The Twelve Poems of Christmas (Volume Two)

Selected and introduced by Carol Ann Duffy

The Twelve Poems of Christmas (Volume Two) is the second in our collectable series of Christmas pamphlets introduced and selected by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, to mark each Christmas of her ten-year laureateship.

The 2010 selection features a new poem by Carol Ann Duffy herself as well as work by the Oxford Professor of Poetry, Geoffrey Hill.

In her Introduction to the pamphlet Carol Ann Duffy expresses the wish that the poems will be ‘time out for both giver and recipient’ while reminding readers that ‘it’s often the surprising, little things we encounter that matter more than all the hype and all the money.’ She says that we enter Christmas 2010 ‘with, like Scrooge’s encounter with The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, plenty to worry about’. She cites ‘cuts and unemployment’ at home and ‘our soldiers still fighting far from home’ as causes for concern, while abroad she points to the recent environmental catastrophes which have left millions homeless. ‘Poetry – like Christmas -,’ she says, ‘reminds us why we should never stop caring about each other and the world’.

“We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.”

from ‘The Oxen’ by Thomas Hardy


Wendy Cope, The Christmas Life
Patrick Kavanagh, A Christmas Childhood
Gillian Clarke, Shepherd
Connie Bensley, Mr and Mrs R and the Christmas Card List
Moniza Alvi, Delhi Christmas
Elizabeth Jennings, Alone Over Christmas
Edwin Arlington Robinson, Karma
Thomas Hardy, The Oxen
Walter de la Mare, Winter
Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Starlight Night
Geoffrey Hill, Picture of a Nativity
Carol Ann Duffy, The Single Bed

Illustrated by Lizzie Adcock.

To order The Twelve Poems of Christmas (Volume Two) from overseas, please contact 

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"...the perfect poetic gift to stuff in any stocking"Erica Wagner
The Times

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