The Bees Hardcover – 7 Oct 2011
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'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'
`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'
`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
A critically accalimed collection from the Poet LaureateSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
These beautiful peoms all have the theame of bees runnign through them. some are outright about bees some alude to the bees. they are a lovely metaphore for grace and very touching.
I especially enjoyed the woman in the moon.
buy it now whilst its on half price if you can, but its one of the few books I'd say is worth full price too.
However, it is much less aggressive than previous collections, and there are some really beautiful pieces in here. It's changed my view of her, and I will definitely be reading more in the future.
She examines chalk horses, pub signs and bees (obviously) amongst other things.
It's also a beautifully produced book, a lovely gift for anyone who likes poetry
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 ›
for me, she's the most enjoyable poet around -
and some of the work here is among her best.
An elegantly produced volume, too.
About the author
Carol Ann Duffy was appointed Poet Laureate in 2009. She has written for both children and adults, and her poetry has received many awards.
Blurb on the back
The Bees is Carol Ann Duffy’s first collection of new poems as Poet Laureate. The Bees finds Duffy using her full poetic range: there are drinking songs, love poems, poems to the weather, poem of political anger. There are elegies, too, for beloved friends, and- most movingly- the poets own mother. As Duffy’s voice rises in this collection, her music intensifies, and every poem patterns itself along.
Good bits about the book
As I explained at the beginning I came to reading this book in more of a negative frame of mind then I usually start a book in. This did not last long. I loved pretty much all of her poems. My favorite was The Falling Soldier, it had some of the best lines in such as
“Worse by far. The shadow you shed
as you fall
is,brother, your soul”
Another of my favorites was Big Ask, a political poem which I shared the message. I liked the fact the poems were short with brilliant lines such as the above. If, like me, you were put through alliteration and simile lectures through her poetry at school and having to sit through her slightly Diva antics at a reading trip, do not be put off, her poetry is fab even if she quite clearly know’s it herself!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Superb verse which captures you and enables new thoughts and experiences. Just buy it. You will love it.Published 29 days ago by Paul Calkin
Interesting viewpoint - told by a bee in the hive. Watership Down with bees instead of rabbits! Gained insight into the working of a hive which was good but at times I had a... Read morePublished 10 months ago by N.M
Excellent value, speedy delivery and just what I wanted. Thank you.Published 12 months ago by Marilyn Barnes