Tell Me the Truth About Love

Tell Me the Truth About Love

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy celebrates the tradition of love poetry, from first flush to final parting

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Profile of Carol Ann Duffy

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy was born in Glasgow and grew up in Stafford. She is currently Professor of Contemporary Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her most recent collection of poems The Bees (2011) won the Costa Poetry Award. A selection of her Love Poems was published by Picador in 2010.

Meet the poets

Bernard O’Donoghue is a poet and Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford.  His most recent collection of poems, Farmers Cross (Faber), was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize.

Imtiaz Dharker is a poet, artist and film-maker. Her most recent collection of poems, The Terrorist at My Table is published by Bloodaxe.

Jackie Kay is a Scottish-born poet and novelist. Her recent autobiography, Red Dust Road was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and her latest collection of poems, Fiere, is published by Picador.

Michael Symmons Roberts is an award-winning poet, novelist, broadcaster and librettist.  His latest collection of poems, Drysalter is published in April (Cape Poetry)

Gillian Clarke is the National Poet of Wales.  Her most recent collection, Ice (Carcanet), was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize.

Sharon Olds is a leading American poet.  Her latest collection, Stag’s Leap (Cape Poetry) won the T S Eliot Prize.

Adam O’Riordan is a Manchester-based poet. His latest collection of poems is called In The Flesh (Chatto and Windus)

The poems

‘Rondel on Merciles Beaute’ by Geoffrey Chaucer


‘First Meeting’ by Christina Rossetti


Adrienne Rich reads from Twenty One Love Poems


‘When You Are Old’ by W B Yeats


Carol Ann Duffy reads some of her poems, including ‘You’ on the Poetry Archive


‘Upon Julia’s Clothes’ by Robert Herrick


‘To His Mistress Going To Bed’ by John Donne


‘To His Coy Mistress’ by Andrew Marvell


‘Wild Nights’ by Emily Dickinson


Sonnet 116 – ‘Let me not to the marriage of true minds’ by William Shakespeare


The ‘oldest love poem in the world’ – from Sumeria


‘Bright Star’ by John Keats


‘John Anderson, my Jo’ by Robert Burns


‘Lullaby’ by W H Auden


The Anglo-Saxon lyric ‘Wulf and Eadwacer’


‘Ae Fond Kiss’ by Robert Burns


‘The Voice’ by Thomas Hardy

More about love poetry

Carol Ann Duffy brings together a collection of wedding vows written by some of our leading poets

The Times list of ‘Love Poems Everyone Should Know’

Review of Love Poems by Carol Ann Duffy