A Little History of Poetry (Hardcover)

Designer: YALE BOOKS

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A vital, engaging, and hugely enjoyable guide to poetry, from ancient times to the present, by one of our greatest champions of literature.

“Does anyone know more about poetry than John Carey? Almost certainly not.” – 
The Times, Best Books for Summer 2020

What is poetry? If music is sound organized in a particular way, poetry is a way of organizing language. It is language made special, so that it will be remembered and valued. It does not always work - over the centuries countless thousands of poems have been forgotten. This little history is about some that have not.

John Carey tells the stories behind the world’s greatest poems, from the oldest surviving one written nearly four thousand years ago to those being written today. Carey looks at poets whose works shape our views of the world - such as Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Whitman, and Yeats. He also looks at more recent poets, like Derek Walcott, Marianne Moore, and Maya Angelou, who have started to question what makes a poem ‘great’ in the first place.

For readers both young and old, this little history shines a light on the richness of the world’s poems - and the elusive quality that makes them all the more enticing.


  • Paperback ? : ? 320 pages
  • Dimensions ? : ? 13.97 x 3.56 x 21.59 cm