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Short And Sweet: 101 Very Short Poems

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  117 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
Short and Sweet is an inspiring anthology arranged to show how the short poem. defined here as no longer than thirteen lines – and sometimes a lot shorter than that – can tell a story, present a complex argument, and be packed with as much passion. wisdom and music as any more extended piece of writing. In his witty and instructive introduction, Simon Armitage, pace-settin ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published October 4th 1999 by Faber and Faber
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I read this this afternoon in the bookshop and enjoyed it a lot. The book works its way down in the number of lines to ever shorter poems, from 13 lines to none (just a title), and I must say that things improved as they went along.

Many of these poems were well-worn ground, but there were surprises and discoveries, also from well-known poets, Sylvia Plath’s “The Hanging Man,” for example, which I can’t say I’ve read before. I also liked Glyn Maxwell’s “Lust,” Douglas Dunn’s “On Roofs of Terry S
Jan 14, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, read-2014
I loved this anthology of poems no longer than thirteen lines. I loved Simon Armitage's funny but important introduction which said a lot of things about poetry that I've felt before but never seen written. I love the way he has put the collection together starting with the longest and working through until the final poem of no lines at all beyond its title... and then the collectively authored titleless, wordless but meaningful pause that comes as the book is closed with a sigh of satisfaction.
Dec 15, 2013 Sally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I find it hard to rate poetry anthologies, as it's rare that I like every poem in them.

I've given this 4 because I like the idea of collecting short poems (in this case the maximum is 13 lines, just short of the sonnet). There is a good mix of the familiar and the unfamiliar (I have jotted four new-to-me poems in my notebook) and I enjoyed Armitage's introduction, which was interesting and amusing ('I felt a strong obligation to include at least one haiku, and for that reason have not done so.')
Feb 17, 2011 Leah rated it really liked it
I bought this book a while ago from a bookshop in Oxford. It is perfect for dipping into, and I do so, often. No poem is more than 13 lines long and the poets (and the poems) are wide and varied, from William Wordsworth and Thomas Hardy, to Stevie Smith and Sylvia Plath. The introduction by Simon Armitage is funny and entertaining and it is a lovely addition to any bookshelf.
Jun 13, 2015 Sue rated it liked it
Mixture of poems old and modern. Some familiar but most not. Enjoyed the way the poems got shorter as the book neared the end. Must admit I really liked the shortest ones best and some were very clever. Lots to think about.
Steph Sutherland
Jan 11, 2014 Steph Sutherland rated it really liked it
A fantastic choice for those perhaps new (or simply dense like myself) when it comes to poetry. Lots of different subject matter covered and tone from the humorous to the heart-breaking. A lovely little treat.
Jamie Goth
May 24, 2015 Jamie Goth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Collection of poems you can dip into. Really varied styles. All have brevity in common.
Michael Legge
Oct 26, 2012 Michael Legge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shame he dies in the end.
Nick Benson
Sep 20, 2013 Nick Benson rated it really liked it
Some very good poems - the temptation is to read too many at a sitting
Jan 19, 2014 Sinead rated it liked it
This collection I read in a morning and was alright but only a couple really stood out to me-Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now by A E Housman and I Am the Song by Charles Causley
Peter Hall
Short book of little poems. Some real gems like Causely's I am the song and Larkin's The winter palace.
Amazing how one can say so much with so little.
Jan 03, 2013 Will rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

When all else fails,
Try Wales."
David Tendo
Aug 08, 2011 David Tendo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every one's a gem, easy to remember yet profound and often humourous nonetheless, especially the last poem.
Jamie MacDonald Jones
May 14, 2017 Jamie MacDonald Jones rated it really liked it
Brief poetry with depth is often an odd in-between when thinking about writing. Armitage explores this wonderfully with some real heavy-hitting but slight poems that the reader is familiar with, many that they are likely not and with some humourous interludes along the way. Although the collection is short, it is very strong and made reading hugely enjoyable. It probably also slowed down my reading of each so that I took time to really pick each apart mentally. The order, from longest to shortes ...more
Jun 30, 2017 Sophie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Good range of poems. Shows how much you can do within tight parameters.
Stephen Roycroft
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Apr 04, 2017 Heather Harrison rated it really liked it
I first got a copy of this book when I was about 15 or 16 and my concentration for poetry was not at its peak! Over the years I added to the illustrations already in this book as it was one which I consistently went back to.

I lost my copy at some point over the last 5 years but got a new one recently, it was great to see again printed on the page what I have retained in my mind over the years. Some of the poems in this little book are like old friends.

Favourites then:
Sylvia Plath - The Hangman
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Simon Armitage, whose The Shout was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, has published ten volumes of poetry and has received numerous honors for his work. He lives in England.

Armitage's poetry collections include Book of Matches (1993) and The Dead Sea Poems (1995). He has written two novels, Little Green Man (2001) and The White Stuff (2004), as well as All Points North (1998),
More about Simon Armitage...

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