Today is Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), and tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. For the past three years I’ve taken a break from Semicolon and from blogging for the forty days of Lent. I’ve been blogging since October 2003, and I plan to continue blogging. I just feel that this break is a good time of rest and reevaluation for me and for my family.

I will continue to post the Saturday Review of Books each week, but I may not be able to read your reviews until after I get back in April. I also have a few posts and re-posts and links set up to come online on certain dates while I’m gone.

Last year I conducted a Top 100 Hymns Poll during the spring and summer. I had such a great time counting down all the favorite hymns of all my readers, so I decided to try something similar this year.

IMG_0209I thought a Top 100 Classic Poems Poll would be a great spring/summer project. I might learn something and be encouraged in my own quest to learn and appreciate poetry. You might learn some new poems or be reminded of some classics. We all might enjoy visiting and re-visiting the best in English poetry together.

Here’s how I think this poll/journey is going to work:
1. Make a list of your top ten classic poems of all time.
Classic: judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind.
For the purposes of this poll the poems you choose should be poems that are no longer under copyright protection. Anything written before 1910 (1923?) is most likely no longer under copyright. Anything written after 1910 (1923?) is probably still protected by copyright. I’m putting this restriction on your selections for two reasons: first, this way the poems in our list will be truly classic, judged over a period of time. Second, if we restrict the list to poetry that is not under copyright, then I can freely share the poems that are chosen here at Semicolon.

2. List these poems in your order of preference. So your #1 poem would be the one you like the best, and so on. I will be giving your first choice 10 points, your second choice 9 points, and so on.

3. Submit your list to me at sherryDOTearlyATgmailDOTcom. Write “Poem Survey” in the subject line. I’d rather you didn’t leave your votes in my comments here because it’ll be easier to tabulate all the votes if they’re all in my email (plus I want everyone’s votes to be a surprise). Deadline for votes to be sent to me is midnight, March 26, 2010.

4. If you like, you can submit a justification for each poem (tell me why it’s a favorite). Or you can send me a link to an audio or video version online. Include the title or first line of the poem and the name of the poet. At the end of March I will tally up the totals, and I will pull from the submitted pieces why one reader or another liked a particular poem (naming the reader, of course). That way we’ll be able to hear from a whole bunch of people about why they love one poem or another. I will then count down from 100 to 1, over the course of Poetry Month (April), May and into June, the top choices of what folks feel the best classic poems of all time are.

Thanks in advance for your votes/nominations. I’m going to enjoy this little exercise, and I hope you will, too.
Oh, and if you don’t mind, I would appreciate your publicizing this poll on your blog. I’d like to get at least 100 nominations or lists for this survey; more would be even better. If you want to post your top ten list on your blog, that’s fine. Just be sure you send me a copy.

Finally here are a few links to help you as you observe Lent, waiting and watching for our Lord’s Resurrection Day:

10 Lenten Traditions to Enrich Your Family’s Easter Celebration by Barbara Curtis.

Books for Lent to Lead You into Resurrection

Lenten Links: Resources for a Post-Evangelical Lent by iMonk.

At a Hen’s Pace An Anglican Family Lent

Vegetarian Recipes for Lent.

23 responses

  1. I hope you find your bloggy break refreshing spiritually, mentally, and physically!

    I’ll have to think very hard about my top ten poems. . . 🙂

  2. Lenten blessings to you, Sherry!

  3. ibeeeg says:

    Hi Sherry,
    I hope you have a wonderful blogging break. I wish you a wonderful Lenten season. I hope you find this time enriching.
    Blessings to you.

    Oh yes, thanks for the links. I am going to browse through them…looking for some Lenten ideas.

  4. Betsy says:

    I have been thinking about it, and i have decided to write a blog entry since i have not done so in a very long time! I might write about ‘The Moffats’ or maybe write a poem. Wish me luck!

  5. DebD says:

    May your Lenten journey bear much fruit.

  6. Kelly says:

    I have a question about the rules — are you looking for short works, or can I submit something really long, like Chesterton’s Ballad of the White Horse?

  7. Kelly Fineman says:

    Boy, do I stink at “top ten lists” and such. Nevertheless, I shall play along. And advertise for you as well.

  8. sherry says:

    Kelly, any length will do. I’ll post an excerpt for the longer poems.

    And Kelly, thanks for playing and for advertising. Poetry is a fine thing to play with.

