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May Day by Jackie Kay
Poetry Book Society Recommendation Summer 2024

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May Day is the long-awaited new poetry collection from one of our best-loved poets and former Makar of Scotland, Jackie Kay. These poems cast an eye over several decades of political activism, from the international solidarity of the Glasgow of Kay’s childhood, accompanying her parents’ Socialist campaigns, through the feminist, LGBT+ and anti-racist movements of the 80s and 90s, up to the present day when a global pandemic intersects with the urgency of Black Lives Matter. Kay brings to life a cast of influential figures, delving beneath the surfaces of received narratives: the Jamaican model Fanny Eaton, muse of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in England; Paul Robeson, Angela Davis and the poet Audre Lorde; and a ‘what-if’ poem concerning Rabbie Burns and a road-not-taken towards the West Indian slave trade.

Woven through the collection is a suite of lyric poems concerning the recent losses of Kay’s parents: poems of grief and profound change that are infused with the light of love and celebration.

Picador

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