Review: Collected Poetry (John Donne)

Posted 2 October, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Collected Poetry
By: John Donne
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

Regarded by many as the greatest of the Metaphysical poets, John Donne (1572-1631) was also among the most intriguing figures of the Elizabethan age. A sensualist who composed erotic and playful love poetry in his youth, he was raised a Catholic but later became one of the most admired Protestant preachers of his time. The Collected Poetry reflects this wide diversity, and includes his youthful songs and sonnets, epigrams, elegies, letters, satires, and the profoundly moving Divine Poems composed towards the end of his life.

From joyful poems such as ‘The Flea’, which transforms the image of a louse into something marvellous, to the intimate and intense Holy Sonnets, Donne breathed new vigour into poetry by drawing lucid and often startling metaphors from the world in which he lived. His poems remain among the most passionate, profound and spiritual in the English language.

Slowly making my way through classic poets, as per usual 🙂 I forgot who said somewhere that John Donne had some of the most romantic poetry in English literature so that kind of sold me to pick up his works a wee bit sooner than it would’ve taken 😛

I can see now why that blurb said he was one of the most romantic poets of his time, indeed in English literature. I don’t know why I’m still surprised as how much depth and passion is conveyed in Renaissance and early modern poetry (after all, it was some of the only ways to convey these feelings), but I am. His love poetry is especially moving, and I enjoyed reading those. I admit, my concentration tends to wander when it comes to the really long poems so I wasn’t as with it with some of his longer elegies, but I admire his–as well as other poets of his time period–dedication and work put into the longer formats. But the imagery he uses are quite thoughtful and moving, and they paint a striking image in my mind of thought and feeling.

I can’t say any particular poem stood out for me, but there were many lines throughout it that I really enjoyed. I’m glad to have read his works and experienced what his poetry was like, brief as this review is in conveying it :3

Rating: ★★★★☆

Learn more about the poet on Wikipedia || Order this book from the Book Depository

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