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The Rattle Bag: An Anthology of Poetry


The Rattle Bag: An Anthology of Poetry Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The Rattle Bag is an anthology of poetry (mostly in English but occasionally in translation) for general readers and students of all ages and backgrounds. These poems have been selected by the simple yet telling criteria that they are the personal favorites of the editors, themselves two of contemporary literature's leading poets.

Moreover, Heaney and Hughes have elected to list their favorites not by theme or by author but simply by title (or by first line, when no title is given). As they explain in their Introduction: "We hope that our decision to impose an arbitrary alphabetical order allows the contents [of this book] to discover themselves as we ourselves gradually discovered them--each poem full of its singular appeal, transmitting its own signals, taking its chances in a big, voluble world."

With undisputed masterpieces and rare discoveries, with both classics and surprises galore, The Rattle Bag includes the work of such key poets as William Shakespeare, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Lewis Carroll, Dylan Thomas, Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, and Sylvia Plath among its hundreds of poems. A helpful Glossary as well as an Index of Poets and Works are offered at the conclusion of this hefty, unorthodox, diverse, inspired, and inspiring collection of poetry.


A collection of more than 400 hundred poems from all around the world.


A collection of more than 400 hundred poems from all around the world.

About the Author

Seamus Heaney received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995. A resident of Dublin since 1976, he teaches regularly at Harvard University. Heaney has written over a dozen books of poetry and criticism, and the Los Angeles Times Book Review has called him "the greatest Irish poet since Yeats."

Ted Hughes, the author of numerous books of poetry, prose, and translation, was Poet Laureate to Queen Elizabeth II until his death in 1998. His last book of poems, Birthday Letters, won the Whitbread Book of the Year award—and was a much-discussed national bestseller. He lived in Devon, England.

Table of Contents


"The Names of the Hare," Anon

"Napoleon," Walter de la Mare

"'A narrow Fellow in the Grass,'" Emily Dickinson

"Nature's Lineaments," Robert Graves

"'nobody loses all the time,'" e. e. cummings

"The North Ship," Philip Larkin

"The Nose," Iain Crichton Smith

"'Now entertain conjecture of a time,'" William Shakespeare

"Nutting," William Wordsworth

"The Octopus," Ogden Nash

"Ode to a Nightingale," John Keats

"Of Poor B. B.," Bertolt Brecht

"The Old Familiar Faces," Charles Lamb

"'An old man stirs the fire to a blaze,'" W. B. Yeats

"Old Men," Ogden Nash

"Omens," Anon

"On a Tree Fallen Across the Road," Robert Frost

"On Buying a Horse," Anon

"On My First Sonne," Ben Jonson

"On the Beach at Fontana," James Joyce

"On the Cards and Dice," Sir Walter Ralegh

"On the Congo," Harry Edmund Martinson

"On Wenlock Edge," A. E. Housman

"'One Christmas-time,'" William Wordsworth

"'Our revels now are ended,'" William Shakespeare

"Out in the Dark," Edward Thomas

"'Out, Out—'" Robert Frost

"The Owl," Edward Thomas

"The Oxen," Thomas Hardy

"The Ox-Tamer," Walt Whitman

"Ozymandias," Percy Bysshe Shelley

"Pangar Bàn," Anon

"The Passionate Man's Pilgrimage," Sir Walter Ralegh

"The Passionate Shepherd to His Love," Christopher Marlowe

and two replies:

"The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd," Sir Walter Ralegh

"The Baite," John Donne

"Pat Cloherty's version of The Maisie," Richard Murphy

"'Pensive, on her dead gazing, I heard the Mother of All,'" Walt Whitman

"Perfect," Hugh MacDiarmid

"Pheasant," Sylvia Plath

"Piano," D. H. Lawrence

"Pied Beauty," Gerard Manley Hopkins

"The Pig," Ogden Nash

"The Pilgrim," W. B. Yeats

"Ploughing on Sunday," Wallace Stevens

"Poem in October," Dylan Thomas

"A Poison Tree," William Blake

"Poor but Honest," Anon

"Poppies in July," Sylvia Plath

"Praise of a Collie," Norman MacCaig

"The Properties of a Good Greyhound," Dame Juliana Berners

"Raleigh Was Right," William Carlos Williams

"Range-Finding," Robert Frost

"The Rattle Bag," Dafydd ap Gwilym

"Reflection on Ingenuity," Ogden Nash

"'Repeat that, repeat,'" Gerard Manley Hopkins

"The Return," Ezra Pound

"The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter," Ezra Pound

"'Running lightly over spongy ground,'" Theodore Roethke

"The Sad Boy," Laura Riding

"The Saginaw Song," Theodore Roethke

"Saint Francis and the Sow," Galway Kinnell

"Sandpiper," Elizabeth Bishop

"The Scholar," Austin Clarke

"Scotland Small?" Hugh MacDiarmid

"Sea-Change," John Masefield

"A Sea-Chantey," Derek Walcott

"The Seafarer," Ezra Pound

"Sea-Hawk," Richard Eberhart

"Season Song," Anon

"Sea-Weed," D. H. Lawrence

"Self-Pity," D. H. Lawrence

"The Self-Unseeing," Thomas Hardy

"The Send-Off," Wilfred Owen

"Senex," John Betjeman

"The Seven," Anon

"'Seventy feet down,'" Philip Larkin

"The Seventh," Attila Jószef

"She and I," Norman Cameron

"Sheep," W. H. Davies

"'She is the fairies' midwife, and she comes,'" William Shakespeare

"The Shooting of Dan McGrew," Robert Service

"The Shooting of John Dillinger Outside the Biograph Theater, July 22 1934," David Wagoner

"Shroud," George Mackay Brown

"The Sick Rose," William Blake

"'the silver swan, who living had no note,'" Orlando Gibbons

"Similes for Two Political Characters of 1819," Percy Bysshe Shelley

"'Since there's no help, come, let us kiss and part,'" Michael Drayton

"Sir Patrick Spens," Anon

"Sir Walter Ralegh to His Son," Sir Walter Ralegh

"The Six Strings," Federico García Lorca

"'Slow, slow, fresh fount, keep time with my salt teares,'" Ben Jonson

"The Smile," William Blake

"Snake," D. H. Lawrence

"Solitude," Tomas Transtromer

"Song: I Hid My Love," John Clare

"Song for the Clatter-Bones," F. R. Higgins

"Song for the Head," George Peele

"Songs for a Colored Singer," Elizabeth Bishop

"Sonnet," Dante

"Sounds of the Day," Norman MacCaig

"Spring," Gerard Manley Hopkins

"Spring and Fall," Gerard Manley Hopkins

"'Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,'" W. H. Auden

"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," Robert Frost

"Strange Meeting," Wilfred Owen

"The Streets of Laredo," Anon

"A Strong Wind," Austin Clarke

"A Survey," William Stafford

"Swedes," Edward Thomas

"Sweeney Praises the Trees," Anon

"Sweet Suffolk Owl," Thomas Vautor

"Taboo to Boot," Ogden Nash

"Taffy was a Welshman," Anon

"Tails and Heads," Suzanne Knowles

"Taking Leave of a Friend," Ezra Pound

"Tarantella," Hilaire Belloc

"'There came a Wind like a Bugle,'" Emily Dickinson

"'There is a willow grows aslant a brook,'" William Shakespeare

"'There's a certain Slant of light,'" Emily Dickinson

"There Was a Boy," William Wordsworth

"'There was a man and he was mad,'" Anon

"Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," Wallace Stevens

"'This lunar beauty,'" W. H. Auden

"Thistle," Nikolai Alekseevich Zabolotsky

"Thomas Rymer," Anon

"Three Riddles from the Exeter Book," Geoffrey Grigson

"'Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd,'" William Shakespeare

"Tiger," A. D. Hope

"Tilly," James Joyce

"Timothy Winters," Charles Causley

"To a Schoolboy," Anon

"To Autumn," John Keats

"To the Foot from its Child," Pablo Neruda

"Track," Tomas Transtromer

"Transformations," Thomas Hardy

"A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island," Frank O'Hara

"The Twa Corbies," Anon

"Two Drops," Zbigniew Herbert

"Two Performing Elephants," D. H. Lawrence

"Two Songs of a Fool," W. B. Yeats

"TheTyger," William Blake

"The Unknown Bird," Edward Thomas

"The Unquiet Grave." Anon

"Ute Mountain," Charles Tomlinson

"The Vacuum," Howard Nemerov

"Vergissmeinicht," Keith Douglas

"The Villain," W. H. Davies

"Vision by Sweetwater," John Crowe Ransom

"The Visitant," Theodore Roethke

"The Vixen," John Clare

"A Walk," Nikolai Alekseevich Zabolotsky

"Walking West," William Stafford

"The Wanderer," W. H. Auden

"The Wandering Spectre," Anon

"War," Andrei Voznesensky

"War God's Horse Song," Anon

"'Was it for this?'" William Wordsworth

"Watch Your Step—I'm Drenched," Adrian Mitchell

"The Weapon," Hugh MacDiarmid

"Weathers," Thomas Hardy

"The Well Rising," William Stafford

"'When I set out for Lyonnesse,'" Thomas Hardy

"'When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom'd,'" Walt Whitman

"'When old corruption first begun,'" William Blake

"'When the rain raineth,"' Anon

"'The wicked who would do me harm,'" Anon

"The Wife of Usher's Well," Anon

"Wild Iron," Allen Curnow

"Willy Wet-leg," D. H. Lawrence

"'The wind blows out of the gates of the day,'" W. B. Yeats

"'The wind suffers of blowing,'" Laura Riding

"'A Wind that rose,'" Emily Dickinson

"The Windhover," Gerard Manley Hopkins

"Witches' Chasm," Ben Jonson

"'With fairest flowers,'" William Shakespeare

"The Woodlark," Gerard Manley Hopkins

"'Would you hear of an old-fashion'd sea-fight?'" Walt Whitman

"'Yon island carrions desperate of their bones,'" William Shakespeare

"You're," Sylvia Plath


Index of Poets and Works


Product Details

An Anthology of Poetry
Hughes, Ted
Seamus Heane
Heaney, Seamus
Heaney, Seamus
Faber & Faber
London ;
Anthologies (multiple authors)
American poetry
Poetry - General
Children's poetry
English poetry (collections)
English poetry
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.47 x 5.43 x 1.45 in

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Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » Anthologies

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"Synopsis" by , A collection of more than 400 hundred poems from all around the world.
"Synopsis" by , A collection of more than 400 hundred poems from all around the world.
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