Selected Poems of Anne Sexton – Diane Wood Middlebrook and Diana Hume George (ed.)

When I was a young chap travelling, I bought this book by Anne Sexton (predictive text always names her Anne Section, which is unfortunate) from the Union Square branch of Barnes & Noble in New York City. It was worth the $16 (plus sales tax) for one poem alone: Just Once – my favourite poem by anyone, like, ever.

The Beauty of the Husband – Anne Carson

The message of Anne Carson’s staggeringly brutal (but beautiful) poetic study of her ex seems to be something along the lines of: ‘My husband was gorgeous and if he walked into the room right now I’d still want to fuck him, but he was hideous and here’s a list of the horrible things he did.’ But I’m paraphrasing wildly, and Anne puts it better; much, much better!

Family Values – Wendy Cope

Wendy Cope’s poetry always makes me feel like I’m in a kitchen listening to the radio just before Christmas. And this lovely collection includes a very moving poem called Uncle Bill, which always makes me cry when I read it; lovely stuff.

There Is an Anger that Moves – Kei Miller

A stunning collection which, as the title suggests, seethes with fabulous anger. Strongest is the second group of poems, The Broken (I), where Kei takes what appears to be a criticism of his work and annihilates it in ten short sharp poems.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem – Joan Didion

This book of essays begins with an epigraph of The Second Coming by W. B. Yeats and a quote by Peggy Lee – and rapidly takes flight from there. Astonishing reportage from Joan who uses gorgeous, poetic language to focus on subjects as diverse as Alcatraz Island, LSD and John Wayne – I love it!

Michael McGill is a UK poet from Edinburgh, Scotland who has recently had work published by 24 Unread Messages, Elephants Never and The Haiku Quarterly. His overheard comments projects regularly appear on Twitter and he has also appeared on the Lies, Dreaming podcast.

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