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A new book of poetry from internationally acclaimed, award-winning and bestselling author Margaret Atwood In Dearly, Margaret Atwood’s first collection of poetry in over a decade, Atwood addresses themes such as love, loss, the passage of time, the nature of nature and - zombies. Her new poetry is introspective and personal in tone, but wide-ranging in topic. In poem after A new book of poetry from internationally acclaimed, award-winning and bestselling author Margaret Atwood In Dearly, Margaret Atwood’s first collection of poetry in over a decade, Atwood addresses themes such as love, loss, the passage of time, the nature of nature and - zombies. Her new poetry is introspective and personal in tone, but wide-ranging in topic. In poem after poem, she casts her unique imagination and unyielding, observant eye over the landscape of a life carefully and intuitively lived. While many are familiar with Margaret Atwood’s fiction—including her groundbreaking and bestselling novels The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments, Oryx and Crake, among others—she has, from the beginning of her career, been one of our most significant contemporary poets. And she is one of the very few writers equally accomplished in fiction and poetry.  This collection is a stunning achievement that will be appreciated by fans of her novels and poetry readers alike.


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A new book of poetry from internationally acclaimed, award-winning and bestselling author Margaret Atwood In Dearly, Margaret Atwood’s first collection of poetry in over a decade, Atwood addresses themes such as love, loss, the passage of time, the nature of nature and - zombies. Her new poetry is introspective and personal in tone, but wide-ranging in topic. In poem after A new book of poetry from internationally acclaimed, award-winning and bestselling author Margaret Atwood In Dearly, Margaret Atwood’s first collection of poetry in over a decade, Atwood addresses themes such as love, loss, the passage of time, the nature of nature and - zombies. Her new poetry is introspective and personal in tone, but wide-ranging in topic. In poem after poem, she casts her unique imagination and unyielding, observant eye over the landscape of a life carefully and intuitively lived. While many are familiar with Margaret Atwood’s fiction—including her groundbreaking and bestselling novels The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments, Oryx and Crake, among others—she has, from the beginning of her career, been one of our most significant contemporary poets. And she is one of the very few writers equally accomplished in fiction and poetry.  This collection is a stunning achievement that will be appreciated by fans of her novels and poetry readers alike.

30 review for Dearly: New Poems

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    You could get waylaid here, or slip amazed into your tangled head. You could just not come back. Most good poetry, in my opinion, is a little bit open to interpretation, but one thing is quite clear with this one: the 80-year-old Atwood had death on her mind when she put together this collection. If that sounds morbid and depressing-- it is. While I enjoyed this book of poems very much, I felt disquieted reading them. I did not cry, but I felt almost constantly like I might. Most, if not all of You could get waylaid here, or slip amazed into your tangled head. You could just not come back. Most good poetry, in my opinion, is a little bit open to interpretation, but one thing is quite clear with this one: the 80-year-old Atwood had death on her mind when she put together this collection. If that sounds morbid and depressing-- it is. While I enjoyed this book of poems very much, I felt disquieted reading them. I did not cry, but I felt almost constantly like I might. Most, if not all of them, have an air of sadness and loss. Atwood moves from the traditional human kind of death and grief, to zombies, to digging up dead Scythian women, to a dying planet, to words that are dying out of use. Like 'Dearly'. Seemingly unrelated topics weave their way toward death, loss, and the sadness which comes with the passing of time. For example, a poem about a coconut becomes a meditation on the nature of Heaven, which is nowhere near as silly as it sounds. Atwood is nothing if not a master wordsmith, after all. Atwood herself receives comparison to a "cold grey moon", while memories are described as "mirages", followed by: Though over your shoulder there it is, your time laid out like a picnic in the sun, still glowing, although it’s night. Warmth is in short supply here. Even such as love, when it does receive a mention, is described as a “demented rose-red circus tent whose half-light forgives all visuals”. I guess it's been a long year for Margaret Atwood, too. A long four years, maybe. I'm not sure exactly when all these poems were written, though I know some have been previously published in various periodicals and anthologies. This particular collection, though, is a gathering of Atwood's words on loss and dying, on what we are leaving behind. The world that we think we see is only our best guess. Words like these can be expected throughout: late, gone, withering, remember me, vacancy, emptiness, candle guttering down, corpse, fading, dusk, rotting, end, obsolete, melting away, lifeless, dissolving, festering, erase, Devil, Heaven. I liked it in that special way reserved for books that make me really miserable.

