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Selected Poems of Christina Rossetti (Wordsworth Poetry Library)

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Christina Rossetti is widely regarded as the most considerable woman poet in England before the twentieth century. No reading of nineteenth century poetry can be complete without attention to this prolific and popular poet. Rossetti's inner life dominates her poetry, exploring loss and unattainable hope. Her divine poems have a freshness and toughness of thought, while man Christina Rossetti is widely regarded as the most considerable woman poet in England before the twentieth century. No reading of nineteenth century poetry can be complete without attention to this prolific and popular poet. Rossetti's inner life dominates her poetry, exploring loss and unattainable hope. Her divine poems have a freshness and toughness of thought, while many of her love poems are erotic, and as often express love for women as for men. The varied threads of Rossetti's concerns are drawn together in what is perhaps her greatest poem, the strange and ambiguous Goblin Market.304


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Christina Rossetti is widely regarded as the most considerable woman poet in England before the twentieth century. No reading of nineteenth century poetry can be complete without attention to this prolific and popular poet. Rossetti's inner life dominates her poetry, exploring loss and unattainable hope. Her divine poems have a freshness and toughness of thought, while man Christina Rossetti is widely regarded as the most considerable woman poet in England before the twentieth century. No reading of nineteenth century poetry can be complete without attention to this prolific and popular poet. Rossetti's inner life dominates her poetry, exploring loss and unattainable hope. Her divine poems have a freshness and toughness of thought, while many of her love poems are erotic, and as often express love for women as for men. The varied threads of Rossetti's concerns are drawn together in what is perhaps her greatest poem, the strange and ambiguous Goblin Market.304

30 review for Selected Poems of Christina Rossetti (Wordsworth Poetry Library)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brooklyn Tayla

    So I confess I had hoped to savour these probably as I should've done but aah once I started reading them I couldn't stop. They were all so moving and effective and beautifully composed. I definitely need to read more of her poetry and learn more about her. Definitely the book I needed to read to pull me back into my love of poetry. Full review to come. So I confess I had hoped to savour these probably as I should've done but aah once I started reading them I couldn't stop. They were all so moving and effective and beautifully composed. I definitely need to read more of her poetry and learn more about her. Definitely the book I needed to read to pull me back into my love of poetry. Full review to come.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Rossetti is definitely my new favorite poet. I love her style, especially the feeling of motion and energy and life in her use of participles and her use of nature. Many of her religious poems were especially reflective and powerful.

  3. 5 out of 5

    tee

    who knows not love begetteth love? i went into this with a truckload of doubt for i know her themes are religious and i am not, but i have come to adore her style! this was an absolute pleasure to read - there were pieces that made me pause and stare off into the distance for dear life. it seemed to mean so little, meant so much; if only now i could recall that touch, first touch of hand in hand - did one but know! favorites: a birthday, in the lane, twilight calm, echo, at home, what good shall my who knows not love begetteth love? i went into this with a truckload of doubt for i know her themes are religious and i am not, but i have come to adore her style! this was an absolute pleasure to read - there were pieces that made me pause and stare off into the distance for dear life. it seemed to mean so little, meant so much; if only now i could recall that touch, first touch of hand in hand - did one but know! favorites: a birthday, in the lane, twilight calm, echo, at home, what good shall my life do me? mirage, a dumb friend, youth gone and beauty gone, i wish i could remember, l.e.l., spring & song!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Grace McCracken

    i just wanted my reading goal ngl

  5. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    Echo Come to me in the silence of the night; Come in the speaking silence of a dream; Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright As sunlight on a stream; Come back in tears, O memory, hope, love of finished years. Oh dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet, Whose wakening should have been in Paradise, Where souls brimfull of love abide and meet; Where thirsting longing eyes Watch the slow door That opening, letting in, lets out no more. Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live My very life Echo Come to me in the silence of the night; Come in the speaking silence of a dream; Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright As sunlight on a stream; Come back in tears, O memory, hope, love of finished years. Oh dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet, Whose wakening should have been in Paradise, Where souls brimfull of love abide and meet; Where thirsting longing eyes Watch the slow door That opening, letting in, lets out no more. Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live My very life again tho’ cold in death: Come back to me in dreams, that I may give Pulse for pulse, breath for breath: Speak low, lean low, As long ago, my love, how long ago. Remember Remember me when I am gone away Gone far away into the silent land; When you can no more hold me by the hand, Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay. Remember me when no more day by day You tell me of our future that you plann'd: Only remember me; you understand It will be late to counsel then or pray. Yet if you should forget me for a while And afterwards remember, do not grieve: For if the darkness and corruption leave A vestige of the thoughts that once I had, Better by far you should forget and smile Than that you should remember and be sad.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Wouter

    I was meant to read this during my exchange year but at the time I only read about 5 of the poems in order to pass my exam. I did like those 5 poems, so I decided to revisit Rossetti, and I wasn't disappointed. I didn't care much for the overly religiously-themed pieces but I think Rossetti is fascinating in the context of feminist theory and gender studies. Would recommend if you enjoy (Victorian) poetry! I was meant to read this during my exchange year but at the time I only read about 5 of the poems in order to pass my exam. I did like those 5 poems, so I decided to revisit Rossetti, and I wasn't disappointed. I didn't care much for the overly religiously-themed pieces but I think Rossetti is fascinating in the context of feminist theory and gender studies. Would recommend if you enjoy (Victorian) poetry!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Peace

    from Sing-Song What are heavy? sea-sand and sorrow: What are brief? today and tomorrow: What are frail? Spring blossoms and youth: What are deep? the ocean and truth.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cameron H

    No, Thank You, John BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI I never said I loved you, John: Why will you tease me, day by day, And wax a weariness to think upon With always "do" and "pray"? You know I never loved you, John; No fault of mine made me your toast: Why will you haunt me with a face as wan As shows an hour-old ghost? I dare say Meg or Moll would take Pity upon you, if you'd ask: And pray don't remain single for my sake Who can't perform that task. I have no heart?—Perhaps I have not; But then you're mad to tak No, Thank You, John BY CHRISTINA ROSSETTI I never said I loved you, John: Why will you tease me, day by day, And wax a weariness to think upon With always "do" and "pray"? You know I never loved you, John; No fault of mine made me your toast: Why will you haunt me with a face as wan As shows an hour-old ghost? I dare say Meg or Moll would take Pity upon you, if you'd ask: And pray don't remain single for my sake Who can't perform that task. I have no heart?—Perhaps I have not; But then you're mad to take offence That I don't give you what I have not got: Use your common sense. Let bygones be bygones: Don't call me false, who owed not to be true: I'd rather answer "No" to fifty Johns Than answer "Yes" to you. Let's mar our pleasant days no more, Song-birds of passage, days of youth: Catch at to-day, forget the days before: I'll wink at your untruth. Let us strike hands as hearty friends; No more, no less: and friendship's good: Only don't keep in view ulterior ends, And points not understood In open treaty. Rise above Quibbles and shuffling off and on: Here's friendship for you if you like; but love,— No, thank you, John.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Morgan

    This time I actually read the whole book. Before I gave this a star rating without actually reading the whole thing. Still, this is five stars. I really love Christina Rossetti's poems. Whether they are religious, spiritual, fairy tale, or moving, Rossetti is a great poet I believe. She's no Dante, Shakespeare, or Milton, meaning, she isn't complex, but she is still one of my favorite poets. I see I could have gotten her complete poems awhile back, but I think a section is just as good. This has This time I actually read the whole book. Before I gave this a star rating without actually reading the whole thing. Still, this is five stars. I really love Christina Rossetti's poems. Whether they are religious, spiritual, fairy tale, or moving, Rossetti is a great poet I believe. She's no Dante, Shakespeare, or Milton, meaning, she isn't complex, but she is still one of my favorite poets. I see I could have gotten her complete poems awhile back, but I think a section is just as good. This has her famous poem "Goblin Market" and among others that are just as good I think. I should note some of her poems are appropriate for children and others are better to read to older children, or, you can read them as an adult.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Eloise

    I studied a few of Rossetti's poems in one of my university classes, and had meant to get around to reading the rest for a while. I'm not that interested in devotional poetry but since hers is important to understand who she was and what informed the rest of her writing, I persevered and read this cover to cover. Needless to say, my favourite poems in the collection were not the religious ones; I particularly enjoyed the poems with nature themes and her children's book poems were really fun. Favo I studied a few of Rossetti's poems in one of my university classes, and had meant to get around to reading the rest for a while. I'm not that interested in devotional poetry but since hers is important to understand who she was and what informed the rest of her writing, I persevered and read this cover to cover. Needless to say, my favourite poems in the collection were not the religious ones; I particularly enjoyed the poems with nature themes and her children's book poems were really fun. Favourites: Goblin Market (of course), No Thank You John, Winter: My Secret, A Birthday, Winter Rain, Who Has Seen The Wind, An Emerald Is As Green As Grass, An Old-World Thicket, Song (She Sat And Sang Alway), Remember. Apart from those standout poems, I must say the rest quickly became repetitive as Rossetti focuses on the same themes and uses similar imagery in a lot of her writing.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    DNFd. Didn't end up being for me, although she does have some bangers. DNFd. Didn't end up being for me, although she does have some bangers.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    The introduction to this book kinda made me laugh bc it gave very old academic vibes, but this is an excellent selection and Rossetti's introspective Pre-Raphaelite verse is a real delight The introduction to this book kinda made me laugh bc it gave very old academic vibes, but this is an excellent selection and Rossetti's introspective Pre-Raphaelite verse is a real delight

  13. 5 out of 5

    William

    I really loved these poems. Varied styles, not terribly complex, but evocative and moving nonetheless.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    3/5 I'm honestly pretty disappointed, although this may just be because this is the follow-up to Wheatley, Wordsworth, and Tennyson in my poetry class. I found a lot of Rossetti's writing just not very engaging, the structure not very interesting, and the stories, not that deep/meaningful. While I did find her self-elegies and Goblin Market fantastic poems, the rest of the collection felt a bit like a letdown :/ 3/5 I'm honestly pretty disappointed, although this may just be because this is the follow-up to Wheatley, Wordsworth, and Tennyson in my poetry class. I found a lot of Rossetti's writing just not very engaging, the structure not very interesting, and the stories, not that deep/meaningful. While I did find her self-elegies and Goblin Market fantastic poems, the rest of the collection felt a bit like a letdown :/

  15. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I have loved Christina Rossetti's poems for years. I picked this volume up from the library on impulse as I have not read any of her work for a while. It was nice to re-read some old favourites like Cousin Kate, Echo, Song (When I am dead my dearest), Goblin Market and Remember. What I liked about this volume was that it included more of her religious poetry than other "selected poems" editions that I have read. I found a new one to add to my list of favourites - Who shall deliver me? Recommended. I have loved Christina Rossetti's poems for years. I picked this volume up from the library on impulse as I have not read any of her work for a while. It was nice to re-read some old favourites like Cousin Kate, Echo, Song (When I am dead my dearest), Goblin Market and Remember. What I liked about this volume was that it included more of her religious poetry than other "selected poems" editions that I have read. I found a new one to add to my list of favourites - Who shall deliver me? Recommended.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bruno Oliveira

    Tempus Fugit Lovely Spring, A brief sweet thing, Is swift on the wing; Gracious Summer, A slow sweet comer, Hastens past; Autumn while sweet Is all incomplete With a moaning blast,— Nothing can last, Can be cleaved unto, Can be dwelt upon; It is hurried through, It is come and gone, Undone it cannot be done, It is ever to do, Ever old, ever new, Ever waxing old And lapsing to Winter cold.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    A very fine Christian poet.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte

    I wasn’t a fan of Rossetti’s poetry. She had a habit of using too many syllables and it threw off the rhythm. It didn’t help that I also found her language and themes repetitive and bland. I only managed twenty pages before I started skim-reading. There were a few poems, however, that stood out from the rest and were actually likeable. ‘Two Pursuits’ was one. Its positive simplicity was a welcome change from the depressed, religious tone that pre-dominated the rest of the anthology. ‘After Death I wasn’t a fan of Rossetti’s poetry. She had a habit of using too many syllables and it threw off the rhythm. It didn’t help that I also found her language and themes repetitive and bland. I only managed twenty pages before I started skim-reading. There were a few poems, however, that stood out from the rest and were actually likeable. ‘Two Pursuits’ was one. Its positive simplicity was a welcome change from the depressed, religious tone that pre-dominated the rest of the anthology. ‘After Death’ intrigued me too. It was a story, like many of the other poems, but it was the first poem not to have that woe-is-me whine. ‘Next of Kin’ had a maudlin tone – Rossetti’s go-to style, I assume- but I appreciated the change in structure. ‘Seasons’ offered vivid, natural imagery but the stanza-for-each-season framework was heavily over-used in the anthology as a whole. Someone forgot to tell Rossetti that variety was her friend. ‘Winter: My Secret’ was perhaps one of my favourites. It was playful and engaging and so pleasingly different from the cut-and-paste poetry that came before it. ‘L.E.L’ fascinated me much for the same reasons as ‘After Death’. It wandered away from the boringly familiar and took a stroll in new territory. ‘No, Thank You, John’ just made me laugh. That last line was a stunner. The anthology’s longest, and probably most famous, poems were ‘Goblin Market’ and ‘My Cousin Kate’. ‘Goblin Market’ was rich with ripe, sexual imagery. Reading it was like eating chocolate on a diet. ‘My Cousin Kate’ was honest, regretful and smug. I read it as an accurate representation of human nature – we give in to temptation, we regret it but we often gain something from the transgression.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ramona Cantaragiu

