The Picador Book of Love Poems. Paperback, £9.99. John Stammers’ new selection is broad, informed by the traditional lyric – Spenser, Tennyson – and plenty of very contemporary love poetry in thoroughly modern voices, as in Roddy Lumsden’s ‘Prayer to be with Mercurial Women’: ‘I need to feel I’m stealing/love another man would kill for’.
Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, by Pablo Neruda. Paperback, £9.99. Rightly Neruda’s most famous collection, Twenty Love Poems…is a classic of lyrical longing. ‘No one saw us this evening hand in hand’, he says in ‘We Have Lost Even’, ‘while the blue night dropped on the world…Always, always you recede through the evenings.’ This edition contains the Spanish and English text in facing-page format, should you want to get a sense of the beauty of these lines as they were originally written.
W. B. Yeats: The Love Poems. Paperback, £9.99. The lyrics that chart Yeats’ great unrequited love affair for beautiful Irish revolutionary Maud Gonne are some of the most intense expressions of love set down on paper. The pain Gonne’s indifference caused the poet is never more evident than in one of his most famous lines – ‘I have laid my dreams under your feet/Tread softly because you tread on my dreams’. In other words, stop treating me like a doormat!