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Poems That Make Grown Men Cry: 100 Men on the Words That Move Them [Kindle Edition]

Anthony Holden , Ben Holden
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Book Description

But in this fascinating anthology, one hundred men - distinguished in literature and film, science and architecture, theatre and human rights - confess to being moved to tears by poems that haunt them. Representing twenty nationalities and ranging in age from their early 20s to their late 80s, the majority are public figures not prone to crying. Here they admit to breaking down when ambushed by great art, often in words as powerful as the poems themselves.
Seventy-five percent of the selected poems were written in the twentieth century, with more than a dozen by women. Their themes range from love in its many guises, through mortality and loss, to the beauty and variety of nature. Three men have suffered the pain of losing a child; others are moved to tears by the exquisite way a poet captures, in Alexander Pope's famous phrase, 'what oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd'.
From J.J Abrams to John le Carré, Salman Rushdie to Jonathan Franzen, Daniel Radcliffe to Nick Cave, Ian McEwan to Stephen Fry, Stanley Tucci to Colin Firth, and Seamus Heaney to Christopher Hitchens, this collection delivers private insight into the souls of men whose writing, acting, and thinking are admired around the world.

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'Everyone who reads this collection will be roused: disturbed by the pain, exalted in the zest for joy given by poets' Observer

'We recall the time at school when our treasured anthology of love poetry was seized by the class bully...if only we had been armed with a copy of Poems The Make Grown Men Cry' Times Literary Supplement

'That's the great thing about a good anthology of poems: you are reminded of old friends and introduced to new ones.... This is a welcome addition to my shelves and I'll look forward to Poems That Make Woman Cry' Sunday Telegraph

'Though these poems speak to personal loss and reflect human suffering, they redeem pain and restore courage. They bring manly tears to the eyes but heal the hearts of men and woman alike' Saga

'For once the blurb is believable: It really is a fascinating anthology. Finding out what makes particular men emotional is intriguing' Irish Independent

'The title is pure genius... what I love most is the proud grasp of emotion as mature and manly. Two words that become magnificent in their juxtaposition: "men" and "cry"' Daily Mail

'All the old weepies are here I m female and just the contents page was enough to make me well up. Delightful' The Times

'The best leave you with a renewed sense of how extraordinary it is that poetry can over the course of one sentence flood your circuit board with loss, or anger, or love' The Independent

'Our boys deserve better. Let's be gracious for the overall good and let them become equal in the right to spill our guts, share our thoughts and spout our tears. Let's buy them the book and hope it's enough to make them weep' Stylist

'The results are occasionally baffling but mostly illuminating. As with all the best anthologies, there is a compelling mixture of the well-known and the obscure' Mail On Sunday

'Doubt, war and family deaths are the subjects picked by stars for a new anthology… Representing 20 nationalities and ranging in age from early 20s to their late 80s, the lachrymose line-up of well-known men were asked to pick one poem that they could not read without getting a lump in the throat, or at least a wobble of the chin' The Times

This is a really thought-provoking book...The range of contributors leads to a wonderful range of verse. And the overall result is a wonderfully powerful and moving experience'

'At the top of this year's Poetry list is Anthony and Ben's Poems That Make Grown Men Cry which has sold 11, 315 copies' --The Bookseller

About the Author

Anthony Holden is an award-winning journalist who has published more than 30 books, including biographies of Laurence Olivier, Tchaikovsky and Shakespeare.He has published translations of opera, ancient Greek plays and poetry. His son Ben is a writer and film producer. He was director of European Film and Television at Exclusive Media, where he helped relaunch Britain's most famous film production label, Hammer. Anthony and Ben both live in London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving lines 10 April 2014
By GlynLuke TOP 100 REVIEWER
Perhaps taking its cue from the magnificent, extensive and unpredictable 1992 anthology The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart - subtitled Poems for Men, compiled and edited by Robert Bly and friends - this book is a nicely eclectic mixture of the expected, the fairly well-known, and the downright obscure, the latter being, at least for me, the main draw of this well-intentioned anthology.
The format does the book few favours. It`s a little confusing in some cases (except where blatantly obvious) as to who is the poet and who the contributor. There are 100 of the latter, ranging from Dawkins and Rushdie, Daniel Radcliffe and Barry Humphries, to Jeremy Irons and Simon Callow. No, Callow has not, I`m mightily relieved to say, chosen the over-anthologised Funeral Blues by Auden (mercifully, nobody has been so obvious) but rather the same poet`s Lullaby.
Dawkins and Andrew Motion both went for Housman, while before he died Christopher Hitchens plumped for Wilfred Owen. Seamus Heaney, before his more recent death, chose Hardy`s The Voice. Hardy and Houseman figure heavily here, and quite rightly too, Hardy`s famous The Darkling Thrush being an expected but nonetheless welcome inclusion.
Actor Kenneth Branagh has, to my surprise and delight, nominated a passage from Peer Gynt, while there had to be someone who `bucked the rules`, so we get the final section of Joyce`s verbally hungry novel Finnegans Wake.
I`m very glad to see Christopher Logue represented, chosen by veteran Liverpool poet Brian Patten, as he`s in grave danger of neglect.
Rosetti, Tagore, Larkin and Keats, as well as Coleridge`s marvellous Frost at Midnight, are all here, along with much else besides.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth owning a copy to read in private 6 July 2014
I borrowed this book from my local library, so it won't show up as a purchase. However, having almost finished it I have decided to buy it off Amazon soon, as I would very much like a copy to open from time to time. Well, not all of the poems will make you cry. Some I can't even begin to see why anyone would think of as particularly emotion-inducing. And some I just could not understand, but that is probably just me! But, let me tell you, there were enough that did make me cry, usually chosen by people whose writing I have admired, as a writer myself. And in a funny kind of way I actually enjoyed the cry. So just be careful that you find a quiet, private place to enjoy them, as it is extremely annoying indeed to be in the grip of strong emotion, well stuck into a poem, when some idiot breezily walks in, talking loudly, and stares at you, asking what the matter is as if you've gone mad---as happened to me. Well worth owning a copy. Really good compilation.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It could be argued that the concept behind this book is at best a rather clever marketing mechanism to get readers to purchase an anthology of poetry when the bookshelves are littered with them (some very much cheaper than this). Anthony Holden has however performed a real service to readers. Granted there are many well known poems present including Shakespearian sonnets, the big hitters of Coleridge, Wordsworth and Shelley plus a good smattering of the brilliance of the Great War poets. But the choices by a range of famous authors, literary figures, celebs and of course the obligatory Stephen Fry deserve the widest possible airing. Holden was encouraged in his task by the eminent Professor John Carey who in a note imbued with solid common sense argued that "It will bring some good poems to public notice and it will stimulate debate about the emotional power of art and how it affects different people," Frankly whether you are a man (a women's volume is to follow) or whether you "cry" is a side show. What is important is the sheer power and grace of these words and verse with their ability to land an emotional punch that completely outmatches any physical equivalent.

In terms of content it is English poets who unsurprisingly dominate proceedings with W H Auden putting in a great showing. In particular he is chosen by Salman Rushdie ("In Memory of W B Yeats"), Simon Schama and Simon Callow ("If I could tell you"), Rowan Williams ("Friday's Child") and William Boyd choosing the glorious beauty "A Summer Night". In addition Hardy, Housemen and Larkin are also well in the frame. It is reassuring to see that the sadly departed and much missed contrarian Christopher Hitchens was able to pick a poem before he died and he choose very well with Wilfred Owens staggering "Dulce et Decorum est".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The poems here do what all good poems should 13 Aug. 2014
By Mrs J.
Format:Kindle Edition
Whilst not moved to tears; it is only the pathos, banality, tragedy and futility of the War Poets that does it for me. The poems here do what all good poems should, bring memories the kind that deliver a punch of return, of moments of life collected and lost. The loneliness of standing, surrounded by friends, at the graveside of a loved one. The words bringing back deeply buried sensations, a long lost touch, a taste, smell sight or sound are in these poems ignited and brought to mind. Poems for me engage the senses as well as the intellect, in this anthology they do.
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