Best poetry books of 2020: New discoveries and final gifts

Martina Evans and Seán Hewitt share their favourite collections of the year

Matthew Sweeney: Dark fabulism enabled him to take his readers right up the mouth of death. Photograph: John Minihan

Matthew Sweeney: Dark fabulism enabled him to take his readers right up the mouth of death. Photograph: John Minihan

Martina Evans: Grief and wicked enchantment

Grief, never far from poetry, was an integral part of the truly terrific books of 2020. Poems written before Covid became chillingly prescient, as if poets had known what was coming.

The hard-working, real and mythological horses of Moyra Donaldson’s fierce book of grief, Carnivorous (Doire), have stayed with me since January. Native American Natalie Diaz’s Post-Colonial Love Poem (Faber & Faber) was exceptional – a joyous, tough, tour de force heralding the issues of race that were to become unavoidable this year.

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