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12/31/10

Deep in Genuine, Devoted Faith and Rich Writing -- review: Hopkins: Poems (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets)

Hopkins: Poems (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets)

Hopkins is one of those poets hidden from so many because of his subject matter, yet is considered one of the most influential Victorian poets for his use of word combinations, meter and image.

Added to the delicious and poignant poetry is the contemplative nature of his prose and poetry. In it, you'll read about his humility and submission to God, his genuine faith, his desire that his poetry exalt God and not Hopkins himself.

Most his work was published posthumously, as late as 1920 or so, and immediately influenced the likes of T.S. Elliot (AKA, the guy who wrote the poem "Cats" is based on and "Wasteland") and his contemporaries.

While Whitman and Wilde were exalting in themselves, and just after Emerson and Thoreau were helping us see creation, Hopkins demonstrated prowess in pointing readers to see the Creator in the creation.

Atheists won't agree with him, of course, but he says it so well, they will at least go, "Hmm... if I believed, I could see that... yeah, wow, well put." The Catholics will cheer him on, "Atta boy... yep, that guy's a Jesuit!" Not undone are the Protestants who will be so impressed in agreement they'll be happy he was a Christian.

Check out this snippet from "Pied Beauty"
Glory be to God for dappled things--
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced--fold, fallow, and plough;
And 'all tra'des, their gear and tackle and trim." Those accents are in the original.

Delicious to say aloud? You should hear the second verse. His others are as tasty.

I fully recommend Hopkins: Poems (Everyman's Library Pocket Poets) by Gerard Manley Hopkins.
Anthony Trendl
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