All ages: Foyle Young Poets Recommend – What To Read In Strange Times

Want to read more poetry but don’t know where to start?

We asked the top 15 Foyle Young Poets of 2019 to send us their best recommendations for these weird times. Each poet offers a poem that you can find for free online, as well as a full book they think you should definitely read. They also share how they’ve been getting on.

Poetry For the Stressed/Unstressed

Cut yourself some slack. You don’t need to use this time to pen the next modern classic; just keeping afloat is enough.

Nadia Lines and Dana Collins recommend War Music by Christopher Logue, Stressed, Unstressed (edited by Jonathan Bate, Paula Byrne, Sophie Ratcliffe and Andrew Schuman), and poems by W.B. Yeats and Lord Byron.

Photo of Trinity reading a book at a table
Photo: Dan Haworth for The Poetry Society

On Waiting For Tomorrow

One way that I like to cope with all the hours in my room is just opening the blinds and letting sunlight in.

Talulah Quinto and Trinity Robinson suggest that you disappear into the worlds of American Primitive by Mary Oliver, the 2019 National Poetry Competition winners, and poems by John Keats and Erin Hanson.

Meditations in an Emergency

I’m mostly coping by planning everything I’m going to do after the lockdown is over! My priorities are having a big party and kissing all my mates on the nose.

Lydia Wei and Em Power persuade you to read Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong, Meditations in an Emergency by Frank O’Hara, Surge by Jay Bernard (who was also once a Foyle Young Poet), and poems by Lyd Havens and Mary Oliver.

Start Your Own Book Club

Both of these poets are legends when it comes to peppering in little lines you’ll want to underline and copy out over and over again.

Cia Mangat and Annie Davison explain why you have to read Mary Jean Chan’s Flèche, Kaveh Akbar’s Calling a Wolf a Wolf and Paige Lewis’ Space Struck, and poems by Rebecca Perry and Phoebe Stuckes. Cia also recommends starting a book club!

Photo of the 15 Foyle Young Poets standing on steps at Arvon, with poet tutors Raymond Antrobus and Mimi Khalvati, and in loco parentes Fran Pridham and Colin Watts
Photo: Dan Haworth for The Poetry Society