The collection of a lifetime from the bestselling novelist, poet - and cultural phenomenon.

Before she became one of the world's most important and loved novelists, Margaret Atwood was a poet. Dearly is her first collection in over a decade. It brings together many of her most recognisable and celebrated themes, but distilled -- from minutely perfect descriptions of the natural world to startlingly witty encounters with aliens, from pressing political issues to myth and legend.

By turns moving, playful and wise, the poems gathered in Dearly are about absences and endings, ageing and retrospection, but also about gifts and renewals. They explore bodies and minds in flux, as well as the everyday objects and rituals that embed us in the present. Werewolves, sirens and dreams make their appearance, as do various forms of animal life and fragments of our damaged environment.

Dearly is a pure Atwood delight, and long-term readers and new fans alike will treasure its insight, empathy and humour.

Our Review

Dearly by Margaret Atwood is a phenomenal collection of poems, each one is carefully crafted and magnificent.

The authors note feels intimate, almost as if Atwood is speaking directly to the reader, you can almost hear her Canadian lilt. Prior to reading the book I watched an interview with her by Fane productions on Dearly and it was truly fascinating.

“I was recently going through a drawer of old writing from my teenage and college years I was a constant scribbler: fictions, essays, plays. And poems finished, unfinished, partly finished. Most of them were pretty bad, but there were a lot of them. Some had been sent out hopefully to magazines with a return envelope, dutifully stamped, in which they were – mostly – returned. These poems had many subjects: peonies, the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, winter, severed heads. The usual.”

Dearly is delicious, dry and witty. It’s a real treasure. The poems in the collection were between 2008 and 2019 a time in which she says things became darker in the world, she became older, and she experienced the loss of people who she was very close to.

There was one poem which moved me to tears, as it made me think of the loss of someone dear to me in the last year. The lines which made me well up were the following:

“It’s time for her to go deeper/ Into the blizzard ahead of her // Both dark and light, like snow. /Why can’t I let go of her? / Why can’t I let her go?”

Songs for Murdered Sister’s were haunting and superb and even more poignant for reading them the day after the discovery of Sarah Everard’s body and the resulting fall out. They also have corresponding vocal recordings which are haunting.

I found her environmental poems to be right on the mark and Oh Children was particularly chilling.

Dearly and Blackberries were also among my favourites.

She is a true wordsmith, and this was certainly my favourite collection of hers.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

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