The North Recommends: The Poetry Book Society

Summer is finally here and we can’t wait to share our seasonal selections with you. As I write, our members across the globe are receiving our Summer Choice How to Wash a Heartby Bhanu Kapil and new books by Ella Frears, Natalie Diaz, Seán Hewitt and Ranjit Hoskote from the Poetry Book Society in Newcastle. PBS Members enjoy a year of thoughtfully curated poetry parcels delivered straight to their door every quarter and 25% off all books at If you possibly can, purchasing a PBS Membership would help us support a wide range of poets and publishers at this difficult time. To share the love with our poetry community, we’re also offering a FREE copy of our SummerBulletinpoetry magazine and a £10 book voucher to all new members. Find out more and Join here.

Here are our Top 5 Poetry Books to read this Summer:

  1. Bhanu Kapil: How To Wash A Heart (Pavilion Poetry)

This extraordinary debut tackles themes of migration, home and belonging with breath-taking originality. Kapilplunges the
reader into a performative world where nothing is quite as it seems: “Images of an alternative life / filled my psyche / like wet owls.” A surreal, yet vital, companion for these strange times.

  1. Seán Hewitt: Tongues of Fire (Cape)

Tongues of Fireis perfectly poised between the sacred and profane, the formal and pastoral with a queer edge. Erotically charged poems sit alongside Irish myths and tender elegies to a lost father – each united by their incantatory quality – a votive offering to the natural world: “woods are a form of grief”. This is a striking first collection by a major new voice.

  1. Natalie Diaz: Postcolonial Love Poem (Faber)

The Mojave American poet Natalie Diaz presents a powerful statement about the historic and current treatment of indigenous peoples in the US. Postcolonial Love Songis searing and soaring in its visionary scope. Both bodily and political, this is an urgent “anthem of desire against erasure”.

  1. Ranjit Hoskote: The Atlas of Lost Beliefs (Arc)

Published by Northern stars Arc, Hoskote is arguably one of the greatest Indian poets writing in English today. The Atlas of Lost Beliefscrosses continents and oceans with linguistic flare and shines a light on the uneasy legacy of the slave trade.

  1. Ella Frears: Shine, Darling (Offord Road Books)

Ella Frears invites us into her world with a wry intimacy and deflective warmth. To steal the premise of one poem, she lures us to the rooftop to watch the moon, only to have the ladder pulled away from under our feet. A dazzling debut which does indeed, Shine, Darling.

If you’re looking for more poetic lockdown distractions, join our next Insta Live PBS Online Book Club, hosted by Andrew McMillan and Patricia the Pug featuring PBS Choice Bhanu Kapil, on the 10thJune @poetrybooksociety Instagram. You can also subscribe to the PBS e-newsletteror follow our daily poems on social media @poetrybooksoc for more poetic inspiration.

Help support a wide range of poets and publishers, join the Poetry Book Society today.