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Poems

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3.80  ·  Rating details ·  730 ratings  ·  64 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 a
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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 3.80  · 
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 ·  730 ratings  ·  64 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.
Justin Wiggins
Mar 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Today I finshed this incredible volume of poems by C.S.Lewis that is edited by Walter Hooper. It was a fascinating read. My favorite particular poem from the volume is called "Prayer." It conveys the terrible fear that prayer is wishful thinking, but ends with an affirmation that it is a mysterious dialogue with The Great Artist who loves humanity with an agape love, and that refuses some prayers and grants some prayers, beyond our finite human comprehension.
I respect and love people who don't b
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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 contain his personality. Clo
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Whitney
Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, poetry
Lewis is one of my favorite authors, but this book of poetry was a little difficult to get through. Most of the poems are on Greek mythology or classic literature, and if one doesn't have a good knowledge of those topics, one might be completely lost (like I was!). I skimmed several, but towards the end are his more personal poems, ones that stopped me flipping pages and kept me thinking for long after I finished them. If you're a big Lewis fan, too, you'll enjoy seeing a different side of his w ...more
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 totally over my head,
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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 dullness might at length
Give me an ox's st
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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 passed over. Poet
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G.M. Burrow
Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I’d probably get more out of these at a slower pace and with some commentary, but I vastly prefer Lewis’s prose.
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. Hooper i
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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 there are a coup
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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.
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
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 they ar
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elise
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Zack Mollhagen
Sep 21, 2012 rated it liked it
While I'm one of the largest C.S. Lewis advocates you will ever meet, even I have to admit his poesy leaves something to be desired. He wasn't the greatest poet, but, you an tell he had fun writing it.
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 which our race shall walk,
And shrivelled all their ma
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Carol
Jul 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had no idea C.S. Lewis wrote poetry.

I knew he wrote fiction and Christian apologetics and nonfiction... though I feel I shouldn't be surprised. I was just so damn excited when I found it at my local used bookstore.

I also feel I really shouldn't be surprised that while I have no favorite authors - I like too many too well to have a favorite - so easily I discover that C.S. Lewis is by far my favorite poet.

The man who arranged the poems used a similar format Lewis did himself in Pilgrim's Regres
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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
Feb 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
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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Gabriel Jones
Apr 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Several wonderful poems in this book, coming from someone who really doesn’t get poetry a lot of the time. I did feel like the first half of the book had more memorable poems than the second half, but there were some gems in the second half as well. Well worth a read, whether you enjoy poetry or not. It should probably be noted that a basic understanding of Greek/Roman mythology will benefit you through some of the poems, but I found I could appreciate and enjoy them still even without knowing a ...more
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.
Judine Brey
Jul 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
I wanted to love this book because I love so much of what Lewis writes. That said, his poems were hard to get into, and I think I would have appreciated this book more if I had a hard copy where I could mark and reread, but a lot of them didn't really stay with me. It's safe to say he's a better novelist than a poet.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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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 Cambridge
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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.”
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“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.”
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