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I should have made it Ten

From chickenfeet2003

Comment with the words "Top Ten" or "Top Five", and I will reply with a subject for which you will generate a top ten (or top five) list. Post the list and instructions in your own journal.

My topic is "Top Five Poets" which ought to be easy, but -damn- is it hard to choose five!

In no particular order, except that my number one is at the top:

Keats. Is my beloved. His early work is unpolished and a bit over the top, but "Melancholy" and "Autumn" and "Eve of St Agnes" and "Nightingale" are absolutely matchless. I could drown in them. And like him "I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the truth of the imagination"

The cranky, cynical and surprisingly moving Philip Larkin. I can't read "Myxomatosis" without crying. Then there's "This Be the Verse," which I love to give to my first years to shock them with.

TS Eliot. Difficult, intellectual, irritating, but oh so beautiful. The images are like wind and moonbeams. Of course, the still point in a turning world.

Yeats. Difficult, intellectual, less irritating, more emotional than Eliot, also oh, so beautiful (do you see a theme here?)

Eeek! How to choose number 5??? I'm going to cheat :) It's a TIE between Donne, Swinburne, Sheamus Heaney and Derek Walcott. Oh, and Auden's in there somewhere, too.

See, I told you it should have been Ten.



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 28th, 2007 11:34 pm (UTC)
I am not a great reader of poetry, but I do love Larkin.
Mar. 1st, 2007 12:36 am (UTC)
How is it possible to select only five? I admire you for only marginally cheating!

Keats, Donne and Eliot are definitely in my own list. I feel I ought to put Larkin there, because he went to the school where I work, but he didn't like it much for reasons I fully comprehend, so I think he has to stay outside the list unless you restrict it to the past century, because Milton, Chaucer, Tennyson and Coleridge are fighting for the places that are left. And Wordsworth.

And if Shakespeare is allowed as a straight poet, all bets are off.

OK, I'll play. Gimme five...
Mar. 1st, 2007 05:59 am (UTC)
How about the five best Spike moments?
Mar. 1st, 2007 01:49 am (UTC)
You have more self-discipline than I! No way coudl I keep it to five or even six. Donne and Auden would be in there. Thinking along modern lines, I'm a fan of Brodsky as well, but probably only because I had him as a professor...gives me chills to read his work even now. I can HEAR him speaking the words! Same with Auden...somewhere I have audio tapes of him reading some of his works. Just amazing what you get from hearing the writer read their own work!
Mar. 1st, 2007 06:01 am (UTC)
Yeah and then afterwards I was thinking "oh cripes, how could I have forgotten Hopkins!" and there's Eavann Boland and Stevie Smith and Ted Hughes (though NOT Sylvia Plath) and HD and ... on and on.
Mar. 6th, 2007 05:32 am (UTC)
I Will Make it Ten
I'll cheat another way: top ten 20th-century poets (I'm a modern girl):

Philip Larkin (agreed--so moving and so fiercely honest)
Czeslaw Milosz
Sharon Olds (consistently, breathtakingly risky)
Seamus Heaney
W. B. Yeats
Ranier Maria Rilke
John Berryman
Edna St. Vincent Millay
E.E. Cummings
(These last two choices are a bit wet, but I can't help myself)
Bob Dylan (gasp! I was going to put HD or Mina Loy here, but Bob has probably given me more pleasure in the long run)

Mar. 6th, 2007 11:49 pm (UTC)
Re: I Will Make it Ten
You know, I don't really know Rilke, and I must remedy that (just as I'm feeling that I must read some Proust, now that I'm heading to Paris). Olds - yes, she's fabulous. Berryman I don't know at all (scurries off to anthology...) Cummings - yes - I love the one about rain having small hands or however it goes. Bob Dylan... I forgive you. At least it's not Leonard Cohen.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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