The Oxford Book of Garden Verse

The Oxford Book of Garden Verse

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There have been poems about gardens for as long as there have been gardens. Gardens have been all things to all men and women: paradoxical sites of pleasure and pain, of saftey and danger, art and nature, public spaces and private retreats, places of physical labour and metaphysical reflection. This diversity and verstility have always attracted poets, whose repertory of gardent themes on the page matches what garden makers have achieved on the ground. In this anthology successive historical periods of gardening - from enclosed garden and landscape park to Victorian flower-garden and moder patio - are mirrored in verse from the Middle Ages to the present day. While poets have eagerly seized upon the metaphorical associations gardens inspire, they have also been attracted to the robust. As well as being microcosms of society, either perfectly maintained or ill-kempt and overrun, where love can blossom alongside the flowers, or withering and decay may presage death, they are sites or real human labour. The gardener is here celebrated as much as his creation, as are his mundane tasks of weeding and making compost, mowing lawns and tending the allotment.
In his introduction John Dixon Hunt discusses certain themes that recur throughout a selection that ranges from Chaucer to Pope, Marvell to Tennyson, Coleridge to Fleur Adcok, W.B. Yeats to Anthony Hecht, and Rudyard Kipling to Anne Sexton. Particularly fertile in modern examples, this anthology is a riot of literary talent to match the most abundant of gardens. This book is intended for readers of verse anthologies; garden-lovers and gardeners of literary inclination; landscape, social, and literary historians.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 376 pages
  • 129.54 x 195.58 x 25.4mm | 1,224.69g
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0192823388
  • 9780192823380

About John Dixon Hunt

About the Author: John Dixon Hunt is academic advisor to the Oak Spring Garden Library in Upperville, Virginia, and is former Director of Studies in Landscape Architecture at Dumbarton Oaks. He is the editor of the Journal of Garden History.
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