The Bees
by Carol Ann Duffy

Overview -

A winner of the Costa Book Award, "beautiful and moving poetry for the real world" ("The Guardian")
"The Bees "is Carol Ann Duffy's first collection of new poems as British poet laureate, and the much anticipated successor to the T.  Read more...

  • $23.00
Sorry: This item is not currently available.

FREE Shipping for Club Members
> Check In-Store Availability

In-Store pricing may vary

New & Used Marketplace 12 copies from $2.99

This item is available only to U.S. billing addresses.

More About The Bees by Carol Ann Duffy

A winner of the Costa Book Award, "beautiful and moving poetry for the real world" ("The Guardian")
"The Bees "is Carol Ann Duffy's first collection of new poems as British poet laureate, and the much anticipated successor to the T. S. Eliot Prize winning "Rapture." After the intimate focus of the earlier book, "The Bees "finds Duffy using her full poetic range: there are drinking songs, love poems, poems to the weather, and poems of political anger. There are elegies, too, for beloved friends and most movingly for the poet's mother. As Duffy's voice rises in this collection, her music intensifies, and every poem patterns itself into song.
Woven into and weaving through the book is its presiding spirit: the bee. Sometimes the bee is Duffy's subject, sometimes it strays into the poem or hovers at its edge and the reader soon begins to anticipate its appearance. In the end, Duffy's point is clear: the bee symbolizes what we have left of grace in the world, and what is most precious and necessary for us to protect. "The Bees "is Duffy's clearest affirmation yet of her belief in the poem as "secular prayer," as the means by which we remind ourselves of what is most worthy of our attention and concern, our passion and our praise."

  • ISBN-13: 9780865478855
  • ISBN-10: 0865478856
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux
  • Publish Date: March 2013
  • Page Count: 84
  • Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.25 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.52 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Poetry > English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh

BookPage Reviews

Eye-opening, visionary verses

Poetry has a capacity that other literary forms lack—the lightning-quick ability to provide a sense of connection on an intimate scale. These new collections will open your eyes to the ways a skilled poet can conjure fresh meaning from our familiar language.


Named England’s poet laureate in 2009, Carol Ann Duffy writes linguistically extravagant poems that mix an appealing sense of play with a disciplined awareness of form. In her new collection, The Bees, she examines nature and history, relationships and politics through the lens of her visionary sensibility, deftly capturing the abundance of everyday experience.

The pieces in this accessible collection celebrate the poet’s transformative urge—the practice of remaking in words whatever meets the eye, a theme Duffy mines in “Poetry”: “I couldn’t see woods/for the names of trees—sycamore,/yew, birch, beech.” Elsewhere, elm trees are “green rhymes” and birds “verbs.” In “Invisible Ink,” Duffy turns the urge on the air itself, presenting it as a “fluent, glittery stream”—a communal medium we all inscribe with a “vast same poem.”

Duffy is a calculating and precise poet, a genius when it comes to line design. Positioned to produce the maximum amount of sound, words rub elbows in her work, and the results are often lavish, like these verses from “Virgil’s Bees”: “each bee’s body/at its brilliant flower, lover-stunned,/strumming on fragrance, smitten.” For Duffy, poetry’s purpose is to “pursue the human.” As The Bees proves, the chase can produce glorious associations.


Complex and symphonic, with sections and movements that unfold slowly and inform each other, the poems in Rick Hilles’ lovely second collection, A Map of the Lost World, examine the nature of memory and the trials of coming to grips with the past. Many of the poems are narrative-based—story-like, plotted and wonderfully compelling. In “The Red Scarf & the Black Briefcase,” Hilles takes on the daring persona of real-life French Resistance activist Lisa Fittko, who reflects on her experiences during World War II: “Red, the color of my hat but also the way my walking/with it through the raging Brownshirts still causes/them to part around me like the Red Sea.”

Throughout the collection, the past invades the present—often quite literally, as in “Nights & Days of 2007: Autumn.” Written during a stay in the apartment of the late poet James Merrill, the piece chronicles the author’s attempt to contact a dead college buddy via Ouija board, a device “whose ghost-galleon absinthe-glow rides the dark.” Whether sifting through his own memories or channeling the voices of the past, Hilles composes poems that, ultimately, honor history and the personal stories that lie behind it.


Think of it as American poetry’s hot 100: Spanning a quarter of a century, The Best of the Best American Poetry: 25th Anniversary Edition collects 100 classic pieces from the yearly anthology The Best American Poetry. This indispensable volume, with its rich mix of voices, forms and techniques, serves as a melting pot of contemporary American verse. Curated by former Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, this diverse anthology is filled with some of literature’s most respected names, including Adrienne Rich, James Merrill and Jane Kenyon, as well as newer writers like Kevin Young and Meghan O’Rourke.

BAM Customer Reviews