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John Donne's Poetry

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  7,592 ratings  ·  80 reviews
The texts reprinted in this new Norton Critical Edition have been scrupulously edited and are from the Westmoreland manuscript where possible, collated against the most important families of Donne manuscripts the Cambridge Belam, the Dublin Trinity, and the O Flahertie and compared with all seven seventeenth-century printed editions of the poems as well as all major twenti ...more
Paperback, Critical Edition, 464 pages
Published November 19th 2006 by W.W. Norton (first published 1631)
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4.11  · 
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 ·  7,592 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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J.G. Keely
Jun 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, poetry
What is it that infects the iconoclasts? What is it unrelenting that they cannot be the same?

John Donne was a colossus, straddling the channel. To be born English and Catholic meant he never had a unified identity. Sometimes it troubled him, but to be no one man became his greatest gift. Most people are never forced to look beyond their place and their lives. That place itself may be challenged, and success is never assured, but to strive to become someone out of being so strongly no-one is anot
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Jan 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Let me start by saying I enjoyed John Donne’s Holy Sonnets as much as his sexy romps, and I hope to discuss both (as well as the less interesting verse letters and songs) with equal fervency and attention, but for now I want to talk just about the sexy romps.

Mostly, Donne is a hoot, a dirty dawg. In Elegy 4, the narrator decides he will be more moral by refusing sex with a married woman in her husband’s bed and instead – here’s a great improvement – finding a different bed in a different house i
Nov 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Jack the Rake's poems get me hotter than the kitchen oven, but then I turn to the end of the book and I'm broken, blown (?!) burned, and made new again by some serious holiness.
Mar 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
by John Donne

SWEETEST love, I do not go,
For weariness of thee,
Nor in hope the world can show
A fitter love for me ;
But since that I
At the last must part, 'tis best,
Thus to use myself in jest
By feigned deaths to die.

Yesternight the sun went hence,
And yet is here to-day ;
He hath no desire nor sense,
Nor half so short a way ;
Then fear not me,
But believe that I shall make
Speedier journeys, since I take
More wings and spurs than he.

O how feeble is man's power,
That if good fortune fall,
Michael Finocchiaro
I read these poems in high school and had a really, really hard time with them. I honestly have never gone back to them but perhaps I should. I guess if I read Milton's Paradise Lost/Gained, I will also reread Donne who was roughly his contemporary. I do recall him being highly quotable though:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.... Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in Mankind; and therefore never send to know for...

Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read eleven poems, plus the 16 sonnet sequence "Holy Sonnets" for my bookclub.

I thought "To His Mistress" was quite sensual. Could you imagine having all of that stuff to take off—girdle, breastplate, busk (corset), gown, coronet, shoes. He says “unpin” and “Unlace yourself.” I’m so glad I don’t have to go through all that to get undressed each night.

In "Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" I really liked the analogy of the compass for a married couple. John Donne wrote this to his wife as he wa
Lynn Beyrouthy
Nov 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Had to read some of Donne's poems for the literature class I'm taking this semester, we also had to read Shakespeare and I think I enjoyed this more (yeah I know, shocking)

Here's a poem that I'll be reading to the first person that I fall in love with:

The Good-Morrow.

I wonder by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?
‘Twas so; but this, all pleasures’ fancies be;
If ever any
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I had to read this book for my university course on John Donne and although poetry is definitely not my favourite genre, I liked this collection.
Having also studied the author’s life and his way of writing, made me appreciate it even more.
What really got to me, was the new and different way he wrote women. He didn’t idealise her the same way the Petrarchan poets did. Sure, everything she did was based on his actions and his perception of her and she was never given a voice...
Still... progress?
Jun 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Commentary on The Ecstasy:

There is often sufficient paradox and complexity in the poems of John Donne that he leaves his readers perplexed. That is no more true in his lyrics than of "The Ecstasy". One of his best known verses, this can be read as a representation of an artful young seducer; but my background and our class discussion suggests a more serious interpretation. My view is based in the classical philosophy of Plato and his poetic and philosophic, many-faceted, stories of the nature of
Read #1
Started on July 9, 2012
Finished on July 11, 2012

Didn't read all of his poetry, but my English class this summer went through a bunch of Donne's stuff and I have to say, he was my one of my favorite poets out of the ones we studied.

Holy Sonnet X was probably the one I enjoyed most:

"Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, whi
Oct 19, 2016 added it
Shelves: poetry
It's hard to rate a collection of poetry. There were a few poems that I really enjoyed (Air and Angels, The Canonization, The First Anniversary: An Anatomy of the World) and others that I found less impressive (The Flea, The Apparition, The Ecstasy). I think the good certainly outweighs the bad, in Donne's case.

The Metaphysical poets are incredibly difficult to decipher without proper context, although the feats of language are impressive regardless of your level of familiarization with 17th ce
Sep 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
One of the many reasons I took the British Literature Class. I love his poetry. Anything that gives me a reason to read something I enjoy while slogging through school work is a plus in my book. Most people are familiar with "Death be not Proud", "For Whom the Bell Tolls", and "No Man is an Island. The rest of his poems are just as well written and if you like the famous ones you will more than likely enjoy the rest.
Feb 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: oh-the-humanity
I got the Norton assuming there would be ample critical material along with the works themselves, and yeah, there is. Much of it is not very interesting. A better biographical sketch (i.e. not the one by Izaak Walton) would have been welcome, and as interesting as it is to read criticism from two hundred years ago, I'd have liked some more modern stuff. Nicely printed and (thank God) modernised spellings.
Mark Desrosiers
Oct 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
One of the greatest and weirdest poets in English. He was a dirty tomcat trickster at his best, and even his metaphysical "conceits" or whatever were pretty comical (cf. for example "The Flea" to prove both points). Simultaneously dirty and sublime, how often do you come across that?

Also, he commissioned a painting of what he would probably look like when he rises in the apocalypse, so keep your eyes peeled.
Mar 03, 2017 marked it as special-attention
"STAY, O sweet and do not rise!
The light that shines comes from thine eyes;
The day breaks not: it is my heart,
Because that you and I must part.
Stay! or else my joys will die
And perish in their infancy."

"Now thou hast loved me one whole day,
Tomorrow when thou leav'st, what wilt thou say?
Wilt thou then antedate some new-made vow?
Or say that now
We are not just those persons which we were?"
Jun 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Read 2nd edition at Bob Jones University in a 2007 summer school course with Dr. Bruce Rose.

Read 3rd edition at Baylor University in a 2013 summer school course with Dr. Robert Ray (finished around June 14, 2013). Read the Songs and Sonnets and the Divine Poems and a few other things (very little criticism).
Aug 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Donne was the man who made me realize the worth of poetry. In twelfth grade, I read "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" and didn't get it at all. But I didn't give up, and once I finally "got" it I realized how powerfully his words had affected me - over centuries.
Sian Taylor
Amazing, amazing. Loved these when studying them for A level English...'Busy old fool, unruly sunne, why dost thou thus thru windows and thru curtains call on us'...not bad recall after 20 years, so he must have made an impression.
Ahmet Uçar
I like his holy sonnets. Especially the one about death, though its illusory and incomparably unrealistic when compared to The Death of Ivan Illich. When you put the two together, you get the impression that you are reading Songs of Innocence(holy sonnet) and Experience (Ivan Illich)
Sep 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Apart from Donne being one of the most complicated, intelligent, and sophisticated metaphysical poet, I find his violent experience of faith and religious attractive for comparison with his courtship of women in the elegies.
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The flea....perfection. Maybe that's cliche, but it's one of my all time favorites. Analyzing great poems is one of my favorite things in the world...this is a great poem with so much to give, but I like his poetry after his wife died and he became a clergyman just as well.
Natalie Clark
Nov 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of poetry
Recommended to Natalie by: University of St Andrews School of English
An insightful collection of Donne's works; I was glad of the critical essays at the back that accompany the Norton editions of such texts. The modernised spelling does make the poems easier to read, although personally I would prefer to read the originals. Nonetheless, a handy edition.
Aug 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Donne is considered a metaphysical poet, and he inhabits that title masterfully. Sometimes bawdy, sometimes brilliant, Donne combines the physical with the spiritual in such a manner as to transcend the confines of common poetics.
Patrick B
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
His Holy Sonnets are amazing, and classic for anyone whose heard of John Donne, but his other works are greatly over looked. A man who respects religion, but seeks his own path to the truth, as evidenced in his poetry. Beautiful poetry
Apr 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Donne's poetry is wonderfully and subtley erotic (this guy had quite an imagination for a priest :)...his love poems are clever and witty (The Flea...The Canonization) and his spiritual poems are passionate and painful (Batter My Heart, Three-Person'd God).
Linda Orvis
Mar 31, 2011 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the love sonnets and poetry especially. This edition could have ventured into the poet's life and given some of his pertinent background.
Eric Zimmerman
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Donne is a bad motherfucker, and I think pretty accessible.
Jul 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: high-school
I read this most of this; Theology English 12, 2nd semester, 3rd quarter.
Mar 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Patricia by: Sandy Widener
My college favorite! What a guy. I am going to go read a few of these right now.
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John Donne was an English poet, preacher and a major representative of the metaphysical poets of the period. His works are notable for their realistic and sensual style and include sonnets, love poetry, religious poems, Latin translations, epigrams, elegies, songs, satires and sermons. His poetry is noted for its vibrancy of language and inventiveness of metaphor, especially as compared to that of ...more
“That thou remember them, some claim as debt; I think it mercy, if thou wilt forget.” 15 likes
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