First of the Last Chances by Sophie Hannah
Carcanet Poetry (ebook), 2011
65 Pages

Poet’s Website

Amazon (UK)

I borrowed this ebook from my library and read it on my Kobo. This is my first review of a poetry collection and was also the first time I read a poetry collection in ebook.


Long for this world

I settle for less than snow
try to go gracefully as seasons go….

First of the Last Chances is a collection of poems that explore and celebrate strong feelings: love, hate, anger, hope – and which strip away the veils of hypocrisy and pretence from all aspects of everyday life. The collection includes eight poems that were set to music.

I’m a fan of Sophie Hannah. I’ve read a few of her crime novels and found them to be pretty great. I’ve also read and loved her poems on and off for years. I was delighted when I found I could borrow one of her collections in ebook from my library. This was a perfect opportunity to read some poetry, borrow an ebook from the library to fuel my new obsession and read poetry on my Kobo for the first time.

I was disappointed with First of the Last Chances. I really wanted to enjoy this collection. First of all, I love the title of the collection. It demands attention and screams to be read. I enjoyed some of the poems and the Hannah knows how to write beautifully. The main issue I had is that most if not all of them poems were written in rhyme. This isn’t a poem structure I particularly enjoy. I think rhymes can sometimes be forced when a word is chosen simply because it fits the rhyme pattern and not because it’s the best word to use. I also find poets sometimes go for the most obvious rhyming words so the focus of the poem becomes the rhythm created in your head by the rhyming words rather than what the poet is trying to say. Hannah does this again and again in First of the Last Chances with some of the rhymes becoming almost musical or like a drum beat in my head. I found myself listening for the rhyme rather than the poem which isn’t a good thing. I’ve read some amazing poems that are written in rhyme but the words chosen are so perfect you don’t even notice the poem rhymes unless you read it critically. Poetry enjoyment is very personal even more so than reading fiction and there are people who probably seek out the poems found in First of the Last Chances. I liked the themes explored in the poems, some of the imagery and Hannah’s use of language. The form and structure used in the collection didn’t suit my tastes.




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