Like many others, I’ve been a bit miserable in recent times and when a surprise copy of A Poet for Every Day of the Year edited by Allie Esiri turned up in surprise book post from the lovely Hannah Bright at Midas PR, I was thrilled and actually quite emotional. My enormous thanks to Hannah for sending me a copy. I’m delighted to share a review of A Poet for Every Day of the Year today.
Published by Pan Macmillan in hardback tomorrow, 30th September 2021 A Poet for Every Day of the Year is available for purchase through the links here.
A Poet for Every Day of the Year
Allie Esiri’s beautiful gift anthology, A Poet for Every Day of the Year, is the perfect introduction to 366 of the world’s greatest ever verse writers.
Perfect for reading aloud and sharing with all the family, it is bursting at the seams with familiar favourites and exciting new discoveries. Shakespeare, William Wordsworth, Christina Rossetti and Emily Bronte sit alongside Roger McGough, Wendy Cope, Imtiaz Dharker, Leonard Cohen, Sylvia Plath and Ocean Vuong.
Each of the 366 poems features a small introduction that gives a sense of who the writer was, and not just the greatness of their work. Some offer insightful biographical details or key historical context, while others may provide quirky, humorous anecdotes.
The day-to-day format of the anthology invites readers to make poetry a part of their daily routine, and makes sure that they discover something inspirational, life affirming, provocative, moving or entertaining each and every day.
My Review of A Poet for Every Day of the Year
366 poets and poems.
I could not love A Poet for Every Day of the Year more. I confess I haven’t read the whole book yet as I am savouring the dated poems and poets each night so that this is a gift of a book that will last me the entire year. However, the format is the same for every day and includes an insightful and accessible potted history of the poet, with reference to social, historical and biographical detail that stirs such an interest in the reader that A Poet for Every Day of the Year provides even more entertainment by acting as a catalyst for further reading and research. For example, when I opened my copy on the day I received it, the poet was John Clare who just happens to have lived three miles from where I am, but there are other poets I’m much less familiar with so I have an introduction that can lead me to discovering more of their work. This adds to the significance and joy in reading A Poet for Every Day of the Year.
The Contents of A Poet for Every Day of the Year list the poem and poet for each calendar day although I prefer not to look at that properly until next year when I’ve enjoyed a daily surprise from the book. With poets from Angelou to Wordsworth there really is something for any and every reader. One of the absolute pleasures here is the attention to more marginalised poets such as those from the LGBTQIA+ community so that A Poet for Every Day of the Year feels inclusive and engaging.
Allie Esiri’s introduction zings with passion for poetry and reading it is a true pleasure. I don’t want to spoil the discovery for others but she raises some interesting questions about context and the balance between poet and poem in the reader’s consideration that had me thinking when I wasn’t dipping in to the poems.
I also had fun with the index of first lines at the end of A Poet for Every Day of the Year, reading them aloud like performance poetry and seeing if they would work as found poems in their own right! This anthology has so much to offer and every time I think about it next to the bed ready for me to read last thing at night it brings happiness and a smile to my face.
A Poet for Every Day of the Year is utterly wonderful and an absolute must for any lover of poetry, of words, of people. It’s also a perfect gift for any reader at any time of the year. It feels sumptuous, substantial and captivating. I loved it unreservedly and it’s one of my books of the year because it brings human connection and joy to the reader. What could be better than that?
About Allie Esiri
Allie Esiri, who read Modern and Medieval Languages at Cambridge University, is an accomplished curator and host of live poetry events at The National Theatre, The Bridge Theatre, and at Hay, Oxford, Bath and Cheltenham literary festivals. Her anthology A Poem for Every Day of the Year was in the best books of the year list in The Times and the Observer and the audiobook is read by Helena Bonham Carter and Simon Russell Beale. Her anthology, A Poem for Every Night of the Year was a best book of the year in The Times and the New Statesman and won the IBW 2017 book award.