  2. 5 out of 5

    s.penkevich

    ‘The world’s burning up. It always did.’ ‘The late poems are the ones / I turn to first now, wrote poet W.S. Merwin, ‘it is the late poems / that are made of words / that have come the whole way.’ Margaret Atwood’s 2020 collection of poetry, Dearly, is a really beautiful collection that is keenly aware of itself as her ‘late poems’. The opening poem, in fact, is titled ‘Late Poems’, which appears in this collection that has been released just following the writer’s 81st birthday. Dearly in good c ‘The world’s burning up. It always did.’ ‘The late poems are the ones / I turn to first now, wrote poet W.S. Merwin, ‘it is the late poems / that are made of words / that have come the whole way.’ Margaret Atwood’s 2020 collection of poetry, Dearly, is a really beautiful collection that is keenly aware of itself as her ‘late poems’. The opening poem, in fact, is titled ‘Late Poems’, which appears in this collection that has been released just following the writer’s 81st birthday. Dearly in good company, with recent poetry collection releases from Mary Ruefle, Charles Simic and Jane Hirshfield that address end of life and accepting the inevitability of death (Hirshfield being the Queen of poetry of ephemerality turning her sights towards her own finality is especially existentially harrowing). As someone that personally prefers her poems to her novels (read The Moment for example), this collection was a balm on my soul during a year where such a thing was yearned for. Despite the constant reminder of death lurking within the collection, the playfulness and earnest acceptance of the way life and death go hand-in-hand make this a cozy companion that will touch your heart as much as your intellect. Simply put: Margaret Atwood destroys me and I am here for it. 'The hand on your shoulder. The almost-hand: Poetry, coming to claim you.' Death casts a long shadow over this collection, though Atwood does not fear it and instead sets the table to welcome it in and converse with Death. ‘If there were no emptiness, she begins a poem titled the same, ‘there would be no life.’ Showing life and death as forever intertwined and part of the same emotion weaves its way through much of the collection, such as the amusing and lively poem The Aliens Arrive--yes, she graces us with several poems bearing sci-fi-esque themes--which concludes: The Aliens arrive We like the part where we get saved. We like the part where we get destroyed. Why do those feel so similar? Either way, it’s an end. No more just being alive. No more pretend. She reminds us to live in the moment and not simply go about ‘just being alive’ but to enjoy life, whether it is carving pumpkins, having sex or simply remembering to go see the September mushrooms sprout. With death on the horizon its a reminder to take stock of what we have, but also remember we are merely guests in this world. ‘Everything was real, / but didn’t always love you she writes in Improvisation on a First Line by Yeats, ‘you needed to take care.’. 'You could get waylaid here, or slip amazed into your tangled head. You could just not come back.' We must enjoy what we have while we have it, because soon much will be gone. ‘Who was my sister / Is now an empty chair,’ she says reminding us of our temporality, and tha t she misses ‘the missing, those who left early.’ She does not shirk from acknowledging our future absence, which is most gloriously addressed in Invisible Man where she pictures our future absence akin to the way cartoonists drew invisible characters with a dotted outline only the reader could see. ‘That’s who is waiting for me:,’ she writes, ‘an invisible man / defined by a dotted line’. There is hope though, that the ways in which we are remembered leave our residue on this mortal earth, which is made more impactful by the way she specifically addresses you, the reader, as the one who will have departed life:It’s you in the future, we both know that. You’ll be here but not here, a muscle memory, like hanging a hat on a hook that’s not there any longer.’ This is a really moving and tender collection, one that seduces you with its wry charms in order to curl up within your heart and unpack its messages of life and mortality. By the time her words have their talons in you, they have become so ensconced within you for them to hurt but instead cradle your soul towards our inevitable demise like a grandparent singing lullabies as the world ends. There is an old saying about how the closer we are to death the more we feel alive, and Atwood has us bravely stand on that division line and drink it all in. 'Little dollface robot what will you make of yourself in this world we are making? What will you make of us?' There is a warning, though, as she still reminds us of the darkness that cowers in the hearts of men and threatens us all. 'There is some danger in this,' she reminds us of our living. ‘Do we have goodwill? To all mankind? Not any more. Did we ever?’There is a sharp feminism that runs through many of the poems as well, which is quite wonderful yet also reminds us of the horrors in society. ‘So many sisters killed / over the years, thousands of year,’ she reminds us in Lost, ‘Killed by fearful men / Who wanted to be taller.’ Atwood is a master of dystopian storytelling and while reminding us to embrace life also apprises us of its sinister side:What did they hear in our human world of so-called light and air? What word did they send back down before they withered? Was it Beware? For fans of Atwood’s fiction, they will find similar themes done up in poetic packaging that sinks as deep and effectively as the best of her novels. Those familiar with her poetry will welcome this new chapter of verse and continue to be dazzled by her heart and words. This is a very dear collection--as the title implies, which comes from a poem about how dear the word ‘dearly’ is to her despite its waning of modern usage--that, despite being collected over several years of writing, seems to have been published at an optimal time when it is most needed. She reminds us of our magic--'our dark light magic'--as much as she reminds us of our faults and evils. It is a fierce yet endearing collection all at once with a playful array of topics from fairy tales, Frida Kahlo, aliens, cats with dementia and more. Honestly, I am always down for sci-fi poetry, and Atwood delivers. More of this please. Atwood looks the end of life in the eye and does not flinch, but instead arms us all to roar with dignity and honor. 4.5/5 ‘I held your hand an maybe you held mine as the stone or universe close in Around you.’ Late Poems These are the late poems. Most poems are late of course: too late, like a letter sent by a sailor that arrives after he’s drowned. Too late to be of help, such letters, and late poems are similar. They arrive as if through water. Whatever it was has happened: the battle, the sunny day, the moonlit slipping into lust, the farewell kiss. The poem washes ashore like flotsam. Or late, as in late for supper: all the words cold or eaten. Scoundrels, plight, and vanquished, or linger, bide, awhile, forsaken, wept, forlorn. Love and joy, even: thrice-gnawed songs. Rusted spells. Worn choruses. It’s late, it’s very late; Too late for dancing. Still, sing what you can. Turn up the light: sing on, sing: On.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    Just posted my Goodreads Choice 2020 Reaction Video on Booktube! Click the link to check it out!! The Written Review So. This was among the two poetry books I read this year and I did like it more than the other. But. I'm not a good poetry reader. I just don't get it and poetry always feels like more effort than what it's worth. That being said...there were a few poems I enjoyed. Like the supernatural ones. But overall...it was an okay book for me. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest Just posted my Goodreads Choice 2020 Reaction Video on Booktube! Click the link to check it out!! The Written Review So. This was among the two poetry books I read this year and I did like it more than the other. But. I'm not a good poetry reader. I just don't get it and poetry always feels like more effort than what it's worth. That being said...there were a few poems I enjoyed. Like the supernatural ones. But overall...it was an okay book for me. I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads

  4. 5 out of 5

    Henk

    Poems on climate change, aging, memory, loss of loved ones, being a women in the world, the arctic and quite a lot of birds. And typical Atwood wit Don’t think this is morbid. It’s just reality. In the introduction Margaret Atwood mentions her method of writing poems, keeping scribbles of paper in drawers and revisiting them later. She tells of her early poems in her typical witty manner: These poems had many subjects: peonies, the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, winter, severed heads. The usual. This Poems on climate change, aging, memory, loss of loved ones, being a women in the world, the arctic and quite a lot of birds. And typical Atwood wit Don’t think this is morbid. It’s just reality. In the introduction Margaret Atwood mentions her method of writing poems, keeping scribbles of paper in drawers and revisiting them later. She tells of her early poems in her typical witty manner: These poems had many subjects: peonies, the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, winter, severed heads. The usual. This bundle is the amalgamation of around ten years of such drawer scribbles and we get to see an aging, if not less engaging and funny Atwood, who still keeps a keen eye on contemporary developments in respect to the climate and feminism. The bundle is divided in 5 sections which are loosely thematically ordered: I. Subtitle: Dementia, aging, memories Late Poems These are the late poems. Most poems are late of course: too late, like a letter sent by a sailor that arrives after he’s drowned. Salt Mirages, you decide: everything was never. Though over your shoulder there it is, your time laid out like a picnic in the sun, still glowing, although it’s night. Passports Sequenced, these pics are like a chart of moon phases fading into blackout; or like a mermaid doomed to appear onshore every five years, and each time altered to something a little more dead: skin withering in the parching air, marooned hair thinning as it dries, cursed if she smiles or cries. II. Subtitle: The female body and its many stories, Frida Kahlo, Cassandra, sex (and blood), betrayal and myths Princess Clothing Too many people talk about what she should wear so she will be fashionable, or at least so she will not be killed. III. Subtitle: Nature and climate change, but also the nature of language and 9 variants of an alien invasion Carving the jacks After we’re gone the work of our knives will survive us. Aflame The world is burning up. It always did. ... All, all are coming true because we opened the lead seals, ignored the warning runes, and let the stories out. We had to know. We had to know how such tales really end: and why. They end in flames because that’s what we want: we want them to. IV. Subtitle: Climate change, arctic wolfs, plastic, lichen and birds Walking in the madman’s wood The world that we think we see is only our best guess. Feather Every life is a failure at the last hour, the hour of dried blood. Oh children We know there will be waves. Not much life needed for those. A breeze, a storm, a cyclone. Ripples, as well. Stones. Stones are consoling. There will be sunsets, as long as there is dust. There will be dust. ... Oh children, will you grow up? The twilight of the gods When the gods frown, the weather’s bad. When they smile the sun shines. We smile all the time now, smiles of the lobotomized, and the world fries. V. Subtitle: Aging, loss of loved ones, memory and mortality. My personal favourite section. Flatline The body, once your accomplice, is now your trap. Blackberries as last poem is also quite touching, but I feel ending with the title poem Dearly is most fitting, and this is the one poem I wrote most down of: Dearly Dearly. How was it used? Dearly beloved. Dearly beloved, we are gathered. Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in this forgotten photo album I came across recently. Dearly beloved, gathered here together in this closed drawer, fading now, I miss you. I miss the missing, those who left earlier. I miss even those who are still here. I miss you all dearly. Dearly do I sorrow for you. Sorrow: that’s another word you don’t hear much anymore. I sorrow dearly.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Sumi

    This is Margaret Atwood's first poetry collection in over a decade, and there's something soothing about reading her beautifully precise words during a pandemic, when we all seem stuck in a perpetual, uncertain present. Atwood's fiction has always been infused with poetry – she clearly loves words and wordplay. But it's relaxing not to be tied to a plot and narrative. Here, she can take on a subject – examining a lifetime of accumulated passports, for instance, or viewing mushrooms in September – This is Margaret Atwood's first poetry collection in over a decade, and there's something soothing about reading her beautifully precise words during a pandemic, when we all seem stuck in a perpetual, uncertain present. Atwood's fiction has always been infused with poetry – she clearly loves words and wordplay. But it's relaxing not to be tied to a plot and narrative. Here, she can take on a subject – examining a lifetime of accumulated passports, for instance, or viewing mushrooms in September – and produce startling images captured in a few seconds that last forever. She weaves in some of her familiar concerns: sex and gender, the precarious state of the earth and its species. Some of the most powerful poems deal with birds, animals and other wildlife. (My edition features a gorgeous illustration of birds on the cover.) But the most deeply felt poems confront mortality and death. Perhaps it's because her partner, Graeme Gibson, died in 2019 (the collection is dedicated: "For Graeme, in absentia"). Many poems look back at life, like Lot's wife. In the beautiful poem "Salt," Atwood writes: Were things good then? Yes. They were good. Did you know they were good? At the time? Your time? No, because I was worrying or maybe hungry or asleep, half of those hours. Once in a while there was a pear or plum or a cup with something in it, or a white curtain, rippling, or else a hand. and then at the end: Don't look behind, they say: You'll turn to salt. Why not, though? Why not look? Isn't it glittery? Isn't it pretty, back there? The collection's last poems are especially moving, yet never sentimental. The title poem, "Dearly," reflects on the fact that the word is old-fashioned, fading from use. The expression "Dearly beloved" leads the narrator to think of other antiquated words: "Polaroid," "sorrow" and (one soon to be swept away) "newspapers." Another poem called "Flatline" begins with the line "Things wear out" and ends with a haunting scene perhaps set at a hospital room, with equipment monitoring someone's heart: No more hiss and slosh, no reefs, no deeps, no throat rattle of gravel. It sounds like this: Wow. To have just that empty, silent space after the colon is haunting. The final poem, "Blackberries," takes the act of an old woman picking fruit in the shade to think about generations of women in her family doing this activity ("Once, this old woman / I'm conjuring up for you / would have been my grandmother. / Today it's me. / Years from now it might be you, / if you're quite lucky.") These are deep and wise poems written by an artist in her later years. I know I'll return to them many times.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emily B

    I liked the themes of this poetry collection, particularly those about the environment as they felt relevant and important. Perhaps I would have enjoyed this more if I read it rather than listened to the audiobook. Although it was nice to hear Atwoods voice and I usually love audiobooks to be narrated by the author. I struggled to connect with her poems and voice. It seems rather monotone

  7. 4 out of 5

    Abbie | nerdyabbie

    ⭐ 3.75 / 5 ⭐ Altogether, an eerie, beautiful, and haunting collection of poems and prose from one of the world's most iconic writers. The hand on your shoulder. The almost-hand: Poetry, coming to claim you. What am I supposed to say? I mean, c’mon, it’s Margaret Atwood. She’s a literary icon. While some of the poems weren’t to my taste - let’s be honest: it was great writing, but some of those poems were the weirdest things I’ve ever read 😂 One of them is called “Double-Entry Slug Sex”. Yeah. An ⭐ 3.75 / 5 ⭐ Altogether, an eerie, beautiful, and haunting collection of poems and prose from one of the world's most iconic writers. The hand on your shoulder. The almost-hand: Poetry, coming to claim you. What am I supposed to say? I mean, c’mon, it’s Margaret Atwood. She’s a literary icon. While some of the poems weren’t to my taste - let’s be honest: it was great writing, but some of those poems were the weirdest things I’ve ever read 😂 One of them is called “Double-Entry Slug Sex”. Yeah. Anyway, overall every bit of poem and prose was well-written and compelling. Atwood takes the simplest pleasures or heartbreaks that life has to offer, and expands on them: spinning them into something beautiful in her legendary style. Big thank you to Netgalley + Ecco for sending me a review copy of this book! *Note: Any quotes referenced in this review, may or may not be subject to change in the finished copy of the book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Helga

    Dearly is a collection of thought-provoking and unique poems by Margaret Atwood. While the poems are of divers topics, they read like memories from long-gone days. If you were a song What song would you be? Would you be the voice that sings, Would you be the music? When i am singing this song for you You are not empty air You are here, One breath and then another: You are here with me...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    Atwood should really stick to prose. She's no poet. Atwood should really stick to prose. She's no poet.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Atri

