New Love of Poetry: A Handful of My Favourite Collections

Whilst a huge fan of reading, I have never been particularly interested in poetry. I always appreciate a great turn of phrase or a killer line but I always believed that poetry wasn’t ‘for me’. However, as my reading tastes have expanded, morphing into something entirely new (and much more exciting) during the last few months, I have also found myself wandering into the world of poetry.

It all started with Christina Thatcher’s How to Carry Fire. I adored reading this collection and writing about it for Santes Dwynwen. It sparked a desire to read poetry, to stop writing it off and to actually give it a chance. Far from dipping my toe into the form, I dove in headfirst. Over the past month I’ve grown a great collection of works that I’ve enjoyed sitting down in the morning, coffee in hand, to meander through. I’ve even started writing my own poetry!

This new found love of poetry means I have some great recommendations to share from powerful, moving and lyrical works to fun, feminist and horror-inspired writing. Here’s some of my recent reads that you might like to give a go or add to your own bookshelf.

How to Carry Fire by Christina Thatcher

As mentioned above, I have written a full, detailed examination of Christina’s poetry collection that you can read here.

How to Carry Fire is a powerful collection that maps a journey across decades of a life punctuated by addiction, loss, fear and love. It’s an incisive collection, imbued with Thatcher’s powerful storytelling style. Whilst brutal and honest, there is a resounding feeling of hope for the future in the collection, and a warmth that shines through.

Death Magazine by Matthew Haigh

Of course, with a title like Death Magazine and a weird creepy-meets-cute cover, I was immediately interested in seeing what lay in the pages of Matthew Haigh’s collection.

Death Magazine is weird. In the best way possible. The collection explores many different forms and styles, playing around with structure and words in a way that I’ve never seen before. As the name would suggest, Death Magazine plays on the aesthetics and content of a magazine. However, Matthew’s trippy, lucid-dream style really comes into play with his creative ‘found poetry’ in which he uses real, existing blog and magazine copy to create something new and surreal.

I adored the section on Wellness and his ability to make the nonsensical, the everyday and the hyper modern so powerful, playful and textured, all at the same time.

I Am Not Your Final Girl by Claire Holland

I could, rather aptly, scream about how much I love this poetry collection. It’s the collection I didn’t know I was longing for, and one I wish I had written!

I Am Not Your Final Girl explores the thoughts and experiences of the ‘final girl’, the girl who survives to the very end of horror movies. It puts the power back into the hands of the women to tell their story, creating the perfect mixture of feminism and horror. It tackles topics such as violence, sexuality and motherhood.

Beautifully written, a delicious concept and a poetry book that’s now firmly in my favourites of all time. I am definitely going to be keeping an eye out for Claire’s second collection, Mother/Daughter/Monster.

A Collection of Nightmares by Christina Sng

This collection definitely reads like it could be split into two halves, with the first being more traditionally gothic and horror-focused, whilst the second half ventures towards the speculative genre.

I loved the ominous, slow-building fear and discomfort that is weaved into the collection and the snippets of nightmarish stories that are told through each piece.

Adventure Holiday by David Greenslade

This was a fantastic charity shop find. Adventure Holiday is a masterclass in storytelling, emotion and nostalgia. The book alternates between snappy, chopped up verse and long, lyrical prose and it’s filled with gorgeous, evocative phrases.

There’s such a palpable humanity to the experiences and descriptions in this book that I found myself falling more and more in love with David’s writing after each poem.

Written on our Hands by David Woolley

Another wonderful charity shop find that I’m so glad I picked up.

Written on our Hands is a beautiful set of poems that joyfully play with structure and language across the page. I enjoyed the short, sharp flow of David’s writing combined with the softness of exploring beautiful landscapes and the human condition.

What poetry have you enjoyed recently?

I’m currently growing my poetry library so I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading or any recommendations you have, particularly if it’s weird, creepy or inspired by horror. Let me know in the comments or chat to me on Twitter.

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