We're well over half-way through 2021, and with so many outstanding books published mid-lockdown at the beginning of the year, we thought it was good time we hauled them back up and gave them some more well-deserved love.
Bring on 'So Far So Very Good': a series of round-ups of our booksellers' favourite books published so far in 2021.
To kick it all off, here's Peach to take you through four poetry collections which are no less than radioactive in their splendour.
This is a collection I will never stop recommending. Nobody writes like Wanda Coleman did, and I’m not sure anyone ever will. Her poems range between fever dreams and the humdrum of the everyday; they map intimacy, exposing the mess of human existence without apology. Addressing systems of oppression and their histories directly, Coleman’s poetry is self-assured, and reads as an urgent manifesto for transparency. They tear us apart, force us to bare our souls, then tell us to put ourselves back together again, do our healing on our own. Wanda Coleman’s poetry is steadfast and sagacious. It’s carnal, tender, and devastating, all at once.
June Jordan’s poetry is exquisite. She writes lyrically, taking time to savour the small, simple pleasures. She revels in belly laughter, and fused with sharp wit born from her years of activism, she never misses a beat. She's playful, but never clumsy, and constantly creates a space in which to think, consider, recalibrate. Her tempo is unparalleled.
Hadfield has resurrected nature poetry, infusing her love of her Shetland home with questions about the Self. emphasising the links between the emotional, the personal, and the living conscient world around us, this collection is transcendent. A couple of my favourites are 'Radiant Star', and 'Gyö'.
This debut collection is gorgeous. My favourite is the long-form poem 'A is for عربي [Arab]', a form I often find difficult to really sink my teeth into. It reads incredibly lyrically, telling a complex story of migration, islamophobia, grief and parenthood. The collection as a whole is inspired, youthful, and devoted to baring the small intimacies - good and bad, tough and soft - of human life. Another favourite is 'Innocent' which captures exactly that.