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Selected Poetry

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Living in a revolutionary age, Coleridge's poetry was written in a spirit of moral and emotional inquiry into the absolutes of the human condition. He is best known for his visionary poetry ('Kubla Khan') and his ballads ('The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'), but he used and transformed a variety of verse forms, from the sonnet to the conversation poem, on subjects as divers Living in a revolutionary age, Coleridge's poetry was written in a spirit of moral and emotional inquiry into the absolutes of the human condition. He is best known for his visionary poetry ('Kubla Khan') and his ballads ('The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'), but he used and transformed a variety of verse forms, from the sonnet to the conversation poem, on subjects as diverse as nature, love, and politics. This selection calls attention to the range of Coleridge's work, its strong autobiographical content,and its artistic development throughout his career. The old chronological form has been abandoned and the poems are organised according to genre, with each section displaying its own individual development in craft and theme.


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Living in a revolutionary age, Coleridge's poetry was written in a spirit of moral and emotional inquiry into the absolutes of the human condition. He is best known for his visionary poetry ('Kubla Khan') and his ballads ('The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'), but he used and transformed a variety of verse forms, from the sonnet to the conversation poem, on subjects as divers Living in a revolutionary age, Coleridge's poetry was written in a spirit of moral and emotional inquiry into the absolutes of the human condition. He is best known for his visionary poetry ('Kubla Khan') and his ballads ('The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'), but he used and transformed a variety of verse forms, from the sonnet to the conversation poem, on subjects as diverse as nature, love, and politics. This selection calls attention to the range of Coleridge's work, its strong autobiographical content,and its artistic development throughout his career. The old chronological form has been abandoned and the poems are organised according to genre, with each section displaying its own individual development in craft and theme.

30 review for Selected Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    I have to confess that Romantic Poetry is not my bailiwick...poetry of any kind is mostly beyond me, even though I'd like to be more appreciative. But, Coleridge happens to have written two poems that I do appreciate, which was the reason for picking up this slim volume of his selected poetry: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan. And, as I had started reading The Road to Xanadu: A Study in the Ways of the Imagination by John Livingston Lowes (which traces the sources Coleridge used in these two of his most fa I have to confess that Romantic Poetry is not my bailiwick...poetry of any kind is mostly beyond me, even though I'd like to be more appreciative. But, Coleridge happens to have written two poems that I do appreciate, which was the reason for picking up this slim volume of his selected poetry: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan. And, as I had started reading The Road to Xanadu: A Study in the Ways of the Imagination by John Livingston Lowes (which traces the sources Coleridge used in these two of his most famous poems), I thought this would be a good companion volume to read at the same time. This edition has a thirty page biographical introduction to Coleridge and his poetry by the critic and poet James Reeves, which I found extremely helpful, especially in conjunction with The Road to Xanadu, as well as the other poems themselves. Of these, there are about 50 complete poems and fragments, in roughly chronological order, the first sixteen of which might rightly be called juvenilia. These seemed to me to be on par with most emotionally fraught poetry--in other words, difficult to read. In a volume of selected poetry, it seems like a waste to include these, as Coleridge enthusiasts would likely want a complete edition, with all he wrote, and those of us who are likely only to appreciate his mature work could quite likely do with a much abbreviated selection of his younger efforts. But starting with This Lime-Tree Bower my Prison, we get to Coleridge's creative period, and even I could immediately tell the difference. Still, though, reading through the collection one time, there were only three poems that had any real effect on me--the two already mentioned, and Christabel. There were moments in others, and I will undoubtedly return to this again, if for no other reason than for Kubla Khan, Mariner, and Christabel, and at the same time re-sample some of the others. For that, this is a handy volume to have around, even with the earlier works I found unpalatable.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    "Christabel," "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," and "Kubla Khan" are Coleridge's finest works. A few like "Lewti" and "To a Critic" are witty, and the former only at the end. But when Coleridge waxes overly sanctimonious or over praises nature he loses me altogether. I can see why he is a great and admired though. I would recommend this only because it has the three great poems.

  3. 5 out of 5

    J. Alfred

    My one quarrel with Coleridge is that, somehow, his verse is much harder to memorize than, for instance, Wordsworth. Except for the very beginning of Kubla Kahn, (which is awesome) I can't think of nuffin. I have no idea why. He's great though: the storytelling, the mythic qualities, the Christian qualities busting through the Romantic craziness... he's pretty great.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lizzytish

    I enjoyed his poems. My favorites were The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, The Eolian Harp, and Christabel. The rhythms were fun and enjoyable to read, especially out loud. Favorite quotes:The stilly murmur of the distance sea tells us of silence. Tis well to be bereft of promis'd good, that we may lift the soul, and contemplate with lively joy the joys we cannot share.

  5. 5 out of 5

    An Idler

    One of my favorite Romantics. If only his powers of discipline had been stronger (Kubla Khan, Christabel), but the Rime redeems all.

