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119 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, they are
A couple of generations back, publishers used to put out fat poetry anthologies - half of them edited by Louis Untermeyer - for families to put on their bookshelves to elevate the cultural tone of their home. These edifying works were organized by "subject" (God, Seafaring, Romance, Hope, Nature), and leaned heavily toward poems from prior centuries, or poems which...
Published on October 28, 2002 by Royce E. Buehler

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Good poems but poorly formatted Kindle edition
I really enjoyed the poems that I read (the anthology contains a great variety of poets and topics), but because of the poor formatting of the Kindle edition I returned it for a refund.

* Table of Contents only shows top-level headings. This is especially annoying in anthologies, as it is difficult to view which authors appear where and under which...
Published 11 months ago by Ruth Mae


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119 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes, they are, October 28, 2002
This review is from: Good Poems (Hardcover)
A couple of generations back, publishers used to put out fat poetry anthologies - half of them edited by Louis Untermeyer - for families to put on their bookshelves to elevate the cultural tone of their home. These edifying works were organized by "subject" (God, Seafaring, Romance, Hope, Nature), and leaned heavily toward poems from prior centuries, or poems which exhibited a comforting folksiness, or wore uplifting morals on their sleeves.
There's a far larger public today which is actually prepared to read poems for pleasure, and Garrison Keillor has put together a poetic omnibus, also arranged by subject (I particularly like the group of poems on "Yellow" followed by the ones on "Snow"), which is otherwise quite the opposite of the old workhorses. Yes, prior centuries are represented, but the center of gravity lies among good modern poets, most of them still living, most of whom you never had a chance to read in school. They have been selected for both memorability and straightforward style. There are often flashes of humor, and trendily obscure versifiers need not apply, but there's no lack of depth or sophistication. (Think Billy Collins, who is well represented here.) Those of us who already read a lot of poetry, and those of us who suffered with glazed eyes through opaque symbols in English class, will both find fresh pleasures, simple ones and subtle, in this treasury.
It's what a poetry anthology should be: a sampler, a taster's counter at the many-flavored ice cream shop of verse. You can find old friends and new ones, and learn who you want to explore in depth later on. And this anthology lays out a richer feast of new friends than any other I've encountered.
As a bonus, there's Keillor's bluntly opinionated preface, in which he trashes Marianne Moore in favor of Elizabeth Bishop, "Saint Sylvia" in favor of Anne Sexton, and T.S. Eliot on general principles. It was a hoot even though I disagreed with him on two out of three.
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Delightful - From the Author of "BrainChild", October 21, 2002
By 
Derek M.A. Alexander (Wilmington, DE United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Good Poems (Hardcover)
"Good Poems" contains some of the finest works that I've ever read. Whether you are an avid reader of poetry, or someone who has just been introduced to it, you will not be disappointed with this collection. From The Psalm Book, to William Shakespeare, to Billy Collins, all are sure to enjoy.
From the very beginning, one's attention is captured by the wickedly irreverent and funny poem by Thomas Lux, entitled "Poem in Thanks." In it, he starts out by addressing his prayer to "Lord Whoever..." and ends it by thanking the Lord for the (expletive) birds singing!
I particularly enjoyed "This is Just To Say", a whimsical piece by William Carlos Williams, and the equally witty retort of the same name by Erica-Lynn Gambino:
"I have eaten the plums that were in the icebox
and which you were probably saving for breakfast
forgive me they were delicious so sweet and so cold"
to which, Ms. Gambino replies:
"I have just asked you to get out of my apartment
even though you never thought I would
forgive me you were driving me insane"
Whimsical, spiritual, somber, and profound (Emily Dickinson - Tell all the Truth, but tell it slant...), this selection by Mr. Kellor is arranged in such a way that one will be taken on an emotional roller coaster ride. "Good Poems" is a 'Must Have' for all lovers of well arranged words.
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66 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Collection of Poems!, August 7, 2003
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This review is from: Good Poems (Hardcover)
"Elizabeth Bishop was a woman, ditto Emily Dickinson, and she can take your head off with one line. . ." That is Garrison Keillor's description of Ms. Dickinson as he debunks the term "Women's lit" as one of the dumb ideas of his generation in his brief introduction to this collection of "good" poems he has gleaned from his radio program "The Writer's Almanac." T. S. Eliot he describes as a "great stuffed owl" who "didn't get out of the house much." Allen Ginsberg was "something of a gasbag" while Anne Sexton is a "hot number." Opinionated? Yes, but I find I agree with Mr. Keillor more times than I don't. I read this obviously honest and thouthful introduction three times and then called up friends who love poetry and read portions of it to them.
Mr. Keillor includes a lot of poets here, many of whom I did not know previously. You guessed it. There are no Ginsberg or Eliot selections included. The criterion is that the poems should have "somehow stuck" with Keillor and with "some of the listeners." Keillor obviously is guided by the time restraints of his radio show since the poems must be short. (I do not believe for a moment that he does not care for Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach," a poem probably too long to include here.)The anthology is short on 19th Century poets although Ms. Emily does take first place with eight selections.
Even though Mr. Keillor would not be happy with long-winded paise, suffice it to say that, as the Brits would, that this book is altogether "lovely." And, Mr. Keillor, you are one of those Americans who make me happy I live here. Didn't you say it best in one of your essays, something about seeing the firelights of other gentle people?
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just a Note on "Good Poems", July 28, 2005
This review is from: Good Poems (Hardcover)
I liked this book. My husband liked this book. However, this is not a book for 'poetry snobs'--and you know who you are :-)

