The best poetry books of 2016

05 October 2016

In celebration of National Poetry Day, the annual mass celebration of poetry and all things poetical, we've put together our pick of the best new poetry collections of 2016. 

Let Them Eat Chaos
Kate Tempest

The epic new poem from one of the biggest names in contemporary poetry. Let Them Eat Chaos is a call to action, and, both on the page and in Tempest's electric performance, one of the most powerful poetic statements of the year.

Find out more


Say Something Back
Denise Riley

A deeply moving document of grieving and loss by one of our finest writers, Say Something Back allows readers to see why Denise Riley is held in such high regard by her fellow poets. 

Read 'They saw you coming'



The Blind Roadmaker
Ian Duhig

A brilliant and eclectic collection. No poet today writes with such a sense of political and social conscience, and The Blind Roadmaker affirms Duhig's belief in poetry as a means of commemorating those who least deserve to be forgotten.

Read 'The Ballad of Blind Jack Metcalf'


The Remedies
Katharine Towers

Katharine Towers' second collection explores the fragility of our relationship with the natural world. The Remedies is a lyric, unforgettable collection which shows Towers emerging as a major poetic talent.

Read ‘The Roses’


Off The Shelf
A Celebration of Bookshops in Verse
Edited by Carol Ann Duffy

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy commissioned a selection of the UK's most loved and lauded poets, including Jackie Kay, Clive James, Don Paterson, to each write a poem in celebration of books and bookshops. The result is a heart-warming reminder of how books nourish us, save us, and inspire us.

Read ‘Open Book’


Jacob Polley

One of the most original books of poetry to appear in the last decade, Jackself spins a kind of 'fictionalized autobiography' through nursery rhymes, riddles and cautionary tales, and through the many 'Jacks' of our folktale, legend, phrase and fable.

Find out more


Void Studies
Rachael Boast

The breathtaking new collection from the winner of the Forward and Seamus Heaney Prizes for poetry. Based on a project originally proposed by the French Symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud but never completed, Void Studies is an airy and beautiful collection of poems written as musical etudes.

Find out more


National Poetry Day is an annual mass celebration of poetry and all things poetical. It is an initiative of the Forward Arts Foundation, a charity that promotes the enjoyment, discovery and sharing of poetry. Find out more about National Poetry Day and discover special events taking place near you at

Download a free ebook full of poems inspired by this year's theme of 'messages' here.
Poetry is for life, not just for National Poetry Day! Sign up to the Picador Friday poem email to receive a handpicked poem straight to your inbox each week. 


You may also like