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By Heart: 101 Poems to Remember (Faber Poetry)

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What has happened to the lost art of memorising poetry? Why do we no longer feel that it is necessary to know the most enduring, beautiful poems in the English language 'by heart'? In his introduction Ted Hughes explains how we can overcome the problem by using a memory system that becomes easier the more frequently it is practised. The collected 101 poems are both persona What has happened to the lost art of memorising poetry? Why do we no longer feel that it is necessary to know the most enduring, beautiful poems in the English language 'by heart'? In his introduction Ted Hughes explains how we can overcome the problem by using a memory system that becomes easier the more frequently it is practised. The collected 101 poems are both personal favourites and particularly well-suited to the method Hughes demonstrates. Spanning four centuries, ranging from Shakespeare and Keats through to Auden and Heaney, By Heart offers the reader a 'mental gymnasium' in which the memory can be exercised and trained in the most pleasurable way. Some poems will be more of a challenge than others, but all will be treasured once they have become part of the memory bank.


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What has happened to the lost art of memorising poetry? Why do we no longer feel that it is necessary to know the most enduring, beautiful poems in the English language 'by heart'? In his introduction Ted Hughes explains how we can overcome the problem by using a memory system that becomes easier the more frequently it is practised. The collected 101 poems are both persona What has happened to the lost art of memorising poetry? Why do we no longer feel that it is necessary to know the most enduring, beautiful poems in the English language 'by heart'? In his introduction Ted Hughes explains how we can overcome the problem by using a memory system that becomes easier the more frequently it is practised. The collected 101 poems are both personal favourites and particularly well-suited to the method Hughes demonstrates. Spanning four centuries, ranging from Shakespeare and Keats through to Auden and Heaney, By Heart offers the reader a 'mental gymnasium' in which the memory can be exercised and trained in the most pleasurable way. Some poems will be more of a challenge than others, but all will be treasured once they have become part of the memory bank.

30 review for By Heart: 101 Poems to Remember (Faber Poetry)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brendan Shea

    I listened to this as an audiobook read by Hughes. Here’s a list of the poems, sorted by author (this isn’t the order). Shakespeare (unsurprisingly) shows up quite a bit. Hughes also seems to have his favorites (e.g., Yeats), and I wondered whether some of the obvious early 20th century omissions (Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, William Carlos Williams) reflected some sort of judgement on Hughes’ part, or if it (more likely) just reflected copyright issues. 1. Alexander Pope: From An Epistle T I listened to this as an audiobook read by Hughes. Here’s a list of the poems, sorted by author (this isn’t the order). Shakespeare (unsurprisingly) shows up quite a bit. Hughes also seems to have his favorites (e.g., Yeats), and I wondered whether some of the obvious early 20th century omissions (Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, William Carlos Williams) reflected some sort of judgement on Hughes’ part, or if it (more likely) just reflected copyright issues. 1. Alexander Pope: From An Epistle To Dr Arbuthnot 2. Alfred, Lord Tennyson: The Eagle 3. Andrew Young: Field Glasses 4. Anonymous: Donal Og 5. Anonymous: Mad Tom's Song 6. D. H. Lawrence: Piano 7. Dylan Thomas: A Refusal To Mourn The Death, By Fire, Of A Child In London 8. Dylan Thomas: Poem In October 9. Edward Thomas: The Combe 10. Elizabeth Barrett Browning: A Musical Instrument 11. Emily Dickinson: 'A Wind That Rose' 12. Emily Dickinson: 'Like Rain It Sounded' 13. Emily Dickinson: 'There Came A Wind' 14. Emily Dickinson: 'There's A Certain Slant Of Light' 15. Emily Dickinson: 'This World Is Not Conclusion' 16. Ezra Pound: The Return 17. F. R. Higgins: Song For The Clatter-Bones 18. Gerard Manley Hopkins: Binsey Poplars 19. Gerard Manley Hopkins: Inversnaid 20. Gerard Manley Hopkins: Spring And Fall 21. Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Windhover 22. Housman: 'On Wenlock Edge' 23. John Betjeman: A Subaltern's Love-Song 24. John Betjeman: Meditation On The A30 25. John Crowe Ransom: Bells For John Whiteside's Daughter 26. John Crowe Ransom: Blue Girls 27. John Crowe Ransom: Winter Remembered 28. John Donne: Song 29. John Donne: The Relique 30. John Keats: La Belle Dame Sans Merci 31. John Keats: On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer 32. John Keats: To Autumn 33. John Milton: On The Late Massacre In Piedmont 34. Keith Douglas: How To Kill 35. Lewis Carroll: Jabberwocky 36. Percy Bysshe Shelley: Ozymandias 37. Philip Larkin: Livings (Part 2) 38. R. S. Thomas: Here 39. Robert Frost: Neither Out Far Nor In Deep 40. Robert Frost: Provide, Provide 41. Robert Frost: Spring Pools 42. Robert Frost: Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening 43. Robert Frost: The Road Not Taken 44. Robert Frost: The Runaway 45. Rudyard Kipling: James I 46. Rudyard Kipling: The Way Through The Woods 47. Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Kubla Khan 48. Seamus Heaney: The Skunk 49. Stevie Smith: Not Waving But Drowning 50. Sylvia Plath: Crossing The Water 51. T. S. Eliot: Death By Water 52. T. S. Eliot: La Figla Che Piange 53. T. S. Eliot: Lines For An Old Man 54. T. S. Eliot: Marina 55. T. S. Eliot: Mr Apollinax 56. T. S. Eliot: The Journey Of The Magi 57. Thomas Hardy: Beeny Cliff 58. Thomas Hardy: The Darkling Thrush 59. Thomas Wyatt: 'They Flee From Me' 60. W H. Auden: Musee Des Beaux Arts 61. W. B. Yeats: 'A Woman's Beauty' 62. W. B. Yeats: 'Come Let Us Mock At The Great' 63. W. B. Yeats: Death 64. W. B. Yeats: Easter 1916 65. W. B. Yeats: He Hears The Cry Of The Sedge 66. W. B. Yeats: Leda And The Swan 67. W. B. Yeats: Roger Casement 68. W. B. Yeats: The Second Coming 69. W. E. Henley: Invictus 70. W. H. Auden: 'Carry Her Over The Water' 71. W. H. Auden: 'Stop All The Clocks' 72. W. H. Auden: The Fall Of Rome 73. W. H. Auden: This Lunar Beauty 74. Walter De La Mare: An Epitaph 75. Wilfred Owen: Anthem For Doomed Youth 76. Wilfred Owen: Dulce Et Decorum Est 77. Wilfred Owen: Strange Meeting 78. William Blake: Auguries Of Innocence 79. William Blake: Long John Brown And Little Mary Bell 80. William Blake: The Sick Rose 81. William Blake: The Smile 82. William Blake: The Tyger 83. William Empson: The Small Bird To The Big 84. William Shakespeare: 'Fear No More The Heat O' The Sun' 85. William Shakespeare: 'Let Me Not To The Marriage Of True Minds' 86. William Shakespeare: 'My Love Is As A Fever' 87. William Shakespeare: My Mistress' Eyes 88. William Shakespeare: 'Not Mine Own Fears, Nor The Prophetic Soul' 89. William Shakespeare: 'Other Slow Arts' 90. William Shakespeare: 'Our Revels Now Are Ended' 91. William Shakespeare: 'That Time Of Year Thou Mayst In Me Behold' 92. William Shakespeare: 'The Heavens Themselves, The Planets' 93. William Shakespeare: 'The Witches' Song' from Macbeth 94. William Shakespeare: 'Tir'd With All These, For Restful Death I Cry' 95. William Shakespeare: 'To Be, Or Not To Be' from Hamlet 96. William Shakespeare: 'To-Morrow, And To-Morrow, And To-Morrow' 97. William Wordsworth: 'A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal' 98. William Wordsworth: The Simplon Pass 99. William Wordsworth: The Solitary Reaper 100. William Wordsworth: Tintern Abbey 101. William Wordsworth: Upon Westminster Bridge

