By Author / Illustrator
Ana Sampson, Ana Sampson
A stunning gift book featuring 130 poems about wanderlust, freedom and escape written by women.
With poems from classic, well loved poets as well as innovative and bold modern voices, She Will Soar is a stunning collection and an essential addition to any bookshelf. From the ancient world right up to the present day, it includes poems on wanderlust, travel, daydreams, flights of fancy, escaping into books, tranquillity, courage, hope and resilience. From frustrated housewives to passionate activists, from servants and suffragettes to some of today's most gifted writers, here is a bold choir of voices demanding independence and celebrating their hard-won power.
Immerse yourself in poems by Carol Ann Duffy, Christina Rossetti, Stevie Smith, Sarah Crossan, Emily Dickinson, Salena Godden, Mary Jean Chan, Charly Cox, Nikita Gill, Fiona Benson, Hollie McNish and Grace Nichols to name but a few
We know that reading 'gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are' and never has that been more true than in these unusual covid-times. Fortunately for all of us, the brilliant people at Pan Macmillan have published this timely, themed anthology of 130 bright, brave poems about wanderlust, escape and freedom, all penned by women writers and superbly compiled by Ana Sampson. These are themes which took on a strange relevance earlier this year as the future suddenly looked more uncertain and the idea of escape impossible. Many people found that, though their need for distraction was great when lockdown hit, their powers of concentration became limited and poetry provides the perfect antidote.
Ana's passionate belief in 'poetry as a magic carpet that can take you anywhere, to places past, present and future, and realms both possible and impossible' shines through this collection. This notion of freedom and escape has been hugely important for women writers throughout history; denied education, ridiculed for even picking up a pen, cloistered in the home, enslaved by their domestic duties, chaperoned in public and forced to use a pseudonym or gender neutral name to be published. In this stunning collection there are poems by established and classic women poets, from up and coming talent and from well-loved contemporary writers more usually known for their YA verse novels. There are poems by housewives, servants and suffragettes, activists and freedom fighters, who all remind us just how important dreams are and just how big they can be.
Treat this stunningly packaged book like a box of chocolates: head straight for your favourite poets such as Christina Rossetti, Kate Tempest and Carol Ann Duffy, Stevie Smith and Sarah Crossan, Grace Nicholls and Nikita Gill. You could use the imaginatively organised contents pages like a chocolate box selector list to choose something to suit your mood. There's everything from 'dreams of freedom' to 'flights of fancy' and 'voyages by verse', each section enticingly introduced by Ana. Or you could just dip in randomly and you'll find that, whichever poem you choose, you won't be able to resist picking just one more - just like your favourite box of chocolates!
It's no surprise that She Will Soar featured in the YA selection of Great New Recommended Reads for National Poetry Day this year. https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/poems/poetry-recommendations/
As well as copies for the school library, there should be copies of this essential and inclusive collection in every English and History department, too. Those responsible for creating inspirational school assemblies should also make extensive use of it for outstanding models of courage, resilience, hope and determination.
She is Fierce - a collection of brave, bold and beautiful poems by women writers - is another inspired must-have compilation from Ana Sampson. SLAM! from Nikita Gill is a brilliant introduction to the spoken word scene with sensational poems and performance tips from poets such as Sophia Thakur and Dean Atta. Chris Riddell has also curated and illustrated a series of superb poetry collections. The latest of these is the very timely and hopeful Poems to Save the World With.
Verse novels are another way of celebrating the power of poetry to tackle big themes and to allow a whole range of characters to tell their individual stories. Watch out especially for YA novels by Louisa Reid, Elizabeth Acevedo, Manjeet Mann, Jason Reynolds, Sarah Crossan and Kwame Alexander.
304 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Eileen Armstrong, school librarian
Suggested Reading Age 11+