Saturday, March 24, 2007

Review: Brush up your poetry!

Brush up your poetry! covers English-language poetry from Chaucer to T.S. Eliot. The premise is that readers can "brush up" their poetry by reading the poetical origins of common phrases. For instance, we learn that "to stand bolt upright" has a surprisingly ribald origin in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

The book contains many excerpts of poems, which is both good and bad. It allows coverage of a lot of poems and phrase origins, but frequently leaves one thirsting for more. I like that the book author actively gives his opinions about the quality of the various poems and poets.

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