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Poetry & Language Books

Our poetry books are perfect for any language lover. From powerful poems from the wartime era to fun nonsense poems by today's best contemporary poets.

  • Black Friday

    The River in the Sky

    Clive James

    Product Code: RITS
    Hardback
    (1)
    Hand-picked favourites
    Beloved broadcaster and journalist Clive James was given a terminal diagnosis many years ago and in this book-length poem he tackles the subject of mortality with candour and charm.

    Although unable to leave his house in Cambridge due to ill health, Clive remains in good spirits and lets his mind take you on a journey that captures 'the fragile treasures of his life'.

    Funny, wise and emotional, this book finds Clive looking back over emotionally resonant personal moments, celebrating his interests and accepting his fate. He also focuses on the fact that he is only one bright spot in an entire galaxy filled with stars.
    • £4.99
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  • Black Friday

    A Year of Reading Aloud

    Georgina Rodgers

    Product Code: YORA
    Hardback
    (1)
    Hand-picked favourites
    Reciting poetry is one of life's pleasures, no matter what your age. Memorising the words exercises the brain and gives it strength to learn and remember other information.

    Celebrating the power of spoken word, this gift book contains 52 short poems for you to share and read aloud on a week-by-week basis. Each poem is accompanied by an explanation of its key messages along with some insight into the works and life of the poet.

    Featuring both established poets and new favourites and language some may deem offensive, this book will capture your imagination and inspire you to follow in the rich oral tradition of sharing tales while reading aloud.
    • £5.99
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  • Black Friday

    The Shakespeare Companion

    Product Code: SHCM
    Paperback
    Hand-picked favourites
    Featuring summaries of the Bard's plays and characters, The Shakespeare Companion is the perfect read for anyone interested in his works, or those who are new to one of the most influential writers of all time.

    Complete with a foreword by Dame Judi Dench, this book will enlighten you about Shakespeare's writing and help you enjoy his plays even more. It provides synopses of plays and even a resume of each performance's history.

    There is also a look back at the history of Shakespearean theatre and those plays that he did not write that have been wrongly attributed to him.
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  • Black Friday

    Assurances

    J. O. Morgan

    Product Code: CSEGD
    Paperback
    Hand-picked favourites
    J.O. Morgan's Assurances is the winner of the Costa Poetry Award 2018.

    A war-poem both historic and frighteningly topical, it begins in the 1950s during a period of vigilance and dread in the middle of the Cold War: the long stand-off between nuclear powers, where the only defence was the threat of mutually assured destruction.

    Using a mix of versed and unversed passages, Morgan places moments of calm reflection alongside the tensions inherent in guarding against such a permanent threat. A work of variations and possibilities, we hear the thoughts of those involved who are trying to understand and justify their roles. We examine the lives of civilians who are not aware of the impending danger, as well as those who are.
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  • A Midsummer Night's Dream

    William Shakespeare

    Product Code: BFBJE
    Paperback
    HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. 'My Oberon! what visions have I seen! Methought I was enamoured of an ass.' When four young lovers flee from Athens and become lost in an enchanted wood, they stumble into a fairy world where King Oberon, and Queen Titania, are feuding over ownership of a young Indian prince. Seeking his revenge on Titania, Oberon and his servant Puck begin a magical, yet farcical chain of events where all become interwoven in a comedic and mischievous play about the difficulties of love.
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  • Macbeth

    William Shakespeare

    Product Code: BLYFE
    Paperback
    Edited, introduced and annotated by Cedric Watts, Professor of English Literature at the University of Sussex.

    Shakespeare's Macbeth is one of the greatest tragic dramas the world has known. Macbeth himself, a brave warrior, is fatally impelled by supernatural forces, by his proud wife, and by his own burgeoning ambition.

    As he embarks on his murderous course to gain and retain the crown of Scotland, we see the appalling emotional and psychological effects on both Lady Macbeth and himself. The cruel ironies of their destiny are conveyed in poetry of unsurpassed power. In the theatre, this tragedy remains perennially engrossing.
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  • Heroes

    Stephen Fry

    Product Code: BXVLN
    Paperback
    (1)
    Stephen Fry's companion to Mythos finds the popular comedian, actor, presenter and director retelling incredible stories of mortals, monsters, quests and adventures.

