Poetry six-pack: the Renaissance

National Poetry Month posterI’m back again to celebrate National Poetry Month with a “six pack” of poems.  This time, the poems are from the Renaissance.  Yes, they’re old.  But they’re all, to one degree or another, timeless in their own way.

Here’s hoping you’ll find a few new poems to enjoy and revisit a few you remember fondly!

  1. Sonnet #116-– William Shakespeare.  How could I not start off with Shakespeare?  There are 154 sonnets by the man to entertain you for years.  And while I won’t pretend they’re all equally great, there are a lot of good ones.  This one is special to me because my mother read it at our wedding.
  2. The Sun Rising — John Donne.  I’ve always enjoyed this poem because it’s one half of the fascinating before and after story of England’s favorite rake turned minister, which you see in…
  3. Holy Sonnet #14 — “Batter my heart, three person’d God” — John Donne.  This one is intense.  To me, it’s always seemed that this was Donne’s take on the stereotypical Petrarchan relationship of renaissance love poetry.  Only in this poem, it’s God that’s holding the proverbial whip.
  4. Lux, My Fair Falcon — Thomas Wyatt.  This one makes the list for the most profoundly disturbing use of metaphor to describe the loss of his friends after falling out of favor in court.
  5. The Faerie Queene — Edmund Spenser.  Okay, so this is not exactly the shortest of poems.  But Spenser’s allegorical tribute to Elizabeth has to be on any list I might make of great Renaissance verse.
  6. Sonnet #138 — William Shakespeare.  I wanted to bookend the six-pack with another poem by Shakespeare, and this is one of my favorites.  It’s sad in a sense, but it’s a wonderful poem.  His pun on the word “lie” is spectacular.

Again, no order or ranking is intended here. These are just a set of poems from the Renaissance I like. There are others. Anyone have any other favorites?


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