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Poems That Make Grown Men Cry: 100 Men on the Words That Move Them

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Grown men don't cry. But in this fascinating anthology, one hundred men - distinguished in literature and film, science and architecture, theater and human rights - confess to being moved to tears by poems that continue to haunt them. Representing twenty nationalities and ranging in age from their early 20s to their late 80s, the majority are public figures not prone to cry Grown men don't cry. But in this fascinating anthology, one hundred men - distinguished in literature and film, science and architecture, theater and human rights - confess to being moved to tears by poems that continue to haunt them. Representing twenty nationalities and ranging in age from their early 20s to their late 80s, the majority are public figures not prone to crying. Here they admit to breaking down when ambushed by great art, often in words as powerful as the poems themselves. Their selections include classics by visionaries such as Walt Whitman, W.H Auden, and Philip Larkin, as well as contemporary works by masters including Billy Collins, Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, and poets who span the globe from Pablo Neruda to Rabindranath Tagore. Seventy-five percent of the selected poems were written in the twentieth century, with more than a dozen by women including Mary Oliver, Elizabeth Bishop, and Gwendolyn Brooks. Their themes range from love in its many guises, through mortality and loss, to the beauty and variety of nature. Three men have suffered the pain of losing a child; others are moved to tears by the exquisite way a poet captures, in Alexander Pope's famous phrase, 'what oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd.' From J. J. Abrams to John le Carré, Salman Rushdie to Jonathan Franzen, Daniel Radcliffe to Nick Cave, Billy Collins to Stephen Fry, Stanley Tucci to Colin Firth, and Seamus Heaney to Christopher Hitchens, this collection delivers private insight into the souls of men whose writing, acting, and thinking are admired around the world.


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Grown men don't cry. But in this fascinating anthology, one hundred men - distinguished in literature and film, science and architecture, theater and human rights - confess to being moved to tears by poems that continue to haunt them. Representing twenty nationalities and ranging in age from their early 20s to their late 80s, the majority are public figures not prone to cry Grown men don't cry. But in this fascinating anthology, one hundred men - distinguished in literature and film, science and architecture, theater and human rights - confess to being moved to tears by poems that continue to haunt them. Representing twenty nationalities and ranging in age from their early 20s to their late 80s, the majority are public figures not prone to crying. Here they admit to breaking down when ambushed by great art, often in words as powerful as the poems themselves. Their selections include classics by visionaries such as Walt Whitman, W.H Auden, and Philip Larkin, as well as contemporary works by masters including Billy Collins, Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, and poets who span the globe from Pablo Neruda to Rabindranath Tagore. Seventy-five percent of the selected poems were written in the twentieth century, with more than a dozen by women including Mary Oliver, Elizabeth Bishop, and Gwendolyn Brooks. Their themes range from love in its many guises, through mortality and loss, to the beauty and variety of nature. Three men have suffered the pain of losing a child; others are moved to tears by the exquisite way a poet captures, in Alexander Pope's famous phrase, 'what oft was thought, but ne'er so well express'd.' From J. J. Abrams to John le Carré, Salman Rushdie to Jonathan Franzen, Daniel Radcliffe to Nick Cave, Billy Collins to Stephen Fry, Stanley Tucci to Colin Firth, and Seamus Heaney to Christopher Hitchens, this collection delivers private insight into the souls of men whose writing, acting, and thinking are admired around the world.

30 review for Poems That Make Grown Men Cry: 100 Men on the Words That Move Them

  1. 5 out of 5

    Malia

    I started reading this book thinking I am not the best judge of good poetry, yet when I finished it I thought, who really is? What makes poetry good is so subjective, merely whether it moves its reader. What do rhyme scheme and iamb matter, if the words arranged as they are conjure gooseflesh to your skin? As with any anthology, some of these poems moved me deeply and others left me cold. It was interesting to read the reason of the contributors for choosing each work, and I found myself scribbli I started reading this book thinking I am not the best judge of good poetry, yet when I finished it I thought, who really is? What makes poetry good is so subjective, merely whether it moves its reader. What do rhyme scheme and iamb matter, if the words arranged as they are conjure gooseflesh to your skin? As with any anthology, some of these poems moved me deeply and others left me cold. It was interesting to read the reason of the contributors for choosing each work, and I found myself scribbling down a list of all the poems I liked best, a list which now holds a good twenty titles. This book was a big break for me from my usual fiction heavy fare, but I needed something different and am very glad I reached for something which might have been slightly intimidating to me. Recommended! Find more reviews and bookish fun at http://www.princessandpen.com

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    You don’t have to say it: I am fully aware that I am not a man. Also, I’m an embarrassingly easy crier and will shed a tear at the drop of a hat. (I’ve recently taken to speed-reading through sad scenes in books because otherwise I’d have to tag far too many reviews with “Made Me Cry.”) So what made me request this one from Edelweiss? Basically, I figured that this had to be a collection of damn good poems in order to move so many eminent men so deeply. Also, the range of contributors seemed pre You don’t have to say it: I am fully aware that I am not a man. Also, I’m an embarrassingly easy crier and will shed a tear at the drop of a hat. (I’ve recently taken to speed-reading through sad scenes in books because otherwise I’d have to tag far too many reviews with “Made Me Cry.”) So what made me request this one from Edelweiss? Basically, I figured that this had to be a collection of damn good poems in order to move so many eminent men so deeply. Also, the range of contributors seemed pretty broad, and it included a lot of my favorites. I’m always interested in finding out if my tastes match the tastes of the writers/performers/etc. I admire. The editors allowed each contributor to include a brief piece explaining why he chose his particular poem. I found it particularly interesting when two men chose the same poem for different reasons, which happened more than once. After the poem, there’s a brief bio on the selector. Although I recognized most of the names, there were a few I didn’t, and I found this feature helpful. The poetry itself comes from various time periods and languages, though most were written in English in the last 100-150 years. Some are beautiful but not particularly emotional, some seemed chosen for strictly personal reasons (and therefore felt a bit distant for me), and some left me pacing the floors of my home while sobbing. Some of the poems didn’t make me cry, but they opened my eyes to a new poet and a style that I admired (I’ve included links when I could find them): Abioseh Nicol’s “The Meaning of Africa,” chosen by James Earl Jones, with its sweeping descriptions; Elizabeth Bishop’s powerfully evocative “Crusoe in England,” chosen by Andrew Solomon; Philip Larkin’s terrifying “Aubade,” chosen by William Sieghart; and — one I’d read previously and forgotten about — Bukowski’s “Eulogy to a Hell of a Dame,” chosen by Mike Leigh. Other poems’ messages moved me: Consantine P. Cavafy’s “Ithaka,” chosen by Walter Salles, and Derek Walcott’s “Love After Love,” chosen by Tom Hiddleston. Poems that hit me the hardest — the ones that made me out-and-out cry — were the ones about family, whether having/losing a parent (Tony Harrison’s “Long Distance II,” chosen by Daniel Radcliffe) or being one (John N. Morris’s “For Julia, In the Deep Water,” chosen by Tobias Wolff; Victoria Redel’s “Bedecked,” chosen by Billy Collins; and Rabindranath Tagore’s “Those Who Are Near Me Do Not Know,” chosen by Chris Cooper). All in all: There’s something for everyone in here. Buy a stack of copies and gift them! Note: I received a free review copy of this book via Edelweiss.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joey Woolfardis

