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Poems and Prose

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  2,107 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Closer to Dylan Thomas than Matthew Arnold in his 'creative violence' and insistence on the sound of poetry, Gerard Manley Hopkins was no staid, conventional Victorian. On entering the Society of Jesus at the age of twenty-four, he burnt all his poetry and 'resolved to write no more, as not belonging to my profession, unless by the wishes of my superiors'. The poems, lette ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 30th 1953 by Penguin Classics (first published 1953)
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May 10, 2009 Eric rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Lovers of language
How to speak of Hopkins?

We live in an era and a civilization in which the cultivated appreciation of all the arts has been besmirched with snobbery and identified with wealth and privilege. For all but the few born to wealth and privelege, then, cultivated taste automatically becomes a kind of treason against class. The only exceptions are things like Celtic music, which have clear ties to currently popular forms.
Appreciation of Hopkins’ poetry requires cultivation not only of vocabulary, but of
Gerard Manley Hopkins was a lugubrious Victorian Jesuit who wrote some of the most amazing poetry you will ever read in your life. And the only conceivable way I can persuade you that statement is true is to include some of that poetry here:

That Nature Is A Heraclitean Fire And Of The Comfort Of The Resurrection

Cloud-puffball, torn tufts, tossed pillows flaunt forth, then chevy on an air-built thoroughfare: heaven-roysterers, in gay-gangs they throng; they glitter in marches.
Down roughcast, do
Donal Lyons
On Saturday sailed from Bremen,
Take settler and seamen, tell men with women,
Two hundred souls in the round—
O Father, not under thy feathers nor ever as guessing
The goal was a shoal, of a fourth the doom to be drowned;
Yet did the dark side of the bay of thy blessing
Not vault them, the million of rounds of thy mercy not reeve even them in?
May 29, 2008 Spencer rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
I don't know if this is a different publication of the edition that I have, but in any case, Hopkins' poetry is the most powerfully audible poetry that I know. His mastery of sound transforms rhyming, alliteration, and assonance from the hallmarks of juvenile doggerl into a truly poetic symphony of language. For this reason, even though his poetry may be difficult to understand, it is always a delight to hear.
All of Hopkins' poetry is amazing, but the "Windhover" in particular is one of the most impressive lyrics I've every read. Hopkins' explosion of the sonnet form and embrace of the notion of oral poetry makes him one of the most powerful voices in modern poetry.
I love this man's poetry, and when I discovered his journal entries, I was moved and delighted. He notices so much in nature; I love how he writes about the particular sunset of each day in his entries, and the birds he has seen.
Hopkins is, if nothing else, a passionate poet. And his best poems (the “terrible sonnets” 41-16) reflect his passionate struggle with god. These poems were, to me, the most vivid and compelling. The rest did not interest me as much.

Subject/theme aside, Hopkins’ poetry is certainly interesting and unique. He talks of sprung rhythms and rove overs and counterpoint – but it all seems some variation on accentual verse. The real unorthodoxy of his poetic meter is his ideas about how to count stresse
What a sound-smith! I love his poetry. His prose was interesting to browse as well.

One of my favorites - beside Pied Beauty -

'Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend'
Justus quidem tu es, Domine, si disputem tecum; verumtamen
justa loquar ad te: Quare via impiorum prosperatur? &c.

Thou art indeed just, Lord, if I contend
With thee; but, sir, so what I plead is just.
Why do sinners’ ways prosper? and why must
Disappointment all I endeavour end?
Wert thou my enemy, O tho
The Windhover

Caught this morning morning's minion, king-
dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate's heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh,
AS kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: 5
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves—goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came.

Í say móre: the just man justices;
Kéeps gráce: thát keeps all his goings graces; 10
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s
the poems have a song like quality, and often times stanzas or entire poems will turn on one word or phrase that hold double or triple meanings. but the notebook entries and journal entries of his are just as engrossing. take one entry where hopkins, as an educator and priest of a college, details an annual event where the students line up down the infirmary to be inoculated for small pox. they are boisterous and silly; only aware that it allows for a day away from classes. except hopkins notice ...more
M.I. Lastman
I know that I am supposed to admire Hopkins, but I find his flowery rhetoric tiresome. He is the perfect example of the euphuistic style.
Honestly, don't know if I would have slogged through this had it not been for a fantastic experience I had at in the graduate writing program at Manhattanville college with a gifted professor (doing woo woo fist in air for Tom) and two interesting and highly creative class mates (you know who you are), studying sonnets. I highly recommend poetry classes where the group size is under five in number, tea is served in an old kitchen, and you read about the beauty of "speckled things" as rain thrums ...more
Micki James
Sprung rhythm. It is Margaret you mourn for. Glory be to God for dappled things. I caught this morning morning's minion, kingdom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding...
Oddly, one of my strongest memories is of "I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;" which is not by Hopkins at all but by Francis Thompson. No matter, I printed a copy of Thompson's Hound of Heaven and tucked it in this book so that I find it whenever I go looking. The prose is stimulating too, peo
Bob Morrow
Sheer beauty and invention. Revives.
Shook foil!
Hopkins will always be my favorite poet. No easy feat considering how many other poets I love. But this is the best:

