Exercises in Style – Raymond Queneau
This book presents 99 retellings of the same (potentially rather dull) story, each in a different style. It is an absolute masterclass in how to write efficiently, and every time I pick it up I can’t help but smile.
England: Poems from a School edited – Kate Clanchy
This is an edited collection of poems from Oxford Spires Academy, a small comprehensive school in the UK where 30 languages are spoken by its students and staff. It is a beautiful reminder of how poetry can accentuate our similarities and celebrate our differences, and in the current political state of affairs offers a beacon of hope for why inclusivity and diversity need to be both cherished and celebrated.
A Responsibility to Awe – Rebecca Elson
Rebecca Elson was a Canadian Astronomer who wrote beautiful poetry while investigating galaxy formation in the early Universe using the Hubble Space Telescope. Here poems are honest and raw accounts of what it means to be human, and they shine a light on what it means to be a scientist; from the dizzying highs of new discoveries to the hours of tedious work that underpin them.
An Ode Less Travelled – Stephen Fry
An insightful, witty, and accessible entry into writing poetry, written by a sickeningly talented polymath. For anyone thinking about getting into writing poetry, or wanting to learn more about form and metre, this is the perfect book. It also comes replete with several writing exercises that are both informative and fun to engage with.
Revolting Rhyme – Roald Dahl
The first book of poetry that I ever read. A mischievous, hilarious, and at times terrifying, collection of poems that should be read by everyone, no matter what their age!
Dr Sam Illingworth is a Senior Lecturer in Science Communication at Manchester Metropolitan University, where his research involves using poetry to enhance dialogue between scientists and non-scientists. You can find out more about Sam’s wok by visiting his website. www.samillingworth.com.