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John Donne's Poetry

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The texts reprinted in this new Norton Critical Edition have been scrupulously edited and are from the Westmoreland manuscript where possible, collated against the most important families of Donne manuscripts the Cambridge Belam, the Dublin Trinity, and the O Flahertie and compared with all seven seventeenth-century printed editions of the poems as well as all major twenti The texts reprinted in this new Norton Critical Edition have been scrupulously edited and are from the Westmoreland manuscript where possible, collated against the most important families of Donne manuscripts the Cambridge Belam, the Dublin Trinity, and the O Flahertie and compared with all seven seventeenth-century printed editions of the poems as well as all major twentieth-century editions. Criticism is divided into four sections and represents the best criticism and interpretation of Donne s writing: Donne and Metaphysical Poetry includes seven seventeenth-century views by contemporaries of Donne such as Ben Jonson, Thomas Carew, and John Dryden, among others; Satires, Elegies, and Verse Letters includes seven selections that offer social and literary context for and insights into Donne s frequently overlooked early poems; Songs and Sonnets features six analyses of Donne s love poetry; and Holy Sonnets/Divine Poems explores Donne s struggles as a Christian through four authoritative essays. A Chronology of Donne s life and work, a Selected Bibliography, and an Index of Titles and First Lines are also included.


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The texts reprinted in this new Norton Critical Edition have been scrupulously edited and are from the Westmoreland manuscript where possible, collated against the most important families of Donne manuscripts the Cambridge Belam, the Dublin Trinity, and the O Flahertie and compared with all seven seventeenth-century printed editions of the poems as well as all major twenti The texts reprinted in this new Norton Critical Edition have been scrupulously edited and are from the Westmoreland manuscript where possible, collated against the most important families of Donne manuscripts the Cambridge Belam, the Dublin Trinity, and the O Flahertie and compared with all seven seventeenth-century printed editions of the poems as well as all major twentieth-century editions. Criticism is divided into four sections and represents the best criticism and interpretation of Donne s writing: Donne and Metaphysical Poetry includes seven seventeenth-century views by contemporaries of Donne such as Ben Jonson, Thomas Carew, and John Dryden, among others; Satires, Elegies, and Verse Letters includes seven selections that offer social and literary context for and insights into Donne s frequently overlooked early poems; Songs and Sonnets features six analyses of Donne s love poetry; and Holy Sonnets/Divine Poems explores Donne s struggles as a Christian through four authoritative essays. A Chronology of Donne s life and work, a Selected Bibliography, and an Index of Titles and First Lines are also included.

30 review for John Donne's Poetry

  1. 3 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    What is it that infects the iconoclasts? What is it unrelenting that they cannot be the same? John Donne was a colossus, straddling the channel. To be born English and Catholic meant he never had a unified identity. Sometimes it troubled him, but to be no one man became his greatest gift. Most people are never forced to look beyond their place and their lives. That place itself may be challenged, and success is never assured, but to strive to become someone out of being so strongly no-one is anot What is it that infects the iconoclasts? What is it unrelenting that they cannot be the same? John Donne was a colossus, straddling the channel. To be born English and Catholic meant he never had a unified identity. Sometimes it troubled him, but to be no one man became his greatest gift. Most people are never forced to look beyond their place and their lives. That place itself may be challenged, and success is never assured, but to strive to become someone out of being so strongly no-one is another type of success. It taught him joy in the world. It taught him of the simplicity of joy: that it is always a small thing and turns about and about on a single word. It stretched him out along a continuum with two opposing sides that could never be opposite concepts, and only found their conflict in the blood and flesh of men. I might say it is no wonder that he was the man who tried to imagine a speck of dust that spans the universe. I might say it, but it would not be true: Donne is a wonder; and he is a wonderer. In that sense, he creates himself. He may be this, or he may be its opposite. That he was born a Catholic and died the Anglican Priest of St. Paul's Cathedral is not a change of identity for him, but rather a simple turn of phrase. Why shouldn't a poet's life be a poem? We might ask what mark could stand betwixt the caesura of a man's change of heart. The mark is Metaphysics, which has doggedly followed him ever since. There is a Shakespearean accessibility to Donne, in that he never places himself squarely behind any particular idea. Indeed, he is defined by his ability to question more than answer. He also bears some resemblance to the bard in his use of low humor, which combines with his holy works to span most of human experience. However, there is often little accessible about his conceits, which are complex, intellectual, and many-layered. Unlike Shakespeare, Donne tends to challenge the reader (though the argument of medium may stand here). Like Pope, there is the sense that Donne is sharing a joke with you, and there is satisfaction in it. However, it is often less likely to be (entirely) a joke as a conceptual and philosophical exploration. Taking his cues from the consummate Petrarch, Donne builds a language and a world of poetry like the crafting of a philosophy. However, finding himself too uninhibited to match the singular drive and form of Petrarch, Donne leaves us instead an open book, where every confirmation undermines itself, and to withhold becomes, itself, a passion.