    Mirages, you decide: everything was never. Though over your shoulder there it is, your time laid out like a picnic in the sun, still glowing, although it's night. Don't look behind they say: You'll turn to salt. Why not though? Why not look? Isn't it glittery? Isn't it pretty, back there? *** I'm always there for a reason, so the dreamers tell me; I wouldn't know. This is what I've brought back for you from the dreamlife, from the alien moon shore, from the place with no clocks. *** If there were no emptiness, ther Mirages, you decide: everything was never. Though over your shoulder there it is, your time laid out like a picnic in the sun, still glowing, although it's night. Don't look behind they say: You'll turn to salt. Why not though? Why not look? Isn't it glittery? Isn't it pretty, back there? *** I'm always there for a reason, so the dreamers tell me; I wouldn't know. This is what I've brought back for you from the dreamlife, from the alien moon shore, from the place with no clocks. *** If there were no emptiness, there would be no life. Think about it. ... That room has been static for me so long: an emptiness a void a silence containing an unheard story ready for me to unlock. Let there be plot. *** ...and close by, a she like a withered ear, a shed leaf, brown and veined, shivers in sync and moves closer. This is it, time is short, death is near, but first, first, first, first in the hot sun, searing, all day long, in a month that has no name: this annoying noise of love. This maddening racket. This-admit it-song. *** By daylight something's got to give. Or someone. Some one has got to give. A given. That's how we carry on. *** Yes, it was a betrayal, but not of you. Only some idea you'd had of them, soft-lit and mystic, with snowfall sifting down and a mauve December sunset... *** I'm going away, you tell me On a long journey. I have to go away. No, stay, I call to you As you grow smaller: Stay here with me and play! But suddenly I'm older And it's cold and moonless And it is winter... *** When I am singing this song for you You are not empty air You are here, One breath and then another: You are here with me... *** Where is it? you say to the last blue asters, to the yellow leaves floating in the pool of the round stone birdbath. Where is that wisdom? Not to mention the music. It must be around here somewhere. Now that I need it. *** It's almost next year, it's almost last year, it's almost the year before: familiar, but we can't swear to it. What about this outdoor bar, the one with the stained-glass palm tree? We know we've have been here already. Or were we? Will we ever be? Will we ever be again? Is it far?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    ARC received in exchange for an honest review 💙 Of the novels I've read from Margaret Atwood, I've always been compelled by her writing. However, I'm not a natural lover of poetry. I'm quite a logical thinker, and the free form of poetry and the often dreamy way it's presented never usually appeal. Unfortunately, I still think I'm not a poetry fan after reading this. Yes, Atwood still possesses an amazing skill for writing, with a creative mind I'm an awe of. The poems within fill a whole range o ARC received in exchange for an honest review 💙 Of the novels I've read from Margaret Atwood, I've always been compelled by her writing. However, I'm not a natural lover of poetry. I'm quite a logical thinker, and the free form of poetry and the often dreamy way it's presented never usually appeal. Unfortunately, I still think I'm not a poetry fan after reading this. Yes, Atwood still possesses an amazing skill for writing, with a creative mind I'm an awe of. The poems within fill a whole range of categories and emotions, featuring poignant moments of her past (Coconut) to feminism (Princess Clothing, Tin Wood Woman) and the utterly bizarre (Double Entry Slug Sex). The latter parts do feel more personal, with notes of melancholy and talk of death, but somehow I just still couldn't connect with any of them. It's most definitely a 'me' thing, as I believe lovers of poetry will most likely find something of worth amongst the many, many poems. However for me, I just couldn't relate.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    I was highly impressed with this collection of Atwood's poetic creations. I have long been a fan of her novels, short story anthologies, and the woman herself, and am so glad I found as much to praise, here. This collection was split into five sections and each had a distinct theme that tied its contents together. My personal favourite was, I believe, the third section, which focused on spreading the author's feminist ideologies, as well as the penultimate section, which focused on the human dest I was highly impressed with this collection of Atwood's poetic creations. I have long been a fan of her novels, short story anthologies, and the woman herself, and am so glad I found as much to praise, here. This collection was split into five sections and each had a distinct theme that tied its contents together. My personal favourite was, I believe, the third section, which focused on spreading the author's feminist ideologies, as well as the penultimate section, which focused on the human destruction of our planet. Despite the personal anecdotes and introspective nature that featured throughout, this also included many poems that dealt entirely with emotion that, I feel, would allow many readers to find much of themselves and their own worries inside this collection. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Margaret Atwood, and the publisher, Penguin Random House UK Audio, for this opportunity.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ethan

    2.5 stars Dearly is a powerful, heartbreaking, and incredibly poignant collection of poems from Margaret Atwood. Although it was powerful enough to bring me nearly to tears, it was also incredibly uneven, and overall a very mixed experience. In 2019, Atwood's partner of forty-six years, novelist Graeme Gibson, passed away. The book is dedicated to him, and the poems toward the very end of the collection are clearly tributes to and references to him. The title story even seems to speak to him dire 2.5 stars Dearly is a powerful, heartbreaking, and incredibly poignant collection of poems from Margaret Atwood. Although it was powerful enough to bring me nearly to tears, it was also incredibly uneven, and overall a very mixed experience. In 2019, Atwood's partner of forty-six years, novelist Graeme Gibson, passed away. The book is dedicated to him, and the poems toward the very end of the collection are clearly tributes to and references to him. The title story even seems to speak to him directly, saying at one point: "I miss you." Speaking of the title story, it is the highlight of this collection by far, and is an absolute masterpiece. One of the most heartbreaking pieces of literature I've ever read, it is about what it's like to have your partner die and for you to live on, alone, as the days fade away and you pass the time doing things like digging up old photo albums and trying to keep memories alive. I was nearly brought to the point of tears by this poem, having a partner myself, as it made me think about myself potentially being in Atwood's shoes someday far in the future, alone, with the person I love most in the world being gone forever. I have some major issues with this collection. The main issue I have is that it's incredibly uneven. There are masterpieces like Dearly, and some other poems that I don't consider as great but that I thought were very good, but the vast majority of the collection wasn't for me. A lot of the poems aren't well-written and describe seemingly random things and occurrences. Some of them don't even make sense, appearing at times to just be random collections of words and images that didn't convey any greater meaning to me. Others were silly and just plain bad. I also really didn't like how the subtitle of this book is New Poems. When you title a collection like that, the reader naturally assumes that all the poems in the collection are new, i.e. never before published. But this is not the case. In the Acknowledgments section, Atwood admits that some of the poems have previously appeared in publications like The New Yorker. So calling the book Dearly: New Poems when some of the poems have been published previously seems a bit dishonest to me. Further, this book in hardcover is only 122 pages. Of these, many of the pages are empty pages after (and sometimes before) the pages containing the section numbers (the book is broken down into five sections), which themselves are basically blank pages that only contain a large roman numeral representing the section number. I counted these empty and section number pages up, and they total twelve pages of the total page count, meaning this book is really only 110 pages. The problem with that is the book is priced at an outrageous $32.95 canadian dollars. There are full-length novels published in hardcover in Canada for the same price, so this seems like highway robbery to me. In summary, I'd say that this was a very uneven collection of poems, ranging from mediocre to masterpiece, but the bulk of the content just didn't do anything for me. I really enjoyed the title poem in this collection, and I think it will stay with me for a long time, but I think I'll steer clear of Atwood's poetry going forward, based on the negative experience of most of the other poems in this collection.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sheena

    I get that poetry is subjective but also I haven't been in the mood to read so I didn't enjoy this like I thought I would sadly. I get that poetry is subjective but also I haven't been in the mood to read so I didn't enjoy this like I thought I would sadly.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    I enjoyed this quirky collection of poetry by Margaret Atwood. Carefully crafted with each word forming beautiful thoughts and musings, love and cruelty of nature, and simply whimsical and fascinating! I enjoyed this and will be re- reading this time and time again. Brava!!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Medhat The Book Fanatic

    This is the very first collection of poetry that I read on my own, since poetry is not a genre that I gravitated towards or even enjoyed, but the name Margaret Atwood was enough to let me take a leap of faith. Margaret Atwood's writing is entrancing. She can write about anything, and I will still read it and feel embraced by her words. In Dearly: New Poems, she dives and explores a variety of topics, and the ones that touched me the most were those that were about aging, memory, loss, climate chan This is the very first collection of poetry that I read on my own, since poetry is not a genre that I gravitated towards or even enjoyed, but the name Margaret Atwood was enough to let me take a leap of faith. Margaret Atwood's writing is entrancing. She can write about anything, and I will still read it and feel embraced by her words. In Dearly: New Poems, she dives and explores a variety of topics, and the ones that touched me the most were those that were about aging, memory, loss, climate change, and the passage of time. And in these poems, you can almost taste the emotions and pain that deepened with the loss of her partner, the late Graeme Gibson. And for this very reason, my favorite poem was the second to last piece titled Dearly, a tribute to her late lover.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Dearly is a treasure trove, twice the length of the average poetry collection and rich with themes of memory, women’s rights, environmental crisis, and bereavement. It is reflective and playful, melancholy and hopeful. I can highly recommend it, even to non-poetry readers, because it is led by its themes; although there are layers to explore, these poems are generally about what they say they’re about, and more material than abstract. Alliteration, repetition, internal and slant rhymes, and neol Dearly is a treasure trove, twice the length of the average poetry collection and rich with themes of memory, women’s rights, environmental crisis, and bereavement. It is reflective and playful, melancholy and hopeful. I can highly recommend it, even to non-poetry readers, because it is led by its themes; although there are layers to explore, these poems are generally about what they say they’re about, and more material than abstract. Alliteration, repetition, internal and slant rhymes, and neologisms will delight language lovers and make the book one to experience aloud as well as on paper. Atwood’s imagery ranges from the Dutch masters to The Wizard of Oz. Her frame of reference is as wide as the array of fields she’s written in over the course of over half a century. See my full review at Shiny New Books, where I have also chosen my four poetry runners-up for 2020.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gerhard

    That room has been static for me so long: an emptiness a void a silence containing an unheard story ready for me to unlock. Let there be plot. Review to follow.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Over the years I have enjoyed reading novels and stories written by Margaret Atwood and listening to her being interviewed numerous times. Although she has released many poetry books, DEARLY is Margaret Atwood's first collection of poetry that I have read and the first she has published in over a decade. "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 tr Over the years I have enjoyed reading novels and stories written by Margaret Atwood and listening to her being interviewed numerous times. Although she has released many poetry books, DEARLY is Margaret Atwood's first collection of poetry that I have read and the first she has published in over a decade. "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 transition, as well as the every day objects and rituals that embed us in the present." The first poem titled "Late Poems" is a great introduction to the collection and the first three stanzas are nicely displayed on the back cover. The cover is gorgeous! Many of these poems address the environment and although too late to change the past, give the reader a 'wake up call' to make changes for a better future. "Fatal Light Awareness" reminds us that we can do something to prevent birds from flying into our windows and accidentally killing themselves. "Plasticene Suite" is composed of 9 poems about the destruction humans have carelessly inflicted on nature with plastic - polluting the land and oceans, killing sea life, whales, and birds. There are too many poems for me to mention all those I enjoyed and appreciated. Some of my favourites are "Short Takes On Wolves", " Invisible Man", "September Mushrooms", "Oh Children", "Silver Slippers", "Dearly" and "Blackberries". Huge thanks to Annapolis Valley Regional Library and the librarians, who manage, organize and keep the libraries running, for the loan of this gorgeous hardcover book, DEARLY by Margaret Atwood.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Renata

