Customer Reviews


39 Reviews
5 star:
 (30)
4 star:
 (5)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wish I'd read him earlier
This was my first introduction to JB. I raced through the entire book in about 2 days and have re-read my favourites many times over since then.

Maybe it's because his views coincide with my own in so many ways, maybe the language he uses, maybe I'm just nostalgic for the rose-tinted past, but something in his writing is absolutely captivating.

I...
Published on 15 Nov. 2006 by Robin Johnston

versus
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant value
This collection covers so many topics. The writing is sensitive, funny, moving, memorable and wonderfully readable. I am delighted with it.
Published 16 months ago by Christine Sexton


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wish I'd read him earlier, 15 Nov. 2006
By 
Robin Johnston (Michigan, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This was my first introduction to JB. I raced through the entire book in about 2 days and have re-read my favourites many times over since then.

Maybe it's because his views coincide with my own in so many ways, maybe the language he uses, maybe I'm just nostalgic for the rose-tinted past, but something in his writing is absolutely captivating.

I recently saw Joanna Lumley reading one of his poems (Myfanwy) on TV. It could have been written for her, and has become my favourite, perhaps taking me back to my own days at boarding school.

For me, that's the thing about Betjeman - he's so accessible to someone like me who doesn't know much about poetry that his writing allows me to feel as though I'm in the middle of it all, looking around me.

I know this review will be of little use to Betjeman aficionados, but perhaps it may serve as an encouragement for anyone who is not familiar with him to make an effort to get to know him better. It's a journey well worth taking (even if, like I do, you live not a million miles away from Slough).
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have loved this book to death. Literaly., 22 Nov. 2002
I was introduced to the original Collected Poems by my college room-mate circa 1960, and have loved the poems ever since. Several of them I learned by heart, and can generaly quote to this day. So much so that my son (now living on a different continent from me) must have heard the original so often, he brought to my attention the misquoting of 'Slough' in a recent International Herald Tribune article. My original paperback copy is now falling apart, and how can I resist getting a new one?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quintessentially Englishness in a book, 18 Dec. 2011
By 
Martyn Taylor (Kenilworth U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Beautiful word-smithing in a self-deprecating series dealing with perceived change and decay of the old order of society referenced by geography and architecture cloaking a perceptive sharpness. Good value for a penny.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Poet, 3 May 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a wonderful collection. I honestly think that John Betjemann was a very great poet. He was very much a poet of the everyday and had a remarkable ability to give even the most ordinary experiences of life a depth of meaning which brings you up short and makes you look at things in a different way and see things of which you had been unaware. To me this is a mark of a true poet. I read this collection over and over again and each time discover new treasures in it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delight To Own, 1 Jan. 2013
By 
Amazon Customer (South West France) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This collection requires no praise from a mere mortal like myself. I keep it on my Kindle and have it there to dip into as required, something anyone who lives away from England, just to remind themselves of their heritage - times, places and people.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars "I wish I'd had more sex", 1 Feb. 2015
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
In a televised interview a little before his death, poet laureate John Betjeman was asked if he had any regrets. After a thoughtful pause, the above was his delightful and honest answer.
Delightful and honest are two words that can easily apply to his poetry and prose, both of which was prolific. In this excellent, comprehensive anthology we have his poetry, including, I'm glad to say, his long autobiographical sequence Summoned By Bells, which appropriately closes this 500-page volume.
John Betjeman was no cosy or (perish the thought) 'feelgood' poet, but rather a melancholy, resourceful, witty and unique voice. He may remind one of Larkin or Stevie Smith, or Wordsworth or even Blake at times, but the effect is illusory. He was very much his own man, and this valuable collection shows all aspects of his literary - as well as his personal - character.
Try the following opening lines from the short poem Fetlar 1973:

Fetlar is waiting. At its little quay
Green seaweed stirs and ripples on the swell.
The lone sham castle looks across at Yell,
And from the mainland hilltops you can see
Over to westward, glimmering distantly,
The cliffs of Foula as the clouds dispel.

