects to feeling [...] there's an impersonality in rhyme that's, in the same breath, deeply personal." How does the rhyme have an effect on the emotional force of the poem?
5. Why did Riley not ultimately write this as prose?


Ruby Robinson Every Little Sound (Liverpool University Press, 2016) 

Biography:
Ruby Robinson was born in Manchester in 1985, grew up in Sheffield and Doncaster and now lives in Sheffield. She studied English Literature at the University of East Anglia and has an MA from Sheffield Hallam University where she also won the Ictus Prize for poetry. She says she draws inspiration from writing which takes her 'somewhere unexpected'. Her poems have appeared in The Poetry Review, Poetry (Chicago) and elsewhere. Every Little Sound (published by Pavilion Poetry, the new imprint from Liverpool University Press) is her first collection and it was shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection at the Forward Prizes 2016.

Critical comment:
"Robinson's Every Little Sound is powered by, and investigates, a blaze of sensory overload. The poem which provides the title [of the collection], 'Internal Grain', might have been written as an accompanying reader's guide. It informs us about the horror of extreme perception ("I could hear every little sound / my mouth made") without necessarily trapping it alive on the page. But this is uncharacteristic. Robinson generally writes with immediacy, and, having made chaos manifest, even more remarkably knits it into coherence." Carol Rumen Poetry Review, Summer 2016

"Robinson’s attention to detail - a sort of hyper-perception - is really a symptom of a soul in trouble. Reading these poems is often like watching a fragment of material caught on a barbed fence, trembling and thrilling hopelessly in the wind...
To her great credit Robinson does not use past dislocations in her childhood and family relationships to pursue poetic confessionalism or misery memoir. This potentially gossipy backdrop is aptly sketched only in a fragmentary manner across several poems (the reader left to piece things together as must the family)." 2016 Forward First Collections Reviewed by poet Martin Crucefix on his blog

Ruby Robinson reading her poem “How to catch a pebble” from the collection (scroll down to issue 16 'More poems') http://antiphon.org.uk/wordpress/?paged=2&cat=14


We looked at the final poem in the book "To My Family" page 46-47.

1. Do you get a clear idea of the poet's family, her background, from this poem?
2. This poem ends the book, do you think you need to have read the book to appreciate the poem ordoes it work on its own?
3. What do you make of the line that begins "You were safer here as a child..."?
4. Like the Alice Oswald poem we looked at this poem is in couplets but there isn’t a strong rhyme or rhythm. Why is this poem in couplets?
5. Is this poem an apology?
6. What is this poem saying about writing / poetry?


Katharine Towers The Remedies (Picador, 2016)


Biography:
Katharine Towers was born in London and read Modern Languages at St Hilda’s College, Oxford. Her first collection, The Floating Man (Picador 2010), won the Seamus Heaney Centre Prize for Poetry, and was shortlisted for both the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and the Ted Hughes Award, as well as being longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. Her second The Remedies is also published by Picador. Towers' poems have appeared in The Guardian, The Poetry Review, Poetry London and The North. Towers is currently Poet in Residence at the Cloud Appreciation Society. She lives in the Peak District with her husband and two daughters and has recently started working as an Assistant Editor at Candlestick Press who publish the 10 Poems About... series of pamphlets.

Critical comment:
"How often is a poetry collection a collection? It is a rare thing for every poem to get on with its neighbours, but one of the pleasures of reading Katharine Towers' beautiful poems is that they belong together. I kept thinking, as I read, of Shakespeare's word for herbs and flowers: "simples". These are simples, remedies for the eye and mind... the book's provocatively fanciful core in which she takes Dr Bach's 1930s flower remedies and imagines how it would be were each flower or plant afflicted with the malaise it was intended to cure. It is another way of defying what human beings have imposed and, in less skillful hands, might have been a whimsical disaster. But these poems, each written in the first person... are a joy."
Kate Kellaway The Observer


Towers talking about her book on Radio 4's Woman's Hour 31.10 until 32.28

We looked at a flower poem "Bluebells" page 52 (it is not one of the remedies and is the book's penultimate poem)

1. What do you make of the opening lines "In the way that we cannot be other / than ourselves even in the deep of winter"? 
2. Can you picture the wood?
3. Do you like the personification of the bluebells?
Can you think of other poems where plants are personified?
4. Does this poem rhyme?
5. What do you make of the end of the poem? Is this poem just about bluebells?



We always vote for our favourite poet from the poems we've read and declare a Poetry Library Book Club winner. The winner of this year T. S. Eliot Prize will be announced on Monday 16th January and on Sunday 15th January a reading by all of the shortlisted poets will take place in the Royal Festival Hall here at Southbank Centre. More details here:


No comments have been made on this book yet! Why don't you start us off?


What did your group think of this book? Add your comment and you could win a prize from the Poetry Book Society.

:: Back to Your Reactions ::

Back to top Register for newsletter
Bookmark This Page