Poetry Book Group

Cheltenham's Poetry Book group meets monthly at the Suffolk Anthology, an independent bookshop.

Each month, we discuss a single-author collection of contemporary poetry.

After each meeting, we publish a list of suggested discussion topics for others to use, whether as individual readers thinking about the book, or for their own book groups. We would like to encourage other poetry book groups and these materials are offered free of charge to anyone who wants to download them.

Please click below for downloads about the books we have discussed so far. Happy reading!

1. Denise Riley, Say Something Back (Picador, 2016)
2. Rebecca Watts, The Met Office Advises Caution (Carcarnet, 2016)
3. Caroline Smith, The Immigration Handbook (Seren, 2016)
4. Thomas McCarthy, Pandemonium (Carcarnet, 2016)
5. Wayne Holloway-Smith, Alarum (Bloodaxe, 2017)
6. Ocean Vuong, Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Cape, 2017)
7. Tara Bergin, The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx (Carcarnet, 2017)
8. Michael Symmons Roberts, Mancunia (Cape, 2017)
9. Hera Lindsay Bird, Hera Lindsay Bird (Penguin, 2017)
10. Nick Makoha, Kingdom of Gravity (Peepal Tree, 2017)
11. Jane Commane, Assembly Lines (Carcanet, 2018)
12. Kaveh Akbar, Calling a Wolf a Wolf (Penguin, 2017)

Poetry Book Group is currently on hiatus over the summer, but will begin again in November 2018. If you are in the Cheltenham area and would like to participate, please contact The Suffolk Anthology.


  1. Hello David, I have suggested to my poetry book group which has so far studied 13 dead poets and one living (Don Paterson) that we follow your book sequence for few months and we'll be discussing this in more detail soon. I hear the next is Rececca Watts and it would be useful to know who else is on your list. I hope we will also use your notes Are they available in advance? Am looking forward to it! Thanks, Jean

  2. Hi Jean - glad we have provided you with some inspiration! The notes are prepared after each monthly discussion, based on everyone's contributions, so sadly they won't be available in advance. The next download will be available on the weekend of 11 February 2017 on Rebecca Watts, The Met Office Advises Caution. The following month we will be looking at Caroline Smith's The Immigration Handbook from Seren - after that, I haven't decided yet!

  3. Hi David, thankyou, so it may work out well for us as we would start late, in time to download the notes. I already have Denise Riley's book, having known Part Song from when she won The Forward Prize. I havent read Rebecca Watts but do have Caroline Smith's The Immigrant Handbook, from Ledbury - did you know she is married to Barry Gardiner the shadow environment minister?! I'll be intrigued to hear who else you focus on! Meanwhile, thankyou, I'll let you know how it goes!

  4. Excellent summaries of all books discussed in the Book Group. This is a wonderful way of getting the most out of reading, often quite challenging, contemporary poetry, in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Thank you, David!

  5. Kingdom of Gravity: Nick Makoha. An excellent summary of our group discussion of a rather difficult book, the points laid out with resulting comments and questions. Interesting to re-read the book in the light of this concise summary.