    This is an anthology of poetry created alongside Amnesty International, presumably with the intention to shatter the stereotype that men do not cry. Whilst it feels rather like a gimmick, and just another way for men to showcase other men's work, it was a lovely way for me to find more poems and explore a medium of writing that I've never previously had time for and am very new to loving. I'm not sure if I love poetry yet, but there are certainly some poems that I love. One of my absolutely favou This is an anthology of poetry created alongside Amnesty International, presumably with the intention to shatter the stereotype that men do not cry. Whilst it feels rather like a gimmick, and just another way for men to showcase other men's work, it was a lovely way for me to find more poems and explore a medium of writing that I've never previously had time for and am very new to loving. I'm not sure if I love poetry yet, but there are certainly some poems that I love. One of my absolutely favourites is included in this collection (C.P. Cavafy's Ithaka) though it certainly doesn't make me cry. None of the poems made me cry, though there was a theme of melancholy and loss running throughout. There are 100 poems with 100 men telling us why, when and how their chosen poems make them cry. Some are extremely personal which, whilst aren't going to make me shed a tear just because they make some masculine-type cry, do give a lovely insight to how other people enjoy poetry, which is something I'm quite interested in. It's a good collection of poetry, from modern contemporaries to the romantics of the 18th Century; from English to Indian and all over the rest of the globe, with a good selection of celebrities who aren't all heart-throbs or muscular, Real Men who are the obvious candidates to never cry. Whilst I can't get behind the naming and execution of the collection, I think it's great these prominent men are sharing their feelings and adding to the belief that it's okay for everyone to cry, not just women and children, but men, too. It's a lovely collection to delve in and out of, to read aloud and see if these can spark some kind of emotion like they did with those who have chosen them. Notice how none of them analyse too deeply. That's the mistake we make with poetry: you should feel them with your heart, they should reach deep down in to your metaphorical soul and tug at it-or, at least, the ones you enjoy should. If they don't do that they are not worth your time. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Shop | Etsy

  4. 5 out of 5

    Leonard

    I read most of the poems in this book but not all of them. None of them made me cry, perhaps because I was expecting, perhaps hoping, that at least one would have that effect on me. To do that a poem may have to sneak up on me or you. These are good poems but I doubt if some of them have ever made anyone cry, and some of the people represented mentioned that they didn't necessarily cry about a poem but were moved by it in other ways. I'm curious about the female edition of this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Barnabas Piper

    I don’t suppose it’s fair to crap on other people’s selections of poetry they love. I just didn’t love this collection. It felt so esoteric and arty, my least favorite kind of poetry. There are exceptions scattered throughout, but in general this is a sip-your-drink-with-the-pinky-raised book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    High Plains Library District

    I’m a big believer in setting reading goals for myself. Picking a number gives me something to aim for and keeps me motivated to read as much as I want to be reading. This year, though, I’m also trying to pay more attention to what I’m reading. It’s pretty easy to get stuck in a rut, reading only the stuff I already know that I like and never challenging myself to stretch. (I’m also pretty good at telling myself I’m stretching when I know good and well I’m really not.) So this year I’m trying to I’m a big believer in setting reading goals for myself. Picking a number gives me something to aim for and keeps me motivated to read as much as I want to be reading. This year, though, I’m also trying to pay more attention to what I’m reading. It’s pretty easy to get stuck in a rut, reading only the stuff I already know that I like and never challenging myself to stretch. (I’m also pretty good at telling myself I’m stretching when I know good and well I’m really not.) So this year I’m trying to read more diversely. I want to read more authors with diverse backgrounds. I want to explore nonfiction and genres that I’m not familiar with (or have convinced myself I don’t like). I want to read in diverse formats, like graphic novels, audiobooks, and, you guessed it, poetry. Which is where this book comes in. Poems That Make Grown Men Cry was a finalist for the GoodReads Choice awards this last year, and the premise intrigued me. 100 notable men, from poets to actors to activists, selected one poem that moved them (preferably to tears), and wrote an introduction to that poem. It’s a great premise, and by its very nature we get a huge variety of poems to try. Everything from Shakespeare to Billy Collins. And we also get all kinds of tears: happy tears, grieving tears, angry tears. Now, I’m not suggesting that all of the poems in the book made me cry. To be honest, I didn't even understand all of the poems, let alone like them all. And that, for me, is the appeal of a book like this. It takes a thing like poetry, which is huge and intimidating and confusing, and gives you a chance to try it out. You can start to tell if you like older poems or more modern ones. If you like rhymes, or narratives, or certain styles. And for those you don’t like, it’s just the turn of a page to try something new. Here’s a small handful of some of the poems I particularly enjoyed, in case you’re interested: “Last Sonnet,” also known as “Bright Star,” by John Keats “Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes” by Rainer Maria Rilke “Long Distance II” by Tony Harrison “Bedecked” by Victoria Redel And, of course, there’s always The Poetry Foundation for the poetry-curious. -Meagan

  7. 5 out of 5

    David

    "I believe life ends with death, and that is all. You haven't both gone shopping; just the same, in my new black leather phone book there's your name and the disconnected number I still call." from "Long Distance II" by Tony Harrison (1937-) chosen by Daniel Radcliffe 100 men chose the poem that makes them cry. They submitted about a page of explanation for their choice. The poem then follows. And the accolades of the men who submitted their entry are quickly detailed. The list of men includes writers "I believe life ends with death, and that is all. You haven't both gone shopping; just the same, in my new black leather phone book there's your name and the disconnected number I still call." from "Long Distance II" by Tony Harrison (1937-) chosen by Daniel Radcliffe 100 men chose the poem that makes them cry. They submitted about a page of explanation for their choice. The poem then follows. And the accolades of the men who submitted their entry are quickly detailed. The list of men includes writers, film, theater, and opera directors, artists, actors, publishers, professors, playwrights, and others of highest caliber. It is really an incredible list of people that Anthony and Ben Holden got to make submissions. Many of the chosen poems speak of death or dying. Reading just one of these can make you feel like shedding a tear. Reading multiple of these made me feel quite melancholy, to say the least. I appreciated that many of the men that chose these poems admitted that you really had to read the poem out loud for the full impact. I found myself trying to read most of these poems out loud to amplify the effect - which it did. I liked the poems that were more about inspiration or the life of a child. I wish more of the poems had been on these topics. It would have helped my reading, and my rating. The book is arranged by date of poem/poet. The oldest ones had some interest to me, but I found most of my post-it notes going to the middle and later part of the book. My Favorites: "Hokku" by Fukuda Chiyo-Ni (1703-1775) chosen by Boris Akunin this poem written when her little son died. Dragonfly catcher, Where today have you gone? "Of the Terrible Doubt of Appearances" by Walt Whitman (1819-1892) chosen by Stephen Fry ...May-be the things I perceive, the animals, plants, men, hills, shining and flowing waters, The skies of day and night, colors, densities, forms, Maybe these are (as doubtless they are) only apparitions, and the real something has yet to be known; ... When he whom I love travels with me or sits a long while holding me by the hand, ... Then I am charged with untold and untellable wisdom ... He ahold of my hand has completely satisfied me. "Ithaka" by Constantine P. Cavafy (1863-1933) chosen by Walter Salles the whole poem leads you to the conclusion that Walter stated in his short preface before the poem begins: "Don't ask the way of those who know it, you might not get lost." (My favorite line in the book just spoken by Walter :) "My Papa's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke (1908-63) chosen by Stanley Tucci as father comes home late, and child follows his hero off to bedtime The whiskey on your breath Could make a small by dizzy; But I hung on like death: Such waltzing was not easy. ... You beat time on my head With a palm caked hard by dirt, Then waltzed me off to bed Still clinging to your shirt." "The Book Burnings" by Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) chosen by Jack Mapanje ...when harmful knowledgeable books were ordered to be burned and a certain poet's were not chosen...' Don't do this to me! Don't pass me over! Have I not always told The truth in my books? And now I am treated by you a a liar! I order you: Burn me! "Liberte" by Paul Eluard (1895-1952) chosen by Joe Wright this poem was written on leaflets during WWII and the RAF dropped them over occupied France On my notebooks from school On my desk and the trees On the sand on the snow I write your name ... By the power of the word I regain my life I was born to know you And to name you LIBERTY "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner" by Randall Jarrell (1914-65) chosen by Paul Muldoon From my mother's sleep I fell into the State, And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze. Six miles from earth, loosed from its dream of life, I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters. When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose. "The Meaning of Africa" by Abioseh Nicol (1924-94) chosen by James Earl Jones ... I am content and happy. I am fulfilled, within, Without and roundabout I have gained the little longings Of my hands, my loins, my heart And the soul that follows in my shadow." I know now that is what your are, Africa: Happiness, contentment, and fulfilment, And a small bird singing on a mango tree. "Bedecked" by Victoria Redel (1959-) chosen by Billy Collins Tell me it’s wrong the scarlet nails my son sports or the toy store rings he clusters four jewels to each finger. He’s bedecked. I see the other mothers looking at the star choker, the rhinestone strand he fastens over a sock. Sometimes I help him find sparkle clip-ons when he says sticker earrings look too fake. Tell me I should teach him it’s wrong to love the glitter that a boy’s only a boy who’d love a truck with a remote that revs, battery slamming into corners or Hot Wheels loop-de-looping off tracks into the tub. Then tell me it’s fine—really—maybe even a good thing—a boy who’s got some girl to him, and I’m right for the days he wears a pink shirt on the seesaw in the park. Tell me what you need to tell me but keep far away from my son who still loves a beautiful thing not for what it means— this way or that—but for the way facets set off prisms and prisms spin up everywhere and from his own jeweled body he’s cast rainbows—made every shining true color. Now try to tell me—man or woman—your heart was ever once that brave. "The Lanyard" by Billy Collins (1941-) Chosen by J.J. Abrams all the child has to give his Mom is the lanyard he made, to repay for all she has given She gave me life and milk from her breasts, and I gave her a lanyard.. She nursed me in many a sick room, lifted spoons of medicine to my lips, laid cold face-cloths on my forehead, and then led me out into the airy light and taught me to walk and swim, and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard. ... "Keys to the Doors" by Robin Robertson (1955-) chosen by Mohsin Hamid I loved your age of wonder: your third and fourth and fifth years spent astonished, widening your eyes at each new trick of the world - and me standing there, solemnly explaining how it was done. The moon and stars, rainbows, photographs, gravity, the birds in the air, the difference between blood and water. In true life? you would say, looking up...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    Absolutely beautiful anthology of poems that tough and not-so-tough men cry at. The idea to me seems brilliant, because it demolishes the misconception that only women feel things strongly enough to cry, or that men aren't capable of reaching certain emotional depths. Really enjoyable.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    I liked the first half of this collection a little more than the first, but it was still good.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michelle (Fluttering Butterflies)

    The poems themselves rarely made me feel emotion, but it was reading why the 100 men in the collection were moved to tears by these poems that got to me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laura Leaney

    No balls no tears, eh? Sounds like something that should be in Cosmopolitan magazine in the article "Be Understanding When Your Man Cries: Things to Know." One aspect is right; this is no collection for the young. Well, I've got a man in me somewhere, so I read this collection thinking that I'd for sure cry at something, but the book failed me in this area. Still, "the sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other organs weep," and I felt about seven of these in the heart, three in the liver, No balls no tears, eh? Sounds like something that should be in Cosmopolitan magazine in the article "Be Understanding When Your Man Cries: Things to Know." One aspect is right; this is no collection for the young. Well, I've got a man in me somewhere, so I read this collection thinking that I'd for sure cry at something, but the book failed me in this area. Still, "the sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other organs weep," and I felt about seven of these in the heart, three in the liver, and two in the kidneys. Reading a poetry anthology is a bit like treading thoughtfully through a museum gallery. You stop at the paintings that catch your eye or interest, tilt your head in absorption, read the plaque, make a mental note to remember it, but then rudely give half second glances to the rest. Every once in a while, a painting socks you in the gut. Here, in this collection, there were plenty of duds (sorry, sorry) as well as high school favorites, but the whole collection was worth reading to find the dozen that made me slow down to absorb the beauty and the cadence of poetic art. The poem that moved me the most was "Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes" by Rainer Maria Rilke, who takes the Greek myth and makes it spectacularly haunting. When Eurydice is being brought out of Hades, she "walked beside the graceful god, / her steps constricted by the trailing / graveclothes, / uncertain, gentle, and without impatience. / She was deep within herself, like a woman / heavy / with child, and did not see the man in front / or the path ascending steeply into life." The end of this - and the part where Orpheus looks back at her - is something. There is also Auden's "In Memory of W.B. Yeats," Les Murray's "The Widower in the Country," Berryman's "Dream Song 90: Op. posth. no. 13," and Hayden Carruth's "Essay." I'm not sure I would have found these on my own, so the book gets a manly high five.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Autumn

    A lovely collection, but I'm not entirely sure why it was addressed solely to men. To be honest, in this day in age, I find it surprising that ANY work of literature can elicit strong emotion from anyone - male or female. I often throw the question out there on my various social media venues, but rarely if ever get a response. Most people just aren't that moved anymore I suppose, and some of the contributions in here made me wonder if they were included because they were really the ONLY poem the A lovely collection, but I'm not entirely sure why it was addressed solely to men. To be honest, in this day in age, I find it surprising that ANY work of literature can elicit strong emotion from anyone - male or female. I often throw the question out there on my various social media venues, but rarely if ever get a response. Most people just aren't that moved anymore I suppose, and some of the contributions in here made me wonder if they were included because they were really the ONLY poem the contributor could identify. And though I realize it was not the purpose of the collection, but I wanted to know more of the poem's back stories. WHY was this written? Some of the contributors have summaries of the author's inspiration, but not all. And then, we come to the end, where Nadine Gordimer inexplicably gives her thoughts on some of the poems chosen, and complains that only 12 of the 100 chosen were written by women. Odd. A nice Father's Day gift to be sure, but I think there are better collections out there.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amy Neftzger

    This book contains some really great poems and, to make things more interesting, each poem was selected by a prominent individual and contains an essay on why the poem moves the person. Some of the contributors are individuals who regularly read poetry or literature and some aren't. Regardless, this is a nice selection of pieces. My only negative comment is that sometimes I wished that the poem preceded the essay describing why it moved the reader so that I could read the poem without the indivi This book contains some really great poems and, to make things more interesting, each poem was selected by a prominent individual and contains an essay on why the poem moves the person. Some of the contributors are individuals who regularly read poetry or literature and some aren't. Regardless, this is a nice selection of pieces. My only negative comment is that sometimes I wished that the poem preceded the essay describing why it moved the reader so that I could read the poem without the individual's filter coloring my interpretation of the work. So, in a sense, what made the book interesting is also what got in the way of my enjoyment of it at times!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Allison Westervelt

    I bought this book two years ago and it's the reason that I now read poetry on a regular basis for fun. It was so great to read an anthology solely focused on how poetry makes us feel after wasting so much energy on academic analyses in high school and college. I read "To my dear and loving husband" by Anne Bradstreet in 10th grade and never thought about it again until I read it in this anthology and STARTED CRYING AFTER READING ONLY THE FIRST LINE. This anthology is a reminder that people who I bought this book two years ago and it's the reason that I now read poetry on a regular basis for fun. It was so great to read an anthology solely focused on how poetry makes us feel after wasting so much energy on academic analyses in high school and college. I read "To my dear and loving husband" by Anne Bradstreet in 10th grade and never thought about it again until I read it in this anthology and STARTED CRYING AFTER READING ONLY THE FIRST LINE. This anthology is a reminder that people who lived hundreds of years ago halfway across the world aren't so unlike us. Don't ask if you can borrow my copy the answer is no

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jenan

    I was wondering, going into this book, which of the poems would make me cry. It was the shortest and the (deceptively) simplest poem that did it. Hokku by Fukuda Chiyo-ni. Exactly seven words, I counted. Then I read it again after I finished the whole volume. Cried again. The poet was a mother who lost her young son. She wrote: "Dragonfly catcher, Where today have you gone?" And it just broke my heart.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Narmeen

