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Joy: 100 Poems

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  187 ratings  ·  59 reviews
One hundred of the most evocative modern poems on joy, selected by an award-winning contemporary poet

“Bursting with energy and surprising locutions. . . . Even the most familiar poets seem somehow new within the context of Joy.”—David Skeel, Wall Street Journal
“Wiman takes readers through the ostensible ordinariness of life and reveals the extraordinary.”—Adrianna Smith,
Hardcover, 173 pages
Published November 7th 2017 by Yale University Press
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Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wax-poetic
Christian Wiman, a poet and professor at Yale University, decided to “explore what joy means for poets at this moment in history.”

He set out to discover 100 poems and passages that reflect a modern understanding of joy, in an attempt to answer such questions as. . . What is joy? When do we feel it? How can we experience more of it?

He writes, in “A Note on the Selections” that Ezra Pound once assured us that poets are the “antennae of the race,” and he is heartened in that sentiment, as he believ
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
"joy- its not just a gift. in a sense its also a duty, a task to fulfill. courage".

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5. just finished reading joy: 100 poems 📝 its such a great poetry compilation focusing on the theme - joy and it is just so unique how each and every poem expresses joy differently. ☺️ there are of course, a lot that i enjoyed reading but just a few that doesnt really speak to me. the thing about joy is that its such a broad topic but i felt that its so necessary to talk about. how do you define joy? i g
Roy Howard
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Joy? One might blanch at the thought of poems on a subject that seems frivolous in the face of such suffering in the world. That’s understandable. The author himself is no stranger to personal suffering. That story is told in his memoir “My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer.” Here he takes up a bold exposition of joy through a selection of 100 poems collected from an array of poets. Along the way he admits joy is “that tired word … used to peddle soap and salvation, the word requires ...more
Annalise Nakoneczny
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, favorites
In early 2020, I observed that I had bought a lot of poetry in 2019, and that was probably because I would need it. That observation aged well, but also this is the book of poetry I think I've needed the most. What a beautiful collection. Every poem made my soul swell up with the goodness of it. And the essay by Christian Wiman at the beginning of this collection is stunning. This book is a friend, one whose cover will become battered and well-loved, I already know. ...more
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
What an inspired idea - joy may be best expressed through poetry, rather than through a rational exposition. I have to admit though that I enjoyed Wiman’s introductory essay more than many of the poems included in this volume. I’m sure the fault is all mine. Proper appreciation of poetry is one of my many deficiencies. I really liked some of these poems, but I admit, it’s true, my favorite poem is still “Thomas Was a Little Glutton.” Yes, that one brings me joy.
Wiman’s essay was so insightful I
Tim Hoiland
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020, poetry
It’s been discordant reading a collection of poems about joy while weeping for the systemic injustice in our country and worried for our future. But so many of these poems arise from experiences of deep pain, which makes this the perfect time to be reading them. Day by day, let’s find ways to take Wendell Berry’s exhortation to heart: “Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.”
Mary Vermillion
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a collection to savor and revisit. My husband bought it for me as a birthday gift, and we read one poem together each morning. Here is one of my favorites:

A Brief For The Defense
by Jack Gilbert

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned
Billy Jepma
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is arguably one of the most important and meaningful poetry anthologies I’ve ever read. The collection that Christian Wiman has put together here is diverse, lovely, sometimes strange, and always affecting. Each poem frames the idea of “joy” in its own distinct way, lending the anthology an exciting degree of discovery that feels deeply personal and yet universally applicable. I can’t recommend this book enough, and will be inevitably forcing it upon anyone and everyone I can.
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An absolute joy to read. :)
Nov 30, 2020 rated it liked it
I love poetry, and as a middle school teacher, sharing and teaching poetry was one of my favorite experiences. However, I could not connect with this collection that I found in a bookstore. I thought it would be a welcome addition to my poetry shelf, but it was a disappointment.
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, essays
This is a vote for the blessings of serendipity. I scooped this up from the new book section at Carnegie Mellon University, and was rewarded with a wonderful selection of poems and essay excerpts on the subject of joy.

