J. Alfred's Reviews > The Top 500 Poems

The Top 500 Poems by William Harmon
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it was amazing

It took roughly forever, but this collection makes for wonderful breakfast-reading. It is the list of the five hundred poems which are most frequently anthologized, listed in chronological order. It also includes a list of poems by popularity (insofar as regards frequency-of-anthologizing): the winner is... drumroll please... Blake's "The Tyger." Strange, right? The collection also includes a biographical snippet for each author and a breif, ususally helpful, bit of commentary on each poem. Thus the best thing it did for me, other than help me order poets more concretely on my mental timeline and introduce a bunch of excellent poems (I said it was good, didn't I?) was to explain Hopkins' "The Windhover": I'd never understood, regardless of the subtitle ("To Christ our Lord") that the second and third stanzas are written TO Christ our Lord. Hence I always thought it was a quirky, confusing poem that didn't deserve its reputation. Sometimes it is a pleasure learning about one's ignorance.

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Reading Progress

October 29, 2010 – Started Reading
October 29, 2010 – Shelved
November 21, 2011 – Finished Reading

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