    Some I really liked, some I couldn't connect with and some I didn't much care for. Consider this a rating between 3-4 stars. Just somewhere in between. Thank you Afreen for the recommendation, this was my fill in book for times when I was waiting for time to pass and had nothing to do but sit and wait. Some I really liked, some I couldn't connect with and some I didn't much care for. Consider this a rating between 3-4 stars. Just somewhere in between. Thank you Afreen for the recommendation, this was my fill in book for times when I was waiting for time to pass and had nothing to do but sit and wait.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    There's a whiff of contrivance in this title, in that while I can understand that someone (in this case father and son team Anthony and Ben Holden) might be looking for an angle for a poetry anthology, which is not necessarily an easy sell, what on earth have tears really got to do with it? And why get into gender at all? Because men are less likely to cry over poems? Or are more "discerning" when they do? Poppycock, as they say. And marketing poppycock at that. Maybe if rather than talking only There's a whiff of contrivance in this title, in that while I can understand that someone (in this case father and son team Anthony and Ben Holden) might be looking for an angle for a poetry anthology, which is not necessarily an easy sell, what on earth have tears really got to do with it? And why get into gender at all? Because men are less likely to cry over poems? Or are more "discerning" when they do? Poppycock, as they say. And marketing poppycock at that. Maybe if rather than talking only to men they had solicited opinions from a 50:50 crowd and shown us what men and women are more likely to cry over (or consider that they MIGHT cry over if they ever cried over poetry, which many of the respondents here deny ever doing). Note: The editors did in fact ask the women and prepare a companion volume, Poems That Make Grown Women Cry, although I feel it would have more enlightening to be able to compare the responses in a single volume. Behind the gender front, there is a relatively wide-ranging collection of emotion-aware poetry, lovingly-chosen and argued by the respondents, which clearly plumps more for war or lost dear ones than for lost youth or lost romantic love. Some of these poems are wonderful however many times you've read them (Emily Dickinson's After a great pain a formal feeling comes, or Wilfred Owen's searing Dulce et decorum est), some are a window into lesser-known bodies of work (Emily Zinneman, Peter Porter), some are reaffirmations of the well-trodden classics (Dylan Thomas' Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, lots of Auden and Larkin). Good poems all, some extremely moving. Or chilling. Or infuriating. But I have to say, more than tears, it is the moment when the poem creeps slowly around from your mouthing lips to the sparking points dotted around back of your neck - while simultaneously linking up with the points of your temples - and literally hauls you into a shadow space with an obligatorily new view of the world. THAT is the singular effect of great poetry, and to have done so with words rather than all the flashier and more immediate senses is its true achievement and crowning glory. And there are a number of moments where poems in this collection manage to get into that kind of territory. So we'll forgive the guy thing.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Will O'kelley

    I started reading this because I know next to nothing about poetry, except what I learned in high school literature class, which was next to nothing. The book is a lovely mix of reflections on poems by interesting people who like poems, and the interesting poems they like. I liked the reflections as much as the poems, and I liked the poems...somewhat. Some of the poems were mind expanding. Some of them were the kind of literary gobbledegook you get when you put a dictionary in a blender, which i I started reading this because I know next to nothing about poetry, except what I learned in high school literature class, which was next to nothing. The book is a lovely mix of reflections on poems by interesting people who like poems, and the interesting poems they like. I liked the reflections as much as the poems, and I liked the poems...somewhat. Some of the poems were mind expanding. Some of them were the kind of literary gobbledegook you get when you put a dictionary in a blender, which is of course the kind of thing that high-brow folk like. I am not high-brow. There was a certain amount of obscurantist hobnobbing going on in this work. Which of course brings me to the great problem of the book: I didn't cry. Options for why I didn't cry are as follows: A) I have a stony impenetrable heart that doesn't respond to things that are blub-worthy. B) There is no poetry that is blub-worthy, and I'm perfectly normal. The whole thing is a ruse. C) There is snots of blub-worthy poetry out there, it's just not in this book. D) I would have blubbed my eyes out if I actually understood poetry properly. Not sure how to answer this quiz. Fact is, the book has some great poems. I liked them. Really liked them. Just like I like prune juice. Alas, all the prune juice in the world didn't break my heart. The hunt is still on for the poem that can do that.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Siddoway

    This is not the sort of book that you can just sit and read. It is more like you pick it up every now and then, and read through one of the poems and then sit and reflect on how wonderful poetry can be. Of equal interest is the men behind the selection of the poems, who each set out why they picked a poem, and why it moves them so profoundly. I rediscovered some old favourites, and was introduced to more modern poets that I had never heard of before. Apparently there is a companion volume that e This is not the sort of book that you can just sit and read. It is more like you pick it up every now and then, and read through one of the poems and then sit and reflect on how wonderful poetry can be. Of equal interest is the men behind the selection of the poems, who each set out why they picked a poem, and why it moves them so profoundly. I rediscovered some old favourites, and was introduced to more modern poets that I had never heard of before. Apparently there is a companion volume that explores poetry selected by women. I will certainly be adding that to my reading list.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy Mahoney

    A fascinating read. The commentary by each of the men, to introduce the poem often told when they had first encountered each and why it was so moving. The poets on poets, like Billy Collins, Seamus Heaney and Robert Bly, added credit, especially since Collins' poem "The Lanyard" was chosen by J.J. Abrams. Very moving. The top choices according to frequency, as noted in the introduction by the editor, Anthony Holden, were Housman, Hardy, Larkin and Auden. Upon reflection it seemed that there were A fascinating read. The commentary by each of the men, to introduce the poem often told when they had first encountered each and why it was so moving. The poets on poets, like Billy Collins, Seamus Heaney and Robert Bly, added credit, especially since Collins' poem "The Lanyard" was chosen by J.J. Abrams. Very moving. The top choices according to frequency, as noted in the introduction by the editor, Anthony Holden, were Housman, Hardy, Larkin and Auden. Upon reflection it seemed that there were many poems about soldiers and war... Two personal favourites included were "Ithaka" by Constantine P. Cavafy and "Do not go gentle into that good night" by Dylan Thomas. A few surprises included.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hayley

    I have always been a little wary of poetry as it is very subjective as to what a person likes. Here is something I discovered. Read poetry anthologies! A collection of poetry gives a beginner or pro poetry reader variety. I highly recommend this book as a way of discovering what style of poetry or particular poets you may like. I will definitely be reading the companion novel to this one entitled Poems That Make Grown Women Cry.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    an excellent read, well edited and the stories about each poem really bring it to heart.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lee Razer

    Whatever about men shedding a precious tear, this is a superior collection of poems whose stated organizing principle at least has the merit of placing the best attraction of poetry - its ability to move a reader's emotions in a carefully crafted relative minimum of words - fully forward. And it's also fun to see what poem some of your favorite famous personalities - Nick Cave, Patrick Stewart; they didn't disappoint- select, and briefly hear from them how they relate to it. Though the extent of Whatever about men shedding a precious tear, this is a superior collection of poems whose stated organizing principle at least has the merit of placing the best attraction of poetry - its ability to move a reader's emotions in a carefully crafted relative minimum of words - fully forward. And it's also fun to see what poem some of your favorite famous personalities - Nick Cave, Patrick Stewart; they didn't disappoint- select, and briefly hear from them how they relate to it. Though the extent of my own outer demonstrative range when reading a poem ends at a furrowed brow, a bit lip, a deep breath, I'd add the following selection to this collection: Northern Irish poet Michael Longley had the poem "Ceasefire" published in The Irish Times on the occasion of the IRA ceasefire in 1994, and the combination of an emotional connection to the Northern Irish Troubles, a connection to The Iliad, and imagining the pain of losing one of my own sons, combine to rank this one way up there for me. I Put in mind of his own father and moved to tears Achilles took him by the hand and pushed the old king Gently away, but Priam curled up at his feet and Wept with him until their sadness filled the building. II Taking Hector's corpse into his own hands Achilles Made sure it was washed and, for the old king's sake, Laid out in uniform, ready for Priam to carry Wrapped like a present home to Troy at daybreak. III When they had eaten together, it pleased them both To stare at each other's beauty as lovers might, Achilles built like a god, Priam good-looking still And full of conversation, who earlier had sighed: IV 'I get down on my knees and do what must be done And kiss Achilles' hand, the killer of my son.'

  24. 4 out of 5

    Vishy

    I love poetry anthologies and this one caught my eye when I visited the bookshop sometime back. But the title put me off a little bit, because all the poems in the anthology were chosen by men. I put it back and was planning to leave, but after browsing the selection again, I couldn't resist getting it. It helped that a companion volume called 'Poems That Make Grown Women Cry' has been planning for next spring. Together they will make a great collection. This collection had many wonderful poems. I love poetry anthologies and this one caught my eye when I visited the bookshop sometime back. But the title put me off a little bit, because all the poems in the anthology were chosen by men. I put it back and was planning to leave, but after browsing the selection again, I couldn't resist getting it. It helped that a companion volume called 'Poems That Make Grown Women Cry' has been planning for next spring. Together they will make a great collection. This collection had many wonderful poems. The people who chose the poems were artists of all types - writers, poets, actors, movie directors, architects. The number of poems by women poets which were chosen were very less (probably 12 or 18) which was disappointing, but the silver lining was that Mary Oliver, Christina Rossetti, Elizabeth Bishop were there. The poem starts with the touching, poignant poem by Chidiock Tichborne, which will definitely make one cry. Not all poems made me cry - many of them did not and I couldn't even respond satisfactorily to some of them, but there were many which were touching, poignant and brought tears. Two of my favourites were 'The Lanyard' by Billy Collins and 'It is Here (For A) by Harold Pinter. If you are a poetry lover, this is a must read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    My 2 are Auden's Funeral Blues: Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky the message 'He is Dead'. Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves, Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, My 2 are Auden's Funeral Blues: Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky the message 'He is Dead'. Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves, Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong. The stars are not wanted now; put out every one, Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun, Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood; For nothing now can ever come to any good. and Mary Oliver's In Blackwater Woods: Look, the trees are turning their own bodies into pillars   of light, are giving off the rich fragrance of cinnamon and fulfillment,   the long tapers of cattails are bursting and floating away over the blue shoulders   of the ponds, and every pond, no matter what its name is, is   nameless now. Every year everything I have ever learned   in my lifetime leads back to this: the fires and the black river of loss whose other side   is salvation, whose meaning none of us will ever know. To live in this world   you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it   against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.   A decent compilation, I found a few more that made me cry, but even the ones that said I was a stone to not cry didn't necessarily make me cry. I love the way we humans are human and feel things differently. But some amazing discoveries esp Bedecked by Victoria Redel and a pertinent war cry for our country in Extract from The Masque of Anarchy by Percy Bysshe Shelley and “Let My Country Awake” by Rabindranath Tagore. “On My First Son” by Ben Jonson Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy; My sin was too much hope of thee, loved boy. Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay, Exacted by thy fate, on the just day. O, could I lose all father now! For why Will man lament the state he should envy? To have so soon ’scap’d world’s and flesh’s rage, And, if no other misery, yet age? Rest in soft peace, and, asked, say, “Here doth lie Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry.” For whose sake henceforth all his vows be such As what he loves may never like too much. (1616) “Frost at Midnight” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge The Frost performs its secret ministry, Unhelped by any wind. The owlet’s cry Came loud—and hark, again! loud as before. The inmates of my cottage, all at rest, Have left me to that solitude, which suits Abstruser musings: save that at my side My cradled infant slumbers peacefully. ’Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs And vexes meditation with its strange And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood, This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood, With all the numberless goings-on of life, Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not; Only that film, which fluttered on the grate, Still flutters there, the sole unquiet thing. Methinks, its motion in this hush of nature Gives it dim sympathies with me who live, Making it a companionable form, Whose puny flaps and freaks the idling Spirit By its own moods interprets, every where Echo or mirror seeking of itself, And makes a toy of Thought. But O! how oft, How oft, at school, with most believing mind, Presageful, have I gazed upon the bars, To watch that fluttering stranger! and as oft With unclosed lids, already had I dreamt Of my sweet birth-place, and the old church-tower, Whose bells, the poor man’s only music, rang From morn to evening, all the hot Fair-day, So sweetly, that they stirred and haunted me With a wild pleasure, falling on mine ear Most like articulate sounds of things to come! So gazed I, till the soothing things, I dreamt, Lulled me to sleep, and sleep prolonged my dreams! And so I brooded all the following morn, Awed by the stern preceptor’s face, mine eye Fixed with mock study on my swimming book: Save if the door half opened, and I snatched A hasty glance, and still my heart leaped up, For still I hoped to see the stranger’s face, Townsman, or aunt, or sister more beloved, My play-mate when we both were clothed alike! Dear Babe, that sleepest cradled by my side, Whose gentle breathings, heard in this deep calm, Fill up the intersperséd vacancies And momentary pauses of the thought! My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart With tender gladness, thus to look at thee, And think that thou shalt learn far other lore, And in far other scenes! For I was reared In the great city, pent ’mid cloisters dim, And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars. But thou, my babe! shalt wander like a breeze By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds, Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores And mountain crags: so shalt thou see and hear The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible Of that eternal language, which thy God Utters, who from eternity doth teach Himself in all, and all things in himself. Great universal Teacher! he shall mould Thy spirit, and by giving make it ask. Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee, Whether the summer clothe the general earth With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall Heard only in the trances of the blast, Or if the secret ministry of frost Shall hang them up in silent icicles, Quietly shining to the quiet Moon. (1798) “Character of the Happy Warrior” by William Wordsworth Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he That every man in arms should wish to be? — It is the generous Spirit, who, when brought Among the tasks of real life, hath wrought Upon the plan that pleased his childish thought: Whose high endeavours are an inward light That makes the path before him always bright; Who, with a natural instinct to discern What knowledge can perform, is diligent to learn; Abides by this resolve, and stops not there, But makes his moral being his prime care; Who, doomed to go in company with Pain, And Fear, and Bloodshed, miserable train! Turns his necessity to glorious gain; In face of these doth exercise a power Which is our human nature’s highest dower: Controls them and subdues, transmutes, bereaves Of their bad influence, and their good receives: By objects, which might force the soul to abate Her feeling, rendered more compassionate; Is placable—because occasions rise So often that demand such sacrifice; More skillful in self-knowledge, even more pure, As tempted more; more able to endure, As more exposed to suffering and distress; Thence, also, more alive to tenderness. Extract from The Masque of Anarchy by Percy Bysshe Shelley The Masque of Anarchy XC-XCI ‘And these words shall then become Like Oppression’s thundered doom Ringing through each heart and brain, Heard again— again— again— ‘Rise like Lions after slumber In unvanquishable number— Shake your chains to earth like dew Which in sleep had fallen on you— Ye are many— they are few.’ (1819) “Remember” by Christina Rossetti Remember me when I am gone away, Gone far away into the silent land; When you can no more hold me by the hand, Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay. Remember me when no more day by day You tell me of our future that you plann’d: Only remember me; you understand It will be late to counsel then or pray. Yet if you should forget me for a while And afterwards remember, do not grieve: For if the darkness and corruption leave A vestige of the thoughts that once I had, Better by far you should forget and smile Than that you should remember and be sad. (1862) “Ithaka” by Constantine P. Cavafy As you set out for Ithaka hope the voyage is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery. Laistrygonians and Cyclops, angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them: you’ll never find things like that on your way as long as you keep your thoughts raised high, as long as a rare excitement stirs your spirit and your body. Laistrygonians and Cyclops, wild Poseidon— you won’t encounter them unless you bring them along inside your soul, unless your soul sets them up in front of you. Hope the voyage is a long one. May there be many a summer morning when, with what pleasure, what joy, you come into harbors seen for the first time; may you stop at Phoenician trading stations to buy fine things, mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, sensual perfume of every kind— as many sensual perfumes as you can; and may you visit many Egyptian cities to gather stores of knowledge from their scholars. Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you are destined for. But do not hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you are old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you have gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you would not have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. (1911) “God’s World” by Edna St. Vincent Millay God’s World O world, I cannot hold thee close enough! Thy winds, thy wide grey skies! Thy mists, that roll and rise! Thy woods, this autumn day, that ache and sag And all but cry with colour! That gaunt crag To crush! To lift the lean of that black bluff! World, World, I cannot get thee close enough! “Let My Country Awake” by Rabindranath Tagore Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; Where words come out from the depth of truth; Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection; Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit; Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action— Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake. (1930s) “Liberté” by Paul Éluard On my notebooks from school On my desk and the trees On the sand on the snow I write your name On every page read On all the white sheets Stone blood paper or ash I write your name On the golden images On the soldier’s weapons On the crowns of kings I write your name On the jungle the desert The nests and the bushes On the echo of childhood I write your name On the wonder of nights On the white bread of days On the seasons engaged I write your name On all my blue rags On the pond mildewed sun On the lake living moon I write your name On the fields the horizon The wings of the birds On the windmill of shadows I write your name On the foam of the clouds On the sweat of the storm On dark insipid rain I write your name On the glittering forms On the bells of colour On physical truth I write your name On the wakened paths On the opened ways On the scattered places I write your name On the lamp that gives light On the lamp that is drowned On my house reunited I write your name … On my ravaged refuges On my fallen lighthouses On the walls of my boredom I write your name On passionless absence On naked solitude On the marches of death I write your name On health that’s regained On danger that’s past On hope without memories I write your name By the power of the word I regain my life I was born to know you And to name you LIBERTY (1942) “Essay” by Hayden Carruth So many poems about the deaths of animals. Wilbur’s toad, Kinnell’s porcupine, Eberhart’s squirrel, and that poem by someone—Hecht? Merrill?— about cremating a woodchuck. But mostly I remember the outrageous number of them, as if every poet, I too, had written at least one animal elegy; with the result that today when I came to a good enough poem by Edwin Brock about finding a dead fox at the edge of the sea I could not respond; as if permanent shock had deadened me. And then after a moment I began to give way to sorrow (watching myself sorrowlessly the while), not merely because part of my being had been violated and annulled, but because all these many poems over the years have been necessary,—suitable and correct. This has been the time of the finishing off of the animals. They are going away— their fur and their wild eyes, their voices. Deer leap and leap in front of the screaming snowmobiles until they leap out of existence. Hawks circle once or twice around their shattered nests and then they climb to the stars. I have lived with them fifty years, we have lived with them fifty million years, and now they are going, almost gone. I don’t know if the animals are capable of reproach. But clearly they do not bother to say good-bye. (1970s) Extract from and our faces, my heart, brief as photos by John Berger What reconciles me to my own death more than anything else is the image of a place: a place where your bones and mine are buried, thrown, uncovered, together. They are strewn there pell-mell. One of your ribs leans against my skull. A metacarpal of my left hand lies inside your pelvis. (Against my broken ribs your breast like a flower.) The hundred bones of our feet are scattered like gravel. It is strange that this image of our proximity, concerning as it does mere phosphate of calcium, should bestow a sense of peace. Yet it does. With you I can imagine a place where to be phosphate of calcium is enough. (1984) “Bedecked” by Victoria Redel Tell me it’s wrong the scarlet nails my son sports or the toy store rings he clusters four jewels to each finger. He’s bedecked. I see the other mothers looking at the star choker, the rhinestone strand he fastens over a sock. Sometimes I help him find sparkle clip-ons when he says sticker earrings look too fake. Tell me I should teach him it’s wrong to love the glitter that a boy’s only a boy who’d love a truck with a remote that revs, battery slamming into corners or Hot Wheels loop-de-looping off tracks into the tub. Then tell me it’s fine—really—maybe even a good thing— a boy who’s got some girl to him, and I’m right for the days he wears a pink shirt on the seesaw in the park. Tell me what you need to tell me but keep far away from my son who still loves a beautiful thing not for what it means—this way or that— but for the way facets set off prisms and prisms spin up everywhere and from his own jeweled body he’s cast rainbows—made every shining true color. Now try to tell me—man or woman— your heart was ever once that brave. (2002)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sleepless Dreamer

