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Narrative Poems

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  126 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
“You stranger, long before your glance can light
Upon these words, time will have washed away
The moment when I first took pen to write . . .”

An essayist, novelist, and poet, C.S. Lewis combines all of his talents in Narrative Poems. Even when composing his prose works, such as his autobiography Surprised by Joy, Lewis wrote his first drafts in verse, so highly did he think
Paperback, 192 pages
Published December 23rd 2002 by Mariner Books (first published 1969)
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Bryn Hammond
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Predictably, I liked his Launcelot fragment most (from the Grail quest). The Queen of Drum, written before 1938, was notable for the takeover of a medieval kingdom by a fascist (called 'Führer' and 'Duce'), which put me in mind of TH White's Arthurian-with-added-WWII. Come to that, Lewis has scattered a few epic similes from the WWI front, in his fantasy settings. The Nameless Isle was medieval-styled in alliterative verse, however was like an exercise. Dymer, 80 of these pages, was a bit abstra ...more
Sarah Harrison
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved Lewis's work and I do love this book. The only reason I gave it four stars was because some of the stories were not my personal style. I do love his way of writing though 😄
Tommy Grooms
Dec 01, 2015 rated it liked it
I was least impressed by "Dymer" (the only poem in this volume published in Lewis' lifetime), though it is valuable in terms of showing Lewis' spiritual development and self-exorcism of his "Christina dreams." "Launcelot" begins promisingly, but suffers a good deal from being incomplete. "The Nameless Isle" is fun for having some precursors of the ending of Perelandra and Narnia's White Witch. Easily the most entertaining poem is "The Queen of Drum," managing to be clever, theological/political, ...more
Hannah Givens
Aug 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
The poetry in Dymer isn't very good, which is funny since it's the one Lewis actually published. More on that here:

The other three poems in this collection are actually quite good, and this would be a good resource for a lot of analytical writing, especially "The Queen of Drum" for Lewis and women. More on that here:
J. Alfred
Aug 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Dymer is really good! Who knew? The other pieces in here are okay as well. Lewis as a narrative poet stays close to the Romantic tradition but has more cutting, modern lines that stay closer to the spoken English of our day than one is used to in the genre. If people ever start considering different types of poetry again, this one might experience a flowering. We're getting pretty close to a hundred years after its initial publication, so that would be a pretty impressive feat.
Stephanie Ricker
Aug 24, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry, c-s-lewis
Lewis actually wrote a narrative poem backed on Wagner's Ring Cycle when he was 15? *shakes head* Marry me, Clive Staples.

Sadly, ultimately the narrative poetry by Lewis, while good, was nowhere near as good as his prose. It's somewhat reassuring that not even Lewis can do everything well, I suppose.
Jul 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I adored/loved this book. The narrative poems are wonderful narratives and c.s.lewis knowd how to use words so that even what is meant to be tragic is beautiful.
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dymer was very hard to read but I loved the other three! I'd like to try Dymer again, slower, and re-reading the into too.
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
All four poems are good, but "The Queen of Drum" is the one I want to go back and read again and again.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

CLIVE STAPLES LEWIS (1898–1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954. He was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature
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