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Short and Sweet: 101 Very Short Poems (Faber Poetry) Paperback – 4 Oct 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber (4 Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057120001X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571200016
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 1.2 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,116,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Some of the finest poems are short. Whether it's Edward Lear's limericks Or the fragments of Sappho, brevity is very often the soul of a poet's wit: what would be obvious and mundane expressed in lengthy prose, or prolix doggerel, becomes amusing or moving when forcibly compressed into five or seven--or three or two--lines of poetry.

No stranger to the pithy himself, poet Simon Armitage has collected 101 of literature's best "very short poems" in this anthology. His criterion of shortness (as he explains in a witty introduction) is that no poem should be more than 13 lines long. This deliberately excludes the 14-line sonnet, but manages to include some famous nearly-sonnets: such as Gerard Manley Hopkins's Pied Beauty("Glory be to God for dappled things"). It's towards the end of the book, where the poems dwindle in size (they are arranged so that the longer precede the shorter), that Armitage's selection comes truly into its own. Some of the poems are so tiny they are quotable in their entirety, Gavin Ewart's "Penal", for instance: "The clanking and wanking of Her Majesty's Prison", or Edwin Morgan's Siesta of a Hungarian Snake,"s sz sz SZ sz SZ sz ZS zs Zs zs zs z." Finally, right at the end, comes a laugh-out-loud piece that manages to remain a poem while consisting of no lines whatsoever. --Sean Thomas

Book Description

Short and Sweet, edited by Simon Armitage, in a new decorative edition of this classic countdown of succinct verse introduced by one of Britain's foremost contemporary poets. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have many poetry books, 50% classics, 50% anthologies.
The anthology "Short and Sweet: 101 Very Short Poems" is the best I have read in many a year and has revived my interest in poetry. With a brilliant introduction, the selection cuts straight to the heart of the essence of poetry. I read the anthology backwards (ie: from the shortest poem {no lines, just a title} to the longest {13 lines}) to test my attention span and also get a feel for my personal preference of an optimum length of a poem (the poems longer than 8-9 lines started to feel a bit 'padded out').
If you've never read any poetry, I recommend start here with "Short & Sweet" ... or if poetry has become mundane for you, then re-start with same.
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Format: Paperback
I collect these things myself, and I have to say this could hardly be done better. Constantly surprising - though I would draw the line at Innisfree, both hackneyed and too long (12 lines is fine* as long as the lines are short), whereas the other Yeats he includes is a killer. He also includes *two* Salamuns, in versions by himself with different collaborators, and an Apollinaire for which he modestly declines to take any credit (though the attendant ambiguity rather flags up this 'modesty'!) It's unfairly forgotten these days that Apollinaire was no Frenchman but an 'Italo-Russe' (according to his call-up papers) of Polish stock; wonder where he fished up his flourish of a pseudonym? Anyway, a lovely, and loving, piece of work, though I should have thought Herrick merited inclusion - poor Herrick, fated alas like Stevie Smith (and possibly Paul Muldoon?) to be known for a mere handful of words. And how about this for Simon's shortissimo sequel (Miljkovic/Simic: spelling anglicized)

Agon
While the river banks are quarrelling,
The waters flow quietly.

I must confess I hadn't picked up on the diminuendo concept, Josh - and I approve of reading books backwards (does Kindle permit this?) - though it does mean lots of 12-liners clustered together; personally I quite like the randomness of alphabetically-by-first-line. Hopefully Armitage is working on his selection of 101 prose poems for Faber as we speak (pure fantasy on my part)

*Frank Ormsby in The Hip Flask [*****] sets himself a limit of 10, but perhaps Irish poetry is peculiarly apt for such constriction. William Cole went for Eight Lines and Under - but was it art? And then there's the one-liner. Oh yes.. come on, Armitage!
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Format: Audio Cassette
Each poem in this book is less than 13 lines long, and the smallest has no lines at all but does have a fantastic title. As a compilation, the style and tone of the poems vary considerably but many are witty and pithy. Simon Armitage's introduction is worth the price of admission alone.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
These poems are indeed 'short and sweet' - they are a very well chosen collection of poems, leaving you able to flick through and find poems that attract you. (Because they are so short and extremely well written and resonating poems, it is actually quite addictive!) The book is small, thin and lightweight too, meaning that it is a great travel companion.
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A great selection of poetry, some well know some more obscure. A little book that's worth it's weight in gold. There's things you'll read here that'll stay with you forever. Ian Hamilton Findlay's - Catch, stands out as one of the best!
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By A Customer on 6 Feb. 2001
Format: Paperback
A collection of short poems. some are very short - 2 lines - others are longer - a whole verse. all are short and sweet. An excellent book for dipping into and worth owning!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good idea, but fails to deliver. only one poem per page, although some are single lines, which means jt takes barely an hour to get through the book. but is is the selection that is the real disappointment. there are one or two poems translated into English, so why not include a few classic haikus - short poems par excellence? I would have expected one or two of Ogden Nash's witty squibs, one or two of Pound's haiku-like efforts (so much better than the interminable and indigestible cantos), the emperor Hadrian's epitaph (possibly the greatest epitaph ever, and certainly one of the most moving and goose-pimple inspiring short poems)...........
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Format: Paperback
Some great choices of poetry from Simon Armitage but others he lost me on! The siesta of a Hungarian snake ... not exactly Hardy but did make me laugh!
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