I bought this book on a dark and rainy day in Birmingham last year, and although I’ve dipped in and out of it during that time, now seems like an ideal time to share my thoughts and review it.
Published by Quercus, Poems for a World Gone to Sh*t, is a lovely anthology containing classic and contemporary poems. Each remind the reader that whatever they may be going through, however difficult or dark life might seem, that they are not alone, and things will get better.
It’s a collection which you can easily pick up and read depending on your mood. Some of the poems you may already know. Some maybe completely new to you. You can read one at a time, go through each chapter, or if you felt like it, attack the entire book in one go.
I like the mix of writers this the collection offers. Included are verses from; Lemn Sissay, Margaret Atwood, D.H. Lawrence, Rudyard Kipling and Hollie McNish.
Subjects are varied. Some more relatable than others. In ‘Soup Kitchens’, Hollie McNish expresses her anger and frustration at politicians who decide policy about charitable aid. “…I’ve had enough.” She says, “…I can’t even be arsed / to rhyme if these people are leading the country.”
Some of the poems are enthusiastic and many are inspirational. The positivity in Maya Angelou’s ‘Still I Rise’ always lifts my spirits. As does this extract from ‘Little Things’, a poem about acts of kindness by Julia Carney. “Little deeds of kindness, / Little words of love, / Help to make earth happy / Like the Heaven above.”
I liked the poems about nature. ‘The Moment’ by Margaret Atwood is a beautiful and thought-provoking piece about the environment reclaiming itself from humanity.
I found ‘Tall Nettles’ by Edward Thomas positive and uplifting. Most people hate nettles, but Thomas admires their strength and beauty. They survive and grow to cover everything else. “This corner of the farmyard I like most: / As well as any bloom upon a flower / I like the dust on nettles, never lost / Except to prove the sweetness of a shower.”
I enjoyed reading this collection. Some of the poems made me laugh, some made me reflect, and others made me want to shout out in agreement. There is something for everyone in this book.
On the back of this book, the blurb says “Discover the amazing power of poetry to make even the most f**ked up times feel better.” It’s a good sales pitch for a good book. Poetry is powerful, and sometimes the world does feel like it’s gone to sh*t. So what better way to pick yourself, take a breath and read this anthology.