Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Nation's Favourite Poems: Book 1” as Want to Read:
The Nation's Favourite Poems: Book 1
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Nation's Favourite Poems: Book 1

(The Nation's Favourite Poems)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  733 ratings  ·  56 reviews
In a nationwide poll to discover Britain's favourite poem, Rudyard Kipling's 'If...' was voted number one. This unique anthology brings together the results of the poll in a collection of the nation's 100 best loved poems. Among the selection are popular classics such as Tennyson's 'The Lady of Shallott' and Wordsworth's 'The Daffodils' alongside contemporary poetry such a ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 19th 1996 by BBC Books (first published 1996)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Nation's Favourite Poems, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Nation's Favourite Poems

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  733 ratings  ·  56 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Nation's Favourite Poems: Book 1
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: r2020, poetry, stars-4-0
More poetry :O)
To be fair, most of the ones I read leave me unmoved, but every so often, I find one that really talks to me. All of a sudden, these seemingly random words build a surprisingly powerful meaning. And that is why I’m widening my horizons in this genre, trying to find these little pearls of emotion.

This anthology from the BBC is a pretty good one, quite varied, with ‘classic’ and modern poets represented. Here are two of my favourites, quite different :O)
This Be The Verse, by Phi
Nick Imrie
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Years ago I studied poetry. Our teacher was a wonderful chap: a sweet, gentle poet himself, and passionate about sharing poetry with the young. He was once helping me muddle through some poems I was working on and said, "Well, that's enough on the sonnet now, let's move on to your other work."
"Hang on," I said. "I just really want to finish the real poem first."
He looked at me with a crestfallen expression of reproach, "If there was one thing I hoped to teach you, it's that free verse is real po
Jan 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who would like to read more poetry but isn't sure where to start
poetry collection - like boxes of chocolates, best enjoyed as a wee dip in now and again rather than eating a whole tray at once.

fantastic clusters of language used to express ideas, hopes, fears, dreams ....

one example :

"But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You sieze the flower, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white--then melts for ever;
Or like the borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;
Or like the rainbow's lovely form
Evanishing amid the s
Nov 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, philosophy
A vintage resident of my parents' bookcase. We love to read poetry aloud to each other and we know where all the good ones are in this book. Popular definitely =/= good, but there is certainly some overlap and some of our own favourites can be found among the... others (I was going to say Auden, but he's neither the only nor the worst author of less-than-deserving popular works). We all like the one about wearing purple when we get old. I'm already old with that woman who doesn't give a damn wha ...more
Paul Servini
Mar 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A very good introduction to some popular poetry. I'm not really into really whole anthologies by various poet but found this book a great read. I've been going through the poems slowly, also reading them out loud and trying to savour the language. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to do the same. Obviously, my rating is for the book as a whole. There were some poems I loved, others less so. Some, I found very hard to get through. ...more
William King
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I love this wee book of prose. Just like a good box of chocolates, there is something for everyone.

One of my favourite poems is the one that is in the foreword by Griff Rhys Jones. The story of how the poem was left in an envelope by a soldier to be given to his parents should he be killed in action is particularly poignant in this remembrance month.

