Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An introduction to the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

The very name Samuel Taylor Coleridge seems to reverberate like some mysterious timpani. Those magical titles of his vibrate and echo over an infinite distance: Kubla Khan, The Ancient Mariner, Christabel, Frost at Midnight … Or for that matter the notorious Person on Business from Porlock. Almost unnecessary, one might think, to turn back to the poems themselves at all (do they still do so in schools?). Those proverbial titles seem to hold all the poetry.
So it easy to forget how strange, how captivating, how haunted Coleridge's actual poems are. Why is it, for example, that so many of them are set at night? Why do their outer landscapes always dissolve into inner dream worlds? Why are they so full of guilt? And yet why are they also so often suffused with beautiful, healing, glimmering moonlight?

Continue at The Guardian

Buy his poetry at Amazon The Complete Poems (Penguin Classics)

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