Posted in book review., Books, Poems

The Golden Treasury of Poetry–Favourite Books-2

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About a month ago I was a judge at an elocution contest at a local school. Twenty-nine schools participated, and one from each school, from each of the classes 3,4, 5, had to recite a poem. Listening to and giving marks to around 85-90 children was quite a task!

All had perfect memory and confidence, despite mispronouncing some words. Many poems were repeated, perhaps they were in their textbooks? For some reason ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ was a favourite with class five.

I wished at that time they had access to this wonderful book, The Golden Treasury of Poetry, selected by Louis Untermeyer, and with the beautiful drawings of Joan Walsh Anglund.

This book was gifted to me when I was nine years old, and it is still a prized possession. As the Foreword says: ‘This is a book to grow on, this is a book to grow with…’ It has funny poems, short poems, long serious poems, and others of all kinds that would appeal to a growing child. They are by poets well-known, less known, and even by those who are anonymous.

Some have remained in my head over the years, for instance: ‘Speak gently spring, and make no sudden sound,/For in my windy valley, yesterday I found/ New-born foxes, squirming on the ground./ Speak gently.’ [Four Little Foxes, by Lew Sarett]. There is T.S. Eliot on cats, William Cowper on a snail, Thomas Hood’s ‘I remember, I remember’, extracts from Shakespeare, poems by Shelley, Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, classic poems such as The Pied Piper and The Inchcape Rock, Kentucky Belle, and an entire section called ‘Laughter Holding Both Its Sides’, as well as so many more. Rosalie Grayer’s ‘Altar Smoke’ too, comes to mind, beginning with the words: ‘Somewhere inside of me/There must have always been/ A tenderness/ For the little, lived with things/ A man crowds upon his worn fistful of earth….’

The book is still available and I thought of recommending it to schools till I saw its exorbitant price of Rs. 74,000! Certainly, a valuable book to have!

I have other wonderful poetry collections too–will write more on them sometime.

 

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Author:

A writer with eight published books and several articles, book reviews etc. I primarily write on history and religion, but would love to switch to fiction.

4 thoughts on “The Golden Treasury of Poetry–Favourite Books-2

  1. I loved poetry anthologies when I was a youngster, though I don’t remember ever having a copy of this one. A couple I have now and like to dip into were edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes; “The Rattle Bag” (1982) and “The School Bag” (1997). A lot of familiar poems, but also some that were new to me from Scottish, Welsh and Irish poets.

    I’m not surprised that “The Charge of the Light Brigade” was a popular choice – I remember being fascinated by it when I was young. It tells a dramatic story, and its rhythm and rhyme make it easy to learn.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anthologies by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes–I must look them up. I have a few others, hope to write about them soon. Yes The Charge of the Light Brigade is dramatic and easy to remember. I just wondered about its appropriateness for class five–who I guess were around 9 years old. And whether they knew the historical background.

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      1. I think 9 is about the right age for that poem! Mind you, I belong to a generation whose early reading often contained a fair amount of violence, and war stories. Even so, much of my reading encouraged me to think, “Well, that’s the story, so can I find out more about what lies behind it?” That’s something I still do.

        Liked by 1 person

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