  2. 3 out of 5

    Bettie☯

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. (view spoiler)[Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  3. 3 out of 5

    Derek

    Let me start by saying I enjoyed John Donne’s Holy Sonnets as much as his sexy romps, and I hope to discuss both (as well as the less interesting verse letters and songs) with equal fervency and attention, but for now I want to talk just about the sexy romps. Mostly, Donne is a hoot, a dirty dawg. In Elegy 4, the narrator decides he will be more moral by refusing sex with a married woman in her husband’s bed and instead – here’s a great improvement – finding a different bed in a different house i Let me start by saying I enjoyed John Donne’s Holy Sonnets as much as his sexy romps, and I hope to discuss both (as well as the less interesting verse letters and songs) with equal fervency and attention, but for now I want to talk just about the sexy romps. Mostly, Donne is a hoot, a dirty dawg. In Elegy 4, the narrator decides he will be more moral by refusing sex with a married woman in her husband’s bed and instead – here’s a great improvement – finding a different bed in a different house in which to sleep with her. In Elegy 6, the narrator basically tells a virgin woman, “If we have sex now it won’t hurt so much with your husband later on, whenever he comes along.” (33). In Elegy 7, the narrator says he will serve his country better by staying home and having sex with his wife than going off to war. Elegy 8 is all kink, snuff, and keepin’ it rough, a veritable striptease, if you will; the man on the bed with the school-girl fetish gives the woman before him both elevator eyes (up and down) and X-ray eyes (in and out) and does so through the lens of sexual colonialism, the woman’s body a land to be conquered. If I asked my secondary students to translate any one of Donne’s elegies into contemporary language, as I have asked them to do with Romeo & Juliet in the past, I would first close-read my district’s curriculum guide and my union contract. The poetry is definitely explicit. This is not to say it isn’t or can’t be romantic. In Elegy 14, Donne writes, “So we her airs contemplate, words and heart / And virtues; but we love the centric part… / Her swelling lips, to which when we are come / We anchor there, and think ourselves at home… / And sailing towards her India, in that way / Shall at her fair Atlantic navel stay” (43). Romantic, right? I thought so, but then the dawg ruins the romance (or rather, transforms it into bar talk) with an OMG-did-he-say-that-about-a-woman? punch: “Thou shalt upon another forest set / Where some do shipwreck, and no further get. / When thou art there, consider what this chase / Misspent by thy beginning at the face” (43). That’s right: Why waste time lingering on a woman’s face? For this narrator’s voyage, true north is the southern part of the body. The woman’s brain and eyes and mouth are not body parts worth visiting. Odysseus longed for Penelope because he wanted to copulate, not converse. Donne has a knack for being explicit on one page and then ethereal on another. On page seven he writes of the goal “To out-swive dildos, and out-usure Jews”; two pages later he’s analyzing the syntax of the Bible: “Each day his beads, but having left those laws / Adds to Christ’s prayer, the power and glory clause.” When he describes the boils of venereal disease (26), it is clear he can write with utter familiarity about the grime and grit of life, and about genital itching, but he’s not exempt from good ol’ sentimental moralizing: “but oh, we allow / Good works as good, but out of fashion now” (9). Which was actually a good point. Has anything changed over time? The more I read, I didn’t really think so. Example 1: Donne writes, “By thee the greatest stain to man’s estate / Falls on us, to be call’d effeminate” (29), and from what I hear in the hallways at my school, it’s true: When men insult other men, they call them female. Example 2: Donne writes, “Or let me creep to some dread conjurer / Which with fantastic schemes fulfills much paper / Which hath divided heaven in tenements” (25), describing a shady character who prays on others. A salesperson with a safari hat and walkie-talkie selling time-shares in Mexico, perhaps? Or maybe a luxury waterfront penthouse suite at the Edgewater Hotel? Example 3: Donne writes, in a showcase of dirty wit: “Like sun-parch’d quarters on the city gate / Such is thy tann’d skin’s lamentable state. / And like a bunch of ragged carrots stand / The short swoll’n fingers of thy gouty hand… / Are not your kisses then as filthy, and more / As a worm sucking an envenom’d sore?... / Leave her, and I will leave comparing thus / She and comparisons are odious” (27), a kind of one-ups-manship characteristic of a string of Yo’ Momma jokes, but from only one man. This dirty dawg doesn’t need competition. He’ll compete with himself. Ten pages later, he writes, “Though all her parts be not in th’usual place / She’hath yet an anagram of a good face” (37).

  4. 3 out of 5

    Sean

    Jack the Rake's poems get me hotter than the kitchen oven, but then I turn to the end of the book and I'm broken, blown (?!) burned, and made new again by some serious holiness.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    I read these poems in high school and had a really, really hard time with them. I honestly have never gone back to them but perhaps I should. I guess if I read Milton's Paradise Lost/Gained, I will also reread Donne who was roughly his contemporary. I do recall him being highly quotable though: No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.... Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in Mankind; and therefore never send to know for... Pe I read these poems in high school and had a really, really hard time with them. I honestly have never gone back to them but perhaps I should. I guess if I read Milton's Paradise Lost/Gained, I will also reread Donne who was roughly his contemporary. I do recall him being highly quotable though: No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main.... Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in Mankind; and therefore never send to know for... Perhaps that is something we need to take to heart now in these times of division and public displays of hate and intolerance. We are all human and we need to accept all humans as they are and not as we wish them to be.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Xio

    SONG. by John Donne SWEETEST love, I do not go, For weariness of thee, Nor in hope the world can show A fitter love for me ; But since that I At the last must part, 'tis best, Thus to use myself in jest By feigned deaths to die. Yesternight the sun went hence, And yet is here to-day ; He hath no desire nor sense, Nor half so short a way ; Then fear not me, But believe that I shall make Speedier journeys, since I take More wings and spurs than he. O how feeble is man's power, That if good fortune fall, Cann SONG. by John Donne SWEETEST love, I do not go, For weariness of thee, Nor in hope the world can show A fitter love for me ; But since that I At the last must part, 'tis best, Thus to use myself in jest By feigned deaths to die. Yesternight the sun went hence, And yet is here to-day ; He hath no desire nor sense, Nor half so short a way ; Then fear not me, But believe that I shall make Speedier journeys, since I take More wings and spurs than he. O how feeble is man's power, That if good fortune fall, Cannot add another hour, Nor a lost hour recall ; But come bad chance, And we join to it our strength, And we teach it art and length, Itself o'er us to advance. When thou sigh'st, thou sigh'st not wind, But sigh'st my soul away ; When thou weep'st, unkindly kind, My life's blood doth decay. It cannot be That thou lovest me as thou say'st, If in thine my life thou waste, That art the best of me. Let not thy divining heart Forethink me any ill ; Destiny may take thy part, And may thy fears fulfil. But think that we Are but turn'd aside to sleep. They who one another keep Alive, ne'er parted be.

  7. 3 out of 5

    Heidi'sbooks

    I read eleven poems, plus the 16 sonnet sequence "Holy Sonnets" for my bookclub. I thought "To His Mistress" was quite sensual. Could you imagine having all of that stuff to take off—girdle, breastplate, busk (corset), gown, coronet, shoes. He says “unpin” and “Unlace yourself.” I’m so glad I don’t have to go through all that to get undressed each night. In "Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" I really liked the analogy of the compass for a married couple. John Donne wrote this to his wife as he wa I read eleven poems, plus the 16 sonnet sequence "Holy Sonnets" for my bookclub. I thought "To His Mistress" was quite sensual. Could you imagine having all of that stuff to take off—girdle, breastplate, busk (corset), gown, coronet, shoes. He says “unpin” and “Unlace yourself.” I’m so glad I don’t have to go through all that to get undressed each night. In "Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" I really liked the analogy of the compass for a married couple. John Donne wrote this to his wife as he was leaving for Europe. They were like a compass—she was the fixed foot. Since they were one flesh, while he was away, their soul would expand. Like a compass she would remain in place but lean towards him while he was away. Then she would straighten as he returned. I found the Holy Sonnets quite interesting. What a difference from his earlier works, eh? Of course, Death Be Not Proud is a triumphant poem. I've always loved it. Death should not be proud because some day it's going to die. I've always had that comfort that at the moment of death the victory is won. Sometimes we have the idea that when someone loses their battle with cancer or other illness, they've lost. But at just the moment they've lost the battle, they've won the war through faith in Christ. The poem called "Spit in my face you Jews" is interesting. My sins, which pass the Jews' impiety: They killed once an inglorious man, but I Crucify him daily, being now glorified. At first I was wondering where he was going with this--it started out sounding like he was going to bash the Jews, but ended up with him convicting himself. Good one.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Beyrouthy

    Had to read some of Donne's poems for the literature class I'm taking this semester, we also had to read Shakespeare and I think I enjoyed this more (yeah I know, shocking) Here's a poem that I'll be reading to the first person that I fall in love with: The Good-Morrow. I wonder by my troth, what thou and I Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then? But sucked on country pleasures, childishly? Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den? ‘Twas so; but this, all pleasures’ fancies be; If ever any Had to read some of Donne's poems for the literature class I'm taking this semester, we also had to read Shakespeare and I think I enjoyed this more (yeah I know, shocking) Here's a poem that I'll be reading to the first person that I fall in love with: The Good-Morrow. I wonder by my troth, what thou and I Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then? But sucked on country pleasures, childishly? Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den? ‘Twas so; but this, all pleasures’ fancies be; If ever any beauty I did see, Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee. And now good-morrow to our waking souls, Which watch not one another out of fear; For love all love of other sights controls, And makes one little room an everywhere. Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone; Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown; Let us possess one world; each hath one, and is one. My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears, And true plain hearts do in the faces rest; Where can we find two better hemispheres Without sharp north, without declining west? Whatever dies, was not mixed equally; If our two loves be one, or thou and I Love so alike that none can slacken, none can die.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Georgia

    I had to read this book for my university course on John Donne and although poetry is definitely not my favourite genre, I liked this collection. Having also studied the author’s life and his way of writing, made me appreciate it even more. What really got to me, was the new and different way he wrote women. He didn’t idealise her the same way the Petrarchan poets did. Sure, everything she did was based on his actions and his perception of her and she was never given a voice... Still... progress?

  10. 4 out of 5

    James

    Commentary on The Ecstasy: There is often sufficient paradox and complexity in the poems of John Donne that he leaves his readers perplexed. That is no more true in his lyrics than of "The Ecstasy". One of his best known verses, this can be read as a representation of an artful young seducer; but my background and our class discussion suggests a more serious interpretation. My view is based in the classical philosophy of Plato and his poetic and philosophic, many-faceted, stories of the nature of Commentary on The Ecstasy: There is often sufficient paradox and complexity in the poems of John Donne that he leaves his readers perplexed. That is no more true in his lyrics than of "The Ecstasy". One of his best known verses, this can be read as a representation of an artful young seducer; but my background and our class discussion suggests a more serious interpretation. My view is based in the classical philosophy of Plato and his poetic and philosophic, many-faceted, stories of the nature of love in "The Symposium"; that narrated by Aristophanes in particular. This can be seen in the depiction of the joining of the bodies of the lovers in the following passage (lines 1-12): Where, like a pillow on a bed A pregnant bank swell'd up to rest The violet's reclining head, Sat we two, one another's best. Our hands were firmly cemented With a fast balm, which thence did spring; Our eye-beams twisted, and did thread Our eyes upon one double string; So to'intergraft our hands, as yet Was all the means to make us one, And pictures in our eyes to get Was all our propagation. With "hands cemented", "Our eyes upon one double string" the lovers close in a natural union of love. I say natural for this is the setting, familiar yet traditional, somehow moderating the heightened emotion of ecstasy. This ecstasy (in Donne's time a technical term for the condition of the soul during the mystical experience) suggests a communion of souls that is purified by love. This is a language that may only be understood by someone similarly afflicted. The oneness of bodies leads to a "dialogue of one" in the following lines (28-36): This ecstasy doth unperplex, We said, and tell us what we love; We see by this it was not sex, We see we saw not what did move; But as all several souls contain Mixture of things, they know not what, Love these mix'd souls doth mix again And makes both one, each this and that. These lines also reinforce the unity of the two bodies as one, a reinforcing that begins in the fourth line of the poem and continues throughout until the end; that reinforcement comes with the repetition of the word we as if the speaker in the poem is the two as one. And the oneness is in the mixture of their souls not in the activity of sex. The union is echoed one final time in the final stanza of the poem (lines 73-76). And if some lover, such as we, Have heard this dialogue of one, Let him still mark us, he shall see Small change, when we'are to bodies gone.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Read #1 Started on July 9, 2012 Finished on July 11, 2012 Didn't read all of his poetry, but my English class this summer went through a bunch of Donne's stuff and I have to say, he was my one of my favorite poets out of the ones we studied. Holy Sonnet X was probably the one I enjoyed most: "Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so; For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest and sleep, whi Read #1 Started on July 9, 2012 Finished on July 11, 2012 Didn't read all of his poetry, but my English class this summer went through a bunch of Donne's stuff and I have to say, he was my one of my favorite poets out of the ones we studied. Holy Sonnet X was probably the one I enjoyed most: "Death, be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou are not so; For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee do go, Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery. Thou'art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell, And poppy'or charms can make us sleep as well And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then? One short sleep past, we wake eternally, And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die." And the line from Hymn to God, My God, in My Sickness: "Look, Lord, and find both Adams met in me; As the first Adam's sweat surrounds my face / May the last Adam's blood my soul embrace."

  12. 3 out of 5

    Kira

    Джон Донн «Блоха» («The Flea») перевод Бродского Узри в блохе, что мирно льнет к стене, В сколь малом ты отказываешь мне. Кровь поровну пила она из нас: Твоя с моей в ней смешаны сейчас. Но этого ведь мы не назовем Грехом, потерей девственности, злом. Блоха, от крови смешанной пьяна, Пред вечным сном насытилась сполна; Достигла больше нашего она. Узри же в ней три жизни и почти Ее вниманьем. Ибо в ней почти, Нет, больше чем женаты ты и я. И ложе нам, и храм блоха сия. Нас связывают крепче алтаря Живые стены Джон Донн «Блоха» («The Flea») перевод Бродского Узри в блохе, что мирно льнет к стене, В сколь малом ты отказываешь мне. Кровь поровну пила она из нас: Твоя с моей в ней смешаны сейчас. Но этого ведь мы не назовем Грехом, потерей девственности, злом. Блоха, от крови смешанной пьяна, Пред вечным сном насытилась сполна; Достигла больше нашего она. Узри же в ней три жизни и почти Ее вниманьем. Ибо в ней почти, Нет, больше чем женаты ты и я. И ложе нам, и храм блоха сия. Нас связывают крепче алтаря Живые стены цвета янтаря. Щелчком ты можешь оборвать мой вздох. Но не простит самоубийства Бог. И святотатственно убийство трех. Ах, все же стал твой ноготь палачом, В крови невинной обагренным. В чем Вообще блоха повинною была? В той капле, что случайно отпила?.. Но раз ты шепчешь, гордость затая, Что, дескать, не ослабла мощь моя, Не будь к моим претензиям глуха: Ты меньше потеряешь от греха, Чем выпила убитая блоха

  13. 4 out of 5

    Pierre

    It's hard to rate a collection of poetry. There were a few poems that I really enjoyed (Air and Angels, The Canonization, The First Anniversary: An Anatomy of the World) and others that I found less impressive (The Flea, The Apparition, The Ecstasy). I think the good certainly outweighs the bad, in Donne's case. The Metaphysical poets are incredibly difficult to decipher without proper context, although the feats of language are impressive regardless of your level of familiarization with 17th ce It's hard to rate a collection of poetry. There were a few poems that I really enjoyed (Air and Angels, The Canonization, The First Anniversary: An Anatomy of the World) and others that I found less impressive (The Flea, The Apparition, The Ecstasy). I think the good certainly outweighs the bad, in Donne's case. The Metaphysical poets are incredibly difficult to decipher without proper context, although the feats of language are impressive regardless of your level of familiarization with 17th century history/philosophy. But readers beware, these poems are challenging and complex, to the point of frustration. But the payoff once you 'get' them is worth the agony.

