Love Poetry to Exalt, Scorn and Seduce
Whether you're a hopeless romantic or a hardened cynic, there's a love poem for you. From the poems of antiquity, up through Shakespeare and into present day, bards have crafted paeans both honoring and lamenting the effects of romance. Poets seek the perfect words to describe the indescribable, what's most vexing and joyous and human about us. And everything - one-night stands, lifelong love, platonic admiration, regret, loathing and envy - is fair game. We'll talk about the many forms of this great tradition.
We want to hear about your favorite poems, too - you can post them on our Facebook page. Do you go in for Shakespearean sonnets? Or for the burned-out, testy ruminations of a lover scorned?
Sue Weaver Schopf, associate dean for the Master of Liberal Arts program at the Harvard Extension School.
Sue Weaver Schopf's list of the love poem's many incarnations, with examples:1.) THE TRADITIONAL LOVE POEM--WHAT WE EXPECT A LOVE POEM TO SAY
Shakespeare's "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day"
Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "How Do I Love Thee, Let Me Count the Ways"
Theodore Roethke's "I Knew a Woman"
2.) THE IRONIC REVERSAL OF THE TRADITIONAL LOVE POEM (EXPRESSING LOVE NONETHELESS)
Shakespeare's "My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun"
John Frederick Nims' "Love Poem"
C. Day Lewis's "Come, Live with Me and Be My Love"
3.) SEDUCTION, DESIRE--
Emily Dickinson's "Wild Nights--Wild Nights!"
Christopher Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love"
John Donne's "To His Mistress Going to Bed"
Brian Patten's "Party Piece"
4.) THE FETISH POEM--
Robert Herrick's "Upon Julia's Clothes"
5.) LOVE AS A SICKNESS--
Shakespeare's "My Love Is As a Fever, Longing Still"
Robert Graves' "Symptoms of Love"
6.) REMEMBRANCE OF LOVES PAST--
David Wagoner's "The Best Slow Dancer"
William Butler Yeats' "When You Are Old"
7.) LOVE GONE BAD
Edna St. Vincent Millay's "Grown-Up"
Philip Larkin's "Talking in Bed"
8.) GOOD LOVE, AS IT SHOULD BE
Marge Piercy's "To Have without Holding"