In this fascinating anthology, one hundred men – distinguished in literature and film, science and architecture, theatre and human rights – confess to being moved to tears by poems that haunt them. Representing 20 nationalities and ranging in age from their early 20s to their late 80s, the majority are public figures not prone to crying. Here they admit to breaking down when ambushed by great art, often in words as powerful as the poems themselves.
75 per cent of the selected poems were written in the 20th century, with more than a dozen by women. Their themes range from love in its many guises, through mortality and loss, to the beauty and variety of nature. Three men have suffered the pain of losing a child; others are moved to tears by the exquisite way a poet captures, in Alexander Pope’s famous phrase, ‘what oft was thought, but ne’er so well express’d’.