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond g
Sep 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: personal-library
I found this book during a declutter and realised I purchased it more than 15 years ago and never read past the first 10 pages. I have never been a huge poetry reader, but I gave this a chance. Once I started reading it, I realised I actually knew about 30 out of the 100 poems well. This book is a good mixture of familiar poems and poets but with some interesting additions as well. I found some new favourites in Jenny Joseph Warning and Thomas Hood I Remember, but it did remind me of my love of ...more
Fatima Sheriff
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Will mark this as read because over the months I've been reading so many of these to the residents at work. Found a copy today and it indeed had so many of our favourites 💓 I've much more to explore when it comes to poetry but this here is an excellent start ...more
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A real mixture of poems, most of which you will have heard somewhere, often at school. Contains many gems and is enhanced by the comments of GR Jones. Good to have in your collection.
Val Penny
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
For the first time ever, the book of the month for my local book group was a book of poetry. There is a poetry group in the village too, but this book was chosen for the book group, not the poetry group. There was some dissension in the ranks on this basis. I belong to both groups, and thought this made a nice change.The Nation’s Favourite Poems starts with a forward by Griff Rhys Jones. Griff Rhys Jones was born in Cardiff, Wales on 16 November, 1953. He was educated at Brentwood School, a a fa ...more
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry, classics
While it was fun to occasionally come across a famous line i didn't realise was from the poem it was, there were only two that really jumped out at me and made me tab the page - Siegfried Sassoon's Everone Sang and Thomas Harry's The Ruined Maid. Otherwise, it was a mix of things I'd read for uni and well done but monotonous rhymes verse. Alas, I don't see to share the nation's taste in poetry. ...more
May 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
I first read this years ago, in fact both Mum and I had a copy, but it was hers that I’ve read. This time around I enjoyed it’s strange mixture of poetry, but I guess that’s what you get when you ask the public to name their favourite.

The poems I enjoyed enough to put a mark against are:

- The Daffodils by William Wordsworth
- He wishes for the cloths of heaven by W. B. Yeats
- Leisure by William Henry Davies
- Twelve Songs by W. H. Auden
- Jaberwocky by Lewis Carroll
- The owl and the pussy-cat by E
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it
3 stars.

There were some good poems in this anthology. 'Snake' and 'The Highwayman' were two of my favourites. There were others that I wasn't particularly fond of, like 'Toilet' and 'Chocolate Cake'. I'm a person that appreciates rhythm and refined imagery when it comes to poetry and unless it's done spectacularly, I don't like free verse. Having words scattered all over the page with no rhyme or reason makes me uncomfortable.

Overall, not a selection of poetry I would have chosen myself but th
Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it
An enjoyable and decent read when you don't feel like reading novels but still want something substantial. It involves a 100 poems picked by the UK public in 1996 in which some I fell in love with straight away and others I did not but it was nice to learn about various poets (both male and female) throughout the eras. I recommend this book of poems (as recommended to me by a lovely Waterstones staff member) as a beginner's guide to the world of poetry since you can branch off from it to delve d ...more
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely anthology, scarcely a single poem that doesn't deserve its place - apart from the obvious Larkin, of course, what an awful way to be remembered - but the actual volume is let down by some appalling misprints. Don't publishers employ proofreaders any more? ...more
Frank Jacobs
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
A handy way to have the classics all in one place; and to discern the three favourite subjects of British poetry: love, war and nature (often all in one).
Sue Rossiter
Aug 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Good mix and easy to look up favourites or forgotten poems
Feb 07, 2019 rated it liked it
A couple of my favourite poems in here, and a few, not so much. But a great read and reference nonetheless.
David Irvine
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
A fantastic collection of poems by some of the greats.
Flora Stewart
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This book has a lovely variety of poems in. Meaning it could be used really effectively in a primary school for all ages.
Hazel Kelly
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Easily one of the best poetry books I own. Never fails to delight and includes all the classics I cherish most.
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A great collection of poems. I think it is a nice book to take rest of the daily life.
Marie Green
Apr 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
All my favourite poems and more, easy to pick up and can lift my mood in minutes
Mar 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
In 1995 the nation were polled and a list of 100 suitably popular poems was produced. This seems like a great idea: to get the masses thinking about poetry again. And what an interesting selection they form. With If by Kipling at the pinnacle, it then wanders down the years stopping off with a little Keats here, a little Yeats there - to paraphrase a Smiths' lyric. If the tone is erratic then that is due to the nature of the exercise and causes no real harm. It would be a brave anthologist to pl ...more
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, read-2012
I am aiming to read a lot more poetry in 2012, so where better to start the year's campaign than with The Nation's Favourite Poems? (albeit the Nation's Favourite Poems back in 1995) The poem I generally describe as my own favourite does not appear in this top 100 (nor did I vote at the time) but I suspect some of the complex reasons for its status are similar to the reasons for other people's choices (I would be interested to know how many were first encountered at school)

It is quite a varied c
russell barnes
Mar 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
The public are amazing. Just when you think you're going to get either a 50-50 split between Shakespeare and rude limericks, you end up delving into a mad world of odd, classic poems many of which I'd never heard of. Which is a bit shaming for an English graduate.

