The effortless virtuosity, directness, drama and humanity of Carol Ann Duffy's verse have made her our most admired and best-loved contemporary poet. Rapture, her seventh collection, is a book-length love-poem, and a moving act of personal testimony; but what sets these poems apart from other treatments of the subject is that Duffy refuses to simplify the contradictions of love, and read its transformations - infatuation, longing, passion, commitment, rancour, separation and grief - as simply redemptive or destructive.
Rapture is a map of real love, in all its churning complexity. Yet in showing us that a song can be made of even the most painful episodes in our lives, Duffy has accessed a new level of directness that sacrifices nothing in the way of subtlety of expression. These are poems that will find deep rhymes in the experience of most readers, and nowhere has Duffy more eloquently articulated her belief that poetry should speak for us all.