Quirky Books: John Keats Lyric Poems

Monday, April 12, 2010

John Keats Lyric Poems

Another book published by Dover Thrift Editions, their books are great because they leave out footnotes and let people enjoy the unabridged writings of literary giants. In fact, the inside cover is an excellent lists many of the greatest literary poems, stories and plays.

Keats is a name people throw around. "Have you ever read Keats?" Asking the question in a way to imply they are evaluating a person's intelligence. Though many people hear the name, they are not fully aware of what to expect. One of the main characteristics of his poems is a warm, loving catalysts of nature. Several poems open with enchanting visions of sweet buds, fields and gardens.

It is an interesting backdrop to tales about pining and losing love. Some poems feature a back ally lifestyle with harlots. He has a positive outlook on nightlife. The fierce contrast usually portrayed by family members.

Most of the poems have a melancholy element though not horror. Surprised to find some of his poetry hinges on morbid "Isabella," also know as, "Pot of Basil" is shocking. A plot in the long, lurid tale refers to Isabella clinging to her lost and then found lover's face in a pot of basil. Sadly she found people of her own court killed her lover and tragically shrieks, "To steal my pot of basil away from me," expressing anguish and confusion over why they took her one true love.

Beyond a notable ability to harness keywords and paint elaborate pictures in few words the lyrical content enhances the poetry. The melody is fun to read aloud. Everyone, especially actors, will have fun reading the poems in the balmy, soothing tones. "Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness," from Ode on a Grecian Urn is a powerful introduction.

A person must have knowledge of Greek Mythology and Shakespearean plays to understand Cyclades' association with Pan, since Pan is a character in "a Midsummer Night's Dream." Even without an exact interpretation, the use of keywords carries the story forward effectively. Names, such as, Porphyro and Cyclades are then difficult to pronounce.

After reading Keats, a person may want to avoid declaring they are a fan. It is complicated and everyone has their own opinions. I recommend this book to anyone with curiosity or literary leanings. John Keats lived from 1795 to 1821 and is incredibly unlike anything related to common assumptions.

Poetry Breakdown
Lines on the Mermaid Tavern by John Keats