Poetry Advent Calendar 23: Christmas presents for poets

Article published on Dec. 23, 2013
Article published on Dec. 23, 2013

‘It has been the year of the dish,’ proclaims the Iranian-born British poet Mimi Khalvati in one poem, commenting wryly on a year in which she has all too often been given dishes as presents. She is forced to re-arrange her kitchen and come up with elaborate meals to be served on the new dishes. Yet how to avoid the trap of generic presents? We’ve come up with ideas for a family of poets.

The lovesick friend: Dante Alighieri

A portrait of his muse, the beloved Beatrice. Travel sized, for when he has to flee Florence

The cousin who is awed by life: Wislawa Szymborska

A trip to a magic show, to revel in commonplace miracles

The glamourous older sister: Liz Lochhead

A pair of inappropriately high heels - so that you can borrow them

The flatmate who keeps raiding the fridge: William Carlos Williams

Plums, as a teasing reminder of the plums of yours that he polished off one evening

The hungry little brother: Seamus Heaney

A jar of blackberry jam, made from the blackberries he picked in the autumn, which you cooked before they could grow fur

The dilettante musician and lover of Christmas: Edgar Allan Poe

A set of sleigh bells, because he can’t help but rhapsodise each time he hears the ringing of bells

The outdoors-y uncle: Robert Frost

A pair of hiking boots for when he treads the path less travelled by

As for Mimi Khalvati herself, the answer is clear: ‘Next year shall be, / I decree, the year of the cafetière.’

Authors: Annie Rutherford, Bethany Wolfe