Six Poets

Hardy to Larkin: An Anthology

Alan Bennett

View Inside Price: $24.00


October 6, 2015
224 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
ISBN: 9780300215052
Cloth

The inimitable Alan Bennett selects and comments upon six favorite poets and the pleasures of their works  

In this candid, thoroughly engaging book, Alan Bennett creates a unique anthology of works by six well-loved poets. Freely admitting his own youthful bafflement with poetry, Bennett reassures us that the poets and poems in this volume are not only accessible but also highly enjoyable. He then proceeds to prove irresistibly that this is so.
 
Bennett selects more than seventy poems by Thomas Hardy, A. E. Housman, John Betjeman, W. H. Auden, Louis MacNeice, and Philip Larkin. He peppers his discussion of these writers and their verse with anecdotes, shrewd appraisal, and telling biographical detail: Hardy lyrically recalls his first wife, Emma, in his poetry, although he treated her shabbily in real life. The fabled Auden was a formidable and off-putting figure at the lectern. Larkin, hoping to subvert snooping biographers, ordered personal papers shredded upon his death.
 
Simultaneously profound and entertaining, Bennett’s book is a paean to poetry and its creators, made all the more enjoyable for being told in his own particular voice. its creators, made all the more enjoyable for being told in his own particular voice.
 

Alan Bennett has been one of England’s leading dramatists since the success of Beyond the Fringe in the 1960s. His television series Talking Heads has become a modern-day classic. The History Boys has been performed at both the National Theatre, London, and on Broadway in New York, and has won many awards, including six Tony Awards. Also staged at the National Theatre were The Habit of Art, People, Hymn, and Cocktail Sticks. His collection of prose Untold Stories won the PEN/Ackerley Prize for autobiography. Recent works of fiction are The Uncommon Reader and Smut: Two Unseemly Stories. Bennett lives in Camden Town in London, UK.

“A prose stylist of disarming grace and sly humor . . . Surprising, funny, and deeply affecting.”—Charles McGrath, The New York Times Book Review

“One of the greatest living English writers.”—David Thomson, The Nation

“There is probably no other distinguished English man of letters more instantly likable than Bennett.”—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post Book World

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