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bradford

    By Heart is a compendium of poetry of Hughes' favourites, within his 'Sacred Canon' (ie copious amounts of Shakespeare, Yeats, Blake, Eliot, and Hopkins, romantics aside), and others, collected for the purpose of memorising, using a more traditional process which he details in his introduction in familiar Hughes fashion: rambling about Pagan-Catholicism and the desecration of the Poet-Goddess by the enlightenment etc etc etc etc... Some of these are well over 3 pages and seem to be here either be By Heart is a compendium of poetry of Hughes' favourites, within his 'Sacred Canon' (ie copious amounts of Shakespeare, Yeats, Blake, Eliot, and Hopkins, romantics aside), and others, collected for the purpose of memorising, using a more traditional process which he details in his introduction in familiar Hughes fashion: rambling about Pagan-Catholicism and the desecration of the Poet-Goddess by the enlightenment etc etc etc etc... Some of these are well over 3 pages and seem to be here either because he just wanted them to be, or because they are actually ones he has memorised — the audiobook cassette for this volume doesn't give any hints as to whether he delivers them read or from memory. I personally feel its pretty clear that most of these names have a presence in Hughes' work, and you can feel his own in the poems (besides Eliot, whom I feel nothing from). The bulk of the anthology is generally "classical" poets to today, with some moderns like Betjeman and Larkin creeping in, which I wasn't particularly happy about, but he has managed to turn me around in my impressions of Blake and Auden, which is greatly appreciated. The themes seem relatively scatter brained in the first quarter, but eventually the clear Hughes taste arises, being more perennial or mythical pieces, or simply folk pieces such as 'Donal Og' translated by Lady Gregory, probably my favourite from this whole collection along with the closer 'A Musical Instrument' by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The arrangement seems somewhat random, though there will occasionally be small groupings of 2-3 poems with similar themes or subjects. While this anthology sets out, in a quite novel way, to act as a poetry-memorising guide with handy selection of works to try it out on, most readers will likely seek this book to get an insight to Hughes' own taste — it sort of acts like a more varied distillation of all of his selected poems of older writers (his Shakespeare, Douglas, Dickinson, etc. selections) while getting some one-off names and reduced risk of wasted reading time on poets you don't enjoy. A great insight and generally great anthology (the first I've read actually), but with sadly little Coleridge or Chaucer as I would expect.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Thinn

    To be honest when I chose this book, I was like 'oh... the book is small and it's only 136 pages so I'll finish in a short period of time.' But my assumption is wrong. It took way longer than I expected. There are 101 poems that are written by several poets. Different poets gave me different feelings through the book. Poems are about love, life, sorrow, death, and remorse. Another reason that I chose this book is I like to know how to memorize poems. I love poems but I rarely remember them and I To be honest when I chose this book, I was like 'oh... the book is small and it's only 136 pages so I'll finish in a short period of time.' But my assumption is wrong. It took way longer than I expected. There are 101 poems that are written by several poets. Different poets gave me different feelings through the book. Poems are about love, life, sorrow, death, and remorse. Another reason that I chose this book is I like to know how to memorize poems. I love poems but I rarely remember them and I'm upset about myself so I thought I will learn how to memorize the poems through this book. Ted tried to give examples of how to memorize poems but those examples did not work for me. But I encourage you to test it out. This is the book that I definitely need to re-read it again and again. ❤

  4. 4 out of 5

    FlyingBulgarian Svetli H.

    This is my last book for 2021. I cut it quite short this time, with less than 12 hours to spare, but I made it and I’m proud. A tradition of reading 52 books a year that started in 2016 is still going strong and I hope when I have children to be able to introduce them to the world of books sooner than I accepted it. The collection of poems by Ted Hughes is good. Some of the poems were playing my heart like a guitar, others made me cry, and my favourite poem was included which is always a plus. I This is my last book for 2021. I cut it quite short this time, with less than 12 hours to spare, but I made it and I’m proud. A tradition of reading 52 books a year that started in 2016 is still going strong and I hope when I have children to be able to introduce them to the world of books sooner than I accepted it. The collection of poems by Ted Hughes is good. Some of the poems were playing my heart like a guitar, others made me cry, and my favourite poem was included which is always a plus. I liked his introduction about ways to remember poems and how the way we learn them now sucks the joy out. I agree. Poems should be fun, not dreaded!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    I don't really need another general anthology of poetry in English, so why did I buy this book? THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN CURTAILED IN PROTEST AT GOODREADS' CENSORSHIP POLICY See the complete review here: http://arbieroo.booklikes.com/post/75...- I don't really need another general anthology of poetry in English, so why did I buy this book? THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN CURTAILED IN PROTEST AT GOODREADS' CENSORSHIP POLICY See the complete review here: http://arbieroo.booklikes.com/post/75...-

  6. 4 out of 5

    Robin Helweg-Larsen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book's theme is the memorization of poems, and there are things I like and things I don't like about both Ted Hughes' introduction to the subject and the 101 poems that he has chosen. First, the introduction. I like that it encourages people to learn poems by heart. But although the book's title is 'By Heart', Hughes instead teaches 'by head'. His method is extremely cerebral, using the kind of image-association-chain taught by neuro-linguisitic program consultants to help you remember the This book's theme is the memorization of poems, and there are things I like and things I don't like about both Ted Hughes' introduction to the subject and the 101 poems that he has chosen. First, the introduction. I like that it encourages people to learn poems by heart. But although the book's title is 'By Heart', Hughes instead teaches 'by head'. His method is extremely cerebral, using the kind of image-association-chain taught by neuro-linguisitic program consultants to help you remember the names of business associates and clients. Hughes would have you construct a Cumberbatch-Sherlock Holmes 'mind palace'. Taking Hopkins' poem 'Inversnaid' as an example, Hughes explains that the opening lines This darksome burn, horseback brown, His rollrock highroad roaring down, can be dealt with as follows: For 'peaty burn' it might be enough simply to imagine, like a frame in a colour film, a dark torrential mountain stream coming down among boulders. But to make sure it is 'burn' and not 'stream' that you remember, it might be better to imagine the stream actually burning, sending up flames and smoke: a cascade of dark fire, scorching the banks. The next item, 'brown horse', now has to be connected to the burning stream. The most obvious short-cut is to put the horse in the torrent of fire, trying to scramble out - possibly with its mane in flames. He then goes on to connect it to the horse causing an avalanche (rollrock highroad) which comes down on a lion (roaring down), and so on. My difficulty with all this is that the images he is creating are simply not what the poem is about. When Hopkins writes 'burn' meaning stream, it's not appropriate to set it on fire. Of course the poem summons up images, and they are useful for memorizing... but for godssake, why not think of it as a Scottish stream rather than setting it on fire? The burn is brown and in spate, and rocks are rolling down it and it makes a roaring noise - and that is the picture you can hold in your head as you recite Hopkins' lovely rich words, without having to involve fires, animals and avalanches. It seems to me that Hughes is in danger of losing the beauty of the actual poem by going through his 'mind palace' activities. He appears to be reducing the memorization of poetry to a party trick, performed at the expense of the poem itself. If he didn't love the poem for its actual imagery, what did he love it for? When he memorized a poem, did he check it off and then forget it? Wouldn't all the peripheral imagery have gotten in the way when he tried to recite the poem a few decades later? Better and safer to my mind to stay with the essential images and the richness of the language, rather than setting fire to a stream because the poet uses the word 'burn'. And this leads in to my thoughts about the selection of the 101 poems to be learnt by heart. Auden, Blake, Dickinson, Eliot, Frost, Wordsworth and Yeats each get at least five poems, and Shakespeare over a dozen. The less-represented poets are a wider mix, with from John Betjeman to Elizabeth Bishop, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Lewis Carroll... The poems themselves are interesting, and many of them are perfect for memorizing, so it is a worthwhile read. But I don't think it appropriate to waste five or six pages on the 130 or 170 lines of Blake's 'Auguries of Innocence' or Wordsworth's 'Tintern Abbey'. Perhaps Ted Hughes learnt those two along with Blake's 'The Tyger' and Wordsworth's 'Upon Westminster Bridge', but the latter two are far more suitable than the former for a book that is meant to encourage others to achieve memorization. Again, most of the poems are good for learning by heart, but too many of them have none of the qualities that make it easy to learn poetry in English: rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, wordplay. William Empson's translation of the Japanese poem 'From the Small Bird to the Big' is interesting, but inappropriate for this book. The same goes for Pound's 'The Return' and Eliot's 'Marina' - inappropriate because they are missing the music, the song-like qualities, that make memorization easy. Easy, that is, if you are learning by heart, as the book's title requires.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    The ostensible purpose of this anthology is to provide a selection of poems that lend themselves to memorization using a method described by its editor, Ted Hughes. Whether the method is effective, I cannot say; and, apart from the fact that most are fairly short, it is difficult to grasp why these particular poems have been chosen, as there is no editorial comment on the selection itself. As such, By Heart seems to be something of a missed opportunity. As a pure anthology, it provides a pretty The ostensible purpose of this anthology is to provide a selection of poems that lend themselves to memorization using a method described by its editor, Ted Hughes. Whether the method is effective, I cannot say; and, apart from the fact that most are fairly short, it is difficult to grasp why these particular poems have been chosen, as there is no editorial comment on the selection itself. As such, By Heart seems to be something of a missed opportunity. As a pure anthology, it provides a pretty fair mix of the well-known and the less familiar (to me, anyway). It's a very male selection, with only nine of the 101 poems being by women, and one that leans heavily on Shakespeare (13 poems), Yeats (8), Frost (6), Eliot (6), and several others with four or five poems each. No The Rattle Bag, this. Some of the choices had me intellectually stumped (Plath's "Crossing the Water", Pound's "The Return"), and others had me wondering what they were doing here (I would have swapped out a couple of the Shakespeare sonnets for others), but there were some pleasant discoveries, too: "Poem in October" by Dylan Thomas, for example, or "Invictus" by W.E. Henley. Enjoyable, but not ground-breaking.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Featuring popular poems such as The Road Not Taken (Robert Frost), Anthem for Doomed Youth (Wilfred Owen), My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun (William Shakespeare), and Invictus (W.E. Henley), By Heart is probably one of the most enjoyable collections of poetry I've ever read. I've not come by a poetry collection which contains so many of my favourite poems before, so this was really a delight. It was lovely rediscovering old favourites. However, I've not learned any of them by heart. My Featuring popular poems such as The Road Not Taken (Robert Frost), Anthem for Doomed Youth (Wilfred Owen), My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun (William Shakespeare), and Invictus (W.E. Henley), By Heart is probably one of the most enjoyable collections of poetry I've ever read. I've not come by a poetry collection which contains so many of my favourite poems before, so this was really a delight. It was lovely rediscovering old favourites. However, I've not learned any of them by heart. My memory is terrible, even with Ted Hughes' tips in the introduction on how to memorize poetry. I remember lines and stanzas, but never the whole poem. That counts for something, right?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Steph De Mel

