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"I Am": The Selected Poetry of John Clare

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4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  151 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
Hail, humble Helpstone ...
Where dawning genius never met the day,
Where useless ignorance slumbers life away
Unknown nor heeded, where low genius tries
Above the vulgar and the vain to rise.
--from "Helpstone"

"I Am": The Selected Poetry of John Clare is the first anthology of the great "peasant poet"'s remarkable verse that makes available the full range of his accomplishmen
...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published November 15th 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published January 1st 2003)
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Community Reviews

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Ann Klefstad
Dec 21, 2008 Ann Klefstad rated it it was amazing
I do not know this collection, but John Clare's poetry is one of the most moving bodies of work anywhere. I feel much akin to Clare, as someone who emerged from the most backward of rural places, and who is haunted by the fact that that place made me, created my potentials, gave me its sensual and harsh nature, so I feel responsible to it.

John Clare bore this burden much more heavily, and more responsibly, than I, as he was the only--the only--voice saying anything like what he said, and someho
...more
Ann
Feb 27, 2012 Ann rated it it was amazing
"I am--yet what I am, none cares or knows." I've been poking around in this handsome volume again this morning. In recent years, Clare has been re-discovered as a major minor poet in the tradition of 19th Century English poetry. What at first sight may seem simple, often rhyming lyricism, in fact conveys the depths of a man's mind and soul. Even though Clare was delusional and spent the last 20 years of his life in an insane asylum, his ground note is joy. On a socioeconomic note, Clare was a pe ...more
Douglas
Aug 25, 2013 Douglas rated it really liked it
No one writes peasant poetry like John Clare. And sadly, no one writes peasant poetry anymore, probably a result of the dwindling peasant population. In all seriousness, this is an excellent collection of Clare's greatest poems. These poems are beautiful descriptions of nature and rural landscapes written with the passion and understanding that could only come from a personality obsessively dedicated to the documentation of everything his mind was capable of seeing and sensing.
Lenora
Sep 06, 2013 Lenora rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry

I did not expect to be so enamored with a wide range of emotions while reading Clare's poetry. To be frank, I was solely interested in his "asylum" works, and ended up falling in love with the entire assortment of poems.

No one writes of the countryside better than John Clare. It's hard to believe he came from an illiterate family. Through peasantry, there was the birth of fine bucolic poetry! What also impressed me (and somewhat bewildered me) was the abrupt shift in tone and overall mood of his

...more
Derek Emerson
Jul 15, 2013 Derek Emerson rated it it was amazing
For those not familiar with the "rural" poet, John Clare, this volume is worth spending time with. I spent nearly two years slowly working through the poems as they deserve, and demand, time. Yes, there are plenty of pastoral-type poems here, but Clare's eye also looks at people as part of nature. While his own life was tragic, as seen as his brilliant yet unhinged poems late in life, he clearly understood the beauty of life. This is a poet to return to again and again.
Normfg
Aug 04, 2013 Normfg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a number of editions of John Clare's poems, but I am so pleased
to have bought this one by Jonathan Bate. The poems are presented chronologically and they come across fresh and as honest as ever. As the great American poet John Ashbery wrote (he is quoted on the back-cover) "Clare grabs hold of you.......". This is a lovely edition of the poems; a pleasure to hold and to read.
Carrie
Jul 15, 2007 Carrie rated it really liked it
I learned about enclosures.

Somehow reading so many of these nature poems in a row, is really relaxing and lush and I feel them around me. But after reading so many of these nature poems, after a while, it stops being about "about" since every poem seems to be saying the same thing, and seems more about different conglomerations of word clusters - like jewels laid across the line.
Antonio Gallo
John Clare è un poeta inglese che "conobbi" mentre studiavo per un esame di letteratura inglese durante un corso sulla poesia rurale del settecento tenuto dal compianto anglista Fernando Ferrara. Nato e vissuto in ambiente agricolo e contadino nella contea del Nottinghamshire, la sua poesia risente fortemente di questo contesto rurale. Era il tempo della rivoluzione agricola che avrebbe portato poi a quella che fu la rivoluzione industriale inglese. Grandi sconvolgimenti sociali ed esistenziali, ...more
Jenny
Jun 01, 2007 Jenny rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: you and other lovers of birds
the great thing about John Clare is that he is just this guy who wrote some great poems, often pastoral. he is probably the kind of guy who I would have gone out with if I were in a position to go out with nineteenth century poets, in part because he was just a guy who wrote poems. later he went nuts and thought he had no pupils and walked almost daily from the Northampton Lunatic Asylum into town where he wrote poems for various gentlemen to give to their nineteenth century lady friends. John C ...more
Sneh Pradhan
Apr 05, 2014 Sneh Pradhan rated it really liked it
I am: yet what I am none cares or knows,
My friends forsake me like a memory lost;
..........Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life nor joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems;
And e'en the dearest--that I loved the best--
Are strange--nay, rather stranger than the rest.......
..............And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept:
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie;
The grass below--above the vaulted sky. ..............
James
Aug 20, 2007 James rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
A nice collection of Clare's poetry. Clare really was a remarkable and tragic man who produced some worthwhile poetry in a country and time where poetry was mostly left to the educated (or so our anthologies indicate and preserve.)
Brian
Sep 08, 2007 Brian rated it it was amazing
In 2005 I wrote about John Clare as a Christmas card. I included 2 of his poems.
You can see the PDF of the piece here: http://www.wordwelder.com/John_Clare_...

Synthia Green
Sep 09, 2012 Synthia Green rated it liked it
My favorite John Clare poem is "Autumn", perhaps because I am smitten by the season. Clare's imagery is accurate and descriptive.
Jenni
Jul 27, 2007 Jenni rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poets
Excellent.
Eddie Watkins
May 13, 2008 Eddie Watkins rated it it was amazing
He got so hungry during a long walk after escaping from an asylum that he ate grass from a ditch and said it tasted like bread.

What a great poet!
Erica
Erica rated it it was amazing
Dec 17, 2014
Douglas Perry
Douglas Perry rated it liked it
Feb 05, 2013
Andrew
Sep 07, 2007 Andrew rated it liked it
one out of every ten of these poems will pierce your veil
Jen
Jen rated it it was amazing
Jul 05, 2013
Aine MacAodha
Jul 01, 2009 Aine MacAodha rated it it was amazing
Known as the Peasant Poet, but inspirational reading of his work.
Steve Morrison
Steve Morrison rated it it was amazing
Jun 11, 2007
Melissa Hurwitz
Melissa Hurwitz rated it it was amazing
Mar 12, 2008
Dara
Dara rated it it was amazing
May 14, 2010
Elizabeth Branigin
Elizabeth Branigin rated it it was amazing
Aug 12, 2012
Rachel
Rachel rated it liked it
Mar 28, 2008
Mark
Mark rated it it was amazing
Feb 13, 2010
Francis Rothery
Francis Rothery rated it it was amazing
Jul 29, 2012
Cassandra
Cassandra rated it it was ok
Jan 29, 2008
Douglas Piccinnini
Douglas Piccinnini rated it it was amazing
Jun 03, 2015
Adam
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Jul 22, 2007
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John Clare was an English poet, in his time commonly known as "the Northamptonshire Peasant Poet", born the son of a farm labourer at Helpston (which, at the time of his birth, was in the Soke of Peterborough, which itself was part of Northamptonshire) near Peterborough. His poetry underwent a major re-evaluation in the late 20th century and he is often now considered to be one of the most importa ...more
More about John Clare...

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“I am—yet what I am none cares or knows;
My friends forsake me like a memory lost:
I am the self-consumer of my woes—
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shadows in love’s frenzied stifled throes
And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed”
53 likes
I Am!

I am—yet what I am none cares or knows;
My friends forsake me like a memory lost:
I am the self-consumer of my woes—
They rise and vanish in oblivious host,
Like shadows in love’s frenzied stifled throes
And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
Into the living sea of waking dreams,
Where there is neither sense of life or joys,
But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems;
Even the dearest that I loved the best
Are strange—nay, rather, stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man hath never trod
A place where woman never smiled or wept
There to abide with my Creator, God,
And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Untroubling and untroubled where I lie
The grass below—above the vaulted sky.”
28 likes
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