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4.7 out of 5 stars18
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 13 May 2003
I don't pretend to be much of an expert on poetry, but when I first read Betjeman's work, I was stunned at the simplicity and beauty of the rhythm he brings to the language. Intelligent and articulate without being pretentious or high-brow, this is nonetheless extraordinary writing by a rare, rare talent. This collection includes some of his later works, perhaps overlooked in the light of his prolific mid-Century output. While not in the same league as his middle period, they still give an insight into a man that excelled at painting images with words.
'Revival ran along the hedge
And made my spirit whole,
With steam upon the windowpane
And glory in my soul.'
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on 9 May 2012
Of all the English poets, Sir John Betjeman (1906-1984) seems to stand alone. His work is hugely popular amongst readers, but because of his `simple' style of incorporating topographical place-names, contemporary allusions, humour (frequently mocking) fused with a melancholy nostalgia for a bygone world, he is never really `accepted' as a poet by fellow poets and critics, including `pseudo-intellectuals' who worship at the altar of T. S. Eliot.
Betjeman, like that other great English poet who suffers much the same snobbish disapproval, A. E. Housman (1859-1936), sought inspiration in the English countryside, towns and villages and conveyed his poetic observations, often witty, urbane and satiric with a light lyrical nostalgia; love is also a major theme, fulfilled and unrequited, with much sadness and regret and written in the structure of the ballad form. But who can fail to fall under the spell of Betjeman with such poems as `Death in Leamington', `The Arrest of Oscar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel', `Slough', `Upper Lambourne', `Myfanwy' and `A Subaltern's Love-song'?
His interests were far-reaching, from architecture, especially the `Gothic Revival' of Victorian Church architecture, (he was founder of the British Victorian Society); railways, social history, provincial towns and conservation. He didn't take himself too seriously, not even as Poet Laureate (1972) and his Collected Works remains as a monument to the measure of the man - remembered for his conservation work, his child-like enthusiasm and as one of the nation's favourite poets! Wonderful!
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on 14 June 2014
An excellent collection of Betjeman poems that is a perfect companion to Betjeman's audio cd. Listen, read and enjoy. Brilliant!
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on 29 December 2001
A delightful volume which captures the spirit of Betjeman in all its fullness and wit.
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on 12 September 2014
So under rated. So forgotten. And so nearly always right.
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on 3 October 2014
This is the poem Slough, by Sir John Betjeman, probably never been here in his life. ‘Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough, it isn’t fit for humans now.’ Right, I don’t think you solve town planning problems by dropping bombs all over the place, he’s embarrassed himself there. Next ‘In labour saving homes with care, their wives frizz out peroxide hair, and dry it in synthetic air, and paint their nails-’ they wanna look nice, what’s the matter, doesn’t he like girls? ‘And talks of sports and makes of cars, and various bogus Tudor bars, and daren’t look up and see the stars, but belch instead.’ What’s he on about? What, has he never burped? ‘Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough, to get it ready for the plough. The cabbages are coming now, the earth exhales-’ He’s the only cabbage round here. And they made him a night of the realm. Overrated.
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on 18 October 2014
Prompt and efficient Highly recommended
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on 4 June 2015
to hold a well looked after 2nd hand book passes something on to the new owner . John Betjeman's poems give a hint of a class system that still exists but is no longer intelligent
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on 21 November 2015
Legendary English Poet Laureate john betjeman (1906~1984) unique English Poet and one of the most popular of the 20th century.This book is packed solid with hes greatest poems!
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on 22 October 2014
Good quality just what I wanted.
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