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View Poll Results: Poetry Vote • January 2016, Multiple Choice
The poetry of John Clare 5 83.33%
Sonnets of William Shakespeare 2 33.33%
Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin 3 50.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 6. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-05-2016, 09:33 AM   #1
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Poetry Vote • January 2016

Help choose the January 2016 selection to read for the MR Literary Club!


Select from the following works:


The poetry of John Clare
Spoiler:
From sun surfer:

Most of his various selected poetry collections are only in pbook, though there is a Poems Chiefly from Manuscript free ebook on Amazon, and a Delphi complete works ebook for 99 cents. This nomination is open-ended with no particular collection in mind. Rather, we can read whichever poems or collection of his we each prefer and discuss our varying experiences with it.


From Goodreads:

John Clare produced some of English poetry’s most poignant and glorious lyrics. Writing not as an observer of nature but from an intimate knowledge of the wheatfields, hedgerows, and ditches of his village in Northamptonshire, he described animals, insects, trees, rivers, sunlight, and clouds with sublime sensitivity. But as enclosures and “improvements” came in the early nineteenth century, dismembering the rural landscape, his later poems became infused with a sense of disorientation and loss, and scattered with threads of madness. Clare’s genius has been rediscovered by fellow poets in every generation since his death, from Dylan Thomas to Ted Hughes to Seamus Heaney... His poetry underwent a major re-evaluation in the late 20th century and he is often now considered to be one of the most important 19th-century poets.


Sonnets of William Shakespeare
Spoiler:
From fantasyfan:

Many have read some of them but to go through the entire sequence is an aesthetic journey akin to working through the complete String Quartets of Beethoven. One experiences a range of tones from profound and deeply spiritual meditations to broad, even raunchy humour.

This immensely great sequence is the high water mark in Elizabethan lyric poetry. It is easily available free in many formats and there are some good editions which provide annotations.


Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
Spoiler:
From Goodreads:

Eugene Onegin is the master work of the poet whom Russians regard as the fountainhead of their literature. Set in imperial Russia during the 1820s, Pushkin's novel in verse follows the emotions and destiny of three men - Onegin the bored fop, Lensky the minor elegiast, and a stylized Pushkin himself - and the fates and affections of three women - Tatyana the provincial beauty, her sister Olga, and Pushkin's mercurial Muse. Engaging, full of suspense, and varied in tone, it also portrays a large cast of other characters and offers the reader many literary, philosophical, and autobiographical digressions, often in a highly satirical vein. Eugene Onegin was Pushkin's own favourite work, and it shows him attempting to transform himself from romantic poet into realistic novelist.


*

The poll will be open for three days and a discussion thread will begin shortly after a winner is chosen.

The vote is multiple choice. You may vote for as many or as few as you like. If you vote for the winner it is hoped that you will read the selection with the club and join in the discussion.

Bonus votes:
Spoiler:
When the poll ends, bonus votes will be manually added before determining final results. Basically, anyone who has commented in two out of the last six discussion threads is eligible for bonus votes, and everyone eligible will have any votes cast doubled.

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to vote if interested in participating in the literary club whether eligible for bonus votes or not, and anyone interested in bonus votes is encouraged to become eligible as it doesn’t take much.

Currently eligible-
AnotherCat, BelleZora, bfisher, Bookpossum, Bookworm_Girl, caleb72, ccowie, fantasyfan, Hamlet53, HomeInMyShoes, issybird, Lynx-lynx, sun surfer

This includes posts thus far in the July to December discussion threads.
*There are a few caveats to eligibility as outlined in this post.
**If anyone feels there is any mistake in eligibility, please let me know before the poll is over. Once the poll ends and the tally with bonus votes added is announced, the results will be final.