The glass-blue days are those
When every colour glows,
Each shape and shadow shows.
Blue be it: this blue heaven
This seven or seven times seven
Hued sunbeam will transmit
Perfect, not alter it.
Or if there does some soft,
On things aloof, aloft,
Bloom breathe, that one breath more
Earth is the fairer for.
D. Ryan
There's just nothing better. He may be dark and introspective, but in the end Hopkins always looks out and looks out with hope towards Christ.
"Christ minds; Christ's interests, what to avow or amend
There; eyes them, heart wants, care haunts, foot follows kind,
Their ransome, their rescue, and first, fast, last friend."
~Lantern Out of Doors

I hope I remembered those lines correctly.
tex norman
Hopkins writes poems that are beautiful to hear, and, for me, way too difficult to understand. He's smarter than me, and his times are less familiar to me, but he also seemed happily and willfully esoteric. His work seems similar to Dylan Thomas. Poets need to read other poets. If you want to be a well read poet, you have to include Hopkins on your READ IT list.
Oct 30, 2007 Elizabeth rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: poetry lovers
Thought provoking poems from a poet way ahead of his time. The sounds are amazing. Hopkins was revolutionary in his approach to language, but it's his honest search for truth in his faith, and his examination of his own conflicted devotion (Hopkins was a priest) that distinguish him as a philosopher. A surprisingly "modern" collection.
Whichever professor I had for Victorian Lit in college somehow turned me off to Hopkins. All I can say in retrospect is that he or she must have been shitty teacher indeed, because this is genius work, full stop. It's a shame I had to get this old and cynical before I realized that.
Darran Mclaughlin
Hopkins is a great poet. He was the best thing to happen to English poetry since the Romantics. His writing feels very 17th Century, reminiscent of the Metaphysical poets and the Jacobean dramatists in its union of thought, feeling and observation.
Hopkins has long been one of my favorite poets from the Victorian era. He was a closeted Catholic priest and an innovator of sublime poetry who, like Emily Dickinson (also a favorite of mine), published virtually nothing in his lifetime.
Liam Guilar
This is a beautifully made book, so the rating is for the thing itself, not the contents...Only four stars because there are nine illustrations interspersed between the poems and their absence from the prose is noticeable.
Jeanenne McCloskey
Aside from the poetry I completely enjoyed reading the extracts from his journals and diaries. I especially loved the extract from On the Origin of Beauty: A Platonic Dialogue. It's mind altering.
I found this book quite by accident when I was visiting relatives. I bought my own copy as soon as I got home. This book saved me in my mid-twenties.
I love the way Hopkins puts words together in unexpected pairings. His word jumble is fascinating and great fun to read aloud.
Lee Ferron
4 stars isn't a critique of Hopkins (I love the guy), it simply reflects a desire for more Poems and less Prose.
Jan 07, 2010 Erik marked it as to-read
Included in the "Literary Classics" section of Fr. John McCloskey's 100-book Catholic Lifetime Reading Plan.
Markelle Grabo
Exceptionally unique poet. "Spring" has quickly become a favorite of mine.
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  • The Complete English Poems (Herbert, George)
  • The Complete Poems
  • The Complete Poems
  • The Complete Poems
  • The Complete English Poems
  • Paterson
  • Collected Poems, 1912-1944
  • The Complete Poems
  • Dover Beach and Other Poems
  • Collected Works
  • The Poems of St John of the Cross
  • The Metaphysical Poets (Penguin Classics)
  • The War Poems
  • The Complete Poetry
  • Selected Poetry
  • Selected Poems
  • Selected Poems
  • Opened Ground: Selected Poems, 1966-1996
Gerard Manley Hopkins was an English poet, Roman Catholic convert, and Jesuit priest, whose 20th-century fame established him posthumously among the leading Victorian poets. His experimental explorations in prosody (especially sprung rhythm) and his use of imagery established him as a daring innovator in a period of largely traditional verse.
More about Gerard Manley Hopkins...
The Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Major Works Hopkins: Poems (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets) God's Grandeur and Other Poems Mortal Beauty, God's Grace: Major Poems and Spiritual Writings of Gerard Manley Hopkins

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“The Windhover

To Christ our Lord

I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion. ”
“Nothing is so beautiful as Spring-
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

(From "Spring")”
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