Slim but sublime selections

1st November 1996 at 00:00
Since the selling point of many Pounds 1 classics is value for money, publishers of such series delight in producing doorstopper-sized books to emphasise their point. But instead of offering mammoth "collected poems" of non-copyright poets, the new Everyman's Poetry series from Dent features slim "selections" - to mark the venerable firm's 90th birthday.

The first 20 titles (Pounds 1 each) are mainly devoted to such obvious choices as Milton, Keats and Tennyson. These are balanced by anthologies of Herbert and Herrick, the under-rated war poet Ivor Gurney and the contemporary (and therefore copyright) Welsh poet R S Thomas. Older students might also relish an introduction to Lord Rochester's bawdy verse.

Like other cheap classics, they are not printed on the best paper but they have very handsome covers, helpful editorial matter by user-friendly academics and (except in the case of Lord Rochester where they would be superfluous) succinct backnotes.

Many teachers will see them as much less daunting introductions to pre-20th century poets for key stage 3 and 4 students than more comprehensive (and expensive) collections.

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