In the event of a tie, it will be resolved in favour of the selection that received all of its initial nominations first.
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Old 01-05-2016, 10:09 AM   #2
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I voted for John Clare. I was just finishing The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks, which whetted my curiosity about Clare's poetry. Rebanks mentioned Clare near the close of his book:
"This is an ancient, hard-earned, local kind of freedom that was stolen from people elsewhere, the kind of freedom that the nineteenth-century ‘peasant poet’ John Clare wrote about. He lamented the changes in the North-amptonshire landscape he loved because of enclosure. He saw the disconnection that was being created between people like him and the land, something that has only got worse with each passing year since then."
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Old 01-05-2016, 05:02 PM   #3
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Tough call. I finished up voting for Clare and Shakespeare, both because I would be reading a translation of the Pushkin, and also because from memory it is quite a long poem, and I have only just started reading Banville.
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Old 01-05-2016, 06:47 PM   #4
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Just to let you know about the John Clare. I found a copy of Poems Chiefly from Manuscript on Kobo and downloaded it, only to find that it's a mess. However, I did find what looks like a good copy on Project Gutenberg, so have downloaded that one, as I shall be interested to read it even if it doesn't win.
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Old 01-05-2016, 08:32 PM   #5
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I looked at a sample of the Delphi collected works on Amazon. It looks very well done.
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:40 PM   #6
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I have a number of the Delphi poets series; I've found the quality to be very good. If John Clare gets the nod, that's the one that I was planning to get.
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Old 01-06-2016, 10:27 AM   #7
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Predictably I voted for the two I supported during the nomination process. I'm sure the Pushkin is interesting (the Tchaikovsky opera is splendid) but I love Shakespeare and could learn to love John Clare. The Gurenberg volume looks quite good.
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Old 01-07-2016, 05:06 AM   #8
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I have downloaded the Gutenberg Kindle edition of Clare and I noticed that one of the editors is none other than Edmund Blunden. I've been looking through it and so far both the introduction and the editorial care look very well done.
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Old 01-07-2016, 07:21 AM   #9
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Yes, I was pleased to see that too fantasyfan, and agree it looks good.
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Old 01-07-2016, 10:29 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by fantasyfan View Post
I have downloaded the Gutenberg Kindle edition of Clare and I noticed that one of the editors is none other than Edmund Blunden. I've been looking through it and so far both the introduction and the editorial care look very well done.
Here is a very interesting article about Edmund Blunden. He named his two children John and Clare! Included in the Delphi collection is a "Brief Biography of John Clare" by him.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/w...easy-part.html
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Old 01-08-2016, 11:30 AM   #11
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Here is a very interesting article about Edmund Blunden. He named his two children John and Clare! Included in the Delphi collection is a "Brief Biography of John Clare" by him.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/w...easy-part.html
Thank you for that article, Bookworm Girl! I have a print volume of his poetry and have managed to get some ebook versions too from Internet Archive.
Yes he was haunted by the terrible experience of the Great War and that experience seemed to permeate his poetry even when he did not seem to have that memory specifically in mind. One of my favourite poems by him exemplifies this.

Midnight Skaters by Edmund Blunden

The hop-poles stand in cones,
The icy pond lurks under,
The pole-tops steeple to the thrones
Of stars, sound gulfs of wonder;
But not the tallest there, 'tis said,
Could fathom to this pond's black bed.

Then is not death at watch
Within those secret waters?
What wants he but to catch
Earth's heedless sons and daughters?
With but a crystal parapet
Between, he has his engines set.

Then on, blood shouts, on, on,
Twirl, wheel and whip above him,
Dance on this ball-floor thin and wan,
Use him as though you love him;
Court him, elude him, reel and pass,
And let him hate you through the glass.

Last edited by fantasyfan; 01-08-2016 at 12:44 PM.
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Old 01-08-2016, 11:58 AM   #12
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Thank you for the Blunden poem. I had read his Great War memoir (Undertones of War) many years ago, but haven't yet read any of his poetry.
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Old 01-08-2016, 12:10 PM   #13
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Thank you for the Blunden poem. I had read his Great War memoir (Undertones of War) many years ago, but haven't yet read any of his poetry.
For anyone with a taste for (male, British, officer-class) Great War memoirs, Blunden is a must, I think. It's up there with Sassoon and Graves.
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Old 01-08-2016, 07:40 PM   #14
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The poetry of John Clare it is! I'll have the discussion up within a day. There's already some very interesting discussion here.


ETA - The discussion thread is up.

Last edited by sun surfer; 01-09-2016 at 05:29 PM.
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