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The 100 Best Poems of All Time Paperback – March 1, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The cover of The Best 100 Poems of All Time promises "[v]erses to move you, lines you'll love, from old favorites to modern classics...," and while they may not live up to the title's hyperbole, they do satisfy the teaser's terms. Though the collection, including poems by Homer, Sappho, Virgil, Dante, Chaucer, Villon, Shakespeare, Schiller, Issa, Whitman, Baudelaire, Millay, Cullen, Neruda, Plath and Angelou, was edited by Leslie Pockell, the unsigned introduction was written by an editorial "we," who proclaim that "this present collection has as much credibility as many other lists of the best and the greatest that have circulated during the recent turn of the century." One hopes that the actual poems contained herein have more credibility than any list.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reissue edition (March 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446676810
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446676816
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #795,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
What this little book might have been called in manuscript was something like "100 Representative Poems of 100 of the Most Popular Poets of All Time." Not a bad title, and it is consistent with editor Leslie Pockell's popular choices and her[?] intent to include no more than one poem by any poet. But the unmitigated gall of the title actually chosen--The 100 Best Poems of All Time--makes for a little fun, and probably will increase the sales of the book. As Pockell writes in the short Introduction, "Well, at least we attracted your attention."
You did. And for fun I am responding with some reaction to the selections. But first I should mention Pockell's criteria for the selections. The book needed to be short, a mix of "high art" and "popular culture" was desired, and the selections ought to be "inclined toward poetry that is best appreciated when recited or read aloud." Fair enough. And for the most part I think Pockell did an admirable job.
The excellent choices include, the King James version of the Twenty-Third Psalm, Poe's "The Raven," Shakespeare's "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" (although it seems weird to select just one of his sonnets; I prefer "That time of year thou mayst in me behold" or "Let me not to the marriage of true minds"), Donne's "Go and Catch a Falling Star," Shelley's "Ozymandias," Keat's "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (although again, how to choose just one!) Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach," Housman's "When I Was One-and-Twenty," Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," (ditto the last two asides), Eliot's "...Prufrock," etc.
Poor selections include, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" (a stirring song, but a "best" poem?
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Pamela Weintraub on November 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
Leslie Pockell must be the worst, most careless editor ever. Never mind the audacious and ridiculous title. She puts lines in the wrong stanzas of poems. She gets titles and words wrong. She fails to specify when she's only presenting part of a poem as opposed to the entire thing. Some simple double-checking could have prevented these problems. Ms. Pockell must be a very lazy woman.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Paul Fitzhamon on May 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
I disagree with the assumption that they are 100 of the best poems ever written but they are certainly worthy of review. I found the selection interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Irene on August 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is wonderful! I'm a student, that loves literature and poetry, so I decided to buy this at my local bookstore. I like to collect poetry collections, and this one seemed perfect. As soon as I read the first few poems, I fell in love with it.
Several of my favorite poems are in this book, such as "The Highwayman" by Alred Noyes, "The raven" by Edgar Allan Poe, "Still I rise" by Maya Angelou and also "Lake Isle of Innisfree" by William Butler Yeats. This delightful collection also had my Fifth Grade favorite- "Paul Revere's Ride" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I was thrilled.
I also found many new soon-to-be favorites such as "Tyger!Tyger!" by William Blake and "First Fig" by Edna St. Vincent Mallay.

I was a little annoyed when someone who reviewed this book said that it didn't say when it was jsut part of a poem. It does- It says "From" before the title of thepoem, to subtly let the reader know that it's not the whole thing. The reviewer must not have have read this book carefully, if he/she did not catch it.

I would reccommend this book to any lovers of poetry, or even first-timers. It's extra-helpful because of the index of both titles and authors, and also the first line of the poem! It really is a wonderful collection.
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Format: Paperback
This is a great collection, spanning over 2500 years, and the editor does a nice job of providing a brief, but unobtrusive introduction. I am sure everyone will be satisfied that one of their own favorite authors is included (I was glad to see Garcia Lorca), will be mad that one of their own favorites is missing (What no Delmore Schwartz!), but will perhaps find new favorites (for example, Rilke's "The Panther" for me). Roughly arranged chronologically, there are some interesting neighboring poems - like "To Jeoffrey His Cat" is near Blake's "The Tyger" and Anne Sexton's "Wanting to Die' is next to "Daddy" by Sylvia Plath. There are also some American favorites, that may not often be thought of as poems "A visit from St. Nicholas", "Casey at the Bat" and "This Land is Your Land (and don't forget the verse "By the relief office I seen my people; .. Is this land made for you and me?"). The book ends on an uplifting note with Maya Angelou "Still I Rise".
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By S. Gladd on February 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
Pockell's selection of poems are the best collection I've seen in one book, and I teach poetry at all levels between middle and high school. I liked it so much I ordered it for all of our high school students. And I enjoy reading it for my own pleasure just to be reminded of what makes great poetry.
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