    Stephen reveals all about Jason's journey aboard the Argo in search of the Golden Fleece; wittily examines how Oedipus attempted to solve the riddle of the Sphinx; and discovers how Bellerophon captured the winged horse Pegasus to slay the monster Chimera.

    These action-packed stories show just how brave humans can be - and exactly what we're capable of...
    • £5.99
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  • Mythos

    Stephen Fry

    Product Code: BQKMW
    Paperback
    (1)
    Award-winning comedian and bestselling author Stephen Fry retells the greatest myths and legends ever told in this lively, humorous book.

    Readers will gaze in wonder as wise Athena is born from the cracking open of the great heads of Zeus and follow doomed Persephone into the dark and lonely realm of the Underworld. We shiver when Pandora opens her jar of evil torments and watch with joy as the legendary love affair between Eros and Psyche unfolds.

    Mythos captures these extraordinary myths for our modern age - in all their dazzling and deeply human relevance.
    • £5.99
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  • Blood Brothers

    Willy Russell

    Product Code: BGSCD
    Paperback 14 years +
    A Liverpudlian West Side Story: twin brothers are separated at birth because their mother cannot afford to keep them both. She gives one of them away to wealthy Mrs Lyons and they grow up as friends in ignorance of their fraternity until the inevitable quarrel unleashes a blood-bath. 'Willy Russell is less concerned with political tub-thumping than with weaving a close-knit story about the working of fate and destiny ...it carries one along with it in almost unreserved enjoyment" Guardian One of the longest-running and most successful ever West End musicals, Blood Brothers premiered at the Liverpool Playhouse in January 1983.
    • £7.69
    • RRP £10.99
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  • Up in the Attic

    Pam Ayres

    Product Code: BZSAG
    Hardback
    The brand new collection of verse from the nation's favourite poet, Pam Ayres. With the same magic that has enchanted her fans for more than four decades, Pam's new collection is by turns hilarious, reflective and profound. From the dubious joy of being an exhausted, panic-stricken hostess in `The Dinner Party' or feelings of unease about pub tableware in `Don't Put My Dinner on the Slate!', to a poignant reflection of war in 'Down the Line'and the bittersweet nostalgia of `Up in the Attic', this new collection will tickle and move readers in equal measure.
    • £12.99
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  • An Inspector Calls

    JB Priestley

    Product Code: AADUG
    Paperback 14 years +
    Written by English novelist, playwright, scriptwriter and broadcaster, J.B. Priestley. First produced in 1946, An Inspector Calls went on to become a major film in 2015 and won an award for Best Single Drama at the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards 2016.

    It is Priestley's most famous play, in which he demonstrates the horrid consequences of poverty and inequality whilst sustaining a gripping detective thriller storyline.

    The other plays include Time and the Conways and I Have Been Here Before, which explore the idea of precognition and pits fate against free will. Meanwhile, The Linden Tree challenges preconceived ideas of history and how life should be after the war.
    • £6.99
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  • Milk and Honey

    Rupi Kaur

    Product Code: AQHIJ
    Paperback
    Rupi Kaur's Milk and Honey is a collection of timely and important poetry and prose based around survival.

    They cover themes of violence, abuse, love, loss and femininity and each chapter is dedicated to a different purpose. This book takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life - and how you can use them to do something positive.
    • £7.99
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  • Journey's End

    RC Sherriff

    Product Code: AADTJ
    Paperback 12 years +
    Set in the First World War, "Journey's End" concerns a group of British officers on the front line and opens in a dugout in the trenches in France. Raleigh, a new eighteen-year-old officer fresh out of English public school, joins the besieged company of his friend and cricketing hero Stanhope, and finds him dramatically changed ...Laurence Olivier starred as Stanhope in the first performance of "Journey's End" in 1928; the play was an instant stage success and remains a remarkable anti-war classic.
    • £7.19
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  • Macbeth

    William Shakespeare

    Product Code: BFPAT
    Paperback
    HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. 'Stars, hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires.' One of Shakespeare's darkest and most violent tragedies, Macbeth's struggle between his own ambition and his loyalty to the King is dramatically compelling. As those he kills return to haunt him, Macbeth is plagued by the prophecy of three sinister witches and the power hungry desires of his wife.
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  • Romeo and Juliet

    William Shakespeare

    Product Code: BFBGJ
    Paperback
    HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. 'Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night.' Arguably the greatest love story ever told, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet continues to touch modern audiences with its passionate depiction of the tragic romance between two young lovers. With a bitter feud between their respective families, Romeo and Juliet's love is troubled from the start, and through their relationship, Shakespeare shows the fine line between love, hatred, comedy and tragedy.
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  • A Literary Christmas

    British Library

    Product Code: BQXNR
    Hardback
    This seasonal compendium collects together poems, short stories, and prose extracts by some of the greatest poets and writers in the English language. Like Charles Dickens's ghosts of Christmas Past and Present, they are representative of times old and new--from John Donne's Elizabethan hymn over the baby Jesus to Benjamin Zephaniah's "Talking Turkeys," from Thomas Tusser counting the cost of a Tudor feast to P. G. Wodehouse's wry story about Christmas on a diet. Enjoy a Christmas Day as described by Samuel Pepys, Anthony Trollope, George Eliot, or Nancy Mitford. Venture out into the snow in the company of Jane Austen, Henry James, and Dickens's Mr. Pickwick. Entertain the children with the seasonal tales of Dylan Thomas, Kenneth Grahame, and Oscar Wilde.
    • £10.39
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  • Morning Glory on the Vine

    Joni Mitchell

    Product Code: CBGUQ
    Hardback
    In 1971, as her groundbreaking album Blue emerged as a singular commercial and critical success around the world, Joni Mitchell puzzled over what gift to give her friends that Christmas. The result was a handmade book, with only one hundred copies produced, filled with Joni's hand-written lyrics and reproductions of many of her stunning drawings - portraits, abstracts, random concertgoers, and more. Each was given to a friend and, until now, the edition has remained private. Today, with Morning Glory on the Vine, Joni's long-ago personal Christmas present is a present to us all.
    • £21.99
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  • The Poetry Pharmacy Returns

    William Sieghart

    Product Code: BZORG
    Hardback
    The Poetry Pharmacy is one of the best-selling (and most giftable) poetry anthologies of recent decades. Now, after huge demand for more prescriptions from readers and 'patients' alike, William Sieghart is back. This time, tried-and-true classics from his in-person pharmacies are joined by readers' favourite poems and the new conditions most requested by the public - all accompanied by his trademark meditations (warm, witty and understanding, with just a twist of the challenging) on the 58 spiritual ailments he seeks to cure. From ageing bodies and existential crises to long-distance relationships and embracing your slovenliness, The Poetry Pharmacy Returns caters to all-new conditions while drilling further down into the universals: this time, the challenges of family life, and of living as a person among others, receive a much closer look. Perfect for the treasured friends, barely tolerated siblings, beloved aunts and revered grandparents in your life.
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  • Complete Works of William Shakespeare

    William Shakespeare

    Product Code: ALROG
    Hardback
    "I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed." -William Shakespeare Arm yourself with this volume from the Knickerbocker Classic series, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, including 16 comedies, 10 histories, 12 tragedies and all the poems and sonnets of the world's most influential writer. This collection includes poems and plays that were not included in Shakespeare's First Folio of 1623 to make one complete, authentic collection. For Shakespeare fans worldwide, this stunning gift edition has a full cloth binding, foil blocking on the spine, ribbon marker, and is packaged neatly in an elegant slipcase. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare contains essential reading like Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, King Lear, Othello, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, Julius Caesar and Henry V alongside many lesser-known gems for a complete Shakespearean education.
    • £19.89
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  • Dancing By The Light of The Moon

    Gyles Brandreth

    Product Code: BZJFT
    Hardback
    Pre-order Gyles Brandreth's new book of our nation's favourite poetry . . . Following the recent success of the bestselling Have You Eaten Grandma? Gyles Brandreth is back with the ultimate collection of poetry. Gyles celebrates the finest uses of our English language by handpicking the ultimate anthology of poetry, from the classics, Auden, Wilde, Shakespeare to our all-time favourites, Milligan, McGough and Armitage, to even our most modern works by Rupi Kaur. With so many wonderful poets to choose from this beautiful compendium will become your definitive poetry book to treasure for years to come. He urges us to savour the perfect couplets, delicate words, and clever quips by learning these exquisite poems by heart. By appreciating, memorising and sharing these poems we can begin to increase literacy rates, improve our memories, all the while enriching our lives with the joy of language. Gyles writes emphatically about the beauty, diversity and ingenuity of the language used in these poems, and the way in which they can transform our lives.
    • £11.99
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  • Faber & Faber Poetry Diary 2020