    I am very glad that I've stumbled on this Victorian poetry writer whose poems have made me giggle and helped me go through a bad period in my life. I have to say that she is a religious poet and that those poems did not appeal to me, but she is also a poet that writes sound social analysis poem especially about the relationships between women in light of the limitations imposed by patriarchy. Poems such as Sister Maude or Cousin Kate where both highly entertaining as slice of life stories and de I am very glad that I've stumbled on this Victorian poetry writer whose poems have made me giggle and helped me go through a bad period in my life. I have to say that she is a religious poet and that those poems did not appeal to me, but she is also a poet that writes sound social analysis poem especially about the relationships between women in light of the limitations imposed by patriarchy. Poems such as Sister Maude or Cousin Kate where both highly entertaining as slice of life stories and deeply telling about the relationships that form between women when their value in society is solely derived from the attention and affection received from men. In particular, the fact that the male characters in this poems are never at fault and that women only accuse one another of being envious and on trying to ruin the others' relations with men was very telling for me. In addition, knowing that Christina spent her time working in a sort of safe house for destitute women gave a broader meaning and context to her observations of female interactions. Finally, I also have to mention that I deeply enjoy erotic poetry and that it was very funny for me to learn that her poem Goblin Market was initially thought to be a story for children (if you look up the edition of the poem that was published in the Playboy magazine in the 1980s you will understand why).

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    I'm not the biggest poetry fan. I'm not a religious person. These things mean that Rossetti and I don't have all that much in common, but I think she is an excellent poet. Her themes deal a lot with religion and with sin and temptation. She focuses a lot on the roles and expectations of women. My favorites from this collection are: - Remember. A poem about wanting loved ones to remember you when you die but to also be happy and live without you. - In an Artist's Studio. A poem that I think repres I'm not the biggest poetry fan. I'm not a religious person. These things mean that Rossetti and I don't have all that much in common, but I think she is an excellent poet. Her themes deal a lot with religion and with sin and temptation. She focuses a lot on the roles and expectations of women. My favorites from this collection are: - Remember. A poem about wanting loved ones to remember you when you die but to also be happy and live without you. - In an Artist's Studio. A poem that I think represents the controlling nature of men dealing with the depiction of women within society. - Goblin Market. For obvious reasons. It's her most noteworthy poem and for good reason. - A Birthday. I just really like this one. I think it can be read as a woman getting to meet with her lover, but further analysis shows that it is probably more about a religious event and the lover is actually just God.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I enjoyed the first half of the book quite a lot. There are some truly wonderful story poems. I give the first half of the book a beautiful five stars. But I think I am not suited for reading large volumes of poetry. After a bit, the Victorian Death Poetry and Death As Release and Dying For Love and In Love With Dead Person and In Love With Dying and Woman Withering On The Vine and God Is Suffering And Love And Death Death Death so on and so forth.... it got to me. I should have probably set it I enjoyed the first half of the book quite a lot. There are some truly wonderful story poems. I give the first half of the book a beautiful five stars. But I think I am not suited for reading large volumes of poetry. After a bit, the Victorian Death Poetry and Death As Release and Dying For Love and In Love With Dead Person and In Love With Dying and Woman Withering On The Vine and God Is Suffering And Love And Death Death Death so on and so forth.... it got to me. I should have probably set it aside to finish in a few weeks, to maintain enjoyment, but I have to return it to the library! It probably deserves four and a half or five stars, but I'm too depressed from all that Death and God and Withering to give it more than three. Subjective assessment. But that's the nature of the Goodreads Rating System, right? You rate it how you feel.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andra

    I really did take my time on this one.... As much as I liked her poetry, sometimes I felt as if something was missing, and I don't know what it was. Christina is much of an ,,old-fashioned lover" when it comes to poetry and, I have to admit, I loved that. There were poems that I took out of the book and glued on my journal ( forgive me for this one ). This edition is very cheap and pretty helpful honestly, because it also has some explanations and an introduction. If you are a lover of old-age l I really did take my time on this one.... As much as I liked her poetry, sometimes I felt as if something was missing, and I don't know what it was. Christina is much of an ,,old-fashioned lover" when it comes to poetry and, I have to admit, I loved that. There were poems that I took out of the book and glued on my journal ( forgive me for this one ). This edition is very cheap and pretty helpful honestly, because it also has some explanations and an introduction. If you are a lover of old-age love poems, or of grief, loneliness and so on transformed onto poetry... this one is for you. I'd compare her a little bit to Emily Dickinson, but I prefer Emily ( by far ). Side note: if you are interested in queer writers , she might be the one to read too. Although there is no exact proof on her being bisexual, this rumour is everywhere, so give this book a chance ( it is SO cottagecore ).

