Here are some of our top picks from our ever-growing eloans collection.
Listening to a poet reading can bring a whole new dimension to their work; their voice can give you an insight into how they intended their poems to be received. We have many audio books in our digital collection and a definite highlight is American poet Tracy K. Smith reading her third collection, Pulitzer Prize winning, Life on Mars. The book is an elegy to Smith’s father who worked as a scientist on the Hubble Space Telescope and it is full of references to science and sci-fi, using the universe to contemplate the deeply personal and find perspective and comfort. Smith’s voice is warm and measured, and yes, the book’s title is a reference to the David Bowie song.
Rupi Kaur’s debut collection was featured in the New York Times best-seller list in 2016. With over 3 million followers on Instagram, Kaur is regarded as one of the pioneers of the Instapoetry genre. The collection takes the reader on an emotional journey through experiences of violence, trauma, love, loss and femininity. Beautifully simple line drawings accompany words almost like a graphic novel, conveying emotion before the readers eyes hit the page. Milk and Honey is hard-hitting and often painful to read. Yet there is a strong sense of empowerment through the way it maps Kaur’s own journey toward self-love and healing.
Nuar Alsadir's Fourth Person Singular is a genre-bending investigation of lyrical poetry, interrogating what it means for the 'I' in a poem to "become the position or mouthpiece through which the world, rather than the individual, speaks." In a succinct series of sketches, aphorisms and 'Night Fragments' (written immediately after waking each night at 3.15am), Alsadir deftly deconstructs notions we may have of selfhood and poetic form. Though dense with references to a diverse range of poets, philosophers and artists such as Marianne Moore, Chris Marker and Emmanuel Levinas, Fourth Person Singular is written with a light, often playful touch, making its cerebral contents feel engaging and vital.
“Are these the stories you have heard about Jamaica? / Well here are the stories underneath.” Jamaican-born poet Kei Miller’s latest hotly anticipated collection searches out the “unnamed places”, the forgotten stories, the lost names of people and places. “In nearby bushes” is a phrase often used in news reports of deaths and disappearances in Jamaican newspapers, standing in for a dark, unspecified location. The phrase becomes a recurring beat throughout the book. Miller’s lyricality is breathtaking, especially in the poem 'Here Where Blossoms the Night'. The final section is a sequence of erasure poems crafted from news clippings, chilling accounts of violence against women against a backdrop of the island’s colonial past. In Nearby Bushes is a haunting poetic elegy, but one that is full of life, and vivid history.