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Six Poets: Hardy to Larkin: An Anthology by…
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Six Poets: Hardy to Larkin: An Anthology by Alan Bennett (2014)

by Alan Bennett

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Took a long time reading this. I could usually only managed a few poems before I dropped off to sleep. I think the poems were very much enhanced by Alan Bennett's commentary. I marked a few which I particularly enjoyed, but most went over my head. One comment of Alan Bennett's towards the end made me think I should re-read everything, because I realised that there was probably a lot more depth and subtle structure to them. ( )
  jvgravy | Apr 19, 2015 |
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Poets like to elude their public, lead them a bit of a dance. They take them down untrodden paths, land them in unknown country where they have to ask for directions. Alan Bennett's selection of English verse by his favourite poets, accompanied by his own enlivening commentary. In this personal anthology, Alan Bennett has chosen more than seventy poems by six well-loved poets, discussing the writers and their verse in his customary conversational style through anecdote, shrewd appraisal and spare but telling biographical detail. Speaking with candour about his own reactions to the work, Alan Bennett creates profound and witty portraits of Thomas Hardy, A. E. Housman, John Betjeman, W. H. Auden, Louis MacNeice and Philip Larkin, which are all the more enjoyable for being in his own particular voice. Anybody writing poetry in the thirties had somehow to come to terms with Auden. Auden, you see, had got a head start on the other poets. He'd got into the thirties first, like someone taking over the digs.… (more)

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