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Great Short Poems

Great Short Poems - Paul Negri An inexpensive, no frills, easily portable book. A lot of the giants of poetry are represented here: Shakespeare, Browning, Whitman, Dickinson, Yeats, Frost, Sandburg, Eliot, etc. There are pieces from writers who are more known for other genres: Emily Bronte, Lewis Carroll, Thomas Hardy, Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, and Stephen Crane. There are also poems from lesser known writers.

So it's a good collection for reading poetry one might not encounter otherwise. It's a good collection for bringing together some of the greats in one volume, so you don't have to go seeking out each one individually.

What it is not is an anthology of modern poetry. The poems are arranged chronologically by poet's birth year, and the most recent is Dylan Thomas, who was born in 1914. Eight of the 83 poets represented were born before 1600; only two were born after 1900 (Thomas and Langston Hughes). So when other reviewers complain about the anthology being dominated by dead white guys, they're correct, but they're missing the reason. Society was dominated by white guys for much of the time period covered in this book. That isn't Dover's or Paul Negri's fault. I won't bore you with the statistics, but as the anthology progresses through the years, women and black men are represented at a substantially higher rate.

There are 150 poems here, and not much filler. But these ten stood out for me:

"A Reasonable Affliction" - Matthew Prior
"Abou Ben Adhem" - Leigh Hunt
"The New Colossus" - Emma Lazarus
"Solitude" - Ella Wheeler Wilcox
"The Purple Cow" - Gelett Burgess
"Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening" - Robert Frost
"The Road Not Taken" - Frost
"Sea Fever" - John Masefield
"Trees" - Joyce Kilmer
"Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" - Dylan Thomas