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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 15 November 2006
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).
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on 22 November 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?
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on 18 December 2011
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.
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on 3 May 2012
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.
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on 1 January 2013
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.
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on 13 May 2016
John Betjeman is one of our finest modern poets. He can be funny, wistful, challenging, and very moving. He has such a whimsical view of people and lifestyles that you can laugh with him at the pompous, see the beauty of the landscape and the buildings he loved, and weep with him at the deaths of people he admired or at his understanding of loneliness or deprivation. This is a very complete collection of his poems, at a very good bargain price. Pick it up, open it at random and be absorbed in his world. I guarantee that if you only intended to read one poem, you will still be unable to put it down an hour later.
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on 6 June 2014
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.
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on 17 November 2012
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!"
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on 11 January 2002
A preservationist in (usually) the best sense--in architecture, poetry forms, landscapes, humour, the heart--Sir John Betjeman inspired a large following in the UK and maybe 2-3 in the USA. More 'verse' than 'poetry' as he characteristically self-effacingly called the contents of this volume, his work still holds a lot of charm and power. 'Middlesex' perhaps encapsualtes him best...
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on 21 May 2013
I have not ready many of Betjemans poems so I wasn't sure how this book would go for me. I was not disappointed. A walk through an earlier age! I will be moving to warmer climes soon and this book will be the perfect companion for me whenever I need a bit of nostalgia.
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