Poems About Horses

Poems About Horses

by Carmela Ciuraru
     
 

A captivating anthology that celebrates one of nature’s most majestic creatures and the age-old bond between humans and horses.

All kinds of equine characters grace these pages, from magnificent warhorses to cowboys’ trusty steeds, from broken-down nags to playful colts, from wild horses to dream horses. We encounter the famous Trojan horse in Virgil&

Overview

A captivating anthology that celebrates one of nature’s most majestic creatures and the age-old bond between humans and horses.

All kinds of equine characters grace these pages, from magnificent warhorses to cowboys’ trusty steeds, from broken-down nags to playful colts, from wild horses to dream horses. We encounter the famous Trojan horse in Virgil’s Aeneid, and then see it from a wholly different perspective in Matthea Harvey’s whimsical “Inside the Good Idea.” Longfellow’s Paul Revere defies an empire on the back of a horse, while Shakespeare’s Richard III vainly offers his kingdom for one. Robert Burns’s “Auld Farmer” dotes affectionately on his aging mare, while the mares of the king of Corinth in Paul Muldoon’s “Glaucus” devour their owner. Robert Frost’s little horse stopping by the woods is gently puzzled by human behavior, and Ted Hughes is dazzled by a stunning vision of horses at dawn: “Grey silent fragments / Of a grey silent world.”

Mythical and metaphorical horses cavort alongside vividly real animals in these poems, whether they be humble servants, noble companions, beloved friends, or emblems of the wild beauty of the world beyond our grasp.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307269256
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/28/2009
Series:
Everyman's Library Pocket Poets
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,184,658
Product dimensions:
6.46(w) x 4.36(h) x 0.73(d)

Read an Excerpt

FOREWORD

Icons of power, speed, and civilization since they were first domesticated thousands of years ago, horses are among the most majestic creatures to wander the earth. The extent to which humans’ lives have been enriched by these animals is immeasurable: many of our most basic habits of work, play, transport, and warfare would have been impossible without them. It is no wonder that this profound relationship has inspired countless works of art, from ancient times to the present. This collection is a sampling across the centuries of the ways horses have been contemplated and celebrated in poetry.

The horse has served as warrior, laborer, mail carrier, competitive athlete, rodeo entertainer, friend, and—above al—object of wonder. In this anthology’s opening section, ‘Entering the World’, Ted Hughes offers a tender evocation of a foal’s first steps on the way to becoming ‘perfect Horse’: ‘His nose / Downy and magnetic, draws him, incredulous, / Towards his mother. And the world is warm / And careful and gentle. Touch by touch / Everything fits him together.’

The following section, ‘Horse and Rider’, focuses on the elemental human–horse connection, with poems by E. E. Cummings, Basil Bunting, and Richard Wilbur, along with perhaps the most famous contemporary poem about a journey on horseback—Robert Frost’s ‘Stopping byWoods on a Snowy Evening—in which a horse, for a change, wonders at human mystery.

‘Horses in Mind’ ventures into abstract and dreamlike manifestations.For Witter Bynner and Sylvia Plath, untamed horses are apt metaphors for the elusiveness of language. Paul Muldoon ponders ‘if I’m a man dreaming I’m a plowhorse / or a great plowhorse dreaming I’m a man.’ And Carl Phillips imagines that a ‘horse is entering / the sea, and the sea / holds it.’

Elsewhere, horses are honored for their pastoral and hunting work by poets such as Gary Snyder, Maxine Kumin, and Seamus Heaney. Poems by Homer, Virgil, Shakespeare, Tennyson, and others commemorate the horse’s role in battle, and a brief section touches on the colorful tradition of cowboy poetry on the American frontier.

The poems in ‘Equine Encounters’ describe revelatory meetings between our species, and in the final section poets honor the horse in memory and in grief. ‘They have pulled our ploughs and borne our load,’ writes Edwin Muir. ‘But that free servitude still can pierce our hearts.’ Thanks to the amazing bond we have known with horses throughout history, ‘Our life is changed; their coming our beginning.’

—Carmela Ciuraru

Meet the Author

Carmela Ciuraru is the editor of the Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets anthologies Fatherhood, Motherhood, Solitude, Beat Poets, and Doggerel: Poems About Dogs. She lives in Brooklyn.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >