Has Keats influenced anyone to read more widely?

Discussion on the works of John Keats.

Moderators: Saturn, Malia

Has Keats influenced anyone to read more widely?

Postby Saturn » Tue Apr 27, 2004 3:15 pm

I don't know about anyone else but the way poetry was taught when I was a school was so dull that it almost put me off poetry for life; despite a great teacher, there was little chance to discover your own preferences at all. When I first started reading poetry five years ago at the age of nineteen, (I know, soooo late!!) I began with Coleridge and, inspired by him, read all Shakespeare's works, then Byron, Shelley, and then finally to Keats and since then many other different poets.

Despite my great fear of these monumental inhibiting tomes, reading the biographies of these different poets, I learned who were the poets that inspired their work, and was eager to learn what so excited them in the great works of the past, those works which are so venerated and which we are told are 'good for us' - the horrible tyranny of English teaching at school!!!!!!

After reading of Keats enthusiasm and love of Milton, Spenser, Dante, and Chapman's Homer, I have in the past few years read and greatly enjoyed all these mighty works which also add a greater understanding of Keats own works and poetry in general.

It is a real delight to see how Keats managed to take so much from these great poems and infuse them into his own work while retaining his own very distinctive voice. I might never have read any of these great books without reading of Keats great delight in them.

This may all be a bit ramblinging, but I do have a point - much as I adore Keats, there is a whole world, and two and-half thousand years of poetry waiting to be explored; from Homer and Hesiod to Vergil and Ovid, Dante and Petrarch to Milton and Pope, Geothe, Rilke, Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney; - to name but some of my favourites over the centuries.

I ask people to take a chance and explore (in Coleridge's phrase)
the archives of mankind
more deeply so you can return to poets like Keats enriched and understand better how much a poet is part of the western poetry tradition, and not simply the result of a particular time, place and set of personal circumstances.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
Forum Administrator
Posts: 3970
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 10:16 am

Postby Matt » Fri Jun 18, 2004 11:39 am

Hello Stephen!

I am 18 and like yourself at my age the set texts at School make it difficult for a person to explore other texts. I am due to go to University next year where i hope to devote much of my time to reading and the development of my imagination, literary knowledge and poetic ability. I have already started buying texts which i intend to read next year when i have a bit more time! Below is a list. Its not thart exciting in that its much the same as yours

1) The works of Shakespeare
2) Paradise Lost-Milton
3) The complete works of William Blake
4) The Illiad and the Odyessey
4) The complete works of John Keats (as opposed to just the selected works for which i am studying at the moment)
5) Byron-the autobiography
6) A biography of William Blake

This is all I have really got so far. I have a faint desire to better aqquaint myself with the works of Siegfried Sassoon
Posts: 88
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2003 5:26 pm

Return to Poems, Odes and Plays

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests