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Selected Poetry

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This is an entirely new selection of Keats's finest poetry containing all his best known work as well as a sample of less familiar pieces. Keats published three volumes of poetry before his death at age twenty-five of tuberculosis and, while many of his contemporaries were prompt to recognize his greatness, snobbery and political hostility led the Tory press to vilify and This is an entirely new selection of Keats's finest poetry containing all his best known work as well as a sample of less familiar pieces. Keats published three volumes of poetry before his death at age twenty-five of tuberculosis and, while many of his contemporaries were prompt to recognize his greatness, snobbery and political hostility led the Tory press to vilify and patronize him as a "Cockney poet." Financial anxieties and the loss of those he loved most had tried him persistently, yet he dismissed the concept of life as a vale of tears and substituted the concept of a "vale of Soul-making." His poetry and his remarkable letters reveal a spirit of questing vitality and profound understanding and his final volume, which contains the great odes and the unfinished Hyperion, attests to an astonishing maturity of power.


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This is an entirely new selection of Keats's finest poetry containing all his best known work as well as a sample of less familiar pieces. Keats published three volumes of poetry before his death at age twenty-five of tuberculosis and, while many of his contemporaries were prompt to recognize his greatness, snobbery and political hostility led the Tory press to vilify and This is an entirely new selection of Keats's finest poetry containing all his best known work as well as a sample of less familiar pieces. Keats published three volumes of poetry before his death at age twenty-five of tuberculosis and, while many of his contemporaries were prompt to recognize his greatness, snobbery and political hostility led the Tory press to vilify and patronize him as a "Cockney poet." Financial anxieties and the loss of those he loved most had tried him persistently, yet he dismissed the concept of life as a vale of tears and substituted the concept of a "vale of Soul-making." His poetry and his remarkable letters reveal a spirit of questing vitality and profound understanding and his final volume, which contains the great odes and the unfinished Hyperion, attests to an astonishing maturity of power.

30 review for Selected Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bookdragon Sean

    I don’t think anybody truly knows or understands Keats simply because we never got his full developed poetry. He died far too early. Just as he was beginning to break away from the contemporary influences on his voice, and to form his own poetic genius, he died. What we have is an early version of the poet Keats: not a full picture of what he would have been. We can glimpse Keats but we can never comprehend exactly where he would have ended up. Keats would have, undoubtedly, gone on to write many I don’t think anybody truly knows or understands Keats simply because we never got his full developed poetry. He died far too early. Just as he was beginning to break away from the contemporary influences on his voice, and to form his own poetic genius, he died. What we have is an early version of the poet Keats: not a full picture of what he would have been. We can glimpse Keats but we can never comprehend exactly where he would have ended up. Keats would have, undoubtedly, gone on to write many great things; he did write some beautiful poems but for me none of them were as superb as they could have been: they were a little superfluous and a little overdone. Often his language is exquisite, sensual even, though it does not seem to do much. Keats tried to write aside from the realms of politics and social issues, focusing instead on aestheticism. As such his poems are pleasant to read but I was not particularly moved by any of them: they did not have the power to invoke emotions. Keats knew this too; he knew he was developing and as you read his work chronologically you can really see it. His first poems were very, very, simple but by the end his reading of Spencer and Milton had shaped his verse and transformed his language: he was so much better. He improved radically and drastically. Had he another ten years of life he could well have been the greatest poet of the age. (An idea I do not take lightly.) His ideas of aestheticism were growing and becoming more evocative of human experience; he was almost there. So I lament his death. I lament a writer that could have been. And that may sound strange when speaking of Keats because he is a writer of great renown, readership and critical attention but he would have been so much more in time. But now I’m going to do something a quite rude, I’m going to quote a better poet (only because he had more time) to end this review and summarise what we lost when Keats died: Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats -By Percy Bysshe Shelley "I weep for Adonais—he is dead! Oh, weep for Adonais! though our tears Thaw not the frost which binds so dear a head! And thou, sad Hour, selected from all years To mourn our loss, rouse thy obscure compeers, And teach them thine own sorrow, say: "With me Died Adonais; till the Future dares Forget the Past, his fate and fame shall be An echo and a light unto eternity!"

