4th May 2018

34 of Your Favourite Poets & Creative Writers at SURLY

Ever wanted to get in to poetry, but not sure where to start? This year we’ve set up a new book collection at the Student Union Recreational Library for poetry, plays & creative writing. We asked you who your favourite poets / writers were, and received a lot of great feedback! Below are a selection of books we’ve added to the collection from student recommendations – along with excerpts from their work, so you can get a ‘taster’ of the style and see what you might like to read further.

Click through to our catalogue if you want to reserve a title; or contact us here if you want to recommend or review a book yourself! Poetry not your thing? Check out other reviews and recommendations here.


34 of Your Favourite Poets & Creative Writers at SURLY

Contemporary Poetry (21st Century)

Eduardo Corral – Slow lightning

insufferable the way
you walked
away from me
come back please
the buttons
on your jacket
are finches
I wanted to yell
as you vanished
into a hotel
to drink with
your friends
there was nothing
you could do

Beau Christopher Taplin – Bloom

I’ll go to parties and mingle,
and even feign interest in the
conversation, but on the inside my heart is endlessly elsewhere.

Richard Siken – Crush

Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us.
These, our bodies, possessed by light.
Tell me we’ll never get used to it.

Antigone Kefala – Fragments

The light today
clean as if made of bones
dried by a desert wind
fell in the distance on the roofs
and I remembered you

Rupi Kaur – Milk & Honey; The sun and her flowers

you tell me to quiet down cause
my opinions make me less beautiful
but i was not made with a fire in my belly
so i could be put out
i was not made with a lightness on my tongue
so i could be easy to swallow
i was made heavy
half blade and half silk
difficult to forget and not easy
for the mind to follow

Saul Williams – Said the shotgun to the head

i am like a survivor
of the flood
walking through the streets
drenched with
surprised that all of the
drowned victims
are still walking and talking

Marcus Wicker – Silencer

You think I take communion wine for granted. Sometimes
the other wine touches me sweetly & you know it. All
the time you know it. This & how communion wine
indebts me—as the man granted new eyes
on a hiking trip.

Robert M Drake – Black Butterfly

leave me never,
keep me wild
and keep me free
so that my
brokenness will be,
the only beauty
the world will see.

Lang Leav – The Universe of Us; Love & Misadventure

I know that you don’t owe me,
and I should ask for more;
I shouldn’t feel so let down,
all the times when you don’t call

What I feel—I should show you,
so when you’re around I won’t;
I knwo I’ve no right to feel it
but it doesn’t mean I don’t.

Najia Khaled – Wanderers, Witch-talkers

I don’t have skin like ivory –
No roses bloom within my cheeks –
I blush a livid, vivid blue,
Deep bloodshot violet, / a sickly

Nikki Giovanni – The Prosaic Soul of Nikki Giovanni

i used to dream militant
dreams of taking
over america to show
these white folks how it should be
i used to dream radical dreams
of blowing everyone away with my perceptive powers
of correct analysis
i even used to think i’d be the one
to stop the riot and negotiate the peace
then i awoke and dug
that if i dreamed natural
dreams of being a natural
woman doing what a woman
does when she’s natural
i would have a revolution


34 of Your Favourite Poets & Creative Writers at SURLY

Modern Poetry (20th Century)

Sylvia Plath – Ariel

I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted
to lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
How free it is, you have no idea how free.

Gwendolyn Brooks – Essential Gwendolyn Brooks; Selected Poems

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon

Tupac Shakur – The Rose that Grew from the Concrete

we wouldn’t ask why a rose that grew from the concrete for having damaged petals, in turn, we would all celebrate its tenacity, we would all love its will to reach the sun, well, we are the roses, this is the concrete and these are my damaged petals, dont ask me why, thank god, and ask me how

Rimbaud – Poesies: Une Saison En Enfer / Poetry: A Season In Hell; Collected Poems

And when he’s fled––like a squirrel––
His laugh remains, trembling in the leaves,
And then you see, startled by a bullfinch,
The Wood’s Golden Kiss settle again.

Gertrude Stein – Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein; Tender Buttons: Objects, Food, Rooms

In the inside there is sleeping, in the outside there is reddening, in the morning there is meaning, in the evening there is feeling. In the evening there is feeling

Claudia Rankine – The End of the Alphabet

We live through, survive
without regard for the self. Forgiving
each day insisting it be forgiven, thinking
our lives umbilical, tied up with living with how far
we can enter into hell and still sit down for Sunday dinner.

Gwen Harwood – Gwen Harwood Collected Poems

Language is not a perfect game,
and if it were, how could we play?
The world’s more than the sum of things
like moon, sky, centre, body, bed,
as all the singing masters know.

E. E. Cummings – E. E. Cummings: Complete Poems, 1904-1962

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body.- i like what it does,
i like its hows.- i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again

Yeats – W. B. Yeats

If I make the lashes dark
And the eyes more bright
And the lips more scarlet
Or ask if all be right
From mirror after mirror
No vanity is displayed
I’m looking for the face I had
Before the world was made

Bell Hooks – Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place

hard rain
softens harder ground
from solid rock
to mud so thick
feet go under
making every step
dirge and trial
even as joy surfaces
at last today
we plant
we hope

Maya Angelou – Maya Angelou : the complete poetry

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise

TS Eliot – Selected poems : T. S. Eliot

(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

Charles Bukowski – On Love

But what can I make of love
when we are all born
at a different time and place
and only meet
through a trick of centuries
and a chance three steps
to the left?


34 of Your Favourite Poets & Creative Writers at SURLY

Earlier and Classic Poetry

Rumi – Rumi’s Little Book of Life : The Garden of the Soul, the Heart, and the Spirit

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass the world is too full to talk about

William Shakespeare – Sonnets and Other Poems

Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Matsuo Basho – Basho: The Complete Haiku

Come, butterfly
It’s late-
We’ve miles to go together

Hafez – The nightingales are drunk

But those whose lives are centered on
Your lovely mouth confess
No other thoughts than this, and think
Nothing of Nothingness.

Robert Burns – Robert Burns: Poems

“Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,
O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murdering pattle.


34 of Your Favourite Poets & Creative Writers at SURLY

Plays and Scripts

Tom Stoppard – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Rosencrantz: We might as well be dead. Do you think death could possibly be a boat?
Guildenstern: No, no, no… Death is…not. Death isn’t. You take my meaning. Death is the ultimate negative. Not-being. You can’t not-be on a boat.
Rosencrantz: I’ve frequently not been on boats.
Guildenstern: No, no, no–what you’ve been is not on boats.

Edward Albee – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Martha: Truth or illusion, George; you don’t know the difference.
George: No, but we must carry on as though we did.
Martha: Amen.”
William Shakespeare – Romeo & Juliet

Oscar Wilde – The Importance of Being Earnest; An Ideal Husband

I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.

Jack Davis – No Sugar

You fellas, you know why them wetjellas marchin’ down the street, eh? I’ll tell youse why. ”Cause them bastards took our country and them blackfellas dancin’ for ’em.’

Anton Chekhov – Plays: Anton Chekhov

I love him! I love him even more than before…A subject for a short story…I love him, I love him passionately, I love him to despair. It was nice in old days, Kostya! Do you remember? How clear, warm, joyous and pure life was, what feelings we had – feelings like tender, exquisite flowers…Do you remember?

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