Poems That Make Grown Men Cry, ed. by Anthony and Ben Holden

I've never been able to get into poetry, so I thought this would be a good entryway to the genre that so many of my reader and writer friends love. While I was much more likely to cry at the brief introductions than the poems themselves, it's really a fantastic collection and very well edited. There are slightly fewer than one hundred poems, as some men picked the same pieces; they are written mostly by men but a solid handful of women; they are arranged in chronological order.

My trouble with poetry is I find it hard to concentrate on and relate to. I love language and words, but I need context and at least the semblance of a story to really connect to something. Having the introductions before each poem by the men who chose them did much to remedy this for me, and I found I was able to better dig into the dirt of the poem. There were a few standouts, such as Billy Collins' "The Lanyard," which was the only one to legitimately bring me to tears; and the more recent poems were easier for me to sink my teeth into than the older ones. Slow reading, it was, but it's a fabulous collection and perfect for the uninitiated poetry reader.


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