  2. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    I was introduced to the poetry of John Keats by my eighth grade English teacher. It has been a long time since I've read more than a line or two. It is worth the time to get a little lost in his reveries.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    Far and away my favorite poet.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mark Donnelly

    I really enjoyed finding out about John Keats and I was quite impressed with his ability to write lengthy poetry without once losing my attention. I am talking here about his piece, 'Endymion', which in my view is one of the best poems I have ever read. Overall, an enjoyable read. I think it would have been nice to receive more of a life history of John Keats, because he was a gifted writer who had his life pulled short when he died of TB at 25.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jakob Brønnum

    There is just something about Keats. A form of light in the lines seen nowhere else. A clarity. An urge for life itself. So enlightening getting to these primeordeal modern writers in your own pace, mot having been exposed to them in school. Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Browning, Byron. And Keats

  6. 5 out of 5

    Richard Epstein

    An entirely new selection! As though the poet, dead at 25, had written a Collected Works like Browning's or Tennyson's. Read 'em all; you've got nothing better to do. I mean that. Literally. Unless you haven't got round to Shakespeare or Milton yet, you've got nothing better to do.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Selected Poetry, John Keats

  8. 5 out of 5

    Samuel Coulson

    If you read only one collection of poetry in your lifetime, consider reading this.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Drew

    I almost gave this book three stars, since I really loved only a few of the Keats poems contained within, but the book as a whole gave me such a great look at his progression from start to finish. That was one intent of the editor, Elizabeth Cook. She writes in her introduction: "But to read Keats's poetry through in chronological sequence (the principle of this volume) is to be impressed with the astonishing speed with which it matures. Keats effectively produced his life's work in two years; t I almost gave this book three stars, since I really loved only a few of the Keats poems contained within, but the book as a whole gave me such a great look at his progression from start to finish. That was one intent of the editor, Elizabeth Cook. She writes in her introduction: "But to read Keats's poetry through in chronological sequence (the principle of this volume) is to be impressed with the astonishing speed with which it matures. Keats effectively produced his life's work in two years; the greater part of it in one" (p. x). I found several of his poems too verbose, as though he were trying to impress us with his vocabulary. I've seen intense poetry from Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley and other Romantics that hit on similar themes but did it in fewer words. I'm not looking to enforce a word limit (e.g. I love the Odyssey), but I want these poems to be beautiful, using only what is necessary. Keats succeeds best when his craft fades away and the story and emotions come to the foreground. But even in these longer works, he often has a moment of clarity. In "Sleep and Poetry," he writes: "Stop and consider! life is but a day; / A fragile dew-drop on its perilous way / From a tree's summit" (lines 85-87). I like his narrative poems the best. "Lamia" is my favorite, by far. It is a well constructed story with beautifully chosen words the flows perfectly. I thoroughly enjoyed "Hyperion: A Fragment" as well. His attempt to rework this unfinished poem in "Fall of Hyperion" fails, in my opinion. He returns to using too many words again, almost like a student padding a paper to reach the required page count. The beauty and sadness of "Hyperion" is lost amongst the glut of words. I wonder what Keats would have produced had he not died of tuberculosis at 25. Based on Hyperion and Lamia, I think he would have continued to grow and increased his legacy even further. Let me give yet another shout out to the wonderful editions in the Oxford World's Classic series, produced by the Oxford University Press. I really love these editions ... this is my 7th in the series. A great introduction, timeline of the authors life, the work and then fantastic notes that provide context and elucidation.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ezgi Neşe

    I am currently writing a research paper on his poetry, and although my feelings are mixed with stress and anxiety while reading his poems, they still succeed in moving me. I particularly liked I stood tiptoe upon a little hill, which is a lovely poem with depictions of nature, and I smiled all the way through it. But the one poem that stayed with me is When I have fears that I may cease to be, which I memorized the evening I got the book because I read it over and over again, it was just so beau I am currently writing a research paper on his poetry, and although my feelings are mixed with stress and anxiety while reading his poems, they still succeed in moving me. I particularly liked I stood tiptoe upon a little hill, which is a lovely poem with depictions of nature, and I smiled all the way through it. But the one poem that stayed with me is When I have fears that I may cease to be, which I memorized the evening I got the book because I read it over and over again, it was just so beautiful.

