Love, the eternal subject of poetry through the ages. Its mysteries, its pain, its ecstasy and its madness have worried the pens of our greatest writers from William Shakespeare to Brian Patten, and from Christina Rossetti to Hugo Williams who writes brilliantly about the secret love of an affair in Billy's Rain, listed below. Love poetry is a verbal accompaniment to any relationship, providing solace, sympathy and clarification, and every lover needs a well-turned line of poetry to explain the madness of it all.
Billy's Rain, by Hugo Williams, Faber & Faber, (ISBN 9780571200863), Paperback, £7.99
A T S Eliot Prize-winning collection of 50 poems charting the complications, obsessions, evasions, secrets and emotional pitfalls of an affair. Williams explores the landscape of doomed love with all the subtlety and irony that we have come to expect from him.
Collected Love Poems, by Brian Patten, Harper Perennial, (ISBN 9780007246496), Paperback, £8.99
The truthful and tender love poems of Brian Patten, one of our most accessible and popular poets, are collected here in one volume alongside a selection of new and unpublished poems on the subject of love.
Greatest Love Poems, ed. Madeleine Edgar, Arcturus Books, (ISBN 9781848374805), Paperback, £4.99
220 of our most beautiful romantic poems presented in five themed sections - Romance, Marriage, Unrequited Love, Long Distance Love and Lost Love. There are also helpful biographies of every poet featured.
The Nation's Favourite: Love Poems, ed. Daisy Goodwin, BBC Books, (ISBN 9780563383789), Paperback, £6.99
In the great tradition of 'The Nation's Favourite', this book is a collection of the British public's 100 favourite love poems. 'How do I love thee? Let me count the ways' by Elizabeth Barrett Browning takes the top spot but there is an embarrassment of romantic riches including Shakespeare, Yeats, Auden, Burns, Marvell, Christina Rossetti and Alice Meyne'l, amongst others.
Pleased to See Me: 69 Very Sexy Poems, ed. Neil Astley, Bloodaxe, (ISBN 9781852246143), Paperback, £6.99
An unashamedly sassy and saucy celebration of the pleasures of the flesh by some of our greatest poets. "These are very sexy poems not just because they are about sex," says Astley, "but because their luscious language is handled with wit and sureness of touch."
More in this series:
Poetry Books for... All Occasions
Poetry Books for... Weddings
Poetry Books for... Funerals
Poetry Books for... Valentine's Day
Poetry Books for... Christmas
Poetry Books for... Faithful Friends
Poetry Books for... Marvellous Mums
Poetry Books for... Doting Dads
Poetry Books for... Awesome Aunts
Poetry Books for... Favourite Uncles
Poetry Books for... Graceful Grannies
Poetry Books for... Grumpy Grandads
Poetry Books for... Boys
Poetry Books for... Girls
Poetry Books for... Tiny Terrors