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Thread: Excerpts in the Norton

  1. #1
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    Excerpts in the Norton

    I'm looking to get into poetry and just ordered the Norton Anthology, but in looking through the contents I notice it contains lots of excerpts, such as a few stanzas from Don Juan and a few sonnets from Amoretti.

    I'm just wondering if it's really worthwhile to read these, or if I should wait till I get around to the whole work?

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    Read them - the excerpts are very good. Byron's Don Juan stretches over 14 cantos and gets a bit thinner towards the end.

    Certainly the 1st four stanzas are very good, which I believe is the main focus of the Norton (it's been a while since I read it).
    Try reading some stanzas aloud and imagine a gossipy and scurrilous narrator - as that's the tone Byron seems to have aimed for, and certainly the humour comes out there. The narrator quite often means the opposite of what he says, and this can be picked up from the tone.

    I'm sure the complete work is on Gutenberg by now - but the Norton is a good primer. If you haven't read Don Juan yet, I wouldn't wait any longer. Life's too short and life without Byron isn't worth living.

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    Which Norton anthology?

    Also, what are some poetry (and just general literary) anthologies that you guys would recommend?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladimir777 View Post
    Which Norton anthology?

    Also, what are some poetry (and just general literary) anthologies that you guys would recommend?
    The Norton Anthology of Poetry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vladimir777 View Post
    Which Norton anthology?

    Also, what are some poetry (and just general literary) anthologies that you guys would recommend?
    I'm currently enjoying the Map & the Clock - a recently anthology put together by Carol Anne Duffy & Gillian Clark. It's British & Irish poetry and stretches from Chaucer to 2010. It contains the usual suspects - Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Keats, Byron, Larkin and so on.

    If you are into Beat poetry Donald Allen's The New American Poetry is rather good featuring a wide range of US poetry that was being produced between 50-early 60's. It's a seminal work which influenced may.

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    Rather than anthologies, I would recommend getting collected works of the Masters of the Twentieth Century to start with. Collected works of W.H. Auden, Wallace Stevens, T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas and of course W.B. Yeats who influenced all of them. Oh, and Pablo Neruda. I highly recommend his "The Captain's Verses". That way you can examine each poet and let their works either speak to you or not. That will help you develop your own aesthetic. Proclivities in poetry are as individual as your DNA. Nobody's right, nobody's wrong. Like trying to explain to someone why your favorite color is red. It just is.

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