The Long Price Quartet by Daniel AbrahamSaint Patrick’s Day always sees me returning to my favorite poet, William Butler Yeats, whose grave I made a pilgrimage to many a year ago. Though he might be the most famous, Yeats is hardly the only wordsmith from Ireland; for such a tiny land, it exports a hell of a lot of good poetry.

Which got me to thinking about poetry in fantasy. Tolkien, of course, made huge use of it in his works (your mileage may vary as to