Immortal Poems of the English Language
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Immortal Poems of the English Language

4.3 of 5 stars 4.30  ·  rating details  ·  551 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Immortal Poems
Here is the most inclusive anthology of verse ever published at so low a price. It contains not only the best-known works of the British and American masters but also the verse of the most brillant poets of our own day. Oscar Williams, who compiled Immortal Poems, was a distinguished editor and poet in his own right, of whom Robert Lowell wrote in the Sewan...more
Paperback, 624 pages
Published August 3rd 1983 by Pocket Books (first published 1952)
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Apr 16, 2007 Seema rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone and their mother
Shelves: alreadyread
If you like poetry, this is a brilliant collection. John Keats was well represented in this. It is a very inclusive and comprehensive anthology. But the volume is not too intimidating and I found myself easily lingering on a few poems for days, and then sifting through others within minutes, which is the beauty of an anthology -- not too daunting... when you're reading poetry, this makes for a great variety of writing styles and I never got bored. My only complaint is that Elizabeth Barret Brown...more
I thought the collection was very well done. So many epic poems, and with no notes in it you could take it in and try it figure it out yourself.
Some poets overrepresented, others underrepresented. A good collection, though.
Lisa (Harmonybites)
This is one of four poetry anthologies I own. I think I love my copy of A Book of Women Poets best, for it's international and historical focus--it opens with Enheduanna, a Sumerian Priestess who may be the earliest known name in written literature. But this book comes a close second, being perhaps the earliest book of poetry I ever bought. The focus of this book as the title suggests is the English Language. As stated in the cover, it includes "447 British and American Masterpieces by 150 Poets...more
There is a ton of stuff in here. I'm not a huge poetry buff, and reading this book straight through probably wasn't the best idea. That said, this has almost anything you could want, pre-20th century. (Except Lord Byron. One short poem?!? The Milton pages went on for days!) There are plenty of long poems, including the entirety of "Rime of the Ancient Mariner," plenty of Keats, Whitman, Dickinson, Shakespeare, etc. So, you're good for pre-1900's. After that, it's kind of limited in terms of vari...more
This has been an ongoing "Currently Reading" book in my collection since I owned the first, 1952 edition. Every now and them it falls to pieces and I get a new copy. Many of my favorite poems are in here, the ones I memorized in childhood to recite before dinner, the ones that comforted me during bad times in childhood, the ones Mama read when Father died. I read some of those same ones to my nephew when my mother died, and earlier this year, when my younger sister died suddenly, I chose poems t...more
Ben Popken
I feel like many of the poems weren't my favorite but I liked many of them as well. This book certainly helped me with my English assignment.

Seeing as it was compiled in 1952 (which I didn't realize until later) I shouldn't have expected more modern poetry. Nevertheless I was disappointed at it's lack of modern poetry.
I enjoy dabbling in poetry so this anthology of the "immortal poems" seemed appropriate for dabbling. However, I felt numerous poets were shortchanged in the book while others were far too represented (like poets I have never even heard of and it seems that was for good reason!). Elizabeth Barrett Browning only had ONE poem in the entire book, ONE. Ridiculous. There were quite a number of poems that I would never consider important to English language poetry nonetheless any good. There were also...more
Sep 14, 2009 Carrie marked it as reference
I am enjoying this book as something to browse through. It's a nice collection of poems by different writers. Some of the poems are long and complex, but a few are short and fun, such as:

Epigram (Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772-1839)
Sir, I admit your general rule,
That every poet is a fool,
But you yourself may serve to show it,
That every fool is not a poet.


The Golf Links (Sarah N Cleghorn, 1876-1959)
The golf links lie so near the mill
That almost every day
The laboring children can look out
And see...more
Martin Cerjan
My second poetry subway book since moving to NYC. Many of the old chestnuts are here, but some surprises. I was glad to revisit some familiar poems, but I was also glad to read some folks I had given short shrift to earlier. It helps getting older--at least in some respects. Pope. Tennyson. I believe it is good for me to read and re-read. I'm going to look for another anthology. And there was some bad stuff in here! But that's OK since work often distracts my mind during my commute and I cannot...more
I carried this book around the world in my backpack when I went to Japan as an exchange student in high school, and again when I travelled around the world, in college. It's a great book to have when traveling, with high literature-per-ounce value, and can be re-read many times. The collection favors older poems -- there's not much even from the earlier 20th century, but it's good for what it does.
This has been a long read. I have had this book for 2 years and Im still not through it. It a no joke hard corp collection of poems. For now I have a love hate relationship with it. Some of the poems are amazing and others exhist when I think they should have long ago went the way of all things. Unfortunately that probably means Im to stupid to understand them. So I cant just love this book.
If you like modern, experimental poetry, this book is not for you. These are the poems that my grandmother used to read to me when I was little, and I love the selection-- it has all of my classic favorites, and it's great to read a few before bed. I highly recommend it! My absolute favorites are The Day is Done and The Children's Hour, both by Longfellow.
It' s been my companion since I got it as a present from a very precious friend, when I was 18 years old. Since it's always with me , I keep coming back to it and reading reading, Keats and Milton as my favourite poets. But then again Thomas Hardy is also one of my favourite, mostly I can' t decide they are all part of my life reading.
Gregory Knapp
Still sporting the same cover for at least the last 40 years (how comforting, how rare) and published by Pocket Books, this compact book is still the best "Pocket Anthology" of English Poetry in print.

A Foundational book for any home library and the perfect size for traveling.

Blue Caeruleus
I skipped a whole bunch of poems in this anthology and nearly as many as I should have. As with most anthologies of poetry that I've read, for every entertaining or inspiring poem that was included here, there were a dozen boring and impenetrable ones.
Apr 10, 2010 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
Great book which I'm glad I own. I have loved it for a few years now and will go on to use it till I need to buy a new less worn copy. Tis a great introduction to so many poets. Very handy to take about with you to dip into when you please.
I have owned this book for years and years, and I love it as much today as I did when I purchased it! Full of the "famous" poems we all grew up with, this book also surprises the reader with some previously un-heard of poems. A wonderful collection!
Nicole Herzog
This is my second copy of this book! I have literally worn out the pages on the other to the extent that they are just sheets of paper floating. In all sincerity a fantastic gathering of poetry, one of the finest I've read.
I bought this for an undergrad class and have hung on to it since. Great anthology, especially for Brit lit fans like myself, and I still pick it up now and then and flip through the beautiful poems.
The grizzly bear is huge and wild;
He has devoured the infant child.
The infant child is not aware,
It has been eaten by the bear.

- A.E. Housman Page 487

Love it.
Apr 03, 2012 Reeses rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who enjoys poetry
Shelves: school
Honestly a great book. I enjoyed reading all the different authors and how so many authors had similar views on life even in different time periods.
Adrienne Stapleton
A nice anthology of poems from Shakespeare to William Carlos Williams. Has many of the standard favorites from Keats, Wordsworth, Frost, etc.
I will thumb through this anthology for the rest of my life. This book was our "hymnal" of our Dead Poets Society charter in high school.
I confess that poetry generally makes me yawn, but it is a nice collection of classic works that even I need to be familiar with.
Loved this book. I bought it second hand, and the pages have fallen apart on me from over use. I'll have to find a new one now.
I've had this book since I was in my early's dogged-eared, soft with age and use, and much loved. <3
Aug 17, 2008 Lisa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: classics
My favorite collection of the masters. My copy is covered in notes and creases from so much use.
David Jeffers
Love this compilation. Been reading sections out of it for years. Lots of years, too.
John Yelverton
This book was so amazing, that I read every single one and absorbed it all.
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