Jul 07

Book Review: Poems of John Keats (Popular Penguins)

Poems of John KeatsSummary (Popular Penguins website)

Over the course of his short life, John Keats (1795-1821) honed a raw talent into a brilliant poetic maturity.  This wide-ranging selection of Keats’s poetry contains youthful verse, such as his earliest known poem ‘Imitation of Spenser‘; poems from his celebrated collection of 1820 – including ‘Lamia‘, ‘Isabella‘, ‘The Eve of St Agnes‘, ‘Ode to a Nightingale‘ and ‘Hyperion‘ – and later celebrated works such as ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci‘.

My preferences for poetry are a little like my preferences for artwork – I know what I like with very little understanding of what makes it enjoyable. With both, it’s all about what appeals to the senses and my own personal tastes.

Along with Wordsworth, Coleridge and Donne, Keats is one of my favourite poets. I studied some of his poems at school, but I don’t remember it ever being mentioned that he was so young when he died – only 25 years old. It is incredible that he wrote odes and sonnets of such beauty at such a young age.

This Popular Penguins collection of Keats poems includes favourites such as Ode to a Grecian Urn, La Belle Dame sans Merci and Ode to a Nightingale. There is a brief, interesting introduction, a selection of Keats’ work including a small collection of light-hearted and nonsense poems and excerpts from letters written by Keats to family and friends.

Reading through this short book has rekindled my love of classic poetry. I might have to track down a copy of the Popular Penguin edition of Shakespeare’s sonnets and lobby to have the works of Coleridge, Donne and Wordsworth included in the next list of titles they release.

Review Copy Details
Title: Poems of John Keats (Popular Penguins)
Author: John Keats
Publisher: Penguin, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-14-119495-0
Genre: Poetry

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