    Well I read the first poem and I was so excited and I thought this will be a 5 stars reading but as I passed the pages I didn’t felt that impressed and you know, a good book but not too good either? Some poems definitely are amazing but the most of them not so much.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    Many of the poems contained in this volume have been previously published in journals and anthologies, proving that Margaret Atwood, in addition to her other literary strengths, has been recognized for her poetry. In addition to these, there have been several books of poetry since early in her career. Like many, these poems present personal insight, focusing on inner life as well as ruminations on the cruelty and beauty of nature. Lovely.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gizem-in-Wonderland

    I have such high standards when it comes to poetry that before I read these poems written by one of my favorite authors, I made a list of themes I expected to find: 1. Coconuts 2. Double entry slug sex 3. Disenchanted corpses 4. Alien sex 5. Drones 6. Passports 7. Doll-faces robots 8. Sorcery 9. Thin wood woman getting a massage 10. Boring love After reading this incredibly bizarre poetry collection, I can safely say that I got most of what I expected; I believe 9 out of 10 is a great number and it is refl I have such high standards when it comes to poetry that before I read these poems written by one of my favorite authors, I made a list of themes I expected to find: 1. Coconuts 2. Double entry slug sex 3. Disenchanted corpses 4. Alien sex 5. Drones 6. Passports 7. Doll-faces robots 8. Sorcery 9. Thin wood woman getting a massage 10. Boring love After reading this incredibly bizarre poetry collection, I can safely say that I got most of what I expected; I believe 9 out of 10 is a great number and it is reflected in my rating, too. I just love the weird-functioning brilliant mind of Atwood. Listening to this book from the voice of her was so magical I was beaming with joy. She can write poetry about doll-faced aliens eating coconuts while getting a massage and I will listen to them with pure attention like my life depended on it. Mind-boggling, controversial and bizarre. If you want roses, heart-shaped words or rhymes, don’t even turn the cover. My favorite lines from Dearly comes from the poem Shadow: “Someone wants your body What's the deal? Beg, borrow, buy or steal? Gutter or pedestal? That’s how it is with bodies someone want What’s it worth to you? A rose, a diamond, a cool million? A joke, a drink? The fiction that this one likes you?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jane Glossil

    Odd curiosities. Concerns on mortality.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Many years ago when I was in college, I enjoyed reading poetry but in the years since, I've read very little poetry. This book has changed my mind. I loved it. Like with any collection, some poems were just ok but the majority of these were fantastic and I really enjoyed reading them. Most of the poems are short and Atwood has chosen every word carefully to help not only the cadence of the poem but more importantly the underlying theme. Some of the poems made me smile and some of them made me cr Many years ago when I was in college, I enjoyed reading poetry but in the years since, I've read very little poetry. This book has changed my mind. I loved it. Like with any collection, some poems were just ok but the majority of these were fantastic and I really enjoyed reading them. Most of the poems are short and Atwood has chosen every word carefully to help not only the cadence of the poem but more importantly the underlying theme. Some of the poems made me smile and some of them made me cry but most of them made me think and feel. I was gifted this book in ebook format but plan to buy a copy in hardcover so that I can keep it on my bookshelf and read some of the poems over and over.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alicia Bayer

    This new poetry anthology by the legendary Margaret Atwood is divided into sections and there were some sections that I really liked more than others. To be honest, there were times when I slogged through chapters and kept going only because I had an ARC to review and because it's Atwood. Towards the end of the book, there were poems that I really loved, though. The chapters aren't titled, but one of the later chapters deals with the environment and "Oh Children" was a really wonderful and heart This new poetry anthology by the legendary Margaret Atwood is divided into sections and there were some sections that I really liked more than others. To be honest, there were times when I slogged through chapters and kept going only because I had an ARC to review and because it's Atwood. Towards the end of the book, there were poems that I really loved, though. The chapters aren't titled, but one of the later chapters deals with the environment and "Oh Children" was a really wonderful and heartbreaking addition to that. Oh Children. Oh children, will you grow up in a world without birds? Will there be crickets, where you are? Will there be asters? Clams, at a minimum. Maybe not clams. We know there will be waves. Not much needed for those. A breeze, a storm, a cyclone. Ripples as well. Stones. Stones are consoling. There will be sunsets, as long as there is dust. There will be dust. Oh children, will you grow up in a world without songs? Without pines, without mosses? Will you spend your life in a cave, a sealed cave with an oxygen line, until there's a power failure? Will your eyes blank out like the white eyes of sunless fish? In there, what will you wish for? Oh children, will you grow up in a world without ice? Without mice, without lichens? Oh children, will you grow up? I bookmarked many of the poems in the later sections to come back to or share with family members. While some poems didn't do much for me, it's a great anthology with some poems that were so good it pulled the rating back up for me. I read a digital ARC of this book via NetGalley.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Curie

