These are just a few of my much loved poems that I think everyone should read! Literature is a great way to immerse yourself in another world that, ironically, reflects our own in some way. Literature reveals to us our faults and our achievements. Naturally I have missed out a load of brilliant masterpieces as I am only suggesting 5 pieces of poetry.
1.Sylvia Plath, Lady Lazarus
For any fan of Plath or her famous novel, The Bell Jar, this is a poem for you! Even if you have never read her work or heard of her, to be honest I think this poem is a great read for anyone. I ended up writing on this for my A Levels because there is so much depth to its seemingly simplistic,short lines and stanzas.The dark, sinister tone is hauntingly brilliant, with a feeling of determinism and strength at the end.
2.Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven
Another supernatural poem; with a reference to not Lenor, but Lenore! The Simpsons parody of this poem is quite entertaining, I’m sure it’s on Youtube. The rhyming in this poem is enchanting as it really captures the male speaker’s decent into what seems to be madness. After being submersed into a scene of tension, when you finish reading this poem your house at night will not seem eerie… ‘Nevermore!’
3.Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Lady of Shalott
A fairly lengthy poem but worth it! With an Arthurian theme, it follows a cursed lady, the Lady of Shallot (the only name given to her, a social comment/criticism, no?), and her bid to escape her tower only to lead to her downfall. Lancelot makes an entrance however his final lines will take away that idealised image of the romantic knight as he proves to be quite shallow and dismissive.
4.Unknown author, The Rainbow Bridge
If anyone knows the author, feel free to comment so I can credit this lovely yet sad poem! It is a poem that tells us of a place where pets go after the pass away, and how happy they are now that they are restored to their healthy selves… but they are missing one person. Can you guess who that is? A very short poem yet real tear- jerker if you have ever lost a pet (or if you’re me and cry at anything related to animals) but at the same time slightly comforting!
5.Langston Hughes, The Weary Blues
Through this you really get a feeling for the Harlem Renaissance. The musicality of the blues seeps through that ‘[…] drowsy syncopated tune’. It particularly works well if you read this when is is calm and sunny outside…you may have a while to wait if you live in England!
If this list of poems has enticed you into expanding your literary horizons, check out my 5 Must Read Nineteenth-Century Classics for more reading recommendations!