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Ten Poems to Change Your Life

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  758 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
This is a dangerous book. Great poetry calls into question not less than everything. It dares us to break free from the safe strategies of the cautious mind. It opens us to pain and joy and delight. It amazes, startles, pierces, and transforms us. It can lead to communion and grace.

Through the voices of ten inspiring poets and his own reflections, the author of Sacred Amer
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published June 26th 2001 by Harmony
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Aug 17, 2009 Rochelle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People with sleeping problems
Recommended to Rochelle by: Book Club
Shelves: bookclub, read-2009
Got Insomnia? Try this book!

The ten poems, while they didn't change my life rather than waste a bit of time that I can't get back, aren't too bad. I figured even though I wasn't a huge fan of poetry I could knock off 10 poems. It was Housden's wacky dissection of each poem that bored me to death. I decided to just stick to reading the poems after I had read 2 of his regurgitation of the poems, and that was enough!
Jeff Shelnutt
Sep 27, 2016 Jeff Shelnutt rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I think Housden did a nice job with his picks of what he feels are momentous poems. Another title could have been "Ten Poems to Cause You to Think About Life in Ways You Haven't Before." Of course, this would be ridiculously wordy and not be nearly as marketable as the title it currently possesses.

Most of this book is the author's commentary on the poems he chose. I know some people would prefer not to receive any influence as to how they should interpret a poem, but I personally gleaned helpful
Linette Allen
Jun 01, 2016 Linette Allen rated it liked it
A nice read by the fire, with tea.
Thomas Holbrook
May 31, 2015 Thomas Holbrook rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, poetry
The adage, “when the student is ready, the Teacher will appear,” fits with my reading this book. I studied Poetry while in college as it was part of the curriculum for my English Major, but that genre of Literature never took root within me. The talks of “meter,” “Iambic Pentameter,” directions of “don’t read poems in cadence,” “free verse vs rhyming verse” were the conversation of a craft the tools of which I could not locate. There seemed to be something I was missing that would turn Poetry f ...more
Jan 06, 2008 Marie rated it it was amazing
this was a fabulous little book i read a few years ago that made me fall in love with poetry, all over again. every poem included here carries with it a powerful message of love, faith, loss, recovery, adventure, reflection and gratitude...and i really enjoyed reading roger housden's commentary on each of the poems. since there are only ten pieces in the entire book, my suggestion would be to read one poem per day and letting the themes of the piece marinate with you for a while. i'd also sugges ...more
Sigrun Hodne
May 07, 2016 Sigrun Hodne rated it liked it
not exactly life changing ...
Iris van Krimpen
Dec 21, 2016 Iris van Krimpen rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2016
1 star. Oh my. This was a bad one. I've had this book since 2008, my college semester in the USA (a professor recommended it), and I always expected it to move me a bit since those classes were great. Well, to be truthful, the book did move me but nog in a good way. What a dull book and the author just kept whining on by the lack of a better word for it. Let's just keep it at that for the authors analysis of the poems. I also hoped to be introduced to some amazing poetry, which could be a start ...more
Pam Dise-Moran
Dec 31, 2016 Pam Dise-Moran rated it really liked it
Many poems I've loved - nice to immerse in a "discussion" on paper - I miss the days of digging deep & analyzing for inspiration... nice to stop & feel the words
Jan 08, 2017 Stacie rated it liked it
I would love to rate this 3.5 stars. I adored about 60% of this book, but skipped through other parts.
Oct 13, 2016 Sherry rated it liked it
I wanted to re-read Whitman's "Song of Myself," which is in this book. I gave short shift to the spiritual stuff but enjoyed the poems and his deconstruction of them. I will get a book from his suggested readings, "How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry" by Edward Hirsch.
Sep 25, 2016 Vinay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are some real gems in there and the supporting narrative is great.
Jan 05, 2016 Barbara rated it it was ok
The poetry selections themselves are the only reason this gets two stars. They are not the ones I would pick for the "change your life" award, but for the most part, they're good poetry.
Roger Housden's commentary, however, is just irritating. Rather than poetry being a revelation of some universal truth which, in the process of conforming to, has the effect of changing your life, Housden's constant projection of his own experiences onto the poetry just seem to be using the poetry to mean whatev
Barbara M
Aug 12, 2014 Barbara M rated it it was amazing
This is an interesting and thought provoking group of poems selected as "life changing." I very much enjoyed the poems, as well as, the author's commentary about each poem. His comments added to my enjoyment of reading the collection.

