"The Poems Of John Keats"

The Poems Of John Keats

It seems I have found a poet I don't like at all. I know his poetry is loved by many, but I fear I will not be one of them. Granted I have read only the 21 poems found in this book and I really don't know how many more he wrote, although dying at the way too young age of 25 didn't give him enough time to be really prolific. Poetry is such a subjective thing that it's difficult to explain why one likes some and not others but I'll try to pinpoint some of the things that kept me at arm's length.

Keats' language is too flowery and too sweet for me. It makes me wonder if he ever had simple thoughts like the rest of us, though it's probably closer to the truth that he had the simple thoughts but never thought to express them simply. When he writes about love, it positively drips. And for me there's too much talk of dew and mist and moon and such. I realize that this is all a matter of individual taste and I don't mean any disrespect to Keats or his fans. It simply doesn't appeal to me.

These poems are saturated with references to mythology and fairy tales that I am unfamiliar with. That is my lack of education of course and no fault of his, but it's a struggle to stay focused when I have no idea what he's talking about.

On a positive note I did enjoy the rather lengthy poem "To My Brother George". It was wordy but I found it easier to read than most of the others. I liked Keats' thoughts about the legacy of the poetry he will leave behind and how it may one day serve to stir people to action and inspire them to goodness. To be honest I shouldn't really say I enjoyed it, I just sort of disliked it less than the rest of the book.

I read this book through Daily Lit, a web site that will send you short installments of a book over as long or short a time period as you choose, by email. This one was sent in 21 installments whereas War and Peace has over 600 installments. I am finding it a good way to read books that I might never otherwise get to.You can check out their library at dailylit.com.


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