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Garden Poems: Pocket Poets (Everyman's…

Garden Poems: Pocket Poets (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets)

by John Hollander

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An anthology such as this bears a challenge that a collection of poems by a single author does not: these poems all have something to do with gardens, but they are stripped from their historical and stylistic context. I suppose one could argue that a poem stands or falls on its own, but while that may be true for exceptional poems - and may account for their staying power - I find that its hard to get the full impact of a poem without understanding the resonances from its context - how it plays with an established form, or finds a way to deploy a common metaphor in an insightful way. My knowledge of poets and poetry is middling, at best, so for many of the poems in this anthology, I'm left to wonder, what made this poem special?

The grouping of poems by subtheme is helpful - "gardens and seasons', 'city gardens', 'ruined gardens' - and the poets are drawn from across world culture, although it's heavily weighted to English and American poets. This will be a collection to keep and read through in the right, rare, mood. ( )
  bezoar44 | Aug 17, 2015 |
From the chaos of experience, the serenity of a garden, the imagination of a poem. This is a collection "gardens" as subjects in the work of 103 poets, most of whom are well-known.
Professor Hollander (Yale) provides a short elevated Foreword--pressing the case for the poetic essence of gardens, and reciprocally, the gardening of poesy.

The names of the Chapters indicate the organization of the collection by the following subjects:
"PARADISES" - Milton's "Eden", Ovid's "Golden Age", Homer's "Garden of Alcinous", among others.
GARDENS OF LOVE - direct expressions by Chaucer, Spenser, Donne, Dante, Blake, Millay, and others.
GARDENS OF THE MIND - visions of Merrill, the "Doomed Garden" of Octavio Paz, "Time" by Winters, "Myself" by La Mare, "Writing" by Boileau, "No Barren Leaves" by Pomfret, and others.
GARDENS AND SEASONS - From Millay's "Spring", through Morris' "Thunder", to Bridges, Rossetti, and Campana "Fall", and Frost's "Winter Eden", Tennyson's "Song", and Saigyo's "In Winter".
FLOWERS - their fruit, lessons, relations, weeds, and "What the Flowers Said" by Rumi.
GARDENERS - Graves, Van Doren, Stevenson, Shakespeare's "The Gardener's Lesson", Frost "A Girl's Garden", and others.
WORK OF THE GARDEN - Roethke on "Transplanting", Randolph "On Grafting", Cowper "On Pruning" and "Work".
GARDENS OF THE WILD - describing wilds, conservation, and being with Emerson "In my garden".
CITY GARDENS - Martial, Verlaine, Stickney, W C Williams, Moss, Swenson, Hollander [qv] "The Garden", Warren.
PUBLIC GARDENS - Oscar Wilde "Le Jardin des Tuileries", P'i "Lotus Lake", Arnold, Wilbur, Martha Hollander [qv], Rainer Maria Rilke "The Parks".
RUINED GARDENS - Tennyson's "In Memoriam", E A Robinson, Algernon Charles Swinburne "Forsaken...", Melville "Ravaged...", Han-shan "Abandoned...", E B Browning "Deserted...", Thomas Hardy "The Garden Seat".
A GARDEN OF GARDENS - Mervin, Cummings, Gascoigne "The World as Garden", Tennyson, D H Lawrence, MOrris, Pasternak, Pope, Jennings, Ryota. ( )
  keylawk | Jan 15, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679447261, Hardcover)

The splendid poems in this collection both represent and glorify the cultivating instinct, and each of them succeeds in "annihilating all that's made," as Andrew Marvell puts it in one of the most famous of all English poems, "to a green thought in a green shade." Contents include poems on Paradises, Gardens of Love, Gardens in the Mind, Gardens and Seasons, Flowers, Gardeners, The Work of the Garden, Gardens of the Wild, City Gardens, Public Gardens, Ruined Gardens, and A Garden of Gardens. Contributors include John Milton, Ovid, E.E. Cummings, Thom Gunn, John Donne, James Merrill, Wallace Stevens, Robert Browning, Shakespeare, and many others.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:07 -0400)

In Spring in the Garden, Edna St. Vincent Millay writes: "Ah, cannot the curled shoots of the larkspur that you loved so, / Cannot the spiny poppy that no winter kills / Instruct you how to return through the thawing ground and thin snow / Into this April sun that is driving the mist between the hills?"… (more)

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