The Twelve Poems of Christmas (Volume Six)

Selected and introduced by Carol Ann Duffy

This year’s The Twelve Poems of Christmas, selected and introduced by the Poet Laureate, shine silver and white with hoar frost and snow. Ice blazes, water burns, a candle is lit in a dark window. In this centenary year since the outbreak of World War One, the first poem is set in Arras, its war-scars covered over.

Elsewhere, Andrew Forster recalls a kitchen steaming with hot mince pies, Dannie Abse muses on the annual ritual of transferring names into next year’s diary, and a ripped cardboard Santa Claus at the heart of Lorraine Mariner’s poem is mended with Scotch Tape and “patched-up earthly forgiveness”. The selection ends with a new poem by Carol Ann Duffy.

“I hope you find the poems full of surprises, delights and food for thought and discussion around the table.” Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate


‘New Year in Arras’, James Caruth
‘On the Birth of Good and Evil during the Long Winter of ’28′, Philip Levine
‘A New Diary’, Dannie Abse
‘Metal’, Kit Wright
‘In the Bleak Mid-Winter’, Christina Rossetti
‘The barn swallow’s carol’, Kate Noakes
‘The Deadly Sins and the Holy Virtues – No. 5 Patience’, Lorraine Mariner
‘Christmas Eve 1969′, Andrew Forster
‘a pint for the true shepherds’, Helen Mort
‘The Burning Babe’, Robert Southwell
‘The Hunter’s Wife Becomes The Sun’, Nancy Campbell
‘Advent’, Carol Ann Duffy

Cover illustration by Lizzie Adcock

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" is a fabulous idea, and a great way to be introduced to new poets and get a taste of their work."A bookseller, August 2013
"Candlestick Press - in my view the most original way of delivering poetry since Poems on the Underground."Carol Ann Duffy
Poet Laureate
"...the best, most poetic solution there could possibly be to card-and-present buying at Christmas."Carol Ann Duffy
Poet Laureate

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