As editor Christian Wiman notes in the introductory essay, joy is not the same as happiness -- it is less frequent, something we have less control over, and often has a strong streak of the spiritual, which is reflected in the fact that the Yale Center for Faith and Culture helped
Stephen Lamb
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Kept up my tradition of retreating to a quiet place (Edgar Evins State Park this time) for the first read-through of a new Christian Wiman book, and it was wonderful—and a much-needed respite from recent busyness. The collection starts with an essay thinking about the word “joy,” followed by a hundred poems that were written by poets born during or after modernism, because Wiman “wanted specifically to explore what joy means for poets at this moment in history.” Mixed in with the poems are sente ...more
Stephen Langford
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2021
This is a unique, diverse, and wonderful collection of poetry. The introduction, “Still Wilderness,” is possibly my favorite piece of prose (about poetry) by Christian Wiman. The pieces of prose writing that punctuate and steer the collection are expertly chosen and perhaps best summed up by this one by Alexander Schmemann: “The knowledge of the fallen world does not kill joy, which emanates in this world, always, constantly, as a bright sorrow.”
The anthology left me speechless. It’s a joyful experience. I found myself smiling, chuckling, and sometimes getting all teary as I read it. I felt a sense of awe and bliss. And sometimes I felt nothing. It’s utterly beautiful.

I tend to have an aversion to texts and literature about “positive” emotions and feelings because self-help books and such have turned it into something of a commodity, a pathetic and insincere object that you can achieve if you try hard enough. But Wiman does something e
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Christian Wiman's anthology JOY: 100 POEMS is an antidote for these difficult times. I've found new writers and beautiful poems. It's quiet and wonderful, sincere and heartfelt. I'm so grateful my poet friend Susan Blackwell Ramsey (I love Susan Blackwell Ramsey's poetry collection "A Mind Like This" from University of Nebraska Press) recommended this anthology and the practice of reading a poem from the anthology every morning. Definitely a way to cultivate joy. ...more
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wiman’s “ode to joy” anthology of poems covers all sorts of moments in life where the profundity comes not from sadness but from joy. This is no shallow thrill-fest but an exploration of the full range of human emotion. I loved the variety of poems chosen and found Wiman’s introductory essay on joy very helpful for framing my reading of the poems as well as my thinking on joy in general.
J. Jammy May
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: textbooks
This is certainly an interesting read, though not always entertaining.

Some of the poems I found in those book I can say have become my favourite. Most of the poems in the this however, I can say bored me immensely- hence why it took so long to finish.

I would recommend to any poetry lover, not to any reader in general.
Corey Fawcett
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Incredible. Joy is something we talk around a lot, and rarely address head-on. That’s why we need poetry.
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, favorites, poetry
All of us, inching toward an understanding of what joy is. That is what this anthology is. I thought, upon starting my read, that it might tend toward the saccharine. But I had faith because of the other work I've seen from Wiman. And the sweetness I found in this book, it was not overwhelming. It was the perfect amount. There was also that deep, black well I sense at the bottom of joy. What a wonderful collection. ...more
Oct 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
It was pretty good and exposed me to a few new authors I liked. I can't say I fully grasped each poem and some of them I couldn't care less about due to the subject matter (human urination, dog urination.. Not a big deal just not what I like to read in most of my poems lol) but I did enjoy the laundromat poem. That was actually the short poem I read in the bookstore that convinced me to buy the book. ...more
Michelle B
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this anthology of poetry which all have the theme of Joy. Although I read a Kindle version, it would make a great coffee table book as it’s one I will undoubtably go back to time and time again.
Christian Wiman has written a wonderful introduction to the 100 poems which includes consideration of what constitutes joy and uses examples of some of the poems from the anthology to demonstrate this. I particularly enjoyed reading the latter since it includes Christian’s interpretation
Shari McCullough
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I took my sweet time with this anthology of poetry with the topic of joy edited by Christian Wiman.
Wiman, a gifted and accomplished poet, opens with an expansive essay regarding the nuances of joy. I found his words and the pieces of poetry assigned to other poets to flesh out more broadly the sources of the small word "joy". Joy is not frivolous fluff. It can make its presence known in a variety of circumstances and characteristics. The publication of this book now is timely as so much appears
Michelle Kidwell
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing

100 Poems
by Christian Wiman
Yale University Press
Pub Date 07 Nov 2017
I am reviewing a copy of Joy through Yale University Press and Netgalley:
In this collection poet Christian Wiman has compiled a collection of modern poetry dealing with Joy. A subject matter he feels is often neglected in modern literature.
This anthology is a collection of Joy Poems by poets who were join during or after modernism.
Despite the title of this collection Joy deals with many aspects of life, not on ...more
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I cannot think of a better way to share the meaning and essence of joy than to compile a book of poems. Each poem is thoughtfully chosen by Christian Wiman, and although they aren't all necessarily ABOUT joy (some of the poems don't even mention the word), it's clear that each poem is rooted in the expression of joy.

The first chapters of the book include Mr. Wiman's ruminations on joy and how they are expressed in poetry. Even thought the poems speak for themselves, I don't think I would have e
Prcs Rambharose
Nov 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Main Thing I enjoy about Good reads is being able to read books I would not normally choose ,It broaden's one's horizon's as a reader. And takes you completely out of your normal reading comfort Zone!!!!
For Instance I would not normally consider reading a Poetry book ! My Favourite poems in this book are as follows 1.Summer Kitchen...Donald Hall....Page 34
2.The Moose ...Elizabeth Bishop... Pages 44 -50
3.Coming ...Philip Larkin .... Page 136 .
As well as a 100 Poems by various poets, the bo
Liz Shine
May 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is a collection of poems and also excerpts from prose that all attempt to offer some insight in regard to defining Joy. I love the idea of this--to pull together pieces that approach a subject and see if you can create a larger conversation about that subject. It would make a neat project for my students, perhaps a way to understanding theme. I might incorporate it for my 9th grade classes next year... There were many poems I loved in here and had not read before: "Hag Riding" by Lucil ...more
Michael Joseph
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thee book I would take if I had the choice before getting stranded on a “desert island”, wherever those are. I would read 4 pages and stop for days and days thinking on these poems, honoring them. They made me like Ted Hughes who I felt obligated to hate. They made me see Frost a different way (which I thought couldn’t be done anymore). It’s the only book I can confidently buy for people who just experienced death or birth. There’s days where I can only want love to be real - this book though is ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
There is no better view into someone's soul, no better connection with all of humanity than by reading poetry (in my humble opinion).

Wiman presents a nice anthology of 100 poems based on joy. How wonderful to have such a book to curl up with in a quiet place and absorb!

If you enjoy poetry, this will make a good addition to your collection.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Yale University Press for sending me an e-copy of this book!
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An excellent anthology focused on joy- not a common poetic theme. It contains some of my favorite poets with these theme: joy isn't what we create, or wrestle or demand or find or purchase.

Joy finds us, comes to us as a gift given in moment's unexpected. The question for us as readers: are we looking? Open? Unprotected enough to receive it? Or will we hustle past it? These poems help prepare the eyes of the heart to see joy. Wonderful.
Degan Walters
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
I have what comes close to a poetry addiction - Inread a poem every day and I mark up all my books with underlines and dog ears so it really is a thing that I abandoned this book about 2/3’s of the way in and found only one poem that I connected with. I so wanted it to be better but the collection is weak and tainted with Christian overtones. I wish there was a warning for that.
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Christian Wiman is an American poet and editor born in 1966 and raised in West Texas. He graduated from Washington and Lee University and has taught at Northwestern University, Stanford University, Lynchburg College in Virginia, and the Prague School of Economics. In 2003 he became editor of the oldest American magazine of verse, Poetry.

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