'Eugene Onegin' by Alexander Pushkin
This first title was brought to my attention this summer by my extremely well-read, published author father-in-law. Both playful and serious, this poem in verse is about love and loneliness yet with vibrant, highly memorable and entertaining characters.
'The Waste Land' by T.S. Eliot
Published in 1922, and regarded as 'one of the most important poems of the 20th century', 'The Waste Land' was the most revolutionary poem of its time, offering a devastating vision of modern civilisation which has lost none of its power in our day.
'Diorama' by Rocí Cerón translated from the Spanish by Anna Rosenwong
Winner of the '2015 Best Translated Book Award for Poetry' which is awarded by Three Percent at the University of Rochester, 'Diorama' is both a book of poems and a performance action by the poet Rocío Cerón, who guides the reader on a hallucinatory, spiralling journey through image, language, Mexican history, and soundscapes.
As unrelentingly tactile as it is unapologetically cerebral, Rocío Cerón’s new book asks that we relinquish control and submit to the poet’s brutal lyricism, and to a new kind of order imposed like a penumbra between us and the waking world. Cerón’s poems have been translated into English, Finnish, French, Swedish, and German.
To learn more about the book and its author, click HERE.
'Nothing More to Lose' by Najwan Darwish
'Nothing More to Lose' is the first collection of poems by Palestinian poet Najwan Darwish to appear in English. Hailed across the Arab world and beyond, Darwish’s poetry walks the razor’s edge between despair and resistance, between dark humour and harsh political realities. With incisive imagery and passionate lyricism, Darwish confronts themes of equality and justice while offering a radical, more inclusive, rewriting of what it means to be both Arab and Palestinian living in Jerusalem, his birthplace.
And one of my most favourite poems of all time, one I constantly find myself quoting from to my fab teen at home:
'If' by Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings — nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!