    This is a wonderful collection of poetry, in which I found several old favourites and discovered a few new loves. The poems in this collection cover a broad range of themes, but share a euphonic quality that makes it well worth taking the time to read each one aloud (which I did). I will keep this collection close at hand and return to it often; I definitely want to learn several of these selections by heart.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ellie Scott-Allen

    I mean, there are 101 poems in this book. Thirteen of them were written by Shakespeare but only nine of them were written by women. All in all, there's lots of great poems in here (Invictus and Stop All the Clocks were already favourites of mine so it's nice to see them here) but the themes are very repetitive after a while and I don't feel like the foreword gave me enough to go on in terms of memorising them. I mean, there are 101 poems in this book. Thirteen of them were written by Shakespeare but only nine of them were written by women. All in all, there's lots of great poems in here (Invictus and Stop All the Clocks were already favourites of mine so it's nice to see them here) but the themes are very repetitive after a while and I don't feel like the foreword gave me enough to go on in terms of memorising them.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Richard Smith

    This is a short and exquisite anthology that mixes familiar poems that merit endless readings and new poems that surprise and delight. Hughes leans towards poems that sound beautiful but are obscure. He puts sound and rhythm before meaning, but the meaning is there if you keep searching, not that you’ll ever arrive.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kitt Noir

    Finished this lovely random collection of poetry. It was good to dive into a mix of classics as usually read solo collections.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Michael P.

    Ted Hughes was not just an excellent poet (according to most people-his work does not really reach me), he was a superb editor of poems with multiple superb anthologies to his editorial credit. This is a collection of 101 short poems. The excuse for collecting them is that they are worth committing to memory and short enough for people to do so. You can quibble about what is excluded, but you can't really quibble about what is included. All are 5 star poems. This is a collection to cherish unles Ted Hughes was not just an excellent poet (according to most people-his work does not really reach me), he was a superb editor of poems with multiple superb anthologies to his editorial credit. This is a collection of 101 short poems. The excuse for collecting them is that they are worth committing to memory and short enough for people to do so. You can quibble about what is excluded, but you can't really quibble about what is included. All are 5 star poems. This is a collection to cherish unless you already have everything ins books by the authors collected here. A word on the recorded version with Hughes as the reader: he was a superb reader of the poetry of others. If you taste and "reading" habits lead you to audio books, do not hesitate to grab the audio version of this one. Hughes reads these poems wonderfully.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tweedledum

    A personal collection of poetry is always going to be just that.. Personal favourites chosen, in this chosen perhaps becase because they resonate deeply in some way with the compiler Ted Hughes. Some were already old favourites for me, some new discoveries, some left me somewhat mystified by their presence.. However reading slowly through the collection... One or two a day - meant that I really savoured each one and enjoyed the discoveries.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    Unfortunately, the system of learning by heart didn't work for me. But I enjoyed the poems! Unfortunately, the system of learning by heart didn't work for me. But I enjoyed the poems!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    Some of the poems are difficult to memorise, but it is vastly entertaining to just simply sit and read some during your journey.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mrs Samantha Clare Holder

  18. 5 out of 5

    Corbett Buchly

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kay

  20. 5 out of 5

    Inasirimavo

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lily

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amélie

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ella

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gemma

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alex

  26. 4 out of 5

    Drew Keavey

  27. 4 out of 5

    Martin Sharry

  28. 5 out of 5

    Diann Blakely

  29. 5 out of 5

    Helen

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brian

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