In The Canterbury Tales Chaucer created one of the great touchstones of English literature, a masterly collection of chivalric romances, moral allegories, and low farce. A storytelling competition between a group of pilgrims from all walks of life is the occasion for a series of tales that range from the Knight’s account of courtly love and the ebullient Wife of Bath’s Arthurian legend, to the ribald anecdotes of the Miller and the Cook. Nevill Coghill’s masterly and vivid modern English verse translation is rendered with consummate skill to retain all the vigor and poetry of Chaucer’s fourteenth-century Middle English.
Written by Geoffrey Chaucer
Published by Penguin Classics, 2015
5 x 7.75 inches
Felon tells the story of the effects of incarceration in fierce, dazzling poems—canvassing a wide range of emotions and experiences through homelessness, underemployment, love, drug abuse, domestic violence, fatherhood, and grace—and, in doing so, creates a travelogue for an imagined life. Reginald Dwayne Betts confronts the funk of post-incarceration existence and examines prison not as a static space, but as a force that enacts pressure throughout a person’s life.
The poems move between traditional and newfound forms with power and agility—from revolutionary found poems created by redacting court documents to the astonishing crown of sonnets that serves as the volume’s radiant conclusion. Drawing inspiration from lawsuits filed on behalf of the incarcerated, the redaction poems focus on the ways we exploit and erase the poor and imprisoned from public consciousness. Traditionally, redaction erases what is top secret; in Felon, Betts redacts what is superfluous, bringing into focus the profound failures of the criminal justice system and the inadequacy of the labels it generates.
Challenging the complexities of language, Betts animates what it means to be a "felon."Written by Reginald Dwayne Betts
“Walden. Yesterday I came here to live.” That entry from the journal of Henry David Thoreau, and the intellectual journey it began, would by themselves be enough to place Thoreau in the American pantheon. His attempt to “live deliberately” in a small woods at the edge of his hometown of Concord has been a touchstone for individualists and seekers since the publication of Walden in 1854.
Drawing on Thoreau’s copious writings, published and unpublished, Walls presents a Thoreau vigorously alive in all his quirks and contradictions: the young man shattered by the sudden death of his brother; the ambitious Harvard College student; the ecstatic visionary who closed Walden with an account of the regenerative power of the Cosmos. We meet the man whose belief in human freedom and the value of labor made him an uncompromising abolitionist; the solitary walker who found society in nature, but also found his own nature in the society of which he was a deeply interwoven part. And, running through it all, Thoreau the passionate naturalist, who, long before the age of environmentalism, saw tragedy for future generations in the human heedlessness around him.Written by Laura Dassow Walls
How can a poem transform a life? Could poetry change the world? In this accessible volume, spoken-word stars Andrea Gibson and Megan Falley roll out the welcome mat and prove that poetry is for everyone. Whether lapsed poetry lovers, aspiring poets, or total novices, readers will learn to uncover verse in unexpected places, find their way through a poem when they don't quite "get it," and discover just how transformative poetry can be. This is a gorgeous and inspiring gift for any fan of the written word.By Andrea Gibson & Megan Falley
Describing Dante’s descent into Hell midway through his life with Virgil as a guide, Inferno depicts a cruel underworld in which desperate figures are condemned to eternal damnation for committing one or more of seven deadly sins. As he descends through nine concentric circles of increasingly agonising torture, Dante encounters doomed souls including the pagan Aeneas, the liar Odysseus, the suicide Cleopatra, and his own political enemies, damned for their deceit. Led by leering demons, the poet must ultimately journey with Virgil to the deepest level of all. For it is only by encountering Satan, in the heart of Hell, that he can truly understand the tragedy of sin.By Dante Alighieri
Juan Felipe Herrera, the first Mexican-American Poet Laureate in the USA, is sharing secrets: how to turn your wonder at the world around you into weird, wild, incandescent poetry.
Can you walk and talk at the same time? How about Jabber Walk? Can you write and draw and walk and journal all at the same time? If not, you’re in luck: exuberant, blue-cheesy cilantro man Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States, is here to teach you everything he knows about being a real-life, bonified, jabberwalking poet! Jabberwalkers write and speak for themselves and others no matter where their feet may take them — to jabberwalk is to be a poet on the move. And there’s no stopping once you’re a Jabberwalker, writing fast, fast, fast, scribble-poem-burbles-on-the-run. Scribble what you see! Scribble what you hear! It’s all out there — vámonos!
Ovid’s sensuous and witty poetry brings together a dazzling array of mythological tales, ingeniously linked by the idea of transformation—often as a result of love or lust—where men and women find themselves magically changed into new and sometimes extraordinary beings. Beginning with the creation of the world and ending with the deification of Augustus, Ovid interweaves many of the best-known myths and legends of Ancient Greece and Rome, including Daedalus and Icarus, Pyramus and Thisbe, Pygmalion, Perseus and Andromeda, and the fall of Troy. Erudite but lighthearted, dramatic yet playful, the Metamorphoses has influenced writers and artists throughout the centuries from Shakespeare and Titian to Picasso and Ted Hughes.
This edition includes David Raeburn’s modern verse translation, an introduction by Denis Feeney, and other features to help readers fully appreciate Ovid’s epic.
Written by Ovid
Published by Penguin Classics, 2016
5 x 7.75 inches
In Paradise Lost, Milton produced a poem of epic scale, conjuring up a vast, awe-inspiring cosmos ranging across huge tracts of space and time. And yet, in putting a charismatic Satan and naked Adam and Eve at the center of this story, he also created an intensely human tragedy on the Fall of Man. Written when Milton was in his fifties—blind, bitterly disappointed by the Restoration, and briefly in danger of execution—Paradise Lost’s apparent ambivalence toward authority has led to intense debate about whether it manages to “justify the ways of God to men,” or exposes the cruelty of Christianity.Written by John Milton
Porsha Olayiwola’s debut poetry collection soars with the power and presence of live performance. These poems dip their hands deep into the fabric of black womanhood, pulling out all of its threads. This book establishes Porsha Olayiwola firmly in the lineage of black queer poetics, pulling equally from Audre Lorde and Danez Smith.
This is a book of gentle breaking and inventive reconstruction. This is a book of self-care, and community-care―the pursuit of building a world that will keep you alive.
Porsha Olayiwola is a writer, performer, educator and curator who uses afro-futurism and surrealism to examine historical and current issues in the Black, woman, and queer diasporas. She is an Individual World Poetry Slam Champion and is the current poet laureate for the city of Boston.Written by Porsha Olayiwola
Tennyson's ascendancy as England's foremost poet coincided with one of the most significant inventions of the nineteenth century: photography. As Poet Laureate, Tennyson and those who moved in his circle became targets for the photographers lens. The resulting portraits by such pioneering spirits as Julia Margaret Cameron, offer a fascinating insight into an age when England felt itself to be the envy of the world. Lynne Truss's insightful and often amusing text captures the spirit of the age through images of the famous, and provides a glimpse into the lives of a group of people crossing the threshold into the modern world.Written by Lynne Truss
5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
When this volume of Shakespeare’s poems first appeared in 1609, he had already written most of the great plays that made him famous. The 154 sonnets – all but two of which are addressed to a beautiful young man or a treacherous ‘dark lady’ – contain some of the most exquisite and haunting poetry ever written, and deal with eternal subjects such as love and infidelity, memory and mortality, and the destruction wreaked by Time. Also included is A Lover’s Complaint, originally published with the sonnets, in which a young woman is overheard lamenting her betrayal by a heartless seducer.
Written by William Shakespeare
Published by Penguin Classics, 2010
5 x 7.75 inches
Dante's Divine Comedy captivated medieval readers, and each successive era remains spellbound by its sublime portraits of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. In the early 19th century, one of England's great epic poets paid tribute to the Italian master's work. Gifted at both poetry and painting, William Blake transformed more than a hundred of Dante's visions into sketches, engravings, and brilliant watercolors. This collection features all of his distinctive interpretations of Dante's immortal trilogy.
Although Blake labored in poverty and obscurity all his life, he is recognized today as one of the preeminent artists and poets of the English-speaking world. An 1825 commission from patron John Linnell enabled him to focus on illustrating Dante's tales — the type of visionary work to which his talents were ideally suited. The artist spent the last three years of his life creating these images, which range from completely finished pieces to rough sketches. Blake's highly original approach offers not only an excellent introduction to Dante's allegorical tales, but also a new and fresh perspective for those already familiar with the Divine Comedy.Written by William Blake