  23. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    There are some Rossetti poems that I really love (after all, she wrote "In the Bleak Midwinter,")--and there were many in this collection that I enjoyed. I thought "Goblin Market" was pretty gripping and there were several very beautiful poems. But good gravy, she wrote a lot about death!! Some about eternal life, but many more about cold, unfeeling corpses. I also didn't much like the short fiction piece "Maude" that finished this collection, but it did say in the Introduction that it was a ver There are some Rossetti poems that I really love (after all, she wrote "In the Bleak Midwinter,")--and there were many in this collection that I enjoyed. I thought "Goblin Market" was pretty gripping and there were several very beautiful poems. But good gravy, she wrote a lot about death!! Some about eternal life, but many more about cold, unfeeling corpses. I also didn't much like the short fiction piece "Maude" that finished this collection, but it did say in the Introduction that it was a very early piece of hers. I was sad that a favorite of mine, "Christmas Eve" (that Malcolm Guite includes in Waiting on the Word) was not in this collection. Still, I liked reading a little more poetry and learning more about this poet I didn't know well.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Desca Ang

    The review is taken from my Instagram account: @descanto I feel in love with literature through poetry. It gives voices to those things that cannot be said. Rosetti is one of the poets that makes me fall in love with literature. I have fallen in love with her poems for years. I keep picking up her works whenever I am down or happy. I love her style of writing. This book is a wonderful collection of Rosetti which is compiled in a short and concise format. Beautifully written and a wonderful re-read The review is taken from my Instagram account: @descanto I feel in love with literature through poetry. It gives voices to those things that cannot be said. Rosetti is one of the poets that makes me fall in love with literature. I have fallen in love with her poems for years. I keep picking up her works whenever I am down or happy. I love her style of writing. This book is a wonderful collection of Rosetti which is compiled in a short and concise format. Beautifully written and a wonderful re-read of Rosetti’s.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amy W

    These poems were all so similar. Love interests, God/Christian stories and a few about the countryside. That about sums it up. I made a note of two poems that spoke to me a bit more, but the rest were just too perfectly rhyming and all used similar vocabulary which got really boring. Reading a poem in isolation I might have enjoyed it more, but reading this cover to cover was a chore. At least now I realise I prefer more freeflowing poetry and not neat little rhymes like this.

  26. 5 out of 5

    urwa

    i cannot tell you how it was, but this i know: it came to pass upon a bright and sunny day when may was young; ah, pleasant may! as yet the poppies were not born between the blades of tender corn; the last egg had not hatched as yet, nor any bird foregone its mate. i cannot tell you what it was, but this i know: it did but pass. it passed away with sunny may, like all sweet things it passed away, and left me old, and cold, and gray.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Maria Mitchell

    This is a portable collection of Christina Rossetti's poetry. The book slights readers by not including all of Sing-Song. The poems "An Apple Gathering," "Goblin Market," and "The Hour and the Ghost," are essential poems, however, and are included within. Rossetti was a poet with deft knowledge of nature and consequences. This is a portable collection of Christina Rossetti's poetry. The book slights readers by not including all of Sing-Song. The poems "An Apple Gathering," "Goblin Market," and "The Hour and the Ghost," are essential poems, however, and are included within. Rossetti was a poet with deft knowledge of nature and consequences.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Aurélie

    Really, really enjoyed 'Goblin Market' - I love anything infused with fairytale and myth, and so this poem was just such a pleasure! The delight in language Rossetti infuses the poem with is also remarkable. In general, I recommend Rossetti to those wanting to dive into older poetry, she remains very accessible and enjoyable. Really, really enjoyed 'Goblin Market' - I love anything infused with fairytale and myth, and so this poem was just such a pleasure! The delight in language Rossetti infuses the poem with is also remarkable. In general, I recommend Rossetti to those wanting to dive into older poetry, she remains very accessible and enjoyable.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Going into this collection of poems knowing how religious Rossetti was, I was quite worried about if I would enjoy her work as I, myself aren’t religious. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved her poetry. I preferred some over others but that’s to be expected. Definitely one of my favourite 19th Century poets.

  30. 5 out of 5

    ✨Skye✨

    Did not read every single one but studied a wide selection and read most of them. I'd encourage anyone to study Rossetti herself-she was an extremely fascinating woman and the things you may learn about her add a lot of extra elements to her poetry. Did not read every single one but studied a wide selection and read most of them. I'd encourage anyone to study Rossetti herself-she was an extremely fascinating woman and the things you may learn about her add a lot of extra elements to her poetry.

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