Most borrowed poetry books: Dante, Ayres and Duffy share the honours

Dante Alighieri. Profile portrait in tempera by Sandro Botticelli, 1495.
Dante Alighieri. Profile portrait in tempera
by Sandro Botticelli, 1495.

Dante is holding his own against Pam Ayres, suggests the Public Lending Right’s latest survey of the most borrowed poetry books in UK public libraries.

Carol Ann Duffy is the only poet to feature twice in the 2015-16 list, with The World’s Wife (Picador, 2000) and her most recent full collection, The Bees (Picador, 2011). Pam Ayres also scores a double hit, though for the hardback and paperback editions of the same book – her collection You Made Me Late Again! (Ebury, 2013 and 2015). Clive James appears in his own right for Sentenced to Life (Picador, 2015) and as Dante’s translator with his 2013 version of The Divine Comedy (Picador). Andrew Marr’s literary survey, We British: The Poetry of a People (Fourth Estate, 2015) also features, as do two rather more venerable anthologies: Laura Barber’s Penguin’s Poems for Life (Penguin Classics, 2008) and Griff Rhys-Jones’s The Nation’s Favourite Poems (BBC Books, 1996). The Collected Poems of Philip Larkin edited by Anthony Thwaite (Faber, 2003) – a book that is sure to hold its own during Hull’s year as UK City of Culture 2017 – completes the list.

Public Lending Right, the government-funded scheme that makes payments to authors for the free lending out of their books by public libraries, collects loans data throughout the year from a representative sample of libraries across the United Kingdom. More at www.bl.uk/plr

13 February 2017.