Customer Review

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good on the pre-1900 classics; less so after that, 11 May 2014
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This review is from: Poem Collection - 1000+ Greatest Poems of All Time (Illustrated) (Kindle Edition)
I have a seven foot high bookshelf full of poetry at home but wanted something that I could dip into on my i-Pod when I had a few minutes to kill during the day. At 77p this seemed the obvious choice - especially as many of the better anthologies aren't available on Kindle. And at that price it's stunningly value.

Up to about 1900 it's pretty solid and there's not much missing that you'd expect to find. There are no excerpts from long poems from what I can see - other, for some reason, than Milton's Comus and Samson Agonistes. So Byron, for instance, is represented by a handful of lyrics without any of the brilliant comic verse of Don Juan. Longfellow gets just one entry and there's nothing from Shakespeare's plays, other than some of the songs. Despite the omission of Emily Dickenson, the Americans aren't ignored (as they are in many anthologies of English verse) and there are generous helpings of anonymous verse. This often means folk poetry, so you get gems like the Lyke Wake Dirge and Sir Patrick Spens alongside the more high-brow stuff. Inevitably, some of the emphases betray some very personal tastes. There is more Herrick than Donne, Herbert and Vaughan combined and only a single inclusion each from Thomas Traherne and John Clare.

It's as you get to more recent times that the anthology really begins to belie its title. There are sizeable helpings from some very obscure poets, while Yeats is represented by just three poems, Eliot by one and there's no Edward Thomas or Dylan Thomas at all. Being out of copyright doesn't seem to be a criterion (there's lots of Pound, for instance) though being dead does - so no Hill, Hughes or Heaney, all alive at time of publication.

In summary I'd say this is a great portable anthology of ninetheenth century and earlier poetry, and amazing value at the Kindle price, but not the best of anthologies to give someone to help them discover English poetry.
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