    Ah, to grow old. What must it be like to know that most of your life lies in the past? I'm too young to know, but then feelings of loss, death and finality are universal, after all. In this collection of poems, Margaret Atwood gives voice to a lot of introspective pondering. There was sadness in her tone at all times and a lot of these were particularly hard-hitting knowing that she, a woman in her eighties, probably has a different way of looking at life and living than I do in my twenties. The Ah, to grow old. What must it be like to know that most of your life lies in the past? I'm too young to know, but then feelings of loss, death and finality are universal, after all. In this collection of poems, Margaret Atwood gives voice to a lot of introspective pondering. There was sadness in her tone at all times and a lot of these were particularly hard-hitting knowing that she, a woman in her eighties, probably has a different way of looking at life and living than I do in my twenties. There's consolidation, too, a sort of gentle acceptance, about the mere nature of poems, for example: These are late poems. Most poems are late of course: too late, like a letter sent by a sailor that arrives after he's drowned. She's right, you know. We process in poems what has happened to us in the past, it's stuff that has already happened, that is no longer part of what lies ahead of us. With growing older comes gratefulness as well. There was a poem called Salt in which she ponders on how we tend to not realise how good the good moments truly are when we're living through them. But then when there isn't that much more to come anymore, won't we have to rely on nostalgia? Don't look behind, they say: You'll turn to salt. Why not, though? Why not look? Isn't it glittery? Isn't it pretty, back there? By dealing so much with death, this inevitably speaks to the way we live. After reading this, that Margaret Atwood has found a good way of handling her own life. And we should be grateful for that, as well. Once, this old woman I’m conjuring up for you would have been my grandmother. Today it’s me. Years from now it might be you, if you’re quite lucky.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tea Leaves and Reads

    Many like me might be familiar with Margaret Atwood's fiction - including her bestelling novels The Handmaid's Tale, The Testaments and the Oryx and the Crake. However since the beginning of her successful career she has been a significant contemporary poet. In fact, she is celebrated as being equally accomplished in both Fiction and Poetry, no easy undertaking! Dearly is Margaret's first published collection of Poems for over a decade and is a stunning achievement that is celebrated by fans of Many like me might be familiar with Margaret Atwood's fiction - including her bestelling novels The Handmaid's Tale, The Testaments and the Oryx and the Crake. However since the beginning of her successful career she has been a significant contemporary poet. In fact, she is celebrated as being equally accomplished in both Fiction and Poetry, no easy undertaking! Dearly is Margaret's first published collection of Poems for over a decade and is a stunning achievement that is celebrated by fans of both her novels and of Poetry. It's a unique collection, ranging from the complexities and beauty of nature to the fascinating constructs of zombies... many of the pieces included will be read without understanding, or will mean something to different people, and that's the beauty of well-written Poetry.

  28. 5 out of 5

    andreea. (paperrcuts)

    No doubt about Atwood's talent as a prose writer, but I wonder why she thought this talent would naturally extend onto poetry. These were mediocre at best, very obvious in theme and purpose, and kind of Rupi-Kaur-meets-society-critique. I liked this poem about a cat, though: Ghost Cat Cats suffer from dementia too. Did you know that? Ours did. Not the black one, smart enough to be neurotic and evade the vet. The other one, the furrier’s muff, the piece of fluff. She’d writhe around on the sidewalk for c No doubt about Atwood's talent as a prose writer, but I wonder why she thought this talent would naturally extend onto poetry. These were mediocre at best, very obvious in theme and purpose, and kind of Rupi-Kaur-meets-society-critique. I liked this poem about a cat, though: Ghost Cat Cats suffer from dementia too. Did you know that? Ours did. Not the black one, smart enough to be neurotic and evade the vet. The other one, the furrier’s muff, the piece of fluff. She’d writhe around on the sidewalk for chance pedestrians, whisker their trousers, though not when she started losing what might have been her mind. She’d prowl the night kitchen, taking a bite from a tomato here, a ripe peach there, a crumpet, a softening pear. Is this what I’m supposed to eat? Guess not. But what? But where? Then up the stairs she’d come, moth-footed, owl-eyed, wailing like a tiny, fuzzy steam train: Ar-woo! Ar-woo! So witless and erased. O, who? Clawing at the bedroom door shut tight against her. Let me in, enclose me, tell me who I was. No good. No purring. No contentment. Out into the darkened cave of the dining room, then in, then out, forlorn. And when I go that way, grow fur, start howling, scratch at your airwaves: no matter who I claim I am or how I love you, turn the key. Bar the window. and these other ones, which were nice-ish: A Genre Painting, Princess Clothing, Frida Kahlo..., Digging up the Scythians, Update on Werewolves, At the Translation Conference, Blackberries.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I try to avoid rating poetry because my reaction to it is so dependent on my mood. But this was really great, probably 4*. One I’d like to come back to for sure, and I’m curious to try more of Atwood’s poetry.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Marnie (Enchanted Bibliophile)

    “First taste of sheer ambrosia! Though mixed with ash and shards of destruction As Heaven always is, if you read the text closely.” I think I was expecting more, this being Margaret Atwood and the GoodReads Choice Award winner for 2020. Touching on a wide variety of subjects in all kinds of styles, sounds and ideas made this an interesting read. But my expectation was just a bit too high for what I got. “First taste of sheer ambrosia! Though mixed with ash and shards of destruction As Heaven always is, if you read the text closely.” I think I was expecting more, this being Margaret Atwood and the GoodReads Choice Award winner for 2020. Touching on a wide variety of subjects in all kinds of styles, sounds and ideas made this an interesting read. But my expectation was just a bit too high for what I got.

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