Hey ho. On the upside, my favourite new finds were Remember, The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes, To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell, Sea-Fever by John Masefield, Warning by Jenny Joseph, Loveliest of Trees the Cherry Now by AE Houseman,
Brian F
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I got this book for a Christmas Present, and have been reading it on and off ever since. The Editors picked out One Hundred Pieces of poetry for National Poetry Day. For someone who writes his own stuff, it's refreshing to read some of the classics. I volunteer at Imperial War Museum North in Manchester and was familiar with a piece by Wilfred Owen - it appears in the Weapons of War Film. Now I've managed to read it in its entirety, and it hasn't lost any of its punch.

Came across the Works of Jo
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
How can one rate an anthology of poems chosen by collective voting, really? It seems well-intentioned, the preface thankfully includes an excellent modern poem which didn't make the list, and the editor's synopsis is (thankfully?) short of analysis.

My edition is simply hard to read based on the book layout. I've also read that some of the longer poems were cut down on the sly. Finally, what can one say about a nation which puts "Toilet" at number 79 of the 100 greatest works in its own language
Bill Bailey
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I fancied myself as a cultured intellectual. I thought I'd treat my girlfriend's parents to a poetry reading again, and I selected one at random from this book. The day before I had read "Naming of Parts" by Henry reed, and I thought it had gone well. So today should be a repeat performance. Except I accidentally selected "Toilet" by Hugo Williams.

I can laugh about it now. And she is now an ex-girlfriend from long, long ago. The poem is still as fantastic as it always was.
Apr 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Norah by: Paul
One of Paul's books which I discovered just after we met. We started reading random poems from it to each other before going to sleep. sadly we seem to have got out of that habit, but planning to start it again now. It stays in our bedroom to be picked up and read ad lib, so may never be marked as 'read'! ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Poems To Save The World With
  • Poems to Live Your Life By
  • The Little Book of Humanism: Universal Lessons on Finding Purpose, Meaning and Joy
  • The Poetry Pharmacy: Tried-and-True Prescriptions for the Mind, Heart and Soul
  • The Double Helix
  • The Birchbark House (Birchbark House, #1)
  • Death By Honeymoon (Caribbean Murder, #1)
  • A Short History of Scotland
  • The Complete Works
  • Classic Ghost Stories: By Charles Dickens, M.R. James, Washington Irving, Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde and more
  • Mindfulness for everyday people: EVERYDAY MINDFULNESS IN PRACTICE: Simple and practical ways for everyday mindfulness
  • NRSV, Catholic Bible, Gift Edition, Leathersoft, White, Comfort Print: Holy Bible
  • Poems on the Underground
  • Banking On Form
  • The House
  • A Book of Nonsense
  • Alice in Exile
See similar books…
Griffith "Griff" Rhys Jones is a Welsh comedian, writer, actor, television presenter and personality. Jones came to national attention in the early 1980s for his work in the BBC television comedy sketch shows Not the Nine O'Clock News and Alas Smith and Jones along with his comedy partner Mel Smith. With Smith, he founded television production company Talkback Productions, now part of RTL Group. H ...more

Other books in the series

The Nation's Favourite Poems (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • More Nation's Favourite Poems
  • The Nation's Favourite Poems Of Journeys
  • The Nation's Favourite Poems
  • The Nation's Favourite Children's Poems
  • The Nation's Favourite Lakeland Poems
  • The Nation's Favourite Love Poems
  • The Nation's Favourite: Comic Poems
  • The Nation's Favourite Poems of Remembrance
  • The Nation's Favourite Poems Of Desire
  • The Nation's Favourite Poems Of Childhood

Related Articles

This June, as we observe LGBTQ Pride—the annual celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning communities—we...
209 likes · 73 comments