  6. 5 out of 5

    David Edmonds

    The Rime and Kubla Khan remain the highlights. Whilst I read all the rest I can't say that any of them resonate perhaps through lack of effort on my part.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    The best I can say of Coleridge is that I’ve read him now. Kubla Khan and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner are famous as far as poems are famous, and although they don’t do anything for me, I only know that now. This kind of narrative poetry always puzzles me, because I don’t understand why you wouldn’t just write a novel. You’d have so much more scope for the plot and characterization they desperately need, and no need to be so hemmed in by the form. These Faber editions are very pretty, but thi The best I can say of Coleridge is that I’ve read him now. Kubla Khan and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner are famous as far as poems are famous, and although they don’t do anything for me, I only know that now. This kind of narrative poetry always puzzles me, because I don’t understand why you wouldn’t just write a novel. You’d have so much more scope for the plot and characterization they desperately need, and no need to be so hemmed in by the form. These Faber editions are very pretty, but this collection was assembled by someone who thought the reader was coming to it knowing loads about Coleridge and with a desire for minute esoterica. He also thought what the beginner poetry reader really needed was two versions of Kubla Khan to compare its evolution over time. Protip, that is not what we need. A taster volume needs to showcase the best and most readable stuff, not waste space putting the same poem in twice. If he was hoping to foster greater affection for Coleridge by so doing, he rankly failed in my case. “It ceased; yet still the sails made on A pleasant noise till noon, A noise like of a hidden brook In the leafy month of June, That to the sleeping woods all night Singeth a quiet tune.” This (from the Ancient Mariner) is the only part I highlighted as liking, yet even that is drenched in Romantic treacle.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joel Mitchell

    I read quite a bit of poetry, but it is usually of the epic (or at least narrative) variety with plenty of battles and/or bickering gods. Normally, too much overly-flowery poetry makes me want to gag. For some reason last time I was at the library I decided to read some classic English poetry. Maybe I subconsciously wanted a balance to the blunt prose and academic jargon of the other two books I was reading…and maybe it was just because an episode of Blackadder that I had recently watched featur I read quite a bit of poetry, but it is usually of the epic (or at least narrative) variety with plenty of battles and/or bickering gods. Normally, too much overly-flowery poetry makes me want to gag. For some reason last time I was at the library I decided to read some classic English poetry. Maybe I subconsciously wanted a balance to the blunt prose and academic jargon of the other two books I was reading…and maybe it was just because an episode of Blackadder that I had recently watched featured several foppish, stoned poets. Whatever the reason, I ended up reading a collection of Coleridge’s best poems. Since he is one of the fathers of the romantic movement there was plenty of swooning and gushing over almost-divine nature, unrequited love, lost youth, etc. Some of the language was beautiful and some was gag-me-with-sentiment over the top, but I found the spiritual musings woven throughout the poems to be very interesting as they ranged from quasi-pantheism to dark, oppressive visions. I’ve had my fill of romantic-era poetry for a while, but it was a mostly enjoyable reading experience.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Toby

    Years ago I read, and enjoyed, some of Coleridge's journals. These poems reacquainted me with the well known ones (Ancient Mariner, Kubla Khan) as well as introducing me to ones that I didn't know but enjoyed on a first reading - This Lime Tree Bower, Frost at Midnight and The Aeolian Harp. There is, however, only so much you can take in one go, and - unlike Wordsworth's - Coleridge's oeuvre is on the side of manageable.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cooper Renner

    The three *greats* are here: Kubla Khan (in 2 versions), Christabel and Ancyent Marinere (the first version). Also the near-great Pains of Sleep; and the famous but less impressive Dejection An Ode (2 versions), This Lime Tree Bower, and Frost at Midnight. Along with The Mad Monk (interesting but dispensable) and a series of drafts or fragments (Coleridge at work, as it were). This is pretty much all you need of Coleridge's poetry, and it still knocks the socks off most every other poet.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Never much for poetry during school but this book was on table at job placement centre for free so I took it. Two of the poems inspired two of my favourite rock songs. 1: Kubla Khan - inspiration for Xanadu by Rush and 2: Rime of the Ancient Mariner - inspiration for song of the same name by Iron Maiden.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lief

    Where Wordsworth deals more with the down-to-earth, realistic subjects, Samuel Taylor Coleridge deals much more with the fantastical. Among my favorites are "Kubla Khan" and "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." As with Wordsworth, I recommend looking for themes of longing in the poems, and also compare how he handles subjects in comparison to Wordsworth. Great read!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

    Enjoyed Coleridge's Poetry. For AS we focused on "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner". This was a great accompanying text and really helped with my studies. Another triumph from York Notes. However, a newer edition would have been nicer.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    There are a few great, many good, many fair, few bad, and many I didn't read. The intro notes that Coleridge was never considered a "great" poet. Indeed. I'm sure as I return to this and my opinion will change, but I'm through for now.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dinda

    Let me be awake, my God! Or let me sleep away

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lizy

    I'd never read Coleridge before, but he's so amazing. New favorite poet. Update after re-reading one year later: still my favorite "fancy" poet.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Great Poets : Samuel Taylor Coleridge by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1996)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mrinny

    The most beautifully written poems ever. This is my favourite poet by far.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Seth

    Classic stuff from a canonical author. Poetry has changed a lot since Coleridge was alive, but it's still enjoyable to read his work. Suggested for pretty much anyone.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    I love Kubla Khan and the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. I had originally read both in AP English in High School. Thanks, Mr. Brimeyer

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hu Xiaodi

    wonder what Coleridge would write if he wanted to complete Christabel...

  22. 4 out of 5

    A.whiffen

    metal as fuck. A must read.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Zayda Tenney

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mary-Ellen Lynn

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brittbrann

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mary Sayler

  28. 4 out of 5

    j. p. berame

  29. 4 out of 5

    Beccadg

  30. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Graves

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