The Classic Hundred All-Time Favorite Poems

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Imagine if Billboard compiled a list of the top 100 poems, chosen not by critics or professors but by the people themselves. That's the concept behind The Classic Hundred, and it works brilliantly. William Harmon found the 100 most anthologized poems in English, based on the ninth edition of The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry—the most objective measurement of greatness available, representing consensus among the editors of some 400 anthologies. Then he put them in order and prefaced each one with concise, ...
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Overview


Imagine if Billboard compiled a list of the top 100 poems, chosen not by critics or professors but by the people themselves. That's the concept behind The Classic Hundred, and it works brilliantly. William Harmon found the 100 most anthologized poems in English, based on the ninth edition of The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry—the most objective measurement of greatness available, representing consensus among the editors of some 400 anthologies. Then he put them in order and prefaced each one with concise, erudite, often humorous commentary. The range of poets, subjects, and forms—from Shakespeare to Frost, from love and death to crime and punishment, from sonnets to odes—makes this an entertaining, enlightening, and indispensable aural guide to the finest verse in the English language.

Adopting the methodology and fascination of the music charts, The Classic Hundred presents the "top 100" poems of all time in their order of popularity. The novelty of this collection lies in its completely original format, resulting in a compact anthology which ranges from Shakespeare to Frost, from love and death to crime and punishment.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
"Why did no one think of this before?"
The New York Times
Why did no one think of this before?"
The New York Times Review of Books
From the Publisher
What a great idea. . . . First of all it's interesting to see which poems make it, and then . . . you've got all those great poems.
Roy Blount
“What a great idea. . . . First of all it's interesting to see which poems make it, and then . . . you've got all those great poems.”
Roy Blount, Jr.
New York Times Book Review
Why did no one think of this before?
Library Journal
Harmon (an extremely good poet in his own right) edited several similar collections, including The Top 500 Poems (1992), plus earlier versions of the current volume (with different selections) under the title The Top 100 Poems in English (1990). Poets represented here range from anonymous contemporaries of Shakespeare to Theodore Roethke and Randall Jarrell. Readers are also poets, such as Rita Dove, Philip Levine, Richard Howard, and the late James Merrill (though it might have been wiser to have poets whose voices have been recorded reading their own poems, particularly in the case of Dylan Thomas). What is most useful, perhaps, are the biographies and commentary Harmon provides for each poem. This title is being issued simultaneously on cassette, CD, and CD-ROM (for $175). Recommended for libraries with strong interest in older poetry, but all libraries will benefit from providng their useful selection. -- Rochelle Ratner, formerly with "Soho Weekly News," New York
Booknews
With this disk users can read and listen to 100 classic poems--those most anthologized in recent years (they appear most frequently in the 1,000-plus anthologies indexed in the 8th through 11th editions of the Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry in Anthologies). Poems are displayed on the screen as the voices of various distinguished poets (mostly), read them. Each poem is accompanied by an introduction, critical and technical notes, and a bibliography, and is illustrated with related art. There is a biography, portrait, and bibliography of each poet, and maps and a timeline. Requires Windows 3.1 or higher, or a Macintosh. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
From Barnes & Noble
Representing a wide range of poets, subjects, and forms, this collection is an eclectic and entertaining aural guide to the finest verse in English.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565112452
  • Publisher: HighBridge Company
  • Publication date: 4/28/1998
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 5 CDs
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author


WILLIAM HARMON is James Gordon Hanes Professor of the Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, author of five books of poetry and editor of A Handbook to Literature. His most recent poetry has appeared in Blink and Light.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2000

    Almost Perfect Collection

    'A thing of beauty is a joy forever' and so is this collection . . . almost. There is only one thing that keeps it from being perfect--Jorie Graham. I cannot understand why anyone cast her to read poems. She may be a great poet, but as a reader she rates a zero. Her halting, non-emotional style is reminiscent of grade-school teachers who taught many of us to detest poetry. I have to program my CD player to skip her tracks because she slaughters some of my favorite poems. Well, enough negativity. Everyone else does a splendid job. I especially like Anthony Hecht. Run out and buy this collection, but make sure that you know how to program your CD player so that you may edit the readings to your liking.

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