The Bees and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Buy New

Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Buy Used
Used - Good See details
Price: 2.80

More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Start reading The Bees on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

The Bees [Hardcover]

Carol Ann Duffy
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 11.63 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
You Save: 3.36 (22%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 3 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it tomorrow, 29 July? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 4.49  
Hardcover 11.63  
Paperback 6.99  

Book Description

7 Oct 2011

The Bees is Carol Ann Duffy’s first collection of new poems as Poet Laureate, and the much-anticipated successor to the T. S. Eliot Prize-winning Rapture. After the intimate focus of the earlier book, The Bees finds Duffy using her full poetic range: there are drinking songs, love poems, poems to the weather, poems of political anger; her celebrated ‘Last Post’ (written for the last surviving soldiers to fight in the First World War) showed that powerful public poetry still has a central place in our culture. There are elegies, too, for beloved friends, and – most movingly – the poet’s own mother. As Duffy’s voice rises in this collection, her music intensifies, and every poem patterns itself into song.

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 – and the reader soon begins to anticipate its appearance. 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 is a work of great ecological and spiritual power, and Duffy’s clearest affirmation yet of her belief in the poem as ‘secular prayer’, as the means by which we remind ourselves what is most worthy of our attention and concern, our passion and our praise.

Frequently Bought Together

The Bees + The World's Wife
Buy the selected items together
  • The World's Wife 6.99

Product details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (7 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330442449
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330442442
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 22.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carol Ann Duffy lives in Manchester, where she is Professor and Creative Director of the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has written for both children and adults, and her poetry has received many awards, including the Signal Prize for Children's Verse, the Whitbread and Forward Prizes, and the Lannan and E. M. Forster Prize in America. In 2005, she won the T. S. Eliot Prize for Rapture. In 2009, she was appointed Poet Laureate.

Product Description


'Wonderful... Duffy is a poet alert to every sound and shape of language. Whether writing sonnets, eclogues, elegies or love songs, she is attuned to the hum of nature, angered by what humans are doing to it, in awe of what two hearts can feel' --Mark Sanderson, Sunday Telegraph

'Wonderfully varied... Here's a mixter maxter of every kind of Duffy poem: angry, political, elegiac, witty, nakedly honest, accessible, mysterious. Here are the willed, the skilled, the passionate ecological pleas and exhortations, the other voices, the lists and litanies, and, above all, the lovely lyrics of longing and loneliness and sorrow laced with ephemeral moments of almost-acceptance, lightness and grace. [Some] will sting you to tears. The elegies for that much-missed mother are the most moving poems in the whole book. "Cold" will stop your own heart for a moment. Duffy is brazen enough to write words such as besotted, smitten...and to bring it all off brilliantly. To float like a butterfly, sting like a bee' --Guardian

'The bees of Duffy's title recur throughout the book, announcing the poet's devotion to her vocation and her mastery of it... Gusto strains against sorrow, both general and particular... The tension created by these darker tones tests Duffy's confidence and makes her moments of levity more poignant, delivering poems that are sparer, purer and often more musical than ever before' --Financial Times

'[Duffy] has such remarkable gifts as a poet of grace, dexterity and clarity. And there are poems here that are unforced and beautiful: gifts... "Water" is perfectly controlled, yet written with what could almost be mistaken for casualness. It carries its emotional weight effortlessly. It acknowledges three generations, needing one another in ordinary ways. The "parched" at the end is beautiful and unlaboured. In every sense, it holds water' --Observer

'Duffy's publishers have done her proud with this handsome volume... Recent poets laureate seem to have found that the honour has a dismal effect on their poetic powers, but on the evidence of this lively volume, Duffy's muse is still on fine form' --Daily Mail

'Compassion and empathy are prevalent... Suffused with keen perception and insight, it's a resonant collection taking in ecology, spirituality, politics, love and more. Duffy displays the breadth of her subject matter and talent throughout'
--Big Issue

`Arguably her most interesting book since Mean Time. The best pieces here are concise, with a rich musical authority that brings some poems close to song' --Sean O'Brien, Sunday Times

`Poetry is too often overlooked in favour of novels and celebrity biographies; Duffy's first new collection as Poet Laureate reminds us just how wonderful the form can be.... This beautifully presented volume is eloquent, simple, and (seemingly) effortlessly moving' --Diva magazine

`If Rapture was an imposing display of Duffy's virtuosity and versatility, those same qualities are repeated here with fresh abundance and a sense, too, that Duffy as again remaking herself as a poet... This is a magnificent collection of shimmering lyric poetry by a poet who can move from spare to opulent language without any attendant discord. Every word matters in a Duffy poem, and every poem is "a spell if kinds,/ that keeps things living in the written line"' --Irish Times

`A golden honeycomb of a collection, buzzing with energy, pity, passion and perceptiveness about what makes us human despite the appalling things we do to nature and each other. It is clearly the work of the great poet of our time and so exquisitely produced in blue and gold that it makes an ideal gift' --Amanda Craig, New Statesman

`Duffy is spearheading the current surge in poetry's population. Her book sales are going through the roof, her staged readings regularly sell out and her latest collection, The Bees, is shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards.... [Carol Ann] strides off into the night. Nobody bows or curtsies but I have a feeling that one day they might'
--Sunday Express

`Beautiful and moving poetry for the real world' --Guardian

`Characteristically clear-spoken and anti-metaphysical, it offers the reader much more than simply a collection of "public" Laureate poems. Its sense of joyous freedom is deeply refreshing' --Independent

'Superb... a masterclass in how public poetry can reanimate the personal' --The Times

About the Author

Carol Ann Duffy lives in Manchester, where she is Professor and Creative Director of the Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has written for both children and adults, and her poetry has received many awards, including the Signal Prize for Children’s Verse, the Whitbread and Forward Prizes, and the Lannan and E. M. Forster Prize in America. In 2005, she won the T. S. Eliot Prize for Rapture. She was appointed Poet Laureate in 2009.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little more grace in the world 27 Oct 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've always enjoyed Carol Ann Duffy's poetry but this slim volume of poetry has got to be one of her best collections. It is Duffy's first since her appointment as poet laureate in 2009, and it's really quite extraordinary. Images of bees are woven throughout the book. The blurb puts it best: 'Duffy's point is clear: the bee symbolizes what we have left of grace in the world, and what is most precious to protect.' The poems run along this theme and are both accessible and deep. I do think Duffy is a marvellous poet, particularly in the way she makes poetry available and relevant to almost any reader, and yet its subtlety and nuance holds up to much closer reading too.

Beautifully produced, this is a slim and well-made hardback. Its jacket is a gorgeous pale blue with the title and honeycomb design embossed in gold (is it just me, or has the dawn of the Kindle egged on publishers to make their paper titles ever more physically beautiful?!). And even the presence of honey-coloured ribbon as a bookmark is a thoughtful, perfect touch.

A very touching book. And also a pleasure to hold, and read, and look up and see on the bookshelf. A little ode to the ritual of book production and book buying - a little touch of grace on my shelf.
Was this review helpful to you?
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Bees 1 Dec 2011
' Has the post of Poet Laureate taken the edge off Carol Ann Duffy's verse, as Andrew Motion said it did in his case? On the evidence of this collection, not one bit. She's been writing poems that have stuck in the mind for many years, and the variety and quality seems never to flag. I have the beautifully produced book - a present from my daughter - by my bedside and ration myself to two or three poems a night. Have I remembered correctly that queen bees devour their drones? An uncomfortable thought as I drift off to sleep.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very enjoyable read 18 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Mature and thoughtful work. Very enjoyable and thought-provoking with her customary humour too. Pleased to find being laureate hasnt taken away the edge
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love 1 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Both filled with humour and charm, Duffy delivers again and leaves no room for disappointment. Joy to read, would buy again without hesitation.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars selected poems 25 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I loved the bronze buzz of CAD's poems -
for me, she's the most enjoyable poet around -
and some of the work here is among her best.
An elegantly produced volume, too.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic - in places! 9 Jun 2012
By Col
I found this collection a bit of a bumpy ride if I'm honest. References to "bees" are not surprisingly dispersed through the book and there is a poem "The Bees" which opens the collection - and in a way that poem summed up my overall impression of the whole collection.

There are moments here that I thought were absolutely magnificent. I've little to no technical understanding, but it seems to me that when she is on her game, Carol Ann Duffy is an absolute master of her craft. The poem "The Bees" felt like a short introduction to the buzzing words to come and to the way the words had almost been drawn nectar-like from somewhere within the poet's soul to be transported to the page. And there's a real feel of the hither and thither about those first two verses - they crackle with energy and vitality. What I loved about them was the way they appeared almost like random-buzz-words and phrases on first read but on subsequent reads they feel like there's a purpose and structure and destination to all their movement and twists and activity. It was a great start but the third and final verse somehow meandered and ran out of steam a bit and that feeling pervaded throughout the collection for me. The last line of the poem "The Bees" in particular just left me feeling a bit flat and let down. It ends with the line "and honey is art." It just didn't live up to the court and spark of what had gone before - all that noise and shape petering out in what felt to me like a bit of a cliché.

However, having said that it's a bumpy ride, it's also a ride with some colossal highs. There are a several poems that I loved, particularly those where where Carol Ann Duffy is sort of unravelling time and perspective and telling something backwards.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The poetry of everything ? 19 Feb 2012
By Jeremy Bevan TOP 500 REVIEWER
Carol Ann Duffy's outstanding new collection is hard to classify, simply because it's the poetry not just of one thing, but seemingly of everything. The public and the private; love and death; political corruption and ecological destruction: all of these, and much else besides, can be found in a collection that spans a wide emotional range, encompassing celebration, commemoration and the rituals of life as it does so. And if Duffy's genius (a much misused word, but in this case possibly apposite) is to speak in the ordinary idiom of non-poets, it is also to employ deftly all the poet's 'tools of the trade' - assonance, alliteration and so on - so as to give the poetry its remarkable, intensely-rhythmed, songlike quality.

Almost every poem in the collection is accessible: from `Achilles' (on David Beckham's pre-World Cup heel injury) to `Rings', written for last year's royal wedding - though you wouldn't know it, so blessedly free is it from the mawkishness that has attended some previous `national verse' written for such occasions; from `New Vows', the elegiac, regret-tinged polar opposite of the royal wedding dedicatory poem, to `Last Post' and `Passing-Bells', both of which, also very `public' poems, express a different kind of regret as they commemorate the last of the World War I fallen and bespeak war's futility. A more personal note is sounded by three intensely moving poems on the death of the poet's mother - `Cold', `Water' and `Premonitions'.

Duffy does wry humour, too, in `Mrs. Schofield's GCSE', as she gently mocks a woman who quite possibly rues the day she banned the AQA anthology containing the poet's `Education for Leisure'.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Was this review helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars poet laureate another success
Always a fan of Carol Ann Duffy. She is proving the best poet laureate yet. Intellegent, well crafted poems, showing great sensetivity. I find her writing extremely moving. Read more
Published 28 days ago by Sylvia M. Bestwick
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
Utterly wonderfully sublime. I cannot praise this enough, my new favourites,especially 'Water'.
To be read and read again and again!
Published 8 months ago by no
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not good enough
The trouble with being a poet laureate is being a poet laureate: you have to be representative of all the race, meaning both of your country and of its tribe of poets. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Jon Corelis
5.0 out of 5 stars Another amazing anthology
A beautiful collection of poetry, entertaining , moving and amusing. A great comment on all aspects of life. My favourite was Water a tribute to mothers.
Published 13 months ago by Forrester
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!
This was my first taste of Carol Ann Duffy's poetry, and I took to it immediately. I was surprised, because I'm not a big fan of modern poetry. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Martynrb
5.0 out of 5 stars A*****
Lovely peotry A***** A birthday present for a fan of the new poet laureate. She really did like this book.
Published 19 months ago by Sonya
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I am biased. In my eyes Carol Ann Duffy can do no wrong. I love this is a joy to read, even though I find myself in tears as I read some of the poems. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Granny Jill
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for bee keepers
I gave this as a oresent to my daughter-in-law, who keeps bees and is also a poet, and she was thrilled with it. I am glad I spotted it in your book suggestions.
Published 19 months ago by Peterangela
5.0 out of 5 stars simply glorious
There is no way to review the Poet Laureate's work without resorting to superlatives; and this collection is no exception. it is beautiful.
Published 19 months ago by Ms. Fiona Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars you need this
Soul food. I've got it for my husband who is a university Literature lecturer. He will bee (!) very happy too.
Published 19 months ago by winnie
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category