  9. Laura says:

    May I use your graphic to publicize the poll, and may I quote your restrictions? I’m having lots of fun finding my favorite poems and weeding through in order to whittle the list down to 10! Thanks for thinking up another fun and interesting poll.

  10. Ugh. I’m not sure I know enough poems well enough to have 10 favorites!

  11. Janie says:

    I’ll play but don’t know if I’ll have ten. Each week I have my 6th, 7th, and 8th graders memorize catechism and a poem or list. So drawing from that…

    “If” (Rudyard Kipling)
    “Over the Misty Mountains (Tolkein)
    “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” (Longfellow)
    “The Arrow and the Song” (Longfellow)
    “The Tide Rise, the Tide Falls” (Longfellow)
    “In Flanders Fields” (McCrae)
    “The Tyger”
    “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” (Frost)
    “The Road not Taken” (Frost)
    “The Builders” (Longfellow)
    “A Psalm of Life” (Longfellow)

    My students particularly enjoy “If”, “The Midnight Ride…” and “Over the Misty Mountains.”

  12. Ooh fun, let’s all play! 🙂

  13. Megan says:

    A White Rose — John Boyle O’Reilly
    I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud — Wordsworth
    Sonnet 116 — Shakespeare
    Bright Star, Would I Were Steadfast as Thou Art — Keats
    Ode on a Grecian Urn — Keats
    My Soul is Dark — Byron
    She Walks in Beauty — Byron
    To a Skylark — Shelley
    The Road Not Taken — Frost
    He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven — Yeats

  14. Stacy says:

    I’m not sure which of these fit your age criteria, but here are some of my favorites:
    If- Rudyard Kipling
    Fire and Ice- Robert Frost
    O Captain, My Captain- Walt Whitman
    If once you have slept on an island- Rachel Field

  15. Jon Lindgren says:

    1. Sumer is Icumen In (earliest known English lyric)
    2. Rape of the Lock by Pope
    3. A Thanks to God for His House by Robt. Herrick (and utterly charming to me)
    4. A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal by Wordsworth (brief, poignant, cosmic in scope, and capable of evoking tears from the lachrymose such as myself)
    5. This Limetree Bower my Prison by Coleridge
    6. Pied Beauty by G.M. Hopkins
    7. Passage to India by Whitman (from which springs the name of our boat, Daring Joy)
    8. As Imperceptibly as Grief the Summer Passed Away by Dickinson (there are others of hers that are arguably greater, but I love this one)
    9. Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds Admit Impediments (sonnet 116 from The Bard)
    10. Bright Star by Keats

    Jon Lindgren

  16. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by semicolonblog: Read about my new poem project: http://www.semicolonblog.com/?p=9520

  17. […] for your votes/nominations. I’m going to enjoy this little exercise, and I hope you will, too. (MORE) Reading I BELONG TO HUFFLEPUFF Poetry Friday Cybils Awards Utah Book Bloggers […]

  18. Booklover says:

    “Which Shall It Be?”

    In this favorite poem, a poor couple has to choose between their seven children and give one of them to a rich relative in exchange for goods. In the end, they choose. . . well, you’ll have to read to find out.

  19. Dan Kempin says:

    Always been partial to “Kubla Khan” by Coleridge, myself. Also worth a look: “She was a Phantom of Delight,” by Wordsworth and “Mother, I Cannot Mind my Wheel,” by Walter Savage Landor.

  20. Gina says:

    I’m sorry, I haven’t had time to come up with ten! Especially as the date restriction eliminated a number of my favorites.

    “God’s Glory” by G. M. Hopkins
    “A Ballad of Trees and the Master” by Sidney Lanier
    “The Prodigal” by George Herbert
    “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth
    “O Captain! My Captain!” by Walt Whitman
    “Success Is Counted Sweetest” by Emily Dickinson

  21. […] April 1:  Savvy Verse & Wit Welcome Post, Maw Books showcases her old poetry, Semicolon’s Favorite Classic Poems Survey […]

  22. […] April 1:  Savvy Verse & Wit Welcome Post, Maw Books showcases her old poetry, Semicolon’s Favorite Classic Poems Survey […]

  23. […] I thought since you enjoy poetry that I’d invite you to contribute your list of favorite poems to my survey. Read more about it here: http://www.semicolonblog.com/?p=9520 […]

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