This year I set a project for myself to read more poetry. As a child I regular read and enjoyed poetry but as I got older my interest seemed to wane. I haven’t been putting pressure on myself to read poetry, but instead have just dipped in and out of a volume when I’m in the mood. I picked up Byron’s Poetical Works, Volume 1 back in July after finishing off Poems by Emily Dickinson, Series 1.
Byron’s Poetical Works, Volume 1 was not really what I thought it was going to be. I had been imagining wind-swept hills, stormy weather, and rich gothic language; and while some of the poems followed this pattern the majority did not. There was a lot of poems about muses and lost love which I found a little tiresome. Then there were many about history and mythology which I found interesting. But then there was an epic poem criticising and poking fun at other poets which I didn’t really enjoy. The whole work felt a bit of a hodge-podge.
It would appear that this collection was not written as a collection but just pieces of his work collected and published together. Thus I found it hard to really immerse myself into this volume as there was no flow. No effort was put into grouping similar topics or length of poems together. There was also excessive footnotes after every poem which I just found myself skipping completely. I’m not going to let this put me off Byron’s work altogether. I think I will just have to be careful about what collection of his I pick next.
I enjoyed some of this volume but probably wouldn’t recommend it to others, I’m sure there must be better edited volumes than this of Byron’s work. Then again it was free so maybe can’t complain too much.
Are you a fan of Byron’s work? Do you have any recommendations?