  11. 4 out of 5

    ZaRi

    Now Morning from her orient chamber came, And her first footsteps touch'd a verdant hill; Crowning its lawny crest with amber flame, Silv'ring the untainted gushes of its rill; Which, pure from mossy beds, did down distill, And after parting beds of simple flowers, By many streams a little lake did fill, Which round its marge reflected woven bowers, And, in its middle space, a sky that never lowers. There the king-fisher saw his plumage bright Vieing with fish of brilliant dye below; Whose silken fins, and Now Morning from her orient chamber came, And her first footsteps touch'd a verdant hill; Crowning its lawny crest with amber flame, Silv'ring the untainted gushes of its rill; Which, pure from mossy beds, did down distill, And after parting beds of simple flowers, By many streams a little lake did fill, Which round its marge reflected woven bowers, And, in its middle space, a sky that never lowers. There the king-fisher saw his plumage bright Vieing with fish of brilliant dye below; Whose silken fins, and golden scales' light Cast upward, through the waves, a ruby glow: There saw the swan his neck of arched snow, And oar'd himself along with majesty; Sparkled his jetty eyes; his feet did show Beneath the waves like Afric's ebony, And on his back a fay reclined voluptuously. Ah! could I tell the wonders of an isle That in that fairest lake had placed been, I could e'en Dido of her grief beguile; Or rob from aged Lear his bitter teen: For sure so fair a place was never seen, Of all that ever charm'd romantic eye: It seem'd an emerald in the silver sheen Of the bright waters; or as when on high, Through clouds of fleecy white, laughs the cœrulean sky. And all around it dipp'd luxuriously Slopings of verdure through the glossy tide, Which, as it were in gentle amity, Rippled delighted up the flowery side; As if to glean the ruddy tears, it tried, Which fell profusely from the rose-tree stem! Haply it was the workings of its pride, In strife to throw upon the shore a gem Outviewing all the buds in Flora's diadem.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    This one star rating is essentially a judgment on me. Apparently, I'm too much of a barbarian to enjoy a book of poetry by a famous poet. I'm sure the poems, by and large, are meaningful and probing, but a class and a knowledgeable teacher are prerequisites to a mind expanding read for this reviewer. Yes, among the 216 pages, I did come across the single line, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever ..." And Keat's musings on nature and the universe were intriguing, thinking back about his time from This one star rating is essentially a judgment on me. Apparently, I'm too much of a barbarian to enjoy a book of poetry by a famous poet. I'm sure the poems, by and large, are meaningful and probing, but a class and a knowledgeable teacher are prerequisites to a mind expanding read for this reviewer. Yes, among the 216 pages, I did come across the single line, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever ..." And Keat's musings on nature and the universe were intriguing, thinking back about his time from the vantage point of today's technological age. His writings depicted an age when nature's rhythms and the skies above had more more impact and mystery than we give them today. Yet, there was a brief connection, in Keat's poem on Fame (pg 169) Fame like a wayward girl will still be coy To those who woo her with too slavish knees But makes surrender to some thoughtless boy And dotes the more upon a heart at ease - She is a Gipsey will not speak to those Who have not learnt to be content without her" (The poem goes on, but becomes less engaging to this untutored ear.)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarai - Sarai Talks Books

