Carol Ann Duffy DBE (one of our writers)
September 2012

About the publication

The Bees is Carol Ann Duffy’s first collection of poems as Poet Laureate. In it she uses her full poetic range: there are drinking songs, love poems, poems of political anger; there are elegies, too, for beloved friends, and – most movingly – the poet’s own mother.

Woven and weaving through the book is its presiding spirit: the bee. Sometimes the bee is Duffy’s subject, sometimes it strays into the poem, or hovers at its edge. In the end, Duffy’s point is clear: the bee symbolizes what we have left of grace in the world, and what is most precious and necessary for us to protect. The Bees, at once intimate and public, is a work of great power from one of our most cherished poets.


"This is a wonderfully varied collection. Here's a mixter maxter of every kind of Duffy poem: angry, political, elegiac, witty, nakedly honest, accessible, mysterious."

Liz Lochhead

"Beautiful and moving poetry for the real world."

Jeanette Winterson

"Arguably her most interesting book since Mean Time. The best pieces here are concise, with a rich musical authority that brings some poems close to song."

Sean O'Brien

"Duffy is spearheading the current surge in poetry’s population. Her book sales are going through the roof, her staged readings regularly sell out and her latest collection, The Bees, is shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards…. [Carol Ann] strides off into the night. Nobody bows or curtsies but I have a feeling that one day they might."

Sunday Express