Thursday, July 1, 2010

Modern British Poetry: "The world is never the same,” edited by Michelle Houle

I must make a confession: I am not a great lover of poetry. Rhyming couplets, dramatic monologues, blank verse, stanzas and quatrains??? It's mostly just blah blah blah to me. So I was a little surprised with I picked up a copy of Modern British Poetry: “The world is never the same,” part of the Poetry Rocks series, and found myself liking what I found! The author, Michelle Houle, has done a nice job pulling together interesting information about eleven British writers from the 19th and 20th century, showing the reader one our two of their more famous poems, and then helping the reader understand what the key messages are in the poems being showcased. It even comes with its own small glossary of terms often used to describe poetry.

Sure, some of the authors I had previously heard of, like Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Alfred Lord Tennyson and W. B. Yeats. But others were unknown to me. For example, I happened to find a small chapter devoted to Wilfred Owen, who enlisted in the army and served in the front trenches in France during World War I. His poem Dulce et Decorum Est (Latin for "It is sweet and right to die for one's country") poignantly brought out the horror of watching a fellow soldier die during a gas attack in World War I. Of course, once you've read one interesting section, you want to press on to see what's cool about the next writer. I hope you’ll give this little book a chance!

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