Despite being a certified English teacher who ostensibly taught poetry to a group of 10th graders last year, I have read very little English poetry apart from Shakespeare and Milton. I occasionally get the urge to correct that shortcoming and branch out a bit in my reading. My most recent selection is one of those efforts. One Hundred and One Famous Poems is exactly what it sounds like– a collection of one hundred and one famous poems. It includes some well-known classics I had encountered before, such as Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade, Poe’s Raven, Whitman’s O Captain! My Captain!, Henley’s Invictus, and Kipling’s If. It also includes several that I had never encountered. My favorite of these was either I Have a Rendezvous with Death by Alan Seeger or Horatius by Thomas Babington Macaulay.
I enjoyed my brief foray into the world of the poetic. I appreciate the value of a well-crafted poem, one in which every word must be carefully considered to extract every bit of poetic meaning. If you are looking for a nice sampling of English poetry, I would recommend this book. That said, I would much rather read a novel.
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