Thursday, December 04, 2008

Poems for a philistine

On the Internet Writing Workshop,  a woman had asked people to recommend poems she could introduce to her “philistine” friend. Here were my suggestions:

You could do worse than introduce your philistine to Robert Frost—Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening and Mending Wall are two of my favorites. Longer but worth a look is Death of the Hired Hand, while Nothing Gold Can Stay is short and sweet.

A few other random favorites, all available on

Ozymandias of Egypt by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold
On a Favourite Cat, Drowned in a Tub of Gold Fishes by Thomas Gray is a bit literary, but has a clever punch line you’re sure to recognize.
A Penitential Week by Carolyn Wells isn’t world-class poetry, but it’s clever and funny.

Now a suggestion on delivery: Don’t just hand your friend the poems and send him off to read them by himself. Sit down with him, in front of a blazing fireplace if you can manage that, and take turns reading aloud to each other.

1 comment:

Carter said...

You have excellent taste in poetry, Bob--it's very similar to mine. Have you read anything by C. P. Cavafy? "Waiting for the Bararians" is probably my favorite of his--it was written in 1904, but somehow has a little something to say about here and now. It's here: