It’s been a great year for poetry. Here are our most popular poems from 2020:
‘Like any desert, I learn myself by what’s desired of me—
and I am demoned by those desires.’
This poem appears in Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz, published by Faber & Faber in the UK and Graywolf Press in the US.
‘It makes no difference
If the devil has been defeated or if it is your character’
From Hannah Regel’s poem ‘Fire’, which appears in her debut collection Oliver Reed published by Montez Press.
‘She had a leaf stuck to her cheek
But I didn’t tell her’
From ‘Women Wear Clothes to Demonstrate Their Grief’ in Elaine Kahn’s second collection, Romance or The End, published by Soft Skull Press.
‘Even if you could walk through the corridors
of your body, you would not know which rooms
to enter, which were full of stone.’
Tishani Doshi contributed six poems to Granta 151: Membranes. Her most recent books are Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods and Small Days and Nights.
‘After modernity I am quick to learn that everything continues with no epic nor lesser consequence’
Jay G. Ying is a poet, fiction writer, critic and translator based in Edinburgh. He is the author of the poetry pamphlets Wedding Beasts and Katabasis.
‘A stone ringed by fine white sand
but otherwise anonymous
more than half-sunk
into ground for all those years
of negative subsistence’
Vivek Narayanan’s books of poems include Universal Beach, Life and Times of Mr S, and the forthcoming AFTER: a Writing Through Valmiki’s Ramayana.
‘In my stomach is the midnight of bread,
the abyss of cognac.
As a species I’m closest
to a screw
that loosens regularly.’
Valzhyna Mort’s most recent book, Music for the Dead and Resurrected, is published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
‘When a hare dies it screams like a mortal child.’
Two poems from Fiona Benson’s Forward Prize-winning collection Vertigo & Ghost, published by Jonathan Cape.
‘Sometimes we could not see
anything before us. That’s what it
This sequence is from Jill Bialosky’s Asylum: A Personal, Historical, Natural Inquiry in 103 Lyric Sections, published by Knopf.
‘My role at the dinners is to mind the cloth and not to speak. To be present, so to speak.’
A poem from Daisy Lafarge’s debut collection, Life Without Air, published by Granta Books.