From the first flush of love, through courtship and vows of eternal fidelity, to serving the writs and drowning your sorrows, ‘The Nation’s Favourite Love Poems‘ will meet all your romantic requirements. In this selection of 100 popular poems, poets of every age consider that most universal of themes: love. As well as traditional lovers’ favourites such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s ‘How do I love thee?‘ and Shakespeare’s ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?‘ there are contemporary voices such as Adrian Mitchell, Wendy Cope and John Fuller, whose erudite yet salacious ‘Valentine‘ would melt the most fridgid heart. There are even poems for those more melancholic moments, Hardy’s haunting ‘After a Journey‘, for example, and Larkin’s poignant ‘Love Songs in Age‘. So, wherever you are in the tunnel of love, dip into this book of poetry and you will be reassured to discover that at one time or another a poet has been there before you.
I work in a high school and part of my job is helping the GCSE students prepare themselves for their exams. Due to my specialism – English Language/Literature – I often try and get them prepared for the two unseen pieces of poetry that they will have to analyse. At 16, I hated poetry. I loathed it. As I got older and as I kept furthering my English education I began to appreciate it. Not all poems, mind, but I have certainly enjoyed teaching it.
Teaching poetry analysis is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle that has multiple pieces that fit the same slot. It is difficult, it is variable and it is never wrong. Interpretation is personal and that scares some people because what if there are wrong…but as I just stated – you are never wrong with interpretation.
Anecdotes aside, I picked up The Nation’s Favourite Love Poems by Daisy Goodwin because it was recommended to me on Amazon and I knew that we had a copy in the school library. I wanted to see if there were any poems that my student and I could analyse. There were tons (as you would expect with an anthology of poetry), however, there were very few that I liked.
Don’t get me wrong, I am sure they are all really good accomplished pieces but for me there was only a handful of ones that I enjoyed reading; they included: Warming Her Pearls by Carol Ann Duffy, Valentine by John Fuller, Lullaby by WH Auden, The First Day by Christina Rosetti, Unfortunate Coincidence by Dorothy Parker, and Twelve Songs by WH Auden.
Actually, that looks like a lot.
In all fairness, I wasn’t expecting to like all the poems in the collection and I do think that I would benefit from further studying of the poems but I did like The Nation’s Favourite Love Poems. I will be picking up more anthologies to develop my liking for poetry.
The Nation’s Favourite Love Poems by Daisy Goodwin is available now.