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A 50 Greatest Love Poems List by The Guardian

By Harriet Staff


Check it out, Don Juan! This list includes love poems by poets from thirty countries including Latvia, Iraq, and South Africa. Love is all you need!

There’s no “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”, or “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” here: instead, a new list of the 50 greatest love poems ranges from Maya Angelou to Vikram Seth and from Pakistan to Nigeria.

Chosen by poetry specialists at the Southbank Centre, instead of focusing on more traditional options by the likes of Barrett Browning and Shakespeare, the selectors looked at work written over the last 50 years to come up with their list. The American Angelou was chosen for her lyrical plea, Come, and Be My Baby, in which the poet writes: “you sit wondering / What you’re gonna do. / I got it. / Come. And be my baby”, while Indian author Seth makes the list for the mournful All You Who Sleep Tonight – “Know that you aren’t alone / The whole world shares your tears”.

The poets come from 30 countries, from Saint Lucia to Iraqi Kurdistan, but some well-known British names also make the cut. The late Adrian Mitchell is included for the short but perfectly formed Celia, Celia – “When I am sad and weary / When I think all hope has gone / When I walk along High Holborn / I think of you with nothing on” – as is Scottish poet Jackie Kay for Her. “I had been told about her,” writes Kay. “How she would always, always. / How she would never, never. / I’d watched and listened / but I still fell for her.”

Michael Donaghy was chosen for The Present – “Make me this present then: your hand in mine, / and we’ll live out our lives in it”, and Edwin Morgan for Strawberries . “There were never strawberries,” writes the late Scottish poet, reminiscing, “like the ones we had / that sultry afternoon.”[…]

Get ready! View the rest of The Guardian’s introduction and the aforementioned list here!

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Posted in Poetry News on Wednesday, July 9th, 2014 by Harriet Staff.