Varying greatly in theme, style, and tone, these poems of fourteen lines or less include works by such masters as Jonson, Herrick, Blake, Dickinson, Yeats, Hardy, and Frost, as well as many lesser-known poets
Memorable, witty, bawdy, profound--the short poem observes no limits except those of length. The verses collected in this anthology vary greatly in theme, style, and tone, but in each case brevity reveals the poet at his best. The short poem is often overlooked in verse collections, where poets tend to be represented by their longer work. Defining "short" as any poem of under fourteen lines (in order to exclude the sonnet), the compilers of this anthology determined to see the effect of giving the short poem more breathing room, presenting it unencumbered by weightier poems. The discovery of a remarkable degree of self-confidence and eloquence in the genre more than justified their efforts. Beside the great masters of the short poem--Ben Jonson, Robert Herrick, William Blake, Emily Dickinson, and, in our own century, Yeats, Hardy, and Frost--many lesser-known poets are included. The anthologists sought to make their selections more than merely representative, yet most of the famous names can be found, from medieval to modern times: from Wordsworth to Whitman, from Shakespeare to Auden and Updike.