I was struck by the timeless quality of some of the poems included in the selection. One of the poems I particularly enjoyed was written in the 1200s. It was relevant to me today!

This book was read and discussed by my book club. We each selected a peom that touched
Phil Mayes
May 19, 2016 Phil Mayes rated it it was amazing
My whole life I have been entranced with science and logic, and had a very satisfying career programming computers. At the same time, the speechless purity of Zen spoke to me, but was often drowned out by rational argument.
I never understood poetry. But then I discovered Roger Housden. He takes poems that write of the ineffable and unpacks their message with commentary that shows a true understanding. For instance, of Rumi he writes:
"[our own true story] is the essence of who we are. We can only
May 02, 2016 Banbury rated it did not like it
This is a terrible book. It actually rates less than a star. The commentary provides too much personal (and disconcertingly jejune) information that cannot be of interest to anyone other than the author and his apparently odd wife. His discussion of the poems sounds like a mawkish college freshman at three o'clock in the morning after having taken many bong hits discussing how each grain of sand could be its own universe.
One also has to ask whether there was an editor. On page 41, it is clear t
Nov 11, 2008 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
What a great, great book. Better than any self-help book, this set of poems reminds you of the beauty, of the power, of the wonder, and of the reality of life and love. From the Introduction, through each poem and its related essay discussing the poem, all the way through the Epilogue, just a fantastic look at life. As Housden suggests, reading these poems every morning is not out of the realm of possibility. If I can be allowed to quote from his Epilogue: "Above all, they weave in and out of th ...more
May 07, 2015 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Perfect timing for the reading of this book. I will keep it handy, especially at work, when I forget to lift my head above the daily routine. It reminded me of the exact souvenir I wanted to bring back from vacation:
"Wake up and Love! The kindness of these poems -- and the kindness of this injunction -- lies in the acknowledgement that our journey happens a moment at a time; and in the end, all shall be well, whatever comes around the bend in the road. It is not as if there is some ultimate cond
Mark Thomas
Aug 24, 2015 Mark Thomas rated it really liked it
Very good book. The poems chosen are very worth while reading...a wonderful assortment of thought provoking poetry.

The author analyzes each poem in a way that is definitely "value added" his insights help to add to the poet's words and thoughts...

...however, reader be warned. Mr. Housden definitely speaks Northern Californian. Having lived in No Cal for 43 years his writing makes great sense to me. For those not from here, let me describe it as saying it is of a "universalist" theology. Have you
Mar 10, 2012 Donna rated it it was ok
I know, why did I even pick this up in the first place? Well, I do happen to love poetry, and it was loaned to me by a member of my writing/art group (HAW). You see, we write stream of conscious for a period of time from prompts derived from poetry, meditation and, sometimes, the air. My problems with this book were simple: One, I often do not follow the prompt and my writing digresses into so much tangential bullshit and Two, I didn't much like being told how to think, interpret or feel about a ...more
Feb 28, 2016 Anne rated it it was amazing
I first read this book in 2013 and quickly consumed all the "Ten Poems" books in the series. I am a dunce when it comes to interpreting poetry so I am very happy to have help an that is what Housden does. He gives ideas and thoughts on interpretations and brings in snippets of other poems, not featured, to make his point.

