Released on 21 September 2017.

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2012 Winner

Costa Poetry Award

2012 Short-listed

Saltire Society Book of the Year Award

2012 Short-listed

T. S. Eliot Prize

2012 Short-listed

Scottish Book Awards Poetry Award


‘Swooningly glorious’ The Times

‘Indisputably her best volume’ Sunday Times

The Bees is Carol Ann Duffy’s first collection of poems as Poet Laureate. In it she uses her full poetic range: there are drinking songs, love poems, poems of political anger; there are elegies, too, for beloved friends, and – most movingly – the poet’s own mother.

Woven and weaving through the book is its presiding spirit: the bee. Sometimes the bee is Duffy’s subject, sometimes it strays into the poem, or hovers at its edge. In the end, Duffy’s point is clear: the bee symbolizes what we have left of grace in the world, and what is most precious and necessary for us to protect. The Bees, at once intimate and public, is a work of great power from one of our most cherished poets.

In the media

Duffy is magnificent, grounded, heartfelt, dedicated to the notion that poetry can give us the music of life itself
Wonderful . . . a poet alert to every sound and shape of language
Sunday Telegraph
Beautiful and moving poetry for the real world