The Bees: Poems
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Bees: Poems

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  341 ratings  ·  56 reviews
A winner of the Costa Book Award, “beautiful and moving poetry for the real world” (The Guardian)

The Bees is Carol Ann Duffy’s first collection of new poems as Britishpoet laureate, and the much anticipated successor to the T. S. Eliot Prize–winning Rapture. After the intimate focus of the earlier book, The Bees finds Duffy using her full poetic range: there are drinking s...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by Faber & Faber (first published October 1st 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Bees, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Bees

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 613)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Paul Cheney
I have heard of Carol Ann Duffy, as Poet Laureate she is probably the highest profile poet in the UK at the moment. But until now have never read a single poem of hers, so was looking forward to this.

The Bees is not a collection of poems just about the small insect, but the bee features in some of the poems or merely brushes by the poem. Her subjects are diverse in this collection, from the First World war to Oxfam and as diverse as the hive to snow, with several about the bees.

One thing that im...more
Jon Corelis
Good, but not good enough

The trouble with being a poet laureate is being a poet laureate: you have to be representative of all the race, meaning both of your country and of its tribe of poets. But if you must speak for the nation, how can you speak for yourself?

I think that Carol Anne Duffy’s poetry collection The Bees must be interpreted in this context. The task facing any established mainstream English language poetry today (and that is the type of poetry I should be understood to be talking...more
Col
I found this collection a bit of a bumpy ride if I'm honest. References to "bees" are not surprisingly dispersed through the book and there is a poem "The Bees" which opens the collection - and in a way that poem summed up my overall impression of the whole collection.

There are moments here that I thought were absolutely magnificent. I've little to no technical understanding, but it seems to me that when she is on her game, Carol Ann Duffy is an absolute master of her craft. The poem "The Bees"...more
Nikki
I didn't even know of this collection, which I think must show how distracted I've been lately, because I love Carol Ann Duffy's work -- and there are some glorious ones here. This is her first collection since becoming poet laureate, I believe, and it contains the poetry she wrote in that capacity -- 'Mrs Schofield's GCSE', 'Last Post' -- as well as others, with a lovely motif of bees and honey running through. There's all sorts of poetry here, poetry of loss, political poetry, poetry based on...more
James Murphy
Emily Dickinson understood the importance of bees. She begins a poem "To make a prairie it takes a clover, and one bee--" Another poem venerates the bee as part of a numinous trinity:

In the name of the Bee--
And of the the Butterfly--
And of the Breeze--Amen!

Dickinson thought bees lived irresponsible and adventurous lives.

Carol Ann Duffy also understands the importance of bees, but the cover notes of this emotion-laden volume tells us that for her they carry all the grace of the world. Bees do hav...more
Farhin
These 3 stars mean nothing.

Carol Ann Duffy is a fantastic poet and I have not rated her collection on the basis of her poetic style.
I have given this collection 3 stars because I don't yet have a grip of true British culture, despite being British myself.
There were several poems that were heavy with English/British references that I simply didn't understand which led me to not enjoying the collection overall.
However, I must emphasise that this will not be the case for all.

There were poems though...more
Helena
Mercifully short and very pretty. That's pretty much where the good comments end, as usual Duffy writes more rubbish.
Pamela
Aug 17, 2014 Pamela rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Pamela by: Book Vipers Group
In ''The Bees" Carol Ann Duffy has created a collection of poems filled with beautiful language and imagery. The poems cover a wide range of subjects, some dealing directly with sensitive issues such as war, death and loss, others using irony to mock and sting, like the bees that flit in and out of the book.

Duffy uses language and linguistic tools such as alliteration and rhyme with great skill. Beautiful word patterns abound - for example 'by a hermit - hair shirt, heart long hurt'. I particul...more
Word Bird
Quite extraordinary and strangely moving. Highly recommended.
Jason
This newest collection from Carol Ann Duffy, Britain's current poet laureate, buzzes with possibility but ultimately falls flat. Duffy has fun with word play, rhyme, and alliteration, which makes some of the poems enjoyable to read. She lampoons English teachers in "Mrs Schofield's GCSE" to humorous effect. Her poem "Rings," written to memorialize Prince William and Kate's wedding, is quite lovely, but I had already read it before buying this volume during my vacation in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Too...more
Margaryta
I was rather disappointed with this book, having had such high hopes and expecting something truly fantastical after the reviews on the back cover or on the Goodreads page of this book.

The title itself is rather misleading. The bee doesn't appear that much in this book and those poems which it does appear in could all have been simply put into one section and titled "The Bees". Another issue I had with this was how the poems which did hold mentions of bees felt too repetitive. It was almost alwa...more
Ann
Carol Ann Duffy is the first woman, the first Scot, and the first LGBT person to be British Poet Laureate. It was a strong, daring choice--she follows that dud Andrew Motion who had been appointed over more exciting prospects after Ted Hughes' death.

Duffy's poems are said to be "accessible." That may be a put down in some quarters, but she's extremely talented and likable. This new collection is built around the subject of the bee. Duffy's bees seems to represent grace in the world; and grace is...more
Trywords
I've been reading Duffy's latest collection The Bees since last summer, finally reached the final poem today, and of course, now finding it a challenge to recall my thoughts on all the others, even though I made notes on each one! So this is an overall impression, and perhaps a wake up call that to get the sense of a poetry collection its necessary to read the poems in a relatively short time. I do that for long prose but not too much for poetry ... and that's worth thinking about!