Apart from perhaps the third line, I wouldn't have known this was by Betjeman. But then, many a poem here is little or nothing like the image we have of the elderly, plum-voiced roamer of hills and vales, hair awry, voice wry with regret or high on hilarity.
There's his beautiful and touching tribute to Oscar Wilde, the equally moving Death in Leamington (which opens the collection) alongside many poems extolling the glories and virtues of Cornwall, the Home Counties, tennis-playing gals, outer London suburbs - Chesterton, another lover of N London suburbs and of the strange allure of the mundane, might have liked these - and the cheerfully camp.
Andrew Motion offers an illuminating, pleasingly brief introduction, and the book should be on every poetry lover's shelf. Betjeman's was often the art that conceals art, but there are enough unknown or surprising gems in these pages to reward those for whom JB has hitherto proved resistible.
He was one person of whom it can justifiably be said that if he hadn't existed, he would have had to have been invented.
I wouldn't want a diet of Betjeman alone, but dipped into every now and then, his poetry - like his prose - is a tonic, and a frequently unsettling experience. For example, take the poem Late-Flowering Lust:

My head is bald, my breath is bad,
Unshaven is my chin,
I have not now the joys I had
When I was young in sin

I run my fingers down your dress
With brandy-certain aim
And you respond to my caress
And maybe feel the same

But I've a picture of my own
On this reunion night,
Wherein two skeletons are shown
To hold each other tight;

Dark sockets look on emptiness
Which once was loving-eyed [...]

There are many more where that came from. He could be macabre, doleful, and as bereft of solace as Larkin any day.

Cosy? I should cocoa!
It could almost be Poe.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like John Betjeman you must like this book, 6 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
His mastery of words so beautifully set to verse is captivating. Since I bought it I take it everywhere with me. I will never tire of reading it again and again and being in my seventies now I am committing as many of them to memory as I can in the hope it will help keep my brain active. Also, there is a very good double CD of many of his collected poems read by famous actors. Often listened to on long car journeys.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely nostalgia, 15 April 2015
By 
Douglas Kemp (Northamptonshire) - See all my reviews
Betjeman’s poetry is sometimes frowned upon by poetry aficionados, as it is accessible, mostly metrical and rhyming and infused with a wistful nostalgia; all that modern poetry is very often decidedly not. Despite being frequently set in a Cornwall, Ireland or London’s metroland that has long ago passed, and must be unfamiliar to a contemporary younger reader, it has a timeless characteristic. It is mannered and genteel, and rather like Philip Larkin (who was also a huge admirer of Betjeman), the uncertainty and fear of death can often be seen in many of the poems, particularly his later ones. Betjeman’s poems seem to be easy to write – but their apparent simplicity and accessibility masks a superb art, and an ability to capture and see the world in a way that speaks directly and powerfully to the reader demonstrates just how excellent these poems are.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars John Betjeman collected poems, 8 Nov. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
All that I expected and more, this book gives a comprehensive insight into the works of Betjeman as well as a resume of his life, memories of a long gone era when things were definitely slower, the summers full of sunshine, people with character and most of all the architecture. His memory lasts on with his amazing bid to save Victorian gothic architecture, particularly St Pancras Railway Station, a place to visit in it's own right, no destination required, with the immortal statue of a man that saw so much of quintessential England and it's people that we miss nowadays in our busy lives, a must read for young and old, nostalgia and history. *****
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Bet That Betjeman's The Best!, 17 Nov. 2012
By 
D. H. Rose "Rosey" (NW England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought the Kindle version of this book and I couldn't put it down! I find his style to be in my taste of what poetry should be, nothing too deep and self/soul searching! Something that is easy AND amusing to read!
I'm not going to pick a favourite poem as we all have our own tastes!
Well worth the money, a real page turner or, in my case, "a real Kindle Clicker!"
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

John Betjeman Collected Poems
John Betjeman Collected Poems by John Betjeman (Paperback - 13 Oct. 2003)
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews