Thursday, January 27, 2022

The Pocket Book of Popular Verse

  The Pocket Book of Popular Verse (1945) by Ted Malone (ed)

It was interesting to look back at the poems which Malone chose as the favorites of the common person of the 1940s. Quite a lot of these are long forgotten--poems that really aren't memorable or, truthfully, very good. I give you "Door Mat" by Mary Carolyn Davies as an example:

Women are door-mats and have been--/The years those mats applaud--/They keep their men from going in/With muddy feet to God. [Say what?!] 

But sprinkled among them are verses and lines that were still being repeated--though sometimes by people who didn't really know where they came from--when I was growing up. I recognize lines such as these about Boston "Where the Lowells talk only to Cabots, And the Cabots talk only to God" by John C. Bossidy and "A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot!" by Thomas Edward Brown, though I would have been hard pressed to give you the authors names. There are poems that appeared often in the classroom and those that have collected many times in other anthologies. And then, of course, there are more famous and much better known (especially to English majors) poets and poems from William Blake to Elizabeth Barret Browning's Sonnets from the Portuguese from Lewis Carroll and "Jabberwocky" to William Wordsworth's "She Was a Phantom of Delight."

An entertaining selection overall. ★★

First line: My mind lets go a thousand things (from "Memory" by Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Last line: Why can't we all be like that bird? (from "A Wise Old Owl" by unknown)


1 comment:

Roger Allen said...

"The Pocket Book of Unpopular Verse" would probably be more interesting.