The­se aren’t my favou­rite poems in the sen­se of being the top ten or anything, but they’­re among the poems I eit­her know by heart or love to pie­ces or tell peop­le to read.

Sea­mus Hea­ney, Lim­bo. So har­ro­wing, and so den­se.

A.A. Mil­ne, Dis­obe­dience. I make all my stu­dents learn it – par­ti­cu­lar­ly effec­tive if spo­ken in a group.

John Don­ne, The Sun­ne Rising. Not­hing else is.

Wil­liam Shake­speare, Son­net 129: Th’­ex­pen­se of spi­rit in a was­te of shame. May be deli­ve­r­ed sub­ver­si­ve­ly, as a par­ty pie­ce. Done so famously by Ralph Fien­nes on the When Love Speaks album (avail­ab­le on iTu­nes).

Gerard Man­ley Hop­kins, No worst, the­re is none. Becau­se the mind, mind has moun­tains.

Wil­liam But­ler Yeats, The Song of Wan­de­ring Aen­gus. I also like this song ver­si­on by Jolie Hol­land.

Robert Gra­ves, Love Wit­hout Hope.

John Keats, On First Loo­king into Chapman’s Homer. This poem got me my job.

Adam Thor­pe, Fos­sil. Not avail­ab­le online, but I was the­re when it came into being, and it is also dedi­ca­ted to me.

All kinds of gre­at and lof­ty works of poe­try are try­ing to mus­cle their way in to spot num­ber 10, so I’ll deli­ber­ate­ly give it to some­thing light and char­ming:

Vikram Seth, Round and Round.