Ben Okri to compile anthology of political poetry

Ben Okri to compile anthology of political poetry

Hodder & Stoughton has commissioned poet and novelist Ben Okri to compile an anthology of "inspiring" political poetry, Rise Like Lions: Poetry for the Many, to publish in spring 2018.

Okri - lately known for his poem and eulogy "Grenfell Tower, June 2017" - will be selecting 100 poems from around the world that broadly "celebrate the many voices of politics", from polemics to meditations, from Shakespeare to Grime.

The title of the anthology comes from a line in Shelley’s political poem "The Masque of Anarchy", frequently quoted by Jeremy Corbyn, that reads: "Rise like lions after slumber, In unvanquishable number, Shake your chains to earth like dew, Which in sleep had fallen on you - Ye are many - they are few."

Okri said the need for poetry is greater than ever: "We need poetry more than ever. We need its direct insistence on the magic of listening. In a world consumed by the madness of believing that only our side is right, we need the voices that speak to the highest in us," he said.

Hodder & Stoughton acquired World volume rights through Sophia MacAskill at Ed Victor Ltd. Hodder & Stoughton non-fction publisher Rupert Lancaster commented: "The General Election demonstrated a new and increasing interest in all things political on many levels. And politicians – most recently Jeremy Corbyn at Glastonbury – are increasingly quoting poetry in their speeches. We’re delighted and honoured that Ben Okri has agreed to compile this anthology."