Review: ‘The Bees’ by Carol Ann Duffy

The BeesI have been a massive fan of Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry since studying it for A Level. Considering the success rate of GCSE and A Level syllabi of ruining texts for young generations, I realise that is slightly unusual.

I borrowed this collection from my local library, and didn’t spend the time reading it that I usually like to with poetry, but I am absolutely certain that at some point I will check it out again to read these poems again in more detail.

Carol Ann Duffy manages to observe and describe perfectly so much. Most of all, she describes things and explains them in ways the reader would never have thought of, yet make perfect sense on encountering them. This collection, like the rest of her work, is beautiful and passionate and full of striking imagery and sounds. Some lines stayed in my head for days, like song lyrics do.

While my favourite collection of hers is still The World’s Wife, I really enjoyed this collection, which was her first published since being made Poet Laureate.

It also seems worth mentioning – in part because it’s so obvious, and in part because I do love books as much for their beauty as physical objects as for their beauty as textual works! – this book is gorgeous. The gold-coloured foiling is beautiful, the honeycombs, the bee… it’s all just spectacular, and makes it lovely to hold. If I weren’t fully intending to get myself an actual copy of The World’s Wife first*, I would be desperate to have a proper copy of this for myself. Priorities, priorities.

(*the only Carol Ann Duffy I currently have on my shelves is a copy of New Selected Poems 1984-2004, which I bought as a student, considering it the largest quantity of poems for my money at the time!),


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