The Picador Book of Love Poems, Paperback Book
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With The Picador Book of Love Poems, award-winning poet John Stammers has created a unique collection: by pairing some of the finest love poems from centuries past with modern counterparts, he presents a book of surprising connections, echoes and juxtapositions, where classic and contemporary love poems shed new and unexpected light on one another.

Here, old favourites from Spenser to Tennyson sit side by side with poems by Carol Ann Duffy and Michael Donaghy, the distance between the poets closed by their single timeless theme.

Whether you're feeling tempted, seduced, tormented, or rejected, or falling in love, or out of love - this is the perfect book to inspire, console, and give a voice to every facet of our deepest and most complex human emotion.


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In the introduction to this Anthology, the poet and editor John Stammers states "The poetry of love is unlike any other". He goes on to say that "no other poetry has it's singularity of focus" and that it is "the dominant theme of most western poetry since the renaissance" and where English poetry finds it's most characteristic and celebrated expression, whether in the sonnets of Shakespeare or the poets of the the present day. One individuals love for another is typified, if not defined by Eros, following all it's myriad journeys, travails, its false starts & failed endings."Since feeling is first"since feeling is firstwho pays any attentionto the syntax of thingswill never wholly kiss you;wholly to be a foolwhile spring is in the worldmy blood approves,and kisses are a far better fatethan wisdomlady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry--the best gesture of my brain is less thanyour eyelids' flutter which sayswe are for each other: thenlaugh, leaning back in my armsfor life's not a paragraphAnd death i think no parenthesisE.E. CummingsWhat makes this particular anthology different from the rest, is the way the award winning poet John Stammers has compiled the chosen poetry. Instead of just arranging them in some arbitrary fashion, he has sort to arrange them into pairs, placing some of the greatest love poems of the past with their modern counterparts, creating a dialogue between the poems, which in turn reflects the two-way nature of love itself. Also, by pairing them in this particular way, poets such as Spenser, Herrick and Donne brush up against contemporary poets such as Duffy, Neruda and Hughes, throwing new and interesting light on an age old subject, reflecting the many ways love can be expressed in all it's ambiguous, concrete, obscure and distinct nature. To be honest, like relationships themselves, not all the pairings work, some sit harmoniously together, others jar and argue, whilst others appear to have nothing in common, yet the majority create a dialogue that leads to more than the individual pieces alone, as Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways..." one of my favourite pairings is the two shown here.First Love.I ne'er was struck before that hourWith love so sudden and so sweet,Her face it bloomed like a sweet flowerand stole my heart away complete.My face turned pale as deadly paleMy legs refused to walk away,And when she looked, what could I ail?My life and all seemed turned to clay.And then my blood rushed to my faceAnd took my eyesight quite away,The trees and bush round the placeseemed midnight at noonday.I could not see a single thing,Words from eyes did start -They spoke as chords do from the string,And blood burnt round my heart.Are flowers the winter's choice?Is love's bed always snow?She seemed to hear my silent voice,Not love's appeals to know.I never saw so sweet a faceAs that I stood before.My heart has left its dwelling-placeAnd can return no more.John Clare