Welcome! Log in or Register

The Nation's Favourite Twentieth Century Poems

  • image
£2.99 Best Offer by: amazon.co.uk marketplace See more offers
3 Reviews

Author: Unknown author / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 30 September 1999 / Genre: Poetry / Subcategory: Poetry Anthologies (Various Poets) / Publisher: Ebury Press / Title: The Nation's Favourite Twentieth Century Poems / ISBN 13: 9780563551430 / ISBN 10: 0563551430

  • Sort by:

    * Prices may differ from that shown

  • Write a review >
    How do you rate the product overall? Rate it out of five by clicking on one of the hearts.
    What are the advantages and disadvantages? Use up to 10 bullet points.
    Write your reviews in your own words. 250 to 500 words
    Number of words:
    Write a concise and readable conclusion. The conclusion is also the title of the review.
    Number of words:
    Write your email adress here Write your email adress

    Your dooyooMiles Miles

    3 Reviews
    Sort by:
    • More +
      08.12.2009 02:19
      Very helpful



      A great everyday poetry anythology.

      The Nation's Favourite Poems is a compilation of poetry brought out in 1996 by the publishing arm of the BBC. It was compiled based on the results of a nationwide poll with the aim of finding; you guessed it, the nation's favourite poem. This book has been on my living room shelf as far back as I can remember and was probably my first source of poetry. I can recollect choosing my "favourite poem" to take to school aged 7 or 8 (it was "Silver" by Walter De La Mare in case you're interested) and I've continued to flick through the book, discovering new poets for the last ten years.

      The anthology showcases the top 100 poems as chosen by the British public correlated in descending order. It contains works by a wide range of poets in a variety of styles spanning the centuries. For those who like their poetry traditional there are works such as "Daffodils" by Wordsworth and the Sonnets of Shakespeare. For those seeking a more modern style of writing there is "Chocolate Cake" by Michael Rosen or the ever popular "Please Mrs Butler" by Allan Ahlberg. Poems by Auden, Keats, Hardy, D.H. Lawrence, Wilde, Thomas, Shelley and Owen are also secreted between the pages. The foreword is by Griff Rhys Jones and is a short, succinct introduction to the book that gives a brief history of some of the poems and also contains the tremendously sad yet uplifting "Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep."

      I was impressed by the variety of poems on offer in one book and I think it is a good collection to ease newcomers into the world of poetry. Many people might have been put off by what could be considered boring poetry at school etc and this does show that not all poetry is tedious and there is some style of poetry that everyone can enjoy. The assortment of poems also all vary in length which again ensures there is something to appeal to everyone. All the poems were clearly displayed and, in terms of layout, everything possible has been done to ensure an enjoyable reading experience for the reader.

      As this is a collection of poetry it obviously isn't a book that people are going to read cover to cover. However, it is a great book to have if you need something to read/ pass the time for a few minutes. I also think it is a useful way of introducing people to poetry without frightening them off with huge, impenetrable tomes of flowery nonsense. As the general public rather than literary experts have chosen the entries it means they are all very accessible and enjoyable to read. All elitism and superiority has been left at the door which makes for an all round pleasanter experience.

      There are some fantastic poems in this book and after reading them as a youngster I was definitely inspired to go and find more works by some of the poets. Today my two favourite poems in this anthology are "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe (number 91) and "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" by Oscar Wilde (number 54.) I really appreciate being able to pick up one book and have access to these poems( though I think it a travesty that Poe only reached 91) as it is unlikely these two authors would be otherwise displayed in the same publication.

      Overall I think this is the best poetry anthology for the typical British household with at least one verse that is sure to interest everyone. Quite simply it is a collection of famous poetry from celebrated writers that has no ideas of snobbery about it. It can currently be purchased from £3.05 on Amazon which I think is a super price for a great book that will be picked up again and again over the years.


      Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        04.07.2009 20:23
        Very helpful




        For me, there are two types of books. There's the kind you make time for - a pot of strong hot tea, a blanket, and a prime spot on the sofa with your feet curled under you. And then there's the other kind - books that are so meaningful that you can't just read through them, but rather have to read a little at a time, and then sit back and digest the words, sounding them out in your head and putting your own meaning to them.

        Poetry books fall into the second category, a category I rather crudely call ' Bathroom Books'. These are the books that cover my bathroom windowsill, the books I grab for when I'm sitting in the bath and don't have much time to read, or (rather disgustingly, I know) read when I'm sitting on the toilet!

        I think probably most people have a favourite poem of some kind, be it something inspirational, such as Rudyard Kipling's 'If', something that helps you through hard times, or even just a silly limerick that makes you giggle.

        So, as both a writer and a reader of poetry, when I saw this book at my local charity shop priced at an extremely reasonable 30p, I snapped it up to dip into as I lay in the bath.

        This book came about as the result of a poll conducted in 1995 by The Bookworm, to find the nations favourite 100 poems (hence the catchy title) The book starts with a small forward by Griff Rhys Jones, and then launches headlong into a wonderful collection of poems .

        Whether you seek inspiration, consolation, humour, wit, or nonsense, this book contains something for every taste in poetry. Unsurprisingly, Kipling's 'If' snags the number one spot, and deservingly so, in my opinion. Its a poem I personally have a great love for, finding it inspirational, and in fact I would almost class the poem as ' Words to live by', and its the only poem I am going to include in full in my review, as I find it loses a lot by being cut into pieces.

        If you can keep your head when all about you
        Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
        If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
        But make allowance for their doubting too,
        If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
        Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
        Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
        And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

        If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
        If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
        If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
        And treat those two impostors just the same;
        If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
        Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
        Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
        And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

        If you can make one heap of all your winnings
        And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
        And lose, and start again at your beginnings
        And never breathe a word about your loss;
        If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
        To serve your turn long after they are gone,
        And so hold on when there is nothing in you
        Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

        If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
        Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
        If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
        If all men count with you, but none too much,
        If you can fill the unforgiving minute
        With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
        Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
        And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

        --Rudyard Kipling

        Other favorites of mine include Lewis Carroll's nonsensical Jabberwocky:

        "Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
        The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
        Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
        The frumious Bandersnatch!"

        And 'Remember' by Christina Rossetti, a poem I remember hearing as a young child at my grandmother funeral.

        "And afterwards remember do not grieve:
        For if the darkness and corruption leave
        A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
        Better by far you should forget and smile
        Than that you should remember and be sad."

        Of course, there are many other poems here, many of which I had heard before, and some I'd never encountered at all. If I were to quote all of the poems I love or identify with, this review would probably run far longer than the patience of most reader! Suffice it to say that many of them inspired me, a few made me smile, some made me dream, and a few even made me want to cry. I'm not going to lie and say I personally enjoyed every poem in this book - but then again, that's the beauty of poetry - different things mean different things to different people, and everyone has their own taste.

        There's plenty for the lover of romantic poetry - Elizabeth Barret Browning's 'How do I love thee' resides amongst these pages, as well as poems by Yeats, Shelley, and Keats. There's a smidgen of Shakespeare, some Marlowe, and a little from my favourite poet, Wordsworth.

        Even for children, there a few gems here - The Owl and the Pussycat immediately springing to mind, as well as Jabberwocky, and some others.

        Overall, this book is an excellent mixture of classic and contemporary, comedy and tragedy, love and hate, and everything in between, and while its not one of those books suitable for curling up with a hot mug of tea and a pack of chocolate digestives, it's nevertheless an exceptional book.

        I paid a mere 30p for my copy, which I definitely regard as great value. The retail price for this book is 6.99, and you can of course lay your hands on a copy at www.amazon.co.uk, . This is also available on Daisy for the blind (available at http://onlineshop.rnib.org.uk ) which of course requires a Daisy computer, and as an audio book for listening to when driving, although the audio book contains only 42 of the poems.

        Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! You won't like every poem, but I defy anyone to read this book and not find something hidden amongst the pages they can identify with! Dip into the pages, read a poem, and then take a break to digest the words and find your own meaning. That, after all, is what good poetry is all about.


        Login or register to add comments
      • More +
        15.11.2007 11:45
        Very helpful



        The best popular anthology of Poetry ever printed in Britain

        ***The nations favourite poems***

        "With a forward by Griff Rhys Jones"

        The best popular anthology ever printed in Britain" Auberon Waugh

        Published by the BBC Worldwide Ltd. Paperback edition first publication 1996. ISBN: 0 563 38782 3 Hardback edition first published in 1998. ISBN: 0 563 38487 5 All copyright remains with the individual authors. This anthology was printed and bound by Martin's the printers Ltd. Berwick-upon-Tweed.

        The great thing about Poetry is that readers will interpret it in differant ways. It will mean one thing to one, while it could mean something totally differant to the next person. It is all according to context. There is no right or wrong interpretation when reading poetry, it is purely personal. It is a Universal language with power and impact, imagery and wordpainting, and within this book you will find the Great poets, and some of the best poems ever written.

        This anthology of poetry was the direct result of a poll taken in Great Britain to find out which poem was the Nations favourite, and subsequently the next ninety nine, to make one hundred favourite poems in all.

        The poem that came in at number one was Rudyard Kiplings 'If'. This is a wonderful poem extolling a great philosophy and integrity, which is timeless. This is a hugely motivational and inspirational poem, and it hangs at Wimbledon on the entrance to the Centre court. Rudyard Kipling had a very tragic life, he was extremely unhappy in childhood, his parents sent him away, and he was beaten and abused by his new family. His Public school life was a failure, and later in his life his two children died.

        He became famous whilst in India, with his stories and poetry, notably 'The jungle book' and his 'Just so' stories.

        The last stanza of 'If' by Rudyard Kipling. 1865-1936

        If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
        Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
        If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
        If all men count with you, but none too much,
        If you can fill the unforgiving minute
        With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
        Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
        And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

        You can understand why this poem came out as favourite. It is truly moving and poignant, inspirational and valid today.

        The next poem I really like in this anthology is 'Dulce ET decorum est.' By Wilfred Owen, a WW1 Poet.

        British soldiers considered it a privilege and honour, to fight, and maybe die for their country, in the name of Patriatism. However, the bitter reality became all too apparent to them as the war unfolded.

        I have included the last stanza with the complete saying ending the poem. Its meaning: "It is sweet and right to die for your country"

        This is the last stanza of 'Dulce ET decorum est' by Wilfred Owen. 1893-1918

        If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
        Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
        And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
        His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
        If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
        Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
        Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
        Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
        My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
        To children ardent for some desperate glory,
        The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
        Pro patria mori.

        The next poem I have chosen is by Stevie Smith. It is short and poignant, simple and stark. I feel it is about the death of ones spirit and will, leading to their physical suicide."I was much too far out all my life and not waving but drowning" It's very short, only three stanzas, so I will include the whole poem.

        Stevie Smith. 1903-71
        Not waving but drowning.

        Nobody heard him, the dead man,
        But still he lay moaning:
        I was much further out than you thought
        And not waving but drowning.

        Poor chap, he always loved larking
        And now he's dead
        It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
        They said.

        Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
        (Still the dead one lay moaning)
        I was much too far out all my life
        And not waving but drowning.

        The last poem I 'have' to include is from ' Twelve songs' by W.H.Auden. This is a fantastic poem. It is about the loss of someone. It is an elegy.

        W.H. AUDEN 1907-73
        from Twelve Songs


        Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
        Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
        Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
        Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
        Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
        Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
        Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
        Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

        He was my North, my South, my East and West,
        My working week and my Sunday rest,
        My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
        I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
        The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
        Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
        Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
        For nothing now can ever come to any good.

        A wonderfully emotive and heartbreaking poem. It featured in the film 'Four weddings and a funeral' It is a great poem full of imagery, grief, and emotion. ~

        This is an incredible anthology, and what I have shown you is just the tip of the ice-berg. Depending on personal taste, I'm sure you will find something to your preference within this book. This anthology is used in colleges and Universities, as part of the study of English Literature, and it is a wonderful insight into the world of Poetry. I used it for my Access course. Poetry is often used to explore dark, uncomfortable subjects, and apart from its power from the reader's point of view, it can be hugely therapeutic to write ones own.

        ***My opinion and summing up***

        I think this was an excellent idea to take a poll, to find out which Poems, as a nation, we all loved. So really this is an anthology made by us, for us. It is including our personal taste in the best poetry we love. So whether a newcomer to Poetry or a lover of Poetry already, there will be something for you within this book. This book is very across the board, and you will find Modern poets alongside Classic poets. I have enjoyed all the poetry in this book, and even discovered some I had never read before and which I really liked. It is nice to see so many writing styles within one book.

        I would definitely recommend this anthology; it includes some wonderful poems, such as ' Daffodils' By Wordsworth. ' Remember' by Christinna Rossetti. And ' The lady of Shallot ' by Tennyson. There are far too many for me to list here, unfortunately. The BBC also has a series of these poetry books: The Nations favourite poems of celebration, The Nations favourite poems of desire, and the Nations favourite Twentieth Century Poems, to name but a few. It is a fantastic series of poetry books, and I purchased my copy for the price of 5.99; it is available from all good book shops. It is also available online, new and secondhand, from Amazon, Ebay and various other sites. I hope you enjoy it, should you decide to purchase this anthology. I don't think you will be disappointed.

        Thank you for reading.


        Login or register to add comments
      • Product Details

        This collection brings together a wealth of innovative poetry styles that have flourished in the 20th century, whether in the witty modern-day sonnets of Wendy Cope, the nonsense poems of Spike Milligan, the prose poems of T.S. Elliot, or the rhythmic and vibrant outpourings of Benjamin Zephaniah.

      Products you might be interested in