Macmillan Children’s Books (MCB) has landed a new poetry anthology from bestselling curator and writer Allie Esiri.
A Poet for Every Day of the Year will publish in hardback, audio and e-book on 16th September 2021, and is billed as the perfect introduction to 366 of the world’s greatest verse writers, spanning 3,000 years. “It will allow readers to break bread with the brilliant dead, such as Homer and Shakespeare, and introduce them to living luminaries and modern laureates,” the publisher said.
Gaby Morgan, editorial director for non-fiction and poetry, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from Clare Conville at C&W. The title will be published on Macmillan Children’s Books' poetry list and will be supported by major marketing and publicity campaigns across consumer and trade channels.
Esiri said: “I have always had an inkling that people liked poetry more than they thought they did. They love it at the big things in life, like weddings, funerals and the inaugurations of presidents, and my hunch has always been that it can offer inspiration and solace for the everyday. All I really have had to do is re-frame Coleridge’s homily and put the best poems in their best order. The news of my anthologies' sales is bonkers but brilliant. I am particularly proud of the diverse selection of poets and how many more poems have now reached readers both young and old. I couldn’t be more grateful to the poets, my publisher Macmillan, my agent Clare Conville, and all the booksellers who took a chance on championing poetry with these big fat anthologies. I am very excited to send A Poet for Every Day of the Year out in to the world, and for readers to discover more about 366 of our greatest global poets.”
Described by the Financial Times as a “poetry powerhouse”, sales of Esiri's previous hardbacks A Poem for Every Night of the Year, A Poem for Every Day of the Year and Shakespeare for Every Day of the Year have hit more than 133,000 units in the UK through Nielsen BookScan. A Poem for Every Night of the Year sold 38% more copies in 2020 than in 2019, according to MCB, while Esiri's virtual event at Hay Festival last year was watched by more than 15,000 people.
For her new title, each of the 366 entries will feature a small introduction by Esiri, giving a sense of who the writer was. It may include insightful biographical information, key historical context, or quirky anecdotes, such as John Milton having to dictate his poems owing to blindness, or Byron taking a pet bear to Cambridge when pet dogs were not allowed. As with her previous anthologies, the day-to-day format of the anthology invites readers to make poetry a habitual part of their daily routine.
Morgan said: “I am thrilled to be working with Allie Esiri on this fantastic new anthology. She plays a vital role in bringing people to poetry and making it part of their day, every day. Her sales figures are testament to how many people she has reached. This carefully curated new volume is very special as it focuses on the poets. It contains all of the big names that you would expect, but also showcases underrepresented voices and brand-new talent.’’
Belinda Ioni Rasmussen, publisher at MCB, added: “Allie has shown us all that poetry has a crucial role to play in our lives and that returning to it again and again can help us day by day. This has never been more true than in the last year. MCB's award-winning poetry list is core to our publishing; it has been for nearly 30 years, and continues to grow successfully. Allie's drive to spread the word about the power of poetry is transformational. We are very proud to be her publisher and to have this shared mission.”