One of my goals at the beginning of 2017 was to read more poetry, and I’m pleased that I managed to pick up some excellent anthologies throughout the year. Also, they are ALL BY WOMEN. *air punch*
Hold Your Own by Kate Tempest
This is without doubt the best poetry anthology I’ve ever read. Bar none. I’d never read any of Kate Tempest’s work until this year, but I devoured this like nothing else and it spoke to me in a way that left me feeling both full and empty at the same time. The raw emotion that Tempest manages to express in her work is catastrophically good and her understand of people, society, and the relationship between the two is just phenomenal. She voices things that I’ve found myself thinking about society for a long time, but does it better than I probably could myself. Her words are eloquence and ignition personified, and if you read one poetry anthology next year, I highly recommend you pick this one.
Let Them Eat Chaos by Kate Tempest
After reading Hold Your Own, I dived straight into Tempest’s epic poem, Let Them Eat Chaos. This epic is about seven people living on the same London street, and narrates the moment their lives intertwine on one stormy, mystical night. This poem is completely different to Tempest’s other collection, and I’ll admit I didn’t find it quite as intense and empowering, but I did still thoroughly enjoy it. The medium of this Let Them Eat Chaos makes it read more like a short story in verse, but it remains devastatingly astute and dynamic.
The Princess Saves Herself in This One
This was one of my most anticipated poetry releases of the year, and it didn’t disappoint. Written primarily in free verse, this collection discusses issues such as feminism, self-confidence, body image, domestic abuse, emotional gaslighting, love, happiness, and depression with the insight and clarity of someone who has survived an abusive relationship and other hardships. Although some of the poems are simplistic in their style, every message is powerful.
Plum by Hollie McNish
I received an ARC of this earlier in the year, and I’m so glad I did. This anthology is about navigating those tricky teenage years, in which you’re not quite an adult but no longer a child, and experiencing all the highs and lows that come with the new experiences. It focuses a lot on how society misunderstands teens of the 21st century, as well as love, family, and becoming an adult. It’s punchy, it’s potent, and it’s an important read for those who may have lost touch with what it’s like to be a teenager, growing up and navigating your space in the world.
Have you read any poetry this year? If so, what did you think? Or, if you have any recommendations of anthologies you think I might like, I’d love to hear from you.