    Man, finishing this book is so strange. Three years ago, I realized that I spend a lot of time waiting for public transportation (thanks, Israeli public transportation) and I usually spend that time on Facebook or Quora. I wanted to read more poetry and I found myself promising that I would open up this book instead of Facebook. This didn't work always but slowly, I did read through the poems here, going back to ones I liked, rereading whenever I felt it was necessary. As a poetry collection, I Man, finishing this book is so strange. Three years ago, I realized that I spend a lot of time waiting for public transportation (thanks, Israeli public transportation) and I usually spend that time on Facebook or Quora. I wanted to read more poetry and I found myself promising that I would open up this book instead of Facebook. This didn't work always but slowly, I did read through the poems here, going back to ones I liked, rereading whenever I felt it was necessary. As a poetry collection, I can't say this is the strongest one I've ever read. It's nice and some pieces stand out more but I think there are better collections out there. I found the descriptions of the poems sometimes to be lacking as well. I didn't recognize most of the people. My impression is that they're more famous in the UK. All in all, I'm happy to have read this because it made my mornings nicer but yeah, can't say much more than that. What I'm Taking With Me - I didn't cry although I wanted to. - Poetry is such a strange thing. - Bus 42 is such an evil creation and this book did manage to make the 45 minute wait for it better.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    If not for the poetry anthology, I would never have happened upon most of the poems and poets I now love. In this collection of poems chosen by famous men, the only criterion being that the poems are tearjerkers, I found some old friends and some new ones. I also enjoyed the brief introduction to each poem, written by the man who chose it. This was like having a new lens through which to read. If time allows, a satisfying way to read this book might be to read a poem, then go back and read the c If not for the poetry anthology, I would never have happened upon most of the poems and poets I now love. In this collection of poems chosen by famous men, the only criterion being that the poems are tearjerkers, I found some old friends and some new ones. I also enjoyed the brief introduction to each poem, written by the man who chose it. This was like having a new lens through which to read. If time allows, a satisfying way to read this book might be to read a poem, then go back and read the chooser's introduction to it, then read the poem again with that person's angle in mind. One of my favorite new friends from this book is "Ithaka," by C.P. Cavafy.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Wright

    None of these poems made me cry, which was a little disappointing. I am too old for crying; perhaps one day I will be old enough again. They are mostly good quality, albeit with a slight whiff of sentiment. (I rather disliked being told by some of the contributors that I was sub-human because I didn't cry at their particular choice.) I am also slightly uncomfortable with the conception of poetry which the idea of this book promotes. Yes, poetry can be moving, and it is right to celebrate that, bu None of these poems made me cry, which was a little disappointing. I am too old for crying; perhaps one day I will be old enough again. They are mostly good quality, albeit with a slight whiff of sentiment. (I rather disliked being told by some of the contributors that I was sub-human because I didn't cry at their particular choice.) I am also slightly uncomfortable with the conception of poetry which the idea of this book promotes. Yes, poetry can be moving, and it is right to celebrate that, but if you think of that as its only purpose, then you will fail to appreciate an enormous body of poetry whose purpose is different. On the other hand, I am entirely supportive of the aim of getting men to be more expressive of their feelings.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    The concept was a good idea but for me the best part was the explanations and anecdotes from the men, which showed why certain themes triggered their reaction. The fact that the poems were by definition tear-jerkers got a bit wearisome, and I didn't generally feel inclined to cry along on cue. Maybe the book could have been entitled 'Poems that reach men deeply', allowing a broader theme than just crying, which we all incidentally do at times. I've no idea why it would be assumed that we don't. The concept was a good idea but for me the best part was the explanations and anecdotes from the men, which showed why certain themes triggered their reaction. The fact that the poems were by definition tear-jerkers got a bit wearisome, and I didn't generally feel inclined to cry along on cue. Maybe the book could have been entitled 'Poems that reach men deeply', allowing a broader theme than just crying, which we all incidentally do at times. I've no idea why it would be assumed that we don't. It's just an unfavoured reaction for men owing to the cultural taboo generally causing it to be viewed negatively by other men and women.

  30. 4 out of 5

    freewayflowr

    Initially, I was a attracted by the title and the genre. Some of the poems were not my cup of tea, or the kind of poetry I usually enjoy, but the men's accompanying paragraphs of why that particular poem made them emotional made this a great reading experience. Like Julian Fellowes writes about his poem choice: "(...) great poetry, like great art, is not about anyone in particular because it is about everyone."

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