Customer Reviews


2 Reviews
5 star:
 (1)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent edition of a great poet
Though Robert Graves is known to the reading public primarily for his prose writings - historical novels (I, Claudius ,) autobiography (Good-Bye to All That,) and mythology (The Greek Myths, The White Goddess,) -- he always insisted that he was essentially a poet. His poetic output was substantial -- this Penguin Classics Robert Graves: the Complete Poems in One Volume...
Published 10 months ago by Jon Corelis

versus
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing poet excellent author
I was really looking forward to my poetry group meeting when we would be discussing the works of robert graves. I purchased my complete book of graves poetry and sat down to an afternoon of pleasure - or so I hoped in preparation for our meeting. I was looking forward to sharing the poetry which touched me. I found his poetry rather bland if not dull. I had assumed that...
Published on 18 Jun 2012 by S. Seel


Most Helpful First | Newest First

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent edition of a great poet, 4 Oct 2013
By 
Jon Corelis (USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Complete Poems (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Though Robert Graves is known to the reading public primarily for his prose writings - historical novels (I, Claudius ,) autobiography (Good-Bye to All That,) and mythology (The Greek Myths, The White Goddess,) -- he always insisted that he was essentially a poet. His poetic output was substantial -- this Penguin Classics Robert Graves: the Complete Poems in One Volume runs to more than 800 pages -- and its excellence generally recognized: he was honored with an appointment as Oxford Professor of Poetry (generally considered one of the most prestigious recognitions in British poetry,) and the noted critic Martin Seymour-Smith judged him "the best love poet of his generation." In addition to love poems, Graves's work includes humor, epigrams, songs, story poems, and many pieces reflecting his interest in classical, Celtic, and other mythologies. So his poetry will be especially interesting to those interested in those subjects, but can also be recommended to a broader audience for its overall excellence. The attractiveness of his poetry can be impressive even for readers unfamiliar with his often recondite subject matter: for example, poems like his Ibycus in Samos or The Sirens' Welcome to Cronos have a magic about them which should appeal even to readers who don't have the classical background to understand what they allude to.

Despite this critical success, Graves's books have generally ill served his poetry. To understand this statement, and as background to the recommendation I'll be making in this review, it's useful to consider the usual way in which the work of major modern poets is published. Typically, when a poet has reached the peak of his or her career, their work is embodied in two, or sometime three, sorts of books. A Selected Poems presents the best and most accessible poems for a general readership. A Collected Poems is the definitive statement of all the poems the poet (or the poet's literary executors) want to preserve for posterity. And sometimes, additionally, a Complete Poems is published, which includes not only everything in the Collected Poems, but also additional material such as juvenilia, unpublished and posthumous poems, and significantly different revisions of poems, together with annotations of the poems publishing history. Such a Complete Poems is usually aimed at scholars of the poet's work.

The publishing of Graves's poetry has followed this pattern only approximately and with complex variations. During his lifetime, he published numerous subsets of his poems under various titles, some of them called "Selected Poems." He also published three different volumes called Collected Poems, but again, none of these was really a definitive statement of his best work. Finally, after his death, Beryl Graves, the poet's widow, and Graves scholar Dunstan Ward, compiled 1) yet another Collected Poems , published by Carcanet in 2000, 2) a Robert Graves: Complete Poems in three volumes, published by Carcanet in 1995 - 1999, and 3) this Robert Graves: the Complete Poems in One Volume, published by Carcanet in 2000, and republished as a Penguin Classics paperback in 2003. To complicate things further, there exist at least two other Selected Poems, one published in 1992 by Penguin, which is apparently a revision by Graves of one of his earlier selections and seems to be out of print, and another edited by Michael Longley published by Faber in 2012 (Selected Poems,) which apparently is still in print. And there may be yet others I'm not aware of.

So, out of this complicated situation, if you want a Graves poetry book, which to choose? First, it can be said that of the above listed volumes, none of Graves's own editions published during his lifetime is really a proper Selected, Collected, or Complete Poems in the sense described. Of the collections published later by others, I haven't seen the three volume Complete Poems, but reviews indicate that it is clearly designed for professional scholars, and is therefore likely to be too much, and too expensive, for general readers. I likewise haven't seen the Carcanet Collected Poems of 2000, but research indicates that it is out of print, hard to find, and is likely to be outrageously expensive if you can find it. Nor have I yet seen the new Faber Selected Poems, but from the table of contents available via Amazon's preview, it seems like a good selection. I may review it separately eventually.

This leaves us with this Penguin Classics Robert Graves: the Complete Poems in One Volume, which I can recommend enthusiastically to all readers. The book is attractively produced, includes all of Graves's published poems and a good selection of unpublished ones, and is readily available and fairly priced. There is a brief but useful introduction on the poet's life and work, and the usual indexes of titles and first lines.

Since I haven't seen it, I can't in good conscious at present make a recommendation for the Faber Selected Poems, but the table of contents indicates it may be a good choice for those who want a compact (176 pp.) volume. But since this Robert Graves: the Complete Poems in One Volume costs only a few pounds more and gives you everything, it's the one I'd recommend getting for all current and potential readers of Graves's poetry. For readers who may be daunted upon being confronted with the book's some 1,200 poems, here is my personal recommendation of a couple dozen which I think would be a good introduction to Graves's poetry:

Ulysses, To Juan at the Winter Solstice, The White Goddess, She Tells Her Love While Half Asleep, Sick Love, Lovers in Winter, The Clipped Stater, Inkadoo and the Queen of Babylon, Amergin's Charm, The Song of Blodeuwedd, Down Wanton Down, Midwinter Waking, Rhea, Pure Death, Lament for Pasiphae, Ibycus in Samos, Instructions to the Orphic Adept, Warning to Children, The Weather of Olympus, A Civil Servant, The Sirens' Welcome to Cronos, A Love Story, The Quiet Glades of Eden, In the Wilderness, Mid-Winter Waking.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing poet excellent author, 18 Jun 2012
By 
S. Seel "shirleyanne book addict" (norwich, england) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Complete Poems (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I was really looking forward to my poetry group meeting when we would be discussing the works of robert graves. I purchased my complete book of graves poetry and sat down to an afternoon of pleasure - or so I hoped in preparation for our meeting. I was looking forward to sharing the poetry which touched me. I found his poetry rather bland if not dull. I had assumed that the poetry would excite me and I would love turning the pages in admiration as I had when reading the Claudius books and others. Alas this was not so and I was sorry to find that members of the poetry group felt very much the same. Others may well disagree but Graves poetry is not for me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Complete Poems (Penguin Modern Classics)
The Complete Poems (Penguin Modern Classics) by Robert Graves (Paperback - 24 April 2003)
20.00
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews