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.