Anyway, back t...more
Martin Waterhouse
As any good poetry collection should, ‘The Bees’ surprises, delights, confuses, inspires, impresses, moves, vexes and mystifies - but most importantly, it contains poems that work away at you even after you’ve put the book down. That’s the point of poems, I think, to slowly unwind in your mind as you carry on with your life; to reveal parts of yourself - or the world around you - as you’ve never seen them before, and Carol Ann Duffy’s poems can do that - some better than others, obviously. I thi...more
Kerfe
Duffy loves the sounds and rhythms of words. She loves naming names. She loves myth, legend, image, story.

I was especially taken with the poems in the first section, "dumb was as good as dead; better to utter". The poem this line begins, "Scheherazade", continues:
Inside a bottle, a genie.
Abracadabra.
Words were a silver thread
stitching the night.
The first story I said
led to the light.

Wonderful to speak aloud, every verse of it.

Her soldier poems stop time.
...The shadow you cast
as you fall
...more
Jodie
I think I am finally starting to get into poetry. Maybe it is after all these years, I’m reading the right poetry.

I remember reading a Carol Ann Duffy poem at school - Education for Leisure and it was my favourite in the whole anthology. It was the one that interested everyone else the most as well. But now - they have removed it, which is a shame.

It was interesting to see Duffy’s response to this, with her poem Mrs Schofield’s GCSE. So clever. There were some poems focusing on difficult issues...more
Tom Romig
I wouldn't want to deter anyone from enjoying Carol Ann Duffy's poems, so I'll just say that they are not to my taste. Too abstract for me, too ethereal, too lacking in the particulars of people, places, experiences. Again, a matter of taste.
Grace Krakovic
It's great poetry that warrants 4 stars - IF she was any other poet. But from a Poet Laureate? The great and mediocre poems in one collection make this an uneven, unsatisfying read.
Leonard
This is a very good book of poetry by the British Poet Laureate. Like a collection of great songs, these poems are musical, and also provocative and eye-opening. I love the poet's abundant use of proper names. I think it adds a greater riches to the sounds of poetry. I've read them, some more than once, to myself Now I'm tempted to read them again outloud to better hear what they sound like. I would like to see, available for loan in libraries, more recorded collections of poetry. This would be...more
Alan
this was a secret Santa present for Clare (my wife) and has been hanging around the house. naturally I've been dipping in, and so far enjoying the rich, complex poems - a bit like Christmas pud, stuffed with stuff, particularly clever alliteration. I don't normally like Christmas pud though. Reading a poem every now and then so may take some time to finish.

well.. I liked it but finding it hard to write about. Just read an article about Irvine Welsh and he says:Impossible to analyze poetry, you e...more
Therese
Marvelous, marvelous, marvelous. Marvels of sounds and of images and of literary closures. Marvels of divinations and devastations. Marvelous? Yes, marvelous.
Kia Nolan
I thought I'd beed a bit hasty dismissing her when I studied her in college... on reading this I feel safe in the judgement that I just don't like her poetry
Sarah
Aug 25, 2012 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Poetry lovers
Oh gee. I've been such a fan of Duffy since we were force-fed her poetry in secondary school. It's the best outcome of brainwashing ever! Heh heh.

What I love about this collection, is exactly as it says, the 'bees' make an appearance throughout, giving an overall feel of progress by coming full circle. It's like constantly coming home before being flung back out into the world again, to explore, before the bess bring you back.

I'm glad to see that her poet's muse hasn't run off since becoming Poe...more
Gillian Wray
Normally a Huge fan. This book was slightly disappointing. A few good poems but others that just didn't hit the mark.
Kirsty
A wonderful collection of poems. I have been a fan of Carol Ann Duffy since secondary school where our English teachers forced it upon us thinking the kids could connect with some contemporized poetry...they didn't.

This is the first collection of her poems that I have read and I was very impressed, it's a gorgeous collection and I thoroughly enjoyed it, I am not a connoisseur of fine poems but I know what I like and I liked this.

Recommended to poetry lovers, check out Last Post (which was by f...more
Vivienne

A lovely collection of poems by our current Poet Laureate. A theme of bees weaves through the poems touching on issues linked to nature and ecology, a sense of place, spirituality, loss, war and death. A few poems also had the mythic themes that so drew me to The World's Wife.

I am not someone who reads much poetry and I find Duffy's poetry very accessible in terms of meaning. A book of poetry isn't really something to read at the same pace as a novel or work of non-fiction. I allowed myself to r...more
Karen
Nectar slurry, pollen furry - wonderful
Teresa
Sublime poetry.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 20 21 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Book Vipers: Summer Poetry Challenge - Group Read - The Bees 5 18 Aug 10, 2014 02:46AM  
  • Memorial
  • White Egrets
  • Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis
  • Birds of Prey, Vol. 7: Perfect Pitch
  • The Marlowe Papers
  • District and Circle
  • Selected Poems, 1923-1958
  • Darwin's Bastards: Astounding Tales from Tomorrow
  • Batwoman, Vol. 3: World's Finest
  • Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times
  • Crow (Faber Library)
  • Huntress: Crossbow at the Crossroads
  • The Death of King Arthur: A New Verse Translation
  • The Journals of Susanna Moodie
  • Batman: Red Hood - The Lost Days
  • On the Blue Shore of Silence: Poems of the Sea
  • The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen
  • I Shall Not Be Moved
The World's Wife Rapture Selected Poems: Carol Ann Duffy Love Poems Mean Time

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“What will you do now with the gift of your left life?” 7 likes
More quotes…