I love poetry. Sometimes it is just so soothing to curl up under the covers with a cup of hot tea (or even better, hot cocoa!) and your favorite poems. Poetry is such a different form of expression than literature. A poet manages to get so much across in a much shorter prose and makes you read between the lines.
Sure, that sounds like work, but there really is little more satisfying than extracting so much meaning from a little paragraph. Since poetry has been around since the beginning of the written word, there are about 5 billion poems out there to choose from. I kid you not, I have one anthology that is so heavy, I could probably knock someone out with it. There is no way that I would be able to bring that on a vacation, much less lug it around everyday for my ride to and from school. That’s why I was so pleased to receive as a gift the teeny, tiny “100 Best Poems of All Time,” edited by Leslie Pockell.
In the introduction, Leslie says it best herself: the aim of the book was to compile a collection full of classic favorites, with some new or rare ones that would be portable. That means you’re going to find Byron, Shakespeare and Dante, but also some Rilke (one of my faves) and a handful of other poets that I have never, ever heard of. The poems are also arranged in chronological order, as opposed to alphabetical, which is an interesting spin. There is definitely a progression, not only in language, but also style, which makes the anthology a little more unique.
Despite the fact that Leslie Pockell had to whittle away thousands of years of art to only 100 pieces, I think she did a splendid job. I love reaching for this one when I’m on a long bus ride. It sure beats reading a textbook and it makes me feel a little bit like an artsy hipster. Because I’m enrolled in a psychology program, but LOVE English and writing, it’s nice to get a little dose of that every day. And, if you’re finding your brain already crammed with equations and other schoolwork, it’s nice to not have to keep track of the plot and storyline of a novel, too.
If you’re new to the world of poetry or just looking to expand your poetic horizons, “The 100 Best Poems of All Time” is a great pick!
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