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Committed to Memory Paperback – November 1, 1997

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Somewhere along the way those who decide such things decided that memorizing poems was not really important to education. Of course, it wasn't really. However, it was a pleasure, and generations of young people are growing up today without knowing it, which is a shame. Hollander (American Poetry, LJ 9/1/93) has selected 100 poems by poets?including lyrics and narratives, meditations and counsels?ranging from Blake and Hughes, Bishop and Thomas, to Yeats and Hayden . These are classics that lend themselves to memory, being short; often in form, or at least metrical; always rhythmic; and delightful. Most readers will find old favorites and new gems here. It is a fine collection?for browsing, for reading, and for committing to memory. Recommended.?Louis McKee, Painted Bride Arts Ctr., Philadelphia
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Trade (November 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573226467
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573226462
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #979,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eavan Boland was born in Dublin, Ireland. At the age of six, she and her family relocated to London. She later returned to Dublin for school, and she received her B.A. from Trinity College in 1966. She was also educated in London and New York.

Her books of poetry include New Collected Poems (W.W. Norton & Co., 2008), Domestic Violence, (2007), Against Love Poetry (2001), The Lost Land (1998), An Origin Like Water: Collected Poems 1967-1987 (1996), In a Time of Violence (1994), Outside History: Selected Poems 1980-1990 (1990), The Journey and Other Poems (1986), Night Feed (1982), and In Her Own Image (1980).

In addition to her books of poetry, Boland is also the author of Object Lessons: The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Our Time (W. W. Norton, 1995), a volume of prose, After Every War (Princeton, 2004), an anthology of German women poets, and she co-edited The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (with Mark Strand; W. W. Norton & Co., 2000) and The Making of a Sonnet (with Edward Hirsch; W. W.Norton 2007. She also edited Irish Writers on Irish Writing (Trinity Press: 2007) and Charlotte Mew: Selected Poems (Carcanet Press 2008). A book of essays on women and poetry, called "A Journey with Two Maps" is forthcoming.

Her awards include a Lannan Foundation Award in Poetry, an American Ireland Fund Literary Award.She has taught at Trinity College, University College, Bowdoin College, and she was a member of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. she is currently a professor of English at Stanford University where she directs the creative writing program.She divides her time between Dublin and California. Boland and her husband, author Kevin Casey, have two daughters.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Godfrey T. Degamo on September 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Many of these poems are just simply not lyrical, rhythmical, nor visual. Memorizing many of these poems will be like eating sawdust.
When we think of great poems to memorize, (there are great poems, and a subset that are worth memorizing.) We think of poems like Blake's "The Tyger". Who can forget the beautifully put together poem of Coleridge's "Kubla Khan"? What about Thomas' "Do not go Gentle into that Good Night"?
To be sure, these poems have been included in this book, but where is John Donne's "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning"? Frost' "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"?
When I think of poems I would like to memorize, I search for those poems that have something to say about human condition. That is mostly a given for great poetry. But to memorize them, I look for poems that are musical -both lyrical and rhythmical, and having good imagery.
So to my excitement, I thought this book would be a good collection of such poems. I was sadly disappointed. There maybe 10 poems in here that are worth committing to memory. The others are just great to read.
To add to more of my frustration, there is no author index at the end of the book.
If you want a much better collection of poems, with a much higher percentage worth remembering, I strongly suggest Laurence Perrine's Sound and Sense.
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34 of 41 people found the following review helpful By CodeMaster Talon on April 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
I love the idea of memorizing one hundred great poems; to carry around in your head always, ready for any situation.
Unfortunately, "Committed to Memory" is not a big help with such a project. The subtitle, "100 Best Poems to Memorize" is misleading, because for every good choice (like Byron's "So We'll Go No More A' Roving") there are at least two no-so-great ones ("Lord Randall" and "The Owl and the Pussycat") and a few selections are downright inexplicable (Why would anyone want to memorize "The Song of the Mad Prince"?). An ideal poem for memorization should combine deep meaning with a strong rhyme, making it easier to burn into your mind. "A Mending Wall", by Robert Frost, while a great poem, in my mind is just too hard to memorize. "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" would have been a better Frost choice. Tennyson's "Ulysses" is just way too long, and other selections suffer from plain old mediocrity. The only truly excellent choice here in my view is actually the first one, Elizabeth Bishop's "Sonnet". It's down hill from there.
In conclusion, if you really want to memorize one hundred wonderful poems I recommend just checking out "Committed to Memory" from the library, gleaning what you can, and then buying "Poems to Read", by the Favorite Poem Project; a terrific anthology that has at least fifty poems well worth committing to memory. As for "Committed to Memory"; it's strictly rental quality.
GRADE: C
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jana L. Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
Although I never considered memorizing anything to be fun or profitable in lower school, the idea of memorizing wonderful poetry appeals today. Intrigued by the title, I picked up a copy of "Committed to Memory: 100 Best Poems to Memorize." Although the idea is a worthy one, the poetry selection disappoints. I am sure that poet, and editor, John Hollander put considerable thought into which poems to include in this book. I just do not care for many of his choices.
I did find various old, (and dear), favorites that shine, and inspire, in an anthology such as this: William Butler Yeats "The Song of the Wandering Angus," E.A. Robinson's "Richard Cory," Percy Bysshe Shelly's "Ozymandias," Richard Lovelace's "To Althea, From Prison," Stevie Smith's "Not Waving But Drowning," Oliver Wendell Holmes "The Chambered Nautilus," and Elizabeth Bishop's extraordinary "Sonnet."
I would never think of committing to memory many of the editor's other selections. They're either too long, too difficult to memorize, or just plain not to my taste. With all of Emily Dickinson's magnificent poetry, why "A Narrow Fellow in the Grass?" And why Robert Frost's "A Mending Wall," which is a wonderful poem, but not the best for memorization purposes? Why "The Owl and the Pussycat" or "The Song of the Mad Prince?" There are, of course, selections from Shakespeare, and even The Old Testament, included. In general, there are too many better poetry anthologies around, to give more than a glance to this one - a disappointing 3 Stars.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "rjeffy" on November 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Several years ago, upon learning that a certain young woman enjoyed the poetry of Robert Frost, I began to memorize some of Frost's poetry. While this effort to impress her did not produce the desired outcome, it did introduce me to the pleasurable experience of memorizing poetry. I found that the act of committing a poem to memory brought out many of the poem's subtleties that I missed on previous readings. It's been quite a while since I've seen the lady who inspired my efforts at memorizing poetry, but I still enjoy coming to a closer understanding of a poem through memorization.
It's hard for any poetry fan to take someone else's list of the "100 best" without balking at some of the choices, and I certainly had some question concerning many of the poems included in the anthology. On the whole, however, I enjoyed the collection, and found some new insight into some old poems.
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