Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Some of the poems I couldn't do without

A selection of the poems I consider essential to existence in the Universe as we know it:

Anon - Tom O'Bedlam's Song
Cad Goddeu from The Book of Taliesin
Gaius Valerius Catullus - Vivamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus
Gaius Valerius Catullus - Odi et amo
The Battle of Maldon
The Táin Bó Cúailnge (prose plus verse)
Scéla Mucce Mac Dathó (prose but really a poem)
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Geoffrey Chaucer - General Prologue to the Cantebury Tales
Geoffrey Chaucer - The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale
John Skelton - The Garland of Laurel
John Skelton - Speke, Parrot
John Skelton - The auncient acquaintance, madam, betwen vs twayn
John Skelton - Knoledge, acquayntance, resort, fauour with grace
John Skelton - The Tunnyng of Elynour Rummyng
Thomas Wyatt - They fle from me, that sometyme did me seke
Christopher Marlowe - Doctor Faustus
William Shakespeare - Sonnet 129: Th'expence of Spirit in a waste of shame
William Shakespeare - Sonnet 27: Weary with toyle, I hast me to my bed
William Shakespeare - King Lear
William Shakespeare - The Phoenix and the Turtle
John Donne - The Extasie
John Donne - The Valediction Forbidding Mourning
Andrew Marvell - Bermudas
Andrew Marvell - To his Coy Mistress
Andrew Marvell - The Garden
John Dryden - Alexander's Feast
William Blake - Auguries of Innocence
William Blake - London
S.T. Coleridge - The Frost at Midnight
S.T. Coleridge - This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison
S.T. Coleridge - Kubla Khan
Lord Byron - Don Juan
John Keats - Ode to Autumn
John Keats - The Eve of Saint Agnes
Christina Rossetti - Goblin Market
Lewis Carroll - The Walrus and the Carpenter
Lewis Carroll - Jabberwocky
Paul Verlaine - Clair de Lune
Arthur Rimbaud - Au Cabaret-Vert
Arthur Rimbaud - Le Bateau ivre
Arthur Rimbaud - Chanson de la plus haute tour
Gérard de Nerval - Desdichado
Emily Dickinson - Because I could not stop for Death
Emily Dickinson - I heard a fly buzz when I died
Matthew Arnold - Dover Beach
Robert Browning - The Bishop Orders His Tomb
W.B. Yeats - Under Ben Bulben
W.B. Yeats - Sailing to Byzantium
W.B. Yeats - Running to Paradise
A.E. Housman - Tell me not here, it needs not saying
T.S. Eliot - The Waste Land
Robert Frost - After Apple Picking
Robert Frost - The Need for Being Versed in Country Things
Robert Frost - Out, Out
John Crowe Ransom - Captain Carpenter
Federico García Lorca - Canción de jinete
Federico García Lorca - Muerte de Antoñito El Camborio
Laura Riding - Tillaquils
Laura Riding - Cure of Ignorance
Laura Riding - The Map of Places
Laura Riding - Laura and Francisca
Robert Graves - Pure Death
Robert Graves - The Terraced Valley
Robert Graves - The Fallen Tower of Siloam
Robert Graves and Omar Ali-Shah (trans) - The Rubaiyyat of Omar Khayaam
Dylan Thomas - The Hunchback in the Park
Kenneth Slessor - Five Bells
Kenneth Slessor - Captain Dobbin
Seamus Heaney - Blackberry-picking
Seamus Heaney - Requiem for the Croppies
Seamus Heaney - Death of a Naturalist
Seamus Heaney - Exposure
Ted Hughes - View of a Pig

This list and others at Dr Whup-Ass's Bitch-Ass Poetry Round Up.


Blogger RHE said...

An interesting list. Most of the lists I saw at Erato relied too heavily on the standard anthology pieces. Yes, I love those poems, too, but someone beside Mr Norton Anthology should be choosing our favorites. Chestnuts are good, but something more is required for a meal.

My list would include a number of yours, Paul, though I could have lived quite happily w/o ever encountering Laura Riding. I'd add Directive and Nothing Gold Can Stay and several others to the Frost; I'd include "Stars, I have seen them fall" in my Housman; and I have a long list of the Auden poems, headed by The Fall of Rome and The Shield of Achilles, which matter to me a whole lot.

It's tough including plays. There's a lot of detritus in Dr Faustus, and how can we decide which Shakespeare to do without (well, okay, Titus Andronicus), if plays count? Those long pieces make decision tough. I'd make it a list of favorite lyric poems, so I wouldn't have to piecemeal Homer and Virgil.

I'd add some Herrick and some Jonson and a whole lot of Horace.

Would you be offended if I noted that there is a second l in Carroll and no e in Housman?



8:44 am  
Blogger Caratacus said...

"Would you be offended if I noted that there is a second l in Carroll and no e in Housman?"

—Yes, frightfully!

Actually, Richard, there's quite a lot of Housman I would add. Auden I can't quite take a shine to: and he does seem to have plagiarised some content, form of words and tone somewhat from... Laura Riding!

Yes, lots of detritus in Faustus and Lear. I certainly take your point about confining the selection to lyric poems: yet I've included works here that have played a major part on shaping my concept of poetry. The non-detritus parts of Shakespeare, Marlowe and other Elizabethan/Jacobean dramatists seem to me to be primarily poetry rather than drama (though obviously they are that too). Picking which Shakespeare was a major trauma: I decided that on balance KL had the most poetry I like, but really, one could go on...

I'd certainly add Herrick (the day before yesterday I ordered J. Max Patrick's The Complete Poetry of Robert Herrick on the recommendation of David Landrum who has a keen academic interest in RH; my battered and white-ant-eaten old Penguin selected Herrick finally gave up the ghost), and I'm not averse to Horace. Again I prefer Jonson's verse embedded in drama to his lyrics which I find a little bland. I like parts of John Webster too, as I've indicated elsewhere.

This list sprang from a topic at the new J-C-Free DWABAPRU, and so far mine has been by far the longest list:

It will not take much encouragement for me to add a supplementary list of equal length.


9:31 am  
Blogger RHE said...

My Herrick is a hardbound Oxford Standard Works from 1957. As battered as its owner, it will see me out, I expect.

I notice we've scanted the 18th c., until Blake comes in at the very end. (You included Dryden, but he died in 1700.) Not a great era for lyrics, to be sure, but I guess I'd find a way to include large chunks of Pope and Johnson's translation of Diffugere nives, with its supremely great quatrain,

Her losses soon the moon supplies,
But wretched man, when once he lies
Where Priam and his sons are laid,
Is naught but ashes and a shade.

I think it shows great forbearance, on the part of both of us, that you included none of your own poems and I none of mine.


10:00 am  
Blogger C. E. Chaffin said...

God, what obvious Celtic prejudices!

Just because I descend from the Erickson line, the same people who raped your women and made Dublin your capital and gave you red and blond hair, doesn't mean you can't include Craig Erick Chaffin in your list.

(Just kidding, of course. I don't belong there.)


11:51 am  
Blogger Caratacus said...

Oh all right: Craig-Erickson-Chaffinssaga is hereby added, beginning

Fræm Californiashølm   Erikson Skaldmeister
Typed fyl fast    ond fÿrioslik
on hys computr    set lese his wørdhoard
on Þe internetsrad    soþ to sæġ,
Melic hæ mayd    Skaldės to publich.
Oðins þeode    Důblins yong küties
Swyveð and küssyð    þæt ðeir childer
Ålle wær spit   and image of CE,
Hair rœd and blond   and vilajnous of visage…


7:05 pm  

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