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Poems and Prose

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Dazzling in its prosodic innovations, such as the 'sprung rhythm' he pioneered, and wide-ranging in its complexity and metaphysical interest. The Penguin Classics edition of Gerard Manley Hopkins's... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

True Poet

There's something to be said for a Poet published entirely posthumously who was still ahead of his time at the time of publication. Hopkins sailed with Modern winds in Victorian seas, all the while remaining decidedly Christian and exquisitely formal. A hero for those of us who still believe that Christianity offers the only real reason to respond to experience with words. Only in a world spoken into existence could such a thing as poetry (verbal creation) unite so many for so long. Hopkins interacts with the fibers of creation and uses the English language for what it was intended, even adapts it to further fulfill his calling. The glory of God flames out from every hyphen in every kenning in every Curtal-Sonnet on every page of this book.

One of the great poetic geniuses of all English Literature- A Richness so rare no Ripeness could be

Reading the early poems one immediately understands how great and conscious an effort Hopkins made to transform himself into a distinctive poetic voice. Hopkins did not write a great deal( Compare his spare output to the reams of Wordsworth) but he wrote a number of poems which are, in my judgment, among the greatest in the language. He did this by creating a distinctive diction, and rhythm of his own. The sprung rhythm which he employed had its origin in his reading of Anglo- Saxon poetry, with its emphasis on scanning the strong stresses alone. The alliterative quality of his verse also has its origin in early Anglo- Saxon poetry. But Hopkins infuses his work with an intensity of meaning, a richness so rare no ripeness could be greater. Among the truly great poems in this collection my favorites are"," Thou Art Indeed Just Lord", " God's Grandeur" " and Felix Randal." This is great great poetry, and among the greatest written about human suffering. Emily Dickinson would have felt a chill down her spine at reading it. And for Kafka it would have most certainly broken up the icy- sea within.

One of the finest poets of his generation!

I am a great fan of Hopkins. His work touches not merely the intellect, but the soul with its depth of insight and tenderness. There is a richness to his work that many of the poets who were his contemporaries lacked. There is faith, hope, love, and a respect for the universe and its Creator. Another beautiful Penguin Classic collection. Every library personal and public should have a copy.

Very nice place to begin with Hopkins

For someone (as I was) curious about Hopkins, this little Everyman volume provides great value with an excellent selection of writings. In addition to the standard introductory essay and chronology, Walford Davies also includes a handsome array of critical responses to Hopkins and a bibliography for further reading.I'll be reading further in Hopkin's journals, if I can find them. The selections printed here would be inspirational for any dedicated diarist-- Hopkins took an unflinching look at nature-- recording with delicacy and accuracy and without sentimentality. It will take me longer tto really digest the poetry. I can see what the critics mean by comparing Hopkins to Whitman, but as these are fairly clearly meant to be read out loud, the value is less in a single reading. Even still, poems like "Spring and Fall: To a Young Child" and "To R.B." were haunting and evocative at the very first read.

Hopkins: The Textual Pleasures of "Sprung Rhythm"

Hopkins, a Welsh monk, was nearly lost to the public when he renounced his own work, burned a large portion of his creations and sunk into relative obscurity around the turn of the century. Oh, what a tragedy would that have been! Thanks to T.S. Eliot and other astute cultural advocates, this pioneer in the realm of confluence of sound and meaning has received more of the respect he deserves. Hopkins' style is unique--a combination of Anglo-Saxon alliterative stress patterns, and a truly modern consciousness of spirituality and doubt. Although he draws heavily on Mediaeval techniques of versification, the poet's language escapes the flatline of the archaic through an energetic dynamism. The result is what he terms "sprung rhythm", wherein phonemes reach a level of excitement through rhythmic juxtaposition of stressed and unstressed syllables in an at times choppy, at times smooth pattern. What I believe "Wreck of the Deutchland" is a masterpiece of Hopkins' language. This poem, like much of his work, is extraordinarily well suited to reading out loud. The ebb and flow of the paced alternation of syllabic and intoned stress gives the reader an intuitive feel for the thematic material of the poem. When the boat is tossed by rough waters, so tosses the reader's voice. When the narrator trembles with fear or faith, so trembles the reader's tongue. However, the sonic force of "Wreck of the Deutchland" is only one aspect of this multi-layered tapestry. The language of sound is a kind of precondition or foreshadowing of the meaning contained in the semantic and symbolic language of the text. The thing perhaps that I love most about Hopkins is that he seems to incorporate all facets of expression in his work, but certainly not in a pedantic fashion. He is a metaphysical poet in the most honest and unassuming manner. The different textual layers arise and intermingle organically in the medium of the very accessibly, very human voice of a humble poet.
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