Thursday, April 9, 2015

One-Hundred Best Loved Poems

The Dover “One-Hundred Best Loved Poems” has resonances far beyond the poems on the page.  If you read poems in school, reading these will bring back the words like distant, barely traceable memories.  Most of these poems belong to the heritage of western culture, and even if you have not read the poem, or don’t remember reading it, you can trace the fine lines where the literary culture has borrowed, stolen or hijacked (all fairly) the words and meaning(s) of these poems.

Take Yeats’s poem The Second Coming  which has such memorable and well used lines as “things fall apart,” the title of Chinua Achebe’s celebrated novel, “the centre cannot hold” used in a variety of titles and contexts, mostly about mental illness and “slouches toward Bethlehem” used by Joan Didion in her famous series of essays about the rise and fall of the 60s. 

This is only one of 99 reasons to read this collection and get back in touch with some of the central poems of our tradition, and then move on to ever widening circles of poetry and its meaning. 

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