I love poetry because it makes you hear words and see life in a new way. You can read or listen to a poem in a few minutes and then take it with you in your head to think about. You can read it again and maybe something you didn’t notice the first time jumps out at you – the best poems are whole worlds captured in sometimes just a few lines.
These are difficult days for everyone, so I’ve been delving into the Poetry Archive and other places to find some poetry that will take me out of my living-room and make me smile. It’s great to read poetry but I think it’s even better to hear it, so I’ve put together a few links to some brilliant women poets reading their own work to take your mind off the news – hope you enjoy listening to them as much as I did!
The links will take you either to youtube or to the poetry archive where you can click on the poem title to listen to it.
Frog Spring, Gress o’ the Forest: Valerie Gillies
Valerie Gillie is a Scottish poet and writes about landscape in a way that’s really vivid. These two poems take you right into the heart of the forest and of spring.
The Hinds, The Wishing Tree: Kathleen Jamie
Kathleen Jamie is another Scottish poet who writes magically about the Scottish landscape. There’s lots of her poetry here, but these two were my favourites.
Love in a Cold Climate: Christine De Luca
Christine De Luca was born in Shetland. This poem, about her parents love for one another, is read in English first, then in Shetland dialect.
The Wild Geese: Mary Oliver
Mary Oliver was an American poet who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. She published many collections and although critics are a bit divided about her, she’s hugely popular and is loved by people the word over. You have to listen to this one while looking out of the window at a blue sky – or at least imagining it!
Praise Song for my Mother: Grace Nichols
Grace Nichols was born in Guyana in 1950, and moved to live in the UK in 1977. She writes powerfully about her family, her own life and heritage and the history and culture of her homeland. This poem is about her love for her mother and her own complex heritage.
Say I Forgot: Lorraine Mariner
Lorraine Mariner’s is a young contemporary poet. Some of her poems have a very dark streak of humour, but I liked this one. Again, it’s about mother’s – and about love.
The London Story: Warsan Shire
Warsan Shire was born in Kenya, has Somalian heritage and was brought up in London. She has won many awards for her writing and was Young Poet Laureate for London. This beautiful poem comes with a video and music.
Hope you’ve enjoyed listening. There’s lots of amazing spoken word and poetry online. In addition to the poetry archive, you can search youtube, or try poetryfoundation.org for poetry, blogs and interviews. You can also listen to our 2016 slam winnners and runners up on our website: