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Poems

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3.77  ·  Rating details ·  673 ratings  ·  56 reviews
"This is the best—the glorious best—of Lewis. For here, with the gemlike beauty and hardness that poetry alone can achieve, are his ideas about the nature of things that lay behind his writings."—Christianity Today

Known worldwide for his fiction and philosophical essays, C.S. Lewis was just as much a poet as a polemicist. From the age of fourteen, he wrote poetry on just as many subjects aswritings."—Christianity
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Paperback, 168 pages
Published November 4th 2002 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 1964)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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 ·  673 ratings  ·  56 reviews


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Douglas Wilson
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Read again for the fourth time, and finished in February of 2017.
Amy
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, c-s-lewis
I love the quote that introduces this book in the Goodreads description:
"This is the best—the glorious best—of Lewis. For here, with the gemlike beauty and hardness that poetry alone can achieve, are his ideas about the nature of things that lay behind his writings."—Christianity Today

I am not (typically) a big fan of poetry. Any poetry. I can't write it and I usually don't appreciate reading it.
But C.S. Lewis is different. I love his poetry. While some of these poems are tota
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An Idler
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the C.S. Lewis you don't know if you stop at Narnia and Mere Christianity.

This is Lewis the classicist, injured in love, wrestling with lust, mourning a loved one, dreaming of that Island from Pilgrim's Regress, telling mysterious fairy tales, fearing Satan (overmuch), captivated by Christ's beauty, pursuing virtue, carrying the torch of the Romantics, defending antiquarianism, and so on.

Rich and worthy of another read. Like his other books, the pages seem to cont
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Marguerite Harrell
May 28, 2012 rated it liked it
I am reading this book but not in this edition though. It is a very old book without the ISBN number on the back or in the copyright page.

I just finish this book today at the doctor's office. It is Poems by C.S. Lewis. I am not used to read poems though. Some does makes sense and some does make me scratching my head. I found one of the best in his book.

The Nativity

Among the oxen (like an ox I'm slow)
I see a glory in the stable grow
Which, with the ox's dullnes
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Matt
Sep 24, 2014 rated it did not like it
Do you like C.S. Lewis? Like have an unhealthy obsession with him? Like "I'm a recent seminary graduate clinging desperately to comfortable certainty" obsession? Then sure, read this, why not. No one will ever be able to convince you it's not genius.

Do you like poetry? Like, any poetic writing from Beowulf to Tracy K. Smith, Percy Bysse Shelley to Shel Silverstein? PUT THIS BOOK DOWN AND NEVER COME BACK. You're not doing yourself any favors.
Ben Zornes
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Lewis always aspired to be a poet. This was really his first literary love, and although he is far more well-known for his prose works, his passion for poetry shaped the way in which he wrote everything he did.

In this collection of his poems you get a first hand taste of his labors to master the skill of poetry. At points he shines with skill, at others he doesn't scan as masterfully. Sometimes he selects a wonderful theme to gloss upon, and other themes should have simply been passe
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Hope
Nov 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity, poetry
This is quite a mixed bag. Some of the poems are very good. Many of the others were collected by Lewis' secretary, Walter Hooper, and published after Lewis' death. They show clearly that poetry was a hobby for Lewis and not one of his strengths. This does not in any way devaluate his many other contributions to literature.

Worth wading through for the occasional gold nuggets.
Jake McAtee
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I came to this book skeptical and left pretty humbled. These are fantastic.

A few favorites:
- A confession
- The Adam Unparadised
- The Turn of the Tide
- Forbidden Pleasure
- Evensong
elle
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish
this was some good shit. i especially liked le roi s'amuse (jove laughed/and his laughter into lightning brightness broke). i dug how lewis followed the old greek way of personifying nature in a very Specific, Dramatic Way. i also loved the poems he wrote about the death of joy gresham; made me tear up. there were some pretty terrible poems thrown in there though so i had to knock off a star. but when lewis shone, he shone.
Mia Parviainen
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I don't often gravitate towards reading poetry. I picked up this particular book because I've read quite a few books by CS Lewis, saw this in a used bookstore, and decided to give it a whirl. I have mixed feelings about the book, partly due to the style and partly due to the format.

Walter Hooper curated this collection, dividing the poems up thematically into five sections: The Hidden Country, The Backward Glance, A Larger World, Further Up & Further In, and A Farewell to Shadow-Lands. Hoop
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Josh Bauder
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
These are the themes of Lewis's poems, compiled here by the ever-judicious Walter Hooper: Planets. Classical mythology. Desire for the numinous Island. Nature. Creature comforts. Cancerous modernism. Prayer.

Mythology and Desire

The first third of the compilation is overwhelmingly devoted to classical subjects, especially the planets and the gods they symbolize. Why such an emphasis? Because, to Lewis, "mythology was valuable not because monsters and fairies are literally true, but because the/>Mythology
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J.E.
Mar 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
It was not until recently that I found Lewis had written poetry. Being not as well known for it, I did not expect it to be any kind of masterwork, and that was all one needs to remember to enjoy this. The poetry is still very good, but even more enjoyable. There are three things that really stand out to me:

1-Variety: Lewis writes his poetry on many different topics. From mythology to science and religion to philosophy. It was nice to find it well balanced enough that even though ther
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Marshall A Lewis
I was unaware until this past year that Lewis has written poetry and unaware until I'd read the introduction to this book that Lewis wanted to be remembered predominantly as a poet. Having read his poetry, I unfortunately will not be fulfilling that wish. I have read most of Lewis' fiction and a number of his non-fiction apologetical and philosophical works and I'm convinced there are two things Lewis succeeds at above all else. In his fiction I am most impressed with his descriptions of charact ...more
K.
Aug 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Noah's lazy sons, tired of working all day, turned away a special visitor:
'Oh noble and unmated beast, my sons were all unkind;
In such a night what stable and manager will you find?

'Oh golden hoofs, oh cataracts of mane, oh nostrils wide
With indignation! Oh the neck wave-arched, the lovely pride!

'Oh long shall be the furrows ploughed across the hearts of men
Before it comes to stable and manger once again,

'And dark and crooked all the ways in
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Keith Beasley-Topliffe
Uneven but worth a look

I have been a fan of C S Lewis for close to 50 years and read most of his fiction and theological works long ago with many rereadings. Somehow I missed this collection of poetry published in 1964, shortly after his death. Some seems like exercises in meter, internal rhyme and other technique, some is humorous, some feels like part of a conversation where I don't know the other part. (Annotation might be helpful.) But there are some that shine forth, particularly some abou
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Ben Moore
C.S. Lewis apparently always thought of himself as a poet first and an author second. I disagree with his judgement. This collection contains some beautiful work. Much of it is deeply personal and thoughtful and incredibly moving to read. However, he has a tendency to disappear into (what are these days) obscure classical references and strange meters.

I move more in the world of spoken word so I am perhaps not in a position to truly comment on the quality of Lewis’s poetry. However, I’ve enjoye
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Holly
May 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While reading these poems was a great reminder that I am not as well-read as I should be, those I was literate enough to understand were thrilling. The poems about Joy made me cry and the poetry about prayer had me shouting, "Amen!"

I wish he had written an entire poetry book "written by" dragons.
Jacob Stevens
This shows a different side to the C.S. Lewis that we know from Narnia and his apologetic works. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of poetry but I finished with an appreciation of his work. I especially appreciated that he was a lover of the older, more structured forms of poetry and didn’t engage in much free verse.
Tamara Murphy
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it
At Christmas, my sister gave me an earlier edition of this book she'd found at a thrift store. I may need to purchase the new version just for that fabulous cover art. I hadn't read much Lewis' poetry before, and am not surprised that I really like it.
Elizabeth Bostelman
A lovely collection of poems! Some thought provoking; some just fun! Take a few hours and get lost in some poetry!
Noah Nevils
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Some gems in here, some that didn't work for me,
and probably a majority that I did not understand well
enough to appreciate as they deserve.
Kris Lundgaard
Nov 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
A life-long favorite's heart in verse: How could I not like it?
Dwlejcg
Definitely some five star moments.
Nick Jones
More like 3.5 stars.
Some: excellent, fantastic, great.
Others: eh.

The second half is better than the first.
I have a feeling I'll keep returning to it.
Mandy
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lewis is not the greatest poet but there is still great beauty in many of his verses.
Dan'l Danehy-oakes
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read over a period of several months, so as not to potatochip them, these poems form a nice constellation of Lewis's thought. There are light poems and heavy, rhymed and un-. Some of them use unusual forms (internal rhyme schemes, alliterative verse); others are straightforward sonnets and such.

The first section ("The Hidden Country") deals with light and often fantastical matters. Here we find the "Narnian Suite," along with many others. Then comes "The Backward Glance," a set of po
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Hannah Givens
Aug 13, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion, poetry
This book is Walter Hooper’s collection of various C.S. Lewis poems written throughout his life. The poetry here is so much better than the poetry in Dymer! Maybe because Lewis never intended most of them to be published, they have a beautifully relaxed quality. They seem like poems that naturally popped into his head, rather than words he strained to generate. (Of course, that also means some of them feel slightly unfinished). They have a splendid variety of forms, styles, and subjects. As with ...more
J. Alfred
Feb 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Since I read some of Lewis's early poems, I've been saying that he's an indifferent poet at best, probably because it's nice to be able to feel a little bit patronizing even to those we admire intensely. It turns out that Lewis, who published a considerable bit of short pieces during his life under a pseudonym, is up there with the best of the also-rans of the last century (think of guys like Delmore Schwartz and John Ciardi)-- he's not on a level with the great ones, but there are certainly lin ...more
Robin
Sep 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite poems, in order of best first, were "The Dragon Speaks," then "The Prudent Jailor." I also liked "The Magician and the Dryad," and many more. Apparently, this collection includes poems from different points in Lewis' spiritual development, and it wasn't always clear when in his life he wrote each one. I found his other dragon poem, the one about eating the dragon's hot, living heart, disturbing, especially in the context of the book it was included in, Pilgrim's Regress. I liked "The ...more
Teri
Oct 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
CS Lewis, it seems, was better at appreciating poetry than writing it, but given his skills this is no insult. There are some gems in this book.

What I found most enjoyable was the insight into the mind and experience of Lewis. As poetry should, these little morsels reveal intimate details of how Lewis understood life - from the faerie world and literature of the Ancients to his own memories and fears.

I will be savoring it for a while.
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Clive Staples Lewis 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 at
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“All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through:
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.

Peace, re-assurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin:
I talk of love --a scholar's parrot may talk Greek--
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.

Only that now you have taught me (but how late) my lack.
I see the chasm. And everything you are was making
My heart into a bridge by which I might get back
From exile, and grow man. And now the bridge is breaking.

For this I bless you as the ruin falls. The pains
You give me are more precious than all other gains.”
36 likes
“All things (e.g. a camel's journey through
A needle's eye) are possible, it's true.
But picture how the camel feels, squeezed out
In one long bloody thread, from tail to snout.”
5 likes
More quotes…