This is a book for people who like poetry that creates images and mini-stories. This is a book for the sort of people who like to be transported to crisp autumn days, the sound of leaves crunching beneath your feet, blah, blah ; or into relationships you've never had.

It is not a book for people who want to be challenged by imagery and wordage. It is a relaxing book, not a stimulating verbal ride. And it is this dichotomy -- between regular-joe poetry readers and the ecstatic fancy-readers - that explains the variances in the numbers of stars reviewers have given this book.

Four stars. If you like Mr. Keillor's morning readings, you should like this book.

Note:
This collection contains some `erotic' material. Just thought you'd want to know, before you go out and buy this book for that special niece or nephew, or for your own child. You don't want your sister calling, all ticked off because her sixteen year-old came to her asking what such-n-such means.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's an anthology, but don't let that frighten you..., March 22, 2003
By 
Kris Bluth (Eugene, OR United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Good Poems (Hardcover)
These kinds of major-press anthologies (especially when put together by a celebrity) tend to be worthless: either heartwarming sop (i.e. "Poems that have Inspired Me") or the same English-class warhorses trotted out again. So I thumbed through "Good Poems" and was surprised to find...good poems; a mix of the standards (Frost, Dickinson, Shakespeare), modern academics (Oliver, Simic), and poets who seldom appear in these kinds of anthologies (Carver, Ferlinghetti, Bukowski.) Well-selected, thoughtfully placed, and (thank God) fun to read, this collection is a real jewel; a perfect gift for someone who thinks they could never like poetry.
Even if the poetry was less than stellar, this book would be worth buying just for Keillor's introduction. Instead of gushing empty platitudes, he takes a hard look at what makes a poem good (as opposed to just technically proficient.) Anyone interested in writing poetry should do themselves a favor and read it (Personally, I'm thrilled that someone else thinks Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, and Allen Ginsberg are overrated, though I have to admit T.S. Eliot is growing on me...)
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good anthology, August 11, 2004
This review is from: Good Poems (Paperback)
This book caused a bit of controversy, but I'm not sure why. What it is, is a collection of poems that Keillor thought were good poems. It isn't meant to teach out of or to be representative of anything other than one man's personal tastes. And what taste he has. Sure there are some poets and poems missing. And there are some bad poems in here. But most are good poems and then there are some truly great poems in here. But I'll let the poets included speak for themselves. Here is a partial list of SOME of the poets you'll find within:

Ginger Andrews, W.H. Auden, Hillaire Belloc, Wendell Berry, John Berryman, Elizabeth Bishop, William Blake, Robert Bly, David Budbill, Charles Bukowski, Robert Burns, Hayden Carruth, Raymond Carver, Billy Collins, Wendy Cope, e.e. cummings, Roy Daniells, Emily Dickinson (and you'll find a lot of her in here), Tom Disch, Stephen Dobyns, Stephen Dunn, Ralph Waldo Emerson, B.H. Fairchild, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert Frost, Erica-Lynn Gambino, Deborah Garrison, Dana Gioia, Linda Gregg, Donald Hall, Robert Hass, Seamus Heaney, Geof Hewitt, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Langston Hughes, Randall Jarrell, Erica Jong, Donald Justice, X.J. Kennedy, Jane Kenyon, Galway Kinnell, Maxine Kumin, Stanley Kunitz, D.H. Lawrence, Li-Young Lee, Ursula Leguin, Denise Levertov, April Lindner, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Thomas Lux, Walt McDonald, Herman Melville, William Meredith, W.S. Merwin, Robert Mezey, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Frederick Morgan, Howard Moss, Lisa Mueller, James B(all) Naylor, Howard Nemerov, Frank O'Hara, Sharon Olds, Linda Pastan, Robert Phillips, Theodore Roethke, Kenneth Rexroth, Kay Ryan, May Sarton, Anne Sexton, William Shakespeare, Charles Simic, Louis Simpson, Gary Snyder, William Stafford, Wallace Stevens, Robert Louis Stevenson, Joyce Sutphen, May Swenson, Sara Teasdale, Henry David Thoreau, John Updike, Walt Whitman, Richard Wilbur, Oscar Wilde, C.K. Williams, Hugo Williams, William Carlos Williams, James Wright, W.B. Yeats
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for self, good for teaching, May 26, 2006
By 
G. Woznicki (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Good Poems (Paperback)
I bought this book because I liked Garrison K. I also like sitting by my stereo late at night reflecting and reading good poetry passages with some tunes. What I experienced was a personal connection to many of these poems from a huge, and popular variety of poets. So I tried teaching from it in my elementary classroom for lessons. It blew the kids away, in a good, making-sense, way! It sparked conversation and insight. Highly recommended for any reason...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Title Says it All, June 10, 2004
By 
This review is from: Good Poems (Paperback)
I don't normally read poetry. It's one genre I'm very ignorant about but I like Garrison Keillor's story telling and figured I might like the same type of poetry he likes. I was right! Although I didn't enjoy every single one (and who can expect to in a compillation of more than four hundred pages) but I did enjoy or take meaning away from enough of them to count this book as a page turner.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You are so beautiful too bad you're a fool is another one you won't hear..., April 10, 2006
This review is from: Good Poems (Paperback)
I heard my sister blathering on and on for weeks about what a good book this was. Right, okay, so I listened half heartedly. However, one day I was in the book store and I was immediately drawn to this plump little volume and sat down to read the Introduction. I normally wouldn't bother, but it was Garrison Keillor after all.

The Intro was great! I laughed my through it.

However, this book is so much more then a barrel of laughs. Garrison has gone through and carefully put in poems that touch the heart, mind and funny bone. I, like others before me, found the section labeled, "Yellow" a great addition also. I really enjoy having so many great poems in this one volume. Too often the good poems are jammed together with others that make little or no impression at all. However, every poem so far has been worth the time and trouble that was taken to publish in this book.

A must have for any poetry lover.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read before you kiss the kids goodnight, September 11, 2004
This review is from: Good Poems (Paperback)
I read these poems to my children before putting them to bed. The poems are consistently good, simple, and thought provoking for both a tired dad and a couple of kids around 10 years old. You know you have a hit on your hand when everyone is looking forward to tonight's poem.
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Good Poems
Good Poems by Garrison Keillor (Paperback - August 26, 2003)
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