I am still a beginner at understanding poetry but since reading his series of books I can actually read other poems, without interpretations, and make a bit of sense of them. B
Oct 09, 2011 Petie rated it it was amazing
Not being in school anymore, I've discovered I love anthologies as a great way to find writers I might not have otherwise and Housden does not disappoint with his selection and discussion. Will definitely be checking out his other books. Some of these poems arrest you and demand half an hour's thought before you've realized what's happened, or that you've reread the poem a dozen times and loved it more each time. Would be a fantastic add-on gift or stocking stuffer. Seriously...what can I write ...more
Apr 30, 2016 Tim rated it really liked it
A delightful selection of poems, from the encouraging (Antonio Machado's "Last Night As I Was Sleeping" & Mary Oliver's "The Journey"), to the boisterous and earthy (Walt Whitman), to the mystical (Rumi), to the erotic (Galway Kinnell's "Last Gods"), to the poetic dimensions of everyday life (Pablo Neruda's "Ode to my Socks"). Roger Housden's commentaries are also inspiring, insightful and lyrical. I'm glad I read it during the spring, but truth be told, Housden's book is a good read for all ...more
Hazel Elizabeth
Dec 30, 2010 Hazel Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
If I had to choose a series of books as my all time favorite, it would be Roger Housden's Ten Poems to....
I've discovered my all time favorite poet (Naomi Shihab Nye) because of these books! He chooses the most exquisite, sublime, challenging and inspiring poetry, and his commentaries are superb, analysis that truely gets into the marrow of a poem. This is the perfect series, the perfect gift - boxed set of Roger Housden's Ten Poems... will be life-changing (and I don't use that word lightly.)

Sep 08, 2008 King rated it really liked it
Not a real fan of poetry but I found these handful to be very good. I remember reading them for the first time, the clouds were stretched gray from east to west pelting the earth with its tears... I remember whilst I read, the sensation of awe enveloped me. To say the least, I found respect and appreciation for this form of literary art.

I especially liked Mary Oliver's "The Journey" and Rumi's "Zero Circle." Excerpts from Whitman was swell as swell.
Katrina Sark
May 15, 2014 Katrina Sark rated it really liked it
"Sweet Honey from Old Failures – There is another life, he says, our true one; and it is here, just below our skin and eyelids. Sometimes we can come awake to it in our night dreams. We spend most of our days immersed in the stories we take to be the stuff of our lives. Tale after tale of gain and loss consumes our attention for decades, often a lifetime. And then all of a sudden it is over." (p.23)
Mar 13, 2013 Kathryn rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, 2013
This book probably should be rated a five, but I am so new to reading poetry I just didn't get the majority of them. Roger Housden does an incredible job at walking through each poem with immense ability to help understand them and their authors, but I still struggled. My favorite by far was The Journey by Mary Oliver. Her poetry resonates with me to my core.
Rita Schmitz
May 09, 2008 Rita Schmitz rated it liked it
I love to read poetry but wonder sometimes if what I think the poet is saying is way off track from what the poet was trying to expres. Ten Poems was fun for me to read because after I read and thought about the poem, I could read the author's reflections and his insight of what the poet was saying. Even those these chosen poems weren't my favorites, this book was still an enjoyable and thought provoking read.
Sep 09, 2016 trina rated it liked it
Shelves: la-poesía
i received this as gift from someone who did not know me very well, but never got around to reading it til now. there are some excellent poems included here, even from poets i'd never heard of before, though i could do without the excessive commentary (and pretty much all commentary is excessive when it comes to poetry) from the editor. poetry, for me, is an intuitive thing, and speaks for itself more often than not.
Kristin Lyon
Sep 02, 2015 Kristin Lyon rated it it was ok
Don't let the star rating fool you. I really did enjoy the poems. I've quoted them, made copies and gifted them to friends, doodled them on my notebook... But man. The author dissects each poem afterward and that drives me batty. Brings me right back to class when the teacher felt one thing, but I felt another. How do we really know what the author was thinking? I'll keep this book around, and maybe even write my own version, what I feel from the poems...
Apr 12, 2012 Lizburke rated it it was amazing
ten poems to change your life by Roger Housden. From the cover: Through the voices of ten inspiring poets and his own reflections, the author shows how poetry illuminates the eternal feelings and desires that stir the human heart and soul. Housden offers glimpses into his personal spiritual journey and invites readers to contemplate the significance of th poet's message in their own lives.
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Roger Housden is the author of some twenty books of non fiction, including the best selling Ten Poems series. His new book, SAVED BY BEAUTY: ADVENTURES OF AN AMERICAN ROMANTIC IN IRAN, comes out on May 17 2011 with Broadway Books.
More about Roger Housden...

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