The Oxford Book of Garden Verse

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

EditorJohn Dixon Hunt

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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 safety and danger, art and nature, public spaces and private retreats, places of physical labour and metaphysicalreflection. This diversity and versatility have always attracted poets, whose repertory of garden 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 modern patio - are mirrored in verse from the Middle Ages to the present day. While poets have eagerly seized upon the metaphorical associations gardens inspire, theyhave also been attracted to the opportunities they offer for description, both romantic and 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 ofreal 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 identifies certain themes that recur throughout a selection that ranges from Chaucer to Pope, Marvell to Tennyson, Coleridge to Fleur Adcock, W. B. Yeats to Anthony Hecht, and Rudyard Kipling to Anne Sexton. Particularly fertile in modern examples, this anthologyis a riot of literary talent to match the most abundant of gardens.

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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 safety and danger, art and nature, public spaces and private retreats, places of physical labour and metaphysicalreflection. This diversity and versatility have always...

John Dixon Hunt is at Oak Spring Garden Library, Virginia.

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Format:HardcoverPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0192141961

ISBN - 13:9780192141965

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'I have always been disappointed by garden anthologies, which rely too heavily on well-known classics and doggerel, but John Dixon-Hunt breaks the mould with the range and depth of his selection.Francesca Greenoak, The Times