11 Best Short Poem About Books Update 05/2022

Short Poem About Books

Selected by Dr Oliver Tearle

Selected by Dr Oliver Tearle

Before, we gave you five poems about writing poetry; now it’s your turn to read books and write poems, as well! Here are ten of the best poems that have been written about books and reading.

Anne Bradstreet, ‘The Author to Her Book’.

After birth, you were by my side until you were snatched away by friends who were less wise than true. They took you outside and put you in front of everyone.

To write this poem, Bradstreet was inspired by news that her brother-in-law had put her poems in a book called “The Tenth Muse” without her permission. Bradstreet is sad that her “ill-formed” verses have been read by other people. She blushes and cringes when she looks at them, but this may be because women are more modest than men. Another thing Bradstreet says is that the book is her “child,” which makes her seem like the book’s mother.

John Keats, ‘On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’.

My travels have taken me to many places in the world of gold, and I’ve seen a lot of beautiful kingdoms and states. I’ve also been to a lot of western islands where bards swear their allegiance to the god Apollo. That Homer ruled over a wide area with his deep brown hair. I hadn’t been able to breathe its peaceful air until I heard Chapman speak loud and bold.

When Keats was just 20 years old, he wrote this sonnet. It is one of his best-known poems about reading poetry. When Keats first read a Homer translation by George Chapman (c. 1559-1634), he felt like an astronomer or someone who went on a trip and saw a new planet or an unfamiliar place for the first time. He likened the experience to that of an adventurer who saw a new land or an astronaut who saw something new in the sky.

Emily Dickinson, ‘There Is No Frigate Like a Book’.

There is no Frigate like a book that can take us to new places, and there are no horses like a page of prancing poetry that can help us get there.

In this short poem, Dickinson talks about how poetry is an art form that allows us to go anywhere at any time.

Robert Louis Stevenson, ‘The Land of Story-Books

Robert Louis Stevenson, ‘The Land of Story-Books

You can see some of my starry lonesomeness in these hills, in these woods, and by this river, which is near by.

I can see them a long way away. There was a fire in the camp where they were. Like an Indian scout, I looked around their party.

So, when my nurse comes in, I go home across the sea and go to bed looking backward. At my favorite place in the world, I read stories.

Dickinson’s poem about reading as a way to experience adventure and escape is a good match for Stevenson’s poem for kids.

W. B. Yeats, ‘When You Are Old’.

Take this book down when you are old and gray and full of sleep, and you’re nodding by the fire. Look at the words slowly. Dream about the soft look Your eyes had once, and of the dark shadows that hung over them;

How many people loved your happy moments and your beauty, whether they were real or not. One man, however, loved the pilgrim soul in you and the sadness of your changing face.

Ronsard, the 16th-century poet who wrote this poem, wrote it about a woman called Maud Gonne. This poem was written by Yeats to Gonne as a way to show how much he loves her. When she is old and her looks have faded, he will be there to remind her of how one man “loves the pilgrim soul in you.”

Edgar Albert Guest, ‘Good Books’.

A good book is like a good friend: it’s a solid and reliable friend who will be there for you when you need it. It’s always there on the shelf, ready to provide intellectual company when you need it. The friendship of books is real for Guest. The only thing you can do is agree with that.

Dorothy Parker, ‘Lines on Reading Too Many Poets’.

A funny poem about overdosing on poetry from one of the best wits of the 20th century. ‘Quae cum ita sint’ is Latin for “because these things are.”

Dylan Thomas, ‘Notes on the Art of Poetry’.

Dylan Thomas, ‘Notes on the Art of Poetry’

To find out what is going on between the covers of a book, this poem talks about the “sandstorms and ice blast of words” that are found in poetry books. He does this by writing a poem that captures the physical pleasure of being caught and thrilled by a book of poetry.

Philip Larkin, ‘A Study of Reading Habits’.

This poem may make Larkin sound like he doesn’t like reading. It’s famous for the last line: “Books are a load of crap.” In this poem, Larkin is criticizing a type of book that he read as a teen that he now finds unsatisfying because of his own life. He downplayed the breadth of his reading, especially in foreign poetry, and his first-class degree in English Literature from Oxford.

Denise Levertov, ‘The Secret’.

This beautiful poem talks about how to read literature and what poetry means. Who comes up with the meaning? Levertov talks about how people who read her poetry come to her to say that they’ve found the “secret” of one of her poems, which is a secret that Levertov didn’t even know she was keeping. Levertov’s poem says that reading is fun because we can always find new meanings in the things we read, even if the author didn’t know about them.

It was written by Dr Oliver Tearle, who is a literary critic and a teacher of English at Loughborough University in the UK. There are a lot of his books out there, like The Secret Library: A Book-Journey Lover’s Through Curiosities of History andThe Great War and the Modernist Long Poem.

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