    The longer poems I listened to on audio, and found that I enjoyed them a lot more when I did that. However, I wasn't completely in love with this collection--I much prefer the poems relating to love, nature, and self-reflection rather than the poems that were inspired by Greek mythology, which were some of the longest poems in the collection and there were several of them so they took up a large portion of the book. These poems just weren't for me. I did manage to mark down the poems I loved the The longer poems I listened to on audio, and found that I enjoyed them a lot more when I did that. However, I wasn't completely in love with this collection--I much prefer the poems relating to love, nature, and self-reflection rather than the poems that were inspired by Greek mythology, which were some of the longest poems in the collection and there were several of them so they took up a large portion of the book. These poems just weren't for me. I did manage to mark down the poems I loved the most, which were: - 'When I have fears that I may cease to be' - Isabella; or The Pot of Basil - 'Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art' - 'What can I do to drive away'

  14. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I like Keats. I think he is one of the more accessible and approachable poets. Certainly his poetry is hit and miss with some being fantastic and some being mediocre. That he died so young and so tragically (but oh so in the Romantic way of things!) is of course sad but I wonder if that doesn't lend some ethereal magicalness to his writings. I suppose the other way to look at it is that if he would have lived longer he surely would have produced more and greater poems.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This selection includes some of his famous poems, like "Bright Star" and "Ode to a Nightingale." Keats beautiful words still resonate two centuries later. I could swim in a phrase like, "And still she slept an azure-lidded sleep, In blanched linen, smooth, and lavender’d." from The Eve of St. Agnes. His musings on death are all the more poignant because he died when he was only 25. I can't help wondering what he would have written if he'd lived longer.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tom Ireland

    It is sublime, as is only to be suspected. Dipping into the book, you are borne away on half familiar verses (so embedded in our culture is Keats) and on to entirely unfamiliar ones to delight over and over again. Read the rest of my review here.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    So enjoyable to read Keats poetry, even more so than when it was assigned in school. I leisurely read his poems while eating breakfast and drinking really delicious hot cocoa. It was fun looking at notes I took in school about these poems, and hearing in my head the voice of my favorite professor while he talked about them.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Sweet

    Swoon! I can always read Keats. What a master at construction, meter, and rhyme. If you give his poems enough time, I feel they reveal his complex philosophy on life too. It is truly tragic that he died so young and didn't have more time to live his life and expand his craft. Fantastic poetry that's not too hard to work through but ever so rewarding as you do.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brendan Brooks

    hard slog, i forget now why he was classified as a romantic in the sense that a lot of his work was in classical style, rhymes and metre. Then the odes and the pervasive themses of nature and the pastural has him back in the category. The mythology is tough to get through for me.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hriday

    Very touching. To be read with a leisurely mind. But i found the language quite complicated due to myriad references to Greek mythology - so missed out the context altogether. But those few poems i could understand, i appreciated thoroughly.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Thetravelingpanda

    I don't think Keats is one of my favorite poet. I enjoyed most of his poetry especially the one of the nightingale but some of them had too much reference to classics which were a bit drowning his style into a mass of knowledge necessary to read the poems.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kriangkrai Vathanalaoha

    I prefer to the poem called "The Ode to Nightingale" for the rest of the book. It's quite completely thrilled to take a glimpse on it. (Although it's a tough task for a beginner reader, that's for sure.)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Zahra AlQattan

    " Sweet Hope, ethereal balm upon me shed, And wave thy silver pinions o’er my head. "

  24. 5 out of 5

    Madalin the Christian Cat Lady

    I love Keats works!

  25. 5 out of 5

    M

    He aight.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Phoebe Macdonald

    My favourites were "la belle dame sans merci", "ode on melancholy" and the delightful nonsense verse "on mrs Reynolds' cat". Will be revisiting.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Excellent! I wanted to reread Endymion in particular. It's a beautiful poem.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laurel Hicks

    Beautiful!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    This was my first favorite. When I was a young teen, I carried this collection around everywhere I went. I still have it. It's held together with duct tape.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Susan Carter

    Excellent compilation from my favorite poet.

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