John Fuller: Who Is Ozymandias?



SThe sound of the songShort epic or longRemembering emotions aren t toys Sadly I found this book deterred me from reading poetry rather than encouraging me The tone throughout is rather school masterly and supercillious a bit like someone who can do the Times Crossword puzzle in ten minutes patiently providing his readers with the benefit of his wisdom and intellect There seems no room in his understanding of poetry for an emotional response Picked this up in the local library whilst Tilly and Tess were choosing their own options Just for the record why on Earth did i read something like this at Uni I might have had a better shot at getting a slightly better grade for Wyn Thomas s class I enjoyed this in parts but perhaps a little scholarly for light reading I might go back to it at a later date and read all the poems properly and learn a bit about some of the poets as there were a few I had no idea about Interesting early chapters on the mystery of poetry and the use of riddles in poetry. Ese conundrums as readers From riddling to double entendres mysterious titles to red herrings Fuller unpicks the puzzles in works that range from Browning to Bishop Empson to Eliot Shelley to Stevens to help the reader reach the rewards and revelations that lie at the center of some best loved poem.

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N out and it was just a list of other things about other poems strung together to make it long enough to publish Interesting This book definitely grew on me while much of the opening went over my head whether due to interest or my mood the latter parts of the book were memorable and useful though I doubt I ll remember many of the actual poems it discusses Some fascinating discussion of titles Waste Land not Wasteland and form Definitely made me think differently about puzzles in poetry from the use of pronouns to how comprehensible the lines actually are or are meant to beAs Fuller says it s an act of love because the truth of their poems can have a revelatory force and it is for the poet like unreuited love because they get the stress and embarrassment of never knowing how much the audience gets or how much they should get As a poet I definitely agree with that As a reader though it s great fun trying to figure them out The poem isn t a puzzle to the poetBut reading for pleasure has its joy. Ewis Carroll's Snark Who is Wallace Stevens's Emperor of Ice Cream Or indeed who is ou in a poem In this perceptive and playful new book an acclaimed poet looks at some of the greatest poems and considers the number of individual puzzles at their heart casting light on how we should approach th.

It s interesting to compare this to the other recent book I read about poetry Why Poetry by Matthew Zapruder Both authors are poets themselves but where the American Zapruder want s to pull down the barriers that stop ordinary people appreciating poetry Fuller an Oxford don resolutely builds them back up Poems are puzzles to be decoded according to Fuller who then goes on to decode a bunch of them in virtuoso style building on his long ears of expertise in a way that is impressive but would be impossible for others There s pleasure to be gained from this for sure but he also has the air of a stuffy pedant and he pretty much exclusively cleaves to the male canon so ou ll get plenty of Browning and Arnold and Eliot and co and just the occasional passing reference to a female poets This was published in 2011 but it could easily have been published in 1961 Giving up really rather than finished I found it worthwhile and interesting for the first third and then it felt as though the ideas had ru. An intelligent et playful look at some of the most teasing and mystifying puzzles at the heart of our greatest poemsPart of the pleasure of poetry is unraveling the mysteries and difficulties it contains and solving the puzzles that lie within Who for instance is Shelley's Ozymandias What is the

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