Tag Archives: #Poetry

Top Poetry and Short Story Collections

Poetry and short stories are perfect examples of “Less is More”.  (And also, in many instances, “shorter is harder”). These short pieces can encapsulate a moment or a world as well as longer formats; and their shorter form means you can dip in-and-out of a collection easily – perfect for today’s busy lifestyles.  Here are some suggested volumes to get you started:

Sentenced to Life by Clive James

Since a terminal diagnosis “with the lot” in 2010 (leukaemia, emphysema and kidney failure), Clive James has been focusing his energy on what he loves, but probably hasn’t done enough of – writing poetry.  The result has been an outpouring of beautifully crafted work.  Sentenced to Life is a collection of 37 poems, including the poignant Japanese Maple, which has gone viral since publication. The poems are elegiac and rueful but never morbid, with regular glimpses of Clive James’ familiar wit.  And while Clive may feel embarrassed about still being alive (his condition having improved due to experimental therapies), his readers (and literature too) are certainly benefitting from his extended farewell.

https-::covers.booko.info:300:countryA Few Days in the Country: and other Stories by Elizabeth Harrower

Last week’s Stella Prize shortlisting of A Few Days in the Country caps off a remarkable backstory for Elizabeth Harrower and her work.  Elizabeth Harrower is a rediscovered literary star who, having written a number of acclaimed novels and short stories, stopped writing abruptly in the early 1970s.  Forty years later, her works have been resurrected by Text Publishing.  A Few Days in the Country is the first compilation of Elizabeth Harrower’s short stories; some had been published previously, while others have lain in the author’s archive until now.  Although the stories are set in an earlier era, they are powerful explorations of loneliness, emotional abuse and depression; their themes of class, gender and power remain fresh and relevant today.

Airmail: Taking Women of Letters to the World curated by Michaela McGuire and Marieke Hardy

https-::covers.booko.info:300:AirmailThe Women of Letters anthologies are not really short stories, but I have included them here because they are short, entertaining and beautifully evocative.  Women of Letters started as Australian literary events where wise and wonderful women – “dames of stage, screen and page” – share letters they have written to set topics.  These letters are witty, poignant, vulnerable, and offer fascinating glimpses into the people behind their public personas.  Airmail takes this concept further through an international focus, with correspondents from Indonesia, Ireland, the UK and the US.  Read the heartfelt and hilarious contributions of letters from an impressive lineup including Rookie magazine founder Tavi Gevinson, musician Moby, and author Monica McInerney.

The Complete Short Stories (Volumes Oneand Two) by Roald Dahl

https-::covers.booko.info:300:RD1Roald Dahl is best known for his children’s fiction but his adult fiction – especially his short stories – are also incredible.  For adult audiences, Roald Dahl’s wicked sense of humour takes on an unsettling and often sexy edge; he became famous for sinister, gasp-inducing twists.  These two volumes present 55 short stories, written between 1944-1988, in chronological order.  Volume One https-::covers.booko.info:300:RD2includes Roald Dahl’s earliest stories, inspired by his wartime exploits as a fighter pilot; we also see the development of his sinister, black humour in classic stories such as Lamb to the Slaughter.  Volume Two contains stories written between 1954-1988, showing Roald Dahl’s mastery of the savage twist, and includes eight stories not available in any other printed edition.


Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems by Robin Coste Lewis

Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems won the National Book Award for poetry – an outstanding achievement for a debut work.  The title poem is an extensive work made up almost entirely of titles and descriptions of artworks showing the black female figure; it explores how black female bodies have been depicted in 40,000 years’ worth of Western art, and what that means for notions of race and cultural identity.  Other poems are intimate and autobiographical, on topics as diverse as travel, family, death, history and sexuality.   In her National Book Award citation, Robin Coste Lewis was praised for the “aesthetic and psychological complexity of her work, [which] is underscored by its clarity”.

Tilda Swinton’s Holiday Reading List

Tilda Swinton’s holiday reading list is as eclectic as the film roles she chooses. Here are her recommended reads:


Auntie Mame By Patrick Dennis

“Mame: Who did you ever dream of being adopted by?”








A Time Of Gifts By Patrick Leigh Fermor

“For anybody who has ever fantasised about walking across Europe with a backpack. Written by a great writer and a proper hero amongst men.”



https-::covers.booko.info:300:ClimateLove In A Cold Climate By Nancy Mitford

“Lady Montdore is one of the greatest creations in English literature; Uncle Matthew, another; Cedric, yet another. It’s the dottiness and passions of the English aristocracy pretty much nailed in one.”





Light Years By James Salter

“An urbane American marriage seen from above — a kind of exquisite horror story of the deathly chic of people having all their bases covered and somehow missing the point all the same. Very, very beautiful. Very, very sad.”




Great Expectations By Charles Dickens

“Faces you will never forget, and a lesson to treasure all your life: Be prepared to be surprised, [and] cherish life as it finds you. And love Joe Gargery with all your heart.”





Owning Your Own Shadow By Robert A. Johnson
“A tiny, precious book on the balancing wisdom of the psyche. Hooray for that dark stuff!”






The Child, The Family, And The Outside World By D.W. Winnicott

“The book to have by you when becoming a parent. And ever after.”






The Best of Wodehouse By P.G. Wodehouse
“Sentences to eat with a spoon, and funny like nothing else on Earth.”





https-::covers.booko.info:300:OHaraThe Collected Poems Of Frank O’Hara By Frank O’Hara

“Joy and life, and more life and more joy, and street corners, and Coca-Cola, and love.”







Modern Nature By Derek Jarman

“Joy and life, and more life and more joy, and making a garden out of stones, and making films, and love.”






The Many Days: Selected Poems Of Norman MacCaig By Norman MacCaig

“Scotland’s preeminent poet of both the mountain and the capital’s pavement. Doubleness is a Scottish art: Passion and Calvinism; the west and the east; the highlands and the lowlands. MacCaig embraces this split with true affection and verve.”

As found on Refinery29.com

Favourites for Father’s Day

With Father’s Day just around the corner for customers in the US and UK, here are some gift ideas that are a lot more exciting than slippers and socks (we think so, anyway).

Here are Team Booko’s top 5 Father’s day reads:

No Limits: My Autobiography by Ian Poulter

As one of golf’s charismatic figures, Ian Poulter reflects on his drive and determination in this honest and reflective book on his life and passion.


365 Reasons to be Proud to be a Dad: The Greatest Dad Moments in History

Ian Allen

Being a dad is a full time job. This quirky little book offers an interesting ‘dad fact’ for every day of the year! Full to the brim with interesting stories, this book is a great book for the dad that has everything.


The New Dad’s Survival Guide

Scott Mactavish

Fatherhood demystified! Finally – a manual for new dads that deciphers the immensely confusing world of fatherhood and gives crucial tips and advice from a man’s point of view.


Strong Fathers: Strong Daughters

Dr Meg Meeker

Drawing on her thirty years’ experience practicing paediatric and adolescent medicine, teen health expert Dr Meg Meeker explains why an active father figure is maybe the single most important factor in a young woman’s development.


Poems that Make Grown Men Cry: 100 Men on the Words that Move Them

Anthony Holden, Ben Holden

This is an anthology of over 100 men from vastly different but equally impressive backgrounds on the poems that have made an impact on their lives.