Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Top 100 Classic Poems Poll

As I was saying in my previous post, I love how words and music are blended together in opera.  I also love how words and music intersect in poetry.  So when I saw that Sherry at Semicolon is conducting a Top 100 Classic Poems poll, I couldn't resist taking part.  She's asking people to make a list of their top ten classic poems, choosing works that are no longer under copyright (pre-1910/1923), and listing them in order of preference from most favorite (#1) to least favorite (#10).  The deadline for submitting your list to her is midnight, March 26, 2010.  She will tally the totals and count down to the number one poem, starting in April (which is National Poetry Month).  Learn more about the project here.

I've been working on my list for a while now, but choosing 10 favorites is sort of hard.  Plus, a lot of my favorite poems are more recent and still under copyright, and probably aren't old enough to be considered "classic".  Then there's ranking them, and I always struggle with things like that.  Figuring out number one isn't too hard, but ranking all ten?  It might take me a while--I could agonize over something like that for weeks.  Still, it's a fun project, and a nice break from the routine. 

Here's one poem I know will be on the list:

God's Grandeur, by Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed.  Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell:  the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs--
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

How about you?  Any favorites to share?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Because of copyright laws, I'm pretty sure I can't quote a full poem that is not in the public domain without permission to do so, so I had to delete the above comment. However, I love the poem that was in the comment, "in Just", by e. e. cummings. You can read it here:


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