The Top 500 Poems

The Top 500 Poems

Book - 1992
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Baker & Taylor
Poems by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Dickinson, Hughes, Plath, and others are accompanied by biographical sketches and commentary

Columbia Univ Pr

This is the story of poetry in English, a collection of the best 500 poems, based not on one critic's choice, not on one poet's choice, but on the collective choice of 550 critics, editors, and poets.


The Top 500 Poems offers a vivid portrait of poetry in English, assembling a host of popular and enduring poems as chosen by critics, editors, poets, and general readers. These works speak across centuries, beginning with Chaucer's resourceful inventions and moving through Shakespeare's masterpieces, John Donne's complex originality, and Alexander Pope's mordant satires. The anthology also features perennial favorites such as William Blake, William Wordsworth, and John Keats; Emily Dickinson's prisms of profundity; the ironies of Wallace Stevens and T.S. Eliot; and the passion of Sylvia Plath and Allen Ginsberg. These 500 poems are verses that readers either know already or will want to know, encapsulating the visceral power of truly great literature. William Harmon provides illuminating commentary to each work and a rich introduction that ties the entire collection together.

Book News
The pop title is right out of Billboard (the publisher must think poetry needs all the crossover it can get), but the collection is quite terrific not necessarily the greatest poems (best to avoid that can of worms), but the 500 English-language poems that have appealed most often to 400 contemporary editors, critics, and poets for inclusion in their own widely disparate anthologies, which were indexed in the Ninth Edition of The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry . From the famous pre-Chaucerian, Anonymous (c.1250-c.1350), author of "Cuckoo Song", to Plath and Ginsberg, the only problem with this anthology will be putting it down. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

Publisher: New York : Columbia University Press, c1992
ISBN: 9780231080286
023108028X
Branch Call Number: 821.008 TOP
Characteristics: xxx, 1132p. ; 24cm
Additional Contributors: Harmon, William 1938-
Alternative Title: Top five hundred poems

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