Society Magazine

BOOK REVIEW: Modern British Poetry Ed. by Louis Untermeyer

By Berniegourley @berniegourley

Modern British PoetryModern British Poetry by Louis Untermeyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amazon page (not the same edition)

This is an anthology of 183 poems written by 77 British authors. Given the title, “Modern British Poetry,” the first thing that should be stated is that the original work came out around 1920, and so the bulk of these poems are from the 19th century. That may fit perfectly with your classification of modern poetry, but if you’re looking for present-day poets, this isn’t the book you’re after.

However, the good news is that you might still find some unexpected treasures. Often collections of public domain poetry like this gather poems that are ubiquitous and which are probably already on the shelves of most poetry readers in various collections and anthologies. But of the almost 80 poets included, only a handful will be household names for a general reader—particularly if you aren’t from the UK and thus didn’t get exposed to the more obscure British poets. Of course, there are a number who have stood the test of time: Thomas Hardy, Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, A.E. Housman, William Butler Yeats, Rudyard Kipling, G.K. Chesterton, Alfred Noyes, D.H. Lawrence, Edith Sitwell, and Robert Graves spring to mind. Furthermore, the poems chosen aren’t a straightforward “greatest hits” list. (e.g. “If” isn’t among the four Rudyard Kipling entries.)

As one might expect of a 230 page anthology that contains 183 poems (plus author bios and the occasional footnote), the poems selected are brief. In a few cases, excerpts from longer works are included, but for the most part these are poems that fit comfortably on a single page. This is great for someone trying to get a feel for the various poets and for those who enjoy more compact works over epic poems—which, if we’re being honest, is most of us.

The anthologist, Louis Untermeyer, includes brief bios for each of the poets in front of their entries in the anthology. Generally, each included poet has between one and four poems. While the poems are organized by poet, the poets seem to be organized chronologically (at least as near as I can tell; it begins with Thomas Hardy [1840 – 1928] and ends with Robert Graves [1895 – 1985.])

I read a Kindle version of this work and found it to be far better organized than most of these public domain compilations. It not only had an index that would take one to individual poems or poet bios, but it also contained a hyperlinked index. Unfortunately, I obtained the book some time ago and I couldn’t find the same edition when I looked for it while doing the review. Most of the Kindle editions now seem to bundle Untermeyer’s “Modern American Poetry” with his “Modern British Poetry” but the edition I had was just the British poets.

I recommend this book for poetry readers. In addition to having some exemplary short form poetry from both well-known and forgotten poets, it happens to contain the first poem I ever memorized in it—a powerful little poem by John McCrae entitled “In Flanders Fields” (if you don’t know it, read it; it’s war poetry at its finest.)

View all my reviews

By in Book Reviews, Books, Literature, Poetry, Review, Reviews on March 17, 2017.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Is High Cholesterol Dangerous on A Low-Carb Diet?

    Is high cholesterol dangerous on a low-carb diet? For some people, the "bad" LDL cholesterol goes up, while other aspects improve (like the "good" HDL... Read more

    By  Dietdoctor
    DIET & WEIGHT, HEALTH, HEALTHY LIVING, MEDICINE
  • [NYC] Go! Go! Curry!: Dinner in a Hurry!

    [NYC] Curry!: Dinner Hurry!

    This post is going to be quick and dirty, just like a meal at Go! Go! CURRY! in NYC. After hippoCHAN finished class, it was already pretty late and we were... Read more

    By  Foodobyte
    DINING OUT, FOOD & DRINK, RECIPES
  • Choose the Right Generator for the Right Purpose [Infographic]

    Choose Right Generator Purpose [Infographic]

    Choosing the right generator for the task is very important but sometimes we find it difficult to pick the right one as there are many options available. Read more

    By  Kravelv
    HOME, HOME IMPROVEMENT
  • My Garden Right Now

    Garden Right

    I'm writing this post specifically in order to participate in Michelle Chapman's meme called #mygardenrightnow. If you want to know the full story behind this,... Read more

    By  Mwillis
    GARDENING, HOME
  • Most Sociable and Friendly Cities in the World

    Most Sociable Friendly Cities World

    The most sociable cities of the world were revealed by booking website “Hostelworld” following a study which covered 39 cities in 28 countries. Read more

    By  Poundtravel
    TRAVEL
  • Getting Summer Ready with Herbs & More

    Getting Summer Ready with Herbs More

    Hey beautifuls, hope you all are doing great. Mumbai is burning, and perhaps I am seeing the hottest February since the time I have come to the city. Read more

    By  Jhilmil D Saha
    HAIR & BEAUTY
  • The Atomic Bomb

    Atomic Bomb

    Richard Rhodes' history of the development of the atomic bomb, The Making of the Atomic Bomb, is now thirty years old. The book is crucial reading for anyone wh... Read more

    By  Dlittle30
    SOCIETY

Magazines