Borrowbox, General Information

World Poetry Day 21st March

By Elaine Patterson

Yesterday was World Poetry Day, a day to honour poets and poetry and read or write poetry. So to celebrate, why not try reading or listening to some poetry? Or if you’re feeling adventurous, there is a poetry writing course on Universal Class that you can look at and perhaps try.

Poetry podcasts are a great way to listen to poetry whether you’re a regular listener or not. A few good lists of poetry podcasts are present on Feedspot: Poetry Podcasts and PlayerFM: Poetry Podcasts. If you want to be more particular and listen to Irish poets, Voices from Ireland: Featured Poets,   Poetry Ireland: Words Lightly Spoken, and Poetry Ireland: Irish Poetry Reading Archive are a few resources that you can use. Poetry podcasts can also be found on podcast apps like Stitcher, so if you have such an app, why not try searching for poetry podcasts on it?

Another place to look is Kildare libraries’ online music service, Freegal which has some audio books of poetry. And in BorrowBox, there are a good number of poetry books available, some of which are:

A Collection of Wise and Wonderful Words for Every #MillennialProblem

When your partner spends too much time on their Xbox:

Why so pale and wan, fond lover?

Prithee, why so pale?

from ‘Why So Pale and Wan?’, John Suckling

From dating and house-shares to digital detoxing and growing up, Poetry for Millennials is the answer to all your hardships and woes. It offers relatable verse from some of our greatest literary figures to help you laugh away the most common millennial problems *after wiping away your tears*.

Available as an ebook from Bolinda Borrowbox.

This is a book-length poem – a collage of water-stories, taken mostly from the Odyssey – about a minor character, abandoned on a stony island. It is not a translation, though, but a close inspection of the sea that surrounds him. There are several voices in the poem but no proper names, although its presiding spirit is Proteus, the shape-shifting sea-god. We recognise other mythical characters – Helios, Icarus, Alcyone, Philoctetes, Calypso, Clytemnestra, Orpheus, Poseidon, Hermes – who drift in and out of the poem, surfacing briefly before disappearing.

Reading Nobody is like watching the ocean: a destabilising experience that becomes mesmeric, almost hallucinatory, as we slip our earthly moorings and follow the circling shoal of sea voices into a mesh of sound and light and water – fluid, abstract, and moving with the wash of waves. As with all of Alice Oswald’s work, this is poetry that is made for the human voice, but this poem takes on the qualities of another element: dense, muscular and liquid.

Available as an ebook from Bolinda Borrowbox

Abraham Lincoln read it with approval, but Emily Dickinson described its bold language and themes as “disgraceful.” Ralph Waldo Emerson found it “the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet produced.” Published at the author’s expense on July 4, 1855, Leaves of Grass inaugurated a new voice and style into American letters and gave expression to an optimistic, bombastic vision that took the nation as its subject. Unlike many other editions of Leaves of Grass, which reproduce various short, early versions, this Modern Library Paperback Classics “Death-bed” edition presents everything Whitman wrote in its final form, and includes newly commissioned notes.

Available to borrow as an ebook from Bolinda Borrowbox.

Deaf Republic opens in an occupied country in a time of political unrest. When soldiers breaking up a protest kill a deaf boy, Petya, the gunshot becomes the last thing the citizens hear – all have gone deaf, and their dissent becomes coordinated by sign language. The story follows the private lives of townspeople encircled by public violence: a newly married couple, Alfonso and Sonya, expecting a child; the brash Momma Galya, instigating the insurgency from her puppet theatre; and Galya’s girls, heroically teaching signs by day and by night luring soldiers one by one to their deaths behind the curtain. At once a love story, an elegy, and an urgent plea – Ilya Kaminsky’s long-awaited Deaf Republic confronts our time’s vicious atrocities and our collective silence in the face of them.

Available to borrow as an ebook from Bolinda Borrowbox.

Political and social angst, the enduring love for the family and country and the sadness and joy of life are expressed beautifully and vividly in this slim volume of poems.

The poet appeals for a life that is beyond the mundane and calls out for truth in our action, deeds and thoughts.

Available to borrow as an ebook on Bolinda Borrowbox.

Richard Meier’s first collection of poetry won many admirers for its wry, wise and sharp-eyed insight into the minutiae of daily life, and for the poet’s remarkable ability to uncover the little abysses that lurk just below the domestic familiar. As the title indicates, his second, Search Party, casts its net more widely – and looks at our experiences of being lost to others, as well as lost from ourselves. Many of the poems in this collection explore attempts to repair severed connections, or to forge links never properly established: from a father’s desperate search for his son missing at sea, to a child’s reaction to being denied a responsive gaze, and a footballer’s sublime (if optimistic) pass to a teammate – these poems address the nature of the distances between us. Most importantly, they also show the lengths to which we will go to ensure that these distances are closed, and that the most basic of our needs are met: to be seen, to be recognized – and ultimately, sought out and found by one another.

Available to Borrow on Bolinda Borrowbox as an ebook.

Clive James has been close to death for several years, and he has written about the experience in a series of deeply moving poems. In Sentenced to Life, he was clear-sighted as he faced the end, honest about his regrets. In Injury Time, he wrote about living well in the time remaining, focusing our attention on the joys of family and art, and celebrating the immediate beauty of the world.
When The River in the Sky opens, we find James in ill health but high spirits. Although his body traps him at home, his mind is free to roam, and this long poem is animated by his recollection of what life was and never will be again; as it resolves into a flowing stream of vivid images, his memories are emotionally supercharged ‘by the force of their own fading’. In this form, the poet can transmit the felt experience of his exceptional life to the reader.


As ever with James, his enthusiasm is contagious; he shares his wide interests with enormous generosity, making brilliant and original connections, sparking passion in the reader so that you can explore the world’s treasures yourself. Because this is not just a reminiscence, it’s a wise and moving preparation for and acceptance of death. As James realizes that he is only one bright spot in a galaxy of stars, he passes the torch to the poets of the future, to his young granddaughter, and to you, his reader.

Available to borrow as an ebook from Bolinda Borrowbox?

An uplifting collection of poetry about happiness with an introduction by writer, broadcaster and parish priest, the Reverend Richard Coles.

Available to borrow as an ebook from Bolinda Borrowbox

An extraordinary debut from a young Vietnamese American, Night Sky with Exit Wounds is a book of poetry unlike any other. Steeped in war and cultural upheaval and wielding a fresh new language, Vuong writes about the most profound subjects – love and loss, conflict, grief, memory and desire – and attends to them all with lines that feel newly-minted, graceful in their cadences, passionate and hungry in their tender, close attention: ‘…the chief of police/facedown in a pool of Coca-Cola./A palm-sized photo of his father soaking/beside his left ear.’ This is an unusual, important book: both gentle and visceral, vulnerable and assured, and its blend of humanity and power make it one of the best first collections of poetry to come out of America in years.

Available to borrow as an ebook from Bolinda Borrowbox.

In Undying Michel Faber honours the memory of his wife, who died after a six-year battle with cancer. Bright, tragic, candid and true, these poems are an exceptional chronicle of what it means to find the love of your life. And what it is like to have to say goodbye.

Available to borrow as an ebook from Bolinda Borrowbox.

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