What da cover says: Here Carol Ann Duffy uses her full poetic range: there are drinking songs, love poems, poems of political anger; there are elegies, too, for beloved friends, and—most movingly—the poet’s own mother. Woven and weaving through the book is its presiding spirit: the bee. Sometimes the bee is Duffy’s subject, sometimes it strays into the poem, or hovers at its edge. In the end, Duffy’s point is clear: the bee symbolizes what we have left of grace in the world, and what is most precious and necessary for us to protect. The Bees, at once intimate and public, is a work of great power from one of our most cherished poets.
What I says: This book has been on my book radar (or bookdar) for a while now and for a couple of reasons, it is about Bees which are awesome and it is by a Poet Laureate I haven’t read yet. I saw this for sale and it’s cover really catches your eye so had to buy it. Not all the poems are about bees, at first I thought that was a bit of a cop-out but soon realised a book of poems on one subject would be pretty dull, instead Carol Ann Duffy has weaved in a number of bee related poems in with her other writings.
The book has been split into four sections, I’m not sure if this is correct or not but they feel a bit like seasons….but I could be way off with that. The non-bee poems were really good, far more political that I was expecting, her opinions on war and the destruction of rainforest will probably have rubbed some people the wrong way and because of that they stand out more.
The three highlights for me were “Scheherazade” almost a review of 1001 Arabian nights, “Parliament” a haunting poem about the destruction of forest and my favourite “Drams” these are little snippets you can enjoy between drams of whiskey.
A nice collection that will sit nicely on my bookshelf.