  14. 3 out of 5

    Diana

    One of the many reasons I took the British Literature Class. I love his poetry. Anything that gives me a reason to read something I enjoy while slogging through school work is a plus in my book. Most people are familiar with "Death be not Proud", "For Whom the Bell Tolls", and "No Man is an Island. The rest of his poems are just as well written and if you like the famous ones you will more than likely enjoy the rest.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    I got the Norton assuming there would be ample critical material along with the works themselves, and yeah, there is. Much of it is not very interesting. A better biographical sketch (i.e. not the one by Izaak Walton) would have been welcome, and as interesting as it is to read criticism from two hundred years ago, I'd have liked some more modern stuff. Nicely printed and (thank God) modernised spellings.

  16. 3 out of 5

    Mark Desrosiers

    One of the greatest and weirdest poets in English. He was a dirty tomcat trickster at his best, and even his metaphysical "conceits" or whatever were pretty comical (cf. for example "The Flea" to prove both points). Simultaneously dirty and sublime, how often do you come across that? Also, he commissioned a painting of what he would probably look like when he rises in the apocalypse, so keep your eyes peeled.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anima

    Daybreak "STAY, O sweet and do not rise! The light that shines comes from thine eyes; The day breaks not: it is my heart, Because that you and I must part. Stay! or else my joys will die And perish in their infancy." "Now thou hast loved me one whole day, Tomorrow when thou leav'st, what wilt thou say? Wilt thou then antedate some new-made vow? Or say that now We are not just those persons which we were?"

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Read 2nd edition at Bob Jones University in a 2007 summer school course with Dr. Bruce Rose. Read 3rd edition at Baylor University in a 2013 summer school course with Dr. Robert Ray (finished around June 14, 2013). Read the Songs and Sonnets and the Divine Poems and a few other things (very little criticism).

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shanisha

    Donne's poetry is wonderfully and subtley erotic (this guy had quite an imagination for a priest :)...his love poems are clever and witty (The Flea...The Canonization) and his spiritual poems are passionate and painful (Batter My Heart, Three-Person'd God).

  20. 3 out of 5

    Patrick B

    His Holy Sonnets are amazing, and classic for anyone whose heard of John Donne, but his other works are greatly over looked. A man who respects religion, but seeks his own path to the truth, as evidenced in his poetry. Beautiful poetry

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ahmet Uçar

    I like his holy sonnets. Especially the one about death, though its illusory and incomparably unrealistic when compared to The Death of Ivan Illich. When you put the two together, you get the impression that you are reading Songs of Innocence(holy sonnet) and Experience (Ivan Illich)

  22. 3 out of 5

    Amanda

    Apart from Donne being one of the most complicated, intelligent, and sophisticated metaphysical poet, I find his violent experience of faith and religious attractive for comparison with his courtship of women in the elegies.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sian Taylor

    Amazing, amazing. Loved these when studying them for A level English...'Busy old fool, unruly sunne, why dost thou thus thru windows and thru curtains call on us'...not bad recall after 20 years, so he must have made an impression.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Clark

    An insightful collection of Donne's works; I was glad of the critical essays at the back that accompany the Norton editions of such texts. The modernised spelling does make the poems easier to read, although personally I would prefer to read the originals. Nonetheless, a handy edition.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    The flea....perfection. Maybe that's cliche, but it's one of my all time favorites. Analyzing great poems is one of my favorite things in the world...this is a great poem with so much to give, but I like his poetry after his wife died and he became a clergyman just as well.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

    Donne was the man who made me realize the worth of poetry. In twelfth grade, I read "A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" and didn't get it at all. But I didn't give up, and once I finally "got" it I realized how powerfully his words had affected me - over centuries.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Donne is considered a metaphysical poet, and he inhabits that title masterfully. Sometimes bawdy, sometimes brilliant, Donne combines the physical with the spiritual in such a manner as to transcend the confines of common poetics.

  28. 3 out of 5

    John

    One of my favorite poets of all time. More later...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ramya

    Gorgeous! He has uncanny ability for depth without heaviness.

  30. 3 out of 5

    Eric Zimmerman

    Donne is a bad motherfucker, and I think pretty accessible.

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