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v2.1 Reference

A Sourcebook for English Lyric Poetry

This Sourcebook is not a survey of English lyric poems but rather a florilegium. It singles out great poems of the last five centuries worthy of study in liberal education—in Great Books programs, Core curricula, and the Humanities generally. The poems were selected not as representative of the author's time or oeuvre, but rather as addressed to the reader and the reader's time by virtue of their representing the nature of things. That is what makes a poem great and worthy of inquiry, in John Tomarchio's judgement. The capacities, needs, and interests of students of such great poetry were the principles of selection.

To arrange the great poems selected Tomarchio looked to their meters as a formal measure intrinsic to them, rather than to epochal divisions. The paradigmatic example of this is the classical English sonnet. Many an English poet has submitted themselves to the self-discipline of this poetic form born in the classical period of English poetry in Tudor England. But what of such historical context? When Robert Frost chooses to write a sonnet in the 20th century, why associate it more with the free verse of e.e. cummings than of the quincentenary sonnet tradition his chosen form invokes for context?

The Sourcebook arranges poems according to five such metrical modes, however along with an Index by poet as well . Tomarchio's enumeration of poetic modes does not presume to be either exhaustive or normative, but rather interpretative of poetic practices and hopefully more elucidative than historical considerations. Further, as understanding great poetry's means deepens interpretation of ends, the Sourcebook begins with a propaedeutic "grammar" that introduces students to such devices of poetic art as meter, rhyme, and trope.

About the Author

John Tomarchio is on the teaching faculty at St. John's College, Annapolis, MD.

9781949822304 : a-sourcebook-for-english-lyric-poetry-tomarchio
Paperback / softback
April 14, 2023
$34.95 USD

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