    Various Poets

    Product Code: BZMMG
    Hardback
    The Faber poetry list, originally founded in the 1920s, was shaped by the taste of T.S. Eliot, who was its guiding light for nearly forty years. Each passing decade has seen the list grow with the addition of poets who are arguably the finest of their generation. The Faber Poetry Diary is a celebration of this remarkable Faber list. The poets in this year's diary are: Emily Berry, William Blake, Robert Burns, Lord Byron, John Clare, Sophie Collins, Julia Copus, W.H. Davies, Walter de la Mare, Emily Dickinson, T.S. Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Seamus Heaney, George Herbert, Zbigniew Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, A.E. Housman, Ted Hughes, Ben Jonson, John Keats, Zaffar Kunial, Philip Larkin, Lachlan Mackinnon, Louis MacNeice, John Milton, William Morris, Bernard O'Donoghue, Sylvia Plath, Maurice Riordan, Sam Riviere, Christina Rosetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Shakespeare, Hannah Sullivan, Wislawa Szymborska, Edward Thomas, Jack Underwood, William Wordsworth, W.B. Yeats.
    • £10.38
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  • The Tempest

    William Shakespeare

    Product Code: BFBIC
    Paperback
    HarperCollins is proud to present its new range of best-loved, essential classics. 'We are such stuff As dreams are made on; and our little life Is rounded with a sleep.' Magical and dreamlike in its tone, Shakespeare's The Tempest begins with a storm of epic proportions and a shipwreck. Banished from Italy, Prospero lives on a remote island with his daughter. Using his magic, he vows to seek revenge on the injustice dealt to him by his brother, but in doing so, Shakespeare questions the difficulty of distinguishing 'men' from 'monsters', and the realities of justice.
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  • Romeo and Juliet

    William Shakespeare

    Product Code: BMFHX
    Paperback
    Edited, introduced and annotated by Cedric Watts, Research Professor of English Literature, University of Sussex. The Wordsworth Classics' Shakespeare Series presents a newly-edited sequence of William Shakespeare's works. The textual editing takes account of recent scholarship while giving the material a careful reappraisal. Romeo and Juliet is the world's most famous drama of tragic young love. Defying the feud which divides their families, Romeo and Juliet enjoy the fleeting rapture of courtship, marriage and sexual fulfilment; but a combination of old animosities and new coincidences brings them to suicidal deaths. This play offers a rich mixture of romantic lyricism, bawdy comedy, intimate harmony and sudden violence. Long successful in the theatre, it has also generated numerous operas, ballets and films; and these have helped to make Romeo and Juliet perennially topical.
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  • You Made Me Late Again!

    Pam Ayres

    Product Code: AMODQ
    Paperback
    With over fifty new poems from Britain's favourite poet, You Made Me Late Again! is an essential addition to Pam Ayres' incomparable collection of works. Pam's poems are observant, witty and poignant in equal measure. In 'The Swifts' and 'The Pyracantha Anthem' she marvels at nature, while 'A Patient's Prayer' and 'Litter Moron' offer wry views on Modern Britain. From the dog being afraid of the toaster to your son leaving home for university; and from the search for that perfect swimsuit to becoming a gran for the first time - Pam's poems are beautifully crafted, and her subjects the everyday and the universal. Delightfully illustrated, most of the poems in You Made Me Late Again! are brand new, yet it also features several firm favourites from her stage shows, published for the first time, such as 'The Make-up Lady' and 'Tippy Tappy Feet'.
    • £7.69
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Whether you’re looking for powerful, poignant and stirring poetry, or rib-tickling rhymes guaranteed to get laughs, you’re sure to find the perfect poetry books for you in our stunning selection.

Classic favourites to treasure

Our range of poetry books includes timeless classic poetry, such as the works of Virgil and Homer, William Blake, John Milton and many more – not to mention the ever-popular works of William Shakespeare.

Modern masterpieces

Alongside our wide range of treasured classics is our striking selection of modern poetry books. This includes shocking war poems and thought-provoking contemporary poetry from the likes of Carol Ann Duffy and Seamus Heaney, as well as the wonderfully whimsical works of such poets as Michael Rosen and Spike Milligan.

Explore our selection for your new favourites

Discover your new favourite poems amongst our range of the very best poetry books. Whether it’s lyrical limericks, beautiful verse or epic poetic sagas you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it all in our selection of poetry books.