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Poems That Make Grown Men Cry: 100 Men on the Words That Move Them

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Poems That Make Grown Men Cry andlt;link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="../styles/9781476712796.css"andgt; andlt;h2 andgt;andlt;a id="preface"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;andlt;a id="page_xiii"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;Prefaceandlt;/h2andgt; andlt;h3 andgt;ANTHONY HOLDENandlt;/h3andgt; andlt;BRandgt;Late one afternoon in the mid-1990s a close friend of long standing called to tell me of a sudden domestic crisis. My wife and I went straight round to join him for the evening, during which he began to quote a Thomas Hardy poem, and#8220;The Darkling Thrush.and#8221; Upon reaching what might be called the punch lineand#8212;and#8220;Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew / And I was unawareand#8221;and#8212;our friend choked up, unable to get the words out. This was understandable; he was still upset by the dayand#8217;s events. We ourselves were much moved.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;That weekend we happened to be visiting the scholar and critic Frank Kermode. Frank knew the friend involved, and was also touched by his Hardy moment. and#8220;Is there any poem you canand#8217;t recite without choking up?and#8221; I asked him. Never an emotionally demonstrative man, Frank said immediately: and#8220;Go and get the Larkin.and#8221;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;In front of his half-dozen guests he then began to read aloud and#8220;Unfinished Poem,and#8221; about death treading its remorseless way up the stairs, only to turn out to be a pretty young girl with bare feet, moving the stunned narrator to exclaim: and#8220;What summer have you broken from?and#8221; It was this startling last line that rendered Frank speechless; with a forlorn waft of the hand, he held the book out for someone else to finish the poem.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Also there that day was another professor of English, Tony andlt;a id="page_xiv"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;Tanner, so it was not surprising that this topic of conversation lasted all afternoon, ranging far and wide, not just over other candidates for this distinct brand of poetic immortality but the power of poetry over prose to move, the difference between true sentiment and mere mawkishness, and, of course, the pros and cons of men weeping, whether in private or in public.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;For the next few weeks I asked every male literary friend I saw to name a poem he couldnand#8217;t read or recite without breaking up. It was amazing how many immediately said yes, this one, and embarked on its first few lines. With Frankand#8217;s encouragement, I began to contemplate an anthology called Poems that Make Strong Men Cry.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Then I remembered I had another book to finish, and set the project aside. But it remained a topic of paradoxically happy conversation between Frank and myself until his death in the summer of 2010, at the age of ninety. I duly steeled myself to reading and#8220;Unfinished Poemand#8221; at his funeral service and managed itand#8212;justand#8212;without choking up.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;In 2007, reviewing A. E. Housmanand#8217;s letters for the London Review of Books, Kermode had discussed the controversy caused in Cambridge in 1933 by a Housman lecture entitled and#8220;On the Name and Nature of Poetry.and#8221; After recalling the brouhaha provoked at the time by Housmanand#8217;s emphasis on the emotional power of poetry, with F. R. Leavis saying it would and#8220;take years to remedy the damage the lecture must have inflicted on his students,and#8221; Frank continuedand#8212;with, he told me, our recurrently lachrymose conversation very much in mind:andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;What everybody remembers best are the passages about the emotional aspects of poetry. Housman included a number of surprisingly personal comments on this topic. Miltonand#8217;s and#8220;Nymphs and shepherds, dance no more,and#8221; he said, can and#8220;draw tearsand#160;.and#160;.and#160;. to the eyes of more readers than one.and#8221; And tears are only one andlt;a id="page_xv"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;symptom. A line of poetry can make his beard bristle as he shaves, or cause a shiver down his spine, or and#8220;a constriction of the throatand#8221; as well as and#8220;a precipitation of water to the eyes.and#8221; For so reticent a man it was a surprising performance. It possibly upset his health, and he came to regard the date of the lecture, May 1933, as an ominous moment in his life.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Housman and Hardy have emerged as two of the most tear-provoking poets in this collectionand#8212;to which I was urged to return, in the wake of Frankand#8217;s death, by my son Ben (if with a somewhat less macho title). With three entries each, they are equaled by Philip Larkin and bested only by W. H. Auden, with five. So four of us supposedly buttoned-up Brits top the charts of almost one hundred poems from eighteen countries, a dozen of them written by women, chosen by men of more than twenty nationalities ranging in age from early twenties to late eighties. Five pairs of contributors happen to have chosen the same poem, for intriguingly different reasons.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Larkin himself could have proved a prototype contributor. and#8220;Wordsworth was nearly the price of me once,and#8221; he told the [London] Observer in 1979. and#8220;I was driving down the M1 on a Saturday morning: they had this poetry slot on the radioand#160;.and#160;.and#160;. and someone suddenly started reading the Immortality Ode, and I couldnand#8217;t see for tears. And when youand#8217;re driving down the middle lane at seventy miles an hourand#160;.and#160;.and#160;.and#8221;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Early in our task, we were encouraged by a note from Professor John Carey, with whom I discussed our work-in-progress over a dinner at Merton College, Oxford, where Ben and I both studied English thirty years apart: and#8220;It will bring some good poems to public notice, and it will stimulate debate about the emotional power of art and how it affects different people.and#8221; Thanks to our partnership with Amnesty International, we can add such cross-border issues as freedom of andlt;a id="page_xvi"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;speech and thought, as in the contribution from one of the leaders of the 1989 human rights protests in Beijingand#8217;s Tiananmen Square.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;After deciding to arrange the poems in chronological order, we calculated that some 75 percent of them were written in the twentieth centuryand#8212;inevitable, perhaps, so early in the twenty-first. The most common themes, apart from intimations of mortality, range from pain and loss via social and political ideals to the beauty and variety of Natureand#8212;as well as love, in all its many guises. Three of our contributors have suffered the ultimate pain of losing a child; others are moved to tears by the sheer beauty of the way a poet captures, in Alexander Popeand#8217;s famous phrase, and#8220;what oft was thought, but neand#8217;er so well expressand#8217;d.and#8221; The same might be said of our contributorsand#8217; candid explanations of their choices, many of which rival the poems themselves in stirring the readerand#8217;s emotions.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Some of those who declined to take part did so for almost poetic reasons. Wrote the pianist Alfred Brendel: and#8220;I easily shed tears when I listen to music, experience a Shakespeare play, or encounter a great performance. Literature doesnand#8217;t have the same effect on me, so it seems. I cannot tell you why, as reading has been an important part of my life.and#8221; Said the actor-magician Ricky Jay: and#8220;Right now, I find it hard to think of a poem that doesnand#8217;t make me cry. Iand#8217;m the kinda guy that weeps at reruns of Happy Days.and#8221; And the playwright Patrick Marber: and#8220;You bet Iand#8217;ve got one, but Iand#8217;m not going to share it with anyone else!and#8221;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;A sudden shock of emotion naturally overcomes different people in different ways. Vladimir Nabokov wrote that the proper reader responds to a poem not with his brain or his heart, but with his back, waiting for and#8220;the telltale tingle between the shoulder-blades.and#8221; To our contributors, a moist eye seems the natural if involuntary response to a particular phrase or line, thought or image; the vast majority are public figures not prone to tears, as is supposedly the manly way, but here prepared to admit to caving in when ambushed by great art.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;img width="45" height="13" src="../images/common.jpg" alt="Images"andgt;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;andlt;a id="page_xvii"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;The youngest of my three sons, now himself a father, Ben is a grown man to whom tears do not come readily; I myself, as he has enjoyed telling all inquirers, am prone to weep all too easily, at prose as much as poetry, movies as much as music. Weand#8217;ve had a great deal of fun, and not a few vigorous disagreements, while compiling this anthology together.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;It was only after intense negotiation, for instance, that we agreed to stretch most definitions of poetry by including an extract from a verse play, and another from a and#8220;prose-poemand#8221; of a novel, then another, while drawing the line at song lyricsand#8212;some of which are fine poetry, for sure, but (in my view) indistinguishable in their power to move from the music to which they are set. We agreed to admit one traditional lullaby; but this policy otherwise cost us, alas, a distinguished writer intent on a touching French chanson, and an astronaut who wanted the lyrics of a song from a Broadway musical.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;On which note, I am pleased to hand over to Ben for an expert explanation of the physical mechanics of tears, especially male tears, and to distill perfectly on both our behalves the purpose, as we see it, of this book.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;h3 andgt;BEN HOLDENandlt;/h3andgt; andlt;BRandgt;Cecil Day-Lewis once said that he did not write poetry to be understood, but to understand. This quest, to understand, takes many routes but is common to us all. Tears also unite us as humans: we are the only species that cries. Charles Darwin himself was at a loss to explain this uniquely human trait, describing it as that and#8220;special expression of manand#8217;s.and#8221;andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;One scientific explanation is that the act of crying is evolutionand#8217;s mechanism for draining excess chemicals released into the blood andlt;a id="page_xviii"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;when we experience extreme stress or high emotion: the chinand#8217;s mentalis muscle wobbles; a lump rises in our throat, as the autonomic nervous system expands the glottis to aid our oxygen intake; the lachrymal glands flood the fornix conjunctiva of the upper eyelid; and, as teardrops break their ducts and run down our cheeks, our blood is cleansed of the secreted prolactin and adrenocorticotropic hormones.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Put another way: we have and#8220;a good cryand#8221; and feel better.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;An alternative theory is that crying is an advancement of a mammalian distress signal. After all, tears provide a clear and immediate cry for help that is tricky to fake. And just as it is tough to counterfeit, crying can also be catching, like yawning. One personand#8217;s tears often set off anotherand#8217;s.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;In these ways, weeping betrays not only vulnerability but also an openness that is contagious. Yet so often we try to hide our tears when caught out or in public, as if it is embarrassing to be around such raw tenderness. This is perhaps especially true for those of us who are men.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Despite the male tear duct being larger than the female, studies have consistently shown that from around the age of ten a divergence occurs and thereafter boys cry far less than girls. Whether that is down to cultural or biological reasons (or, as is likely the case, both), the sad truth is that the male of our species has not always been allowed to cry. Tears may have been venerated in European cultures during the nineteenth century as a sign of high moral character but, these days, they are all too hastily wiped away.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;We want to put paid to that with this anthology. We hope that readers may set each other off as they read these verses aloud to one another. Letand#8217;s celebrate high emotion! Together letand#8217;s express our shared humanity, whatever your gender, background, or circumstances. However grievous at times, let these pages console you, if upset; lift you, if down; I defy you not to be inspired by them.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;To borrow from Samuel Beckett, our contributorsand#8217; and#8220;words are andlt;a id="page_xix"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;their tears.and#8221; Some of their introductions are profoundly moving and many describe devastating ordeals. These woes are framed in personal contexts but will be familiar to many readers. During its compilation, contributor Billy Collins jokingly asked how any of us will make it through the book without succumbing to a complete emotional breakdown. Yet our intent with this collection is to celebrate our shared compassion and common humanity, all in keeping with the creed of our partners at Amnesty International.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;We hope as you read these pages that your own corneas may at times flood. Crying expresses our very inability to articulate emotion, after all, and so what could be more human, honest, or pure than tears?andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Perhaps the only response is that other and#8220;special expressionand#8221; of ours: poetry.andlt;a id="page_xx"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;andlt;a id="page_xxi"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;andlt;a id="page_xxii"andgt;andlt;/aandgt;

Product Details

ISBN:
9781476712772
Author:
Holden, Anthony
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Author:
Holden, Ben
Subject:
Anthologies (multiple authors)
Subject:
Poetry -Anthologies
Subject:
Anthony Holden; Ben Holden; inspirational poetry; male poets; female poets; Injustice; My papaand#8217;s Waltz; The Lanyard; Emily Dickinson; Walt Whitman; Charles Bukowski; Pablo Neruda; Derek Walcott; Hart Crane; Adrienne Rich; Tom Hiddleston; Daniel Ra
Subject:
Anthony Holden; Ben Holden; inspirational poetry; male poets; female poets; Injustice; My papaand#8217;s Waltz; The Lanyard; Emily Dickinson; Walt Whitman; Charles Bukowski; Pablo Neruda; Derek Walcott; Hart Crane; Adrienne Rich; Tom Hiddleston; Daniel Ra
Subject:
Anthony Holden; Ben Holden; inspirational poetry; male poets; female poets; Injustice; My papaand#8217;s Waltz; The Lanyard; Emily Dickinson; Walt Whitman; Charles Bukowski; Pablo Neruda; Derek Walcott; Hart Crane; Adrienne Rich; Tom Hiddleston; Daniel Ra
Subject:
Anthony Holden; Ben Holden; inspirational poetry; male poets; female poets; Injustice; My papaand#8217;s Waltz; The Lanyard; Emily Dickinson; Walt Whitman; Charles Bukowski; Pablo Neruda; Derek Walcott; Hart Crane; Adrienne Rich; Tom Hiddleston; Daniel Ra
Subject:
Anthony Holden; Ben Holden; inspirational poetry; male poets; female poets; Injustice; My papaand#8217;s Waltz; The Lanyard; Emily Dickinson; Walt Whitman; Charles Bukowski; Pablo Neruda; Derek Walcott; Hart Crane; Adrienne Rich; Tom Hiddleston; Daniel Ra
Subject:
Anthony Holden; Ben Holden; inspirational poetry; male poets; female poets; Injustice; My papaand#8217;s Waltz; The Lanyard; Emily Dickinson; Walt Whitman; Charles Bukowski; Pablo Neruda; Derek Walcott; Hart Crane; Adrienne Rich; Tom Hiddleston; Daniel Ra
Subject:
Anthony Holden; Ben Holden; inspirational poetry; male poets; female poets; Injustice; My papaand#8217;s Waltz; The Lanyard; Emily Dickinson; Walt Whitman; Charles Bukowski; Pablo Neruda; Derek Walcott; Hart Crane; Adrienne Rich; Tom Hiddleston; Daniel Ra
Subject:
Anthony Holden; Ben Holden; inspirational poetry; male poets; female poets; Injustice; My papaand#8217;s Waltz; The Lanyard; Emily Dickinson; Walt Whitman; Charles Bukowski; Pablo Neruda; Derek Walcott; Hart Crane; Adrienne Rich; Tom Hiddleston; Daniel Ra
Subject:
Anthony Holden; Ben Holden; inspirational poetry; male poets; female poets; Injustice; My papaand#8217;s Waltz; The Lanyard; Emily Dickinson; Walt Whitman; Charles Bukowski; Pablo Neruda; Derek Walcott; Hart Crane; Adrienne Rich; Tom Hiddleston; Daniel Ra
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20140431
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
rough front
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
228.6 x 152.4 mm

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Poems That Make Grown Men Cry: 100 Men on the Words That Move Them New Hardcover
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Product details 336 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9781476712772 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A unique collection of poetry so powerful that 100 grown menand#8212;bestselling authors, poets laureate, and other eminent figures from the arts, sciences, and politicsand#8212;have been moved to tears. Here they deliver touching and insightful personal introductions to a range of beloved poems.andlt;brandgt;andlt;brandgt;Grown men arenand#8217;t supposed to cry. andlt;Iandgt;Poems That Make Grown Men Cryandlt;/Iandgt;, however, a rare and fascinating collection, will profoundly move the strongest menand#8212;and womenand#8212;to heartfelt tears.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Father-and-son team Anthony and Ben Holden, a British writer and movie producer respectively, have teamed up to compile a poetry anthology unlike any other. Poets whose work is represented in this collection include W.H. Auden, Charles Bukowski, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Emily Dickinson, D.H. Lawrence, Harold Pinter, Ezra Pound, William Shakespeare, Walt Whitman, and a host of other notables.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Familiar personalities who have confessed to breaking down range from J.J. Abrams to John le Carrand#233;, Seamus Heaney to Richard Dawkins, Salman Rushdie to Jonathan Franzen, and Stanley Tucci to Colin Firth. Each explains why the poems have made them cryand#8212;often in words as moving as the poetry itselfand#8212;delivering private insight into the souls of men whose writing, acting, or thinking you have enjoyed and admired.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;In andlt;Iandgt;Poems That Make Grown Men Cryandlt;/Iandgt;, not only will you savor old favorites and discover new gems; you will share private moments through the joys and sorrows of some of the most moving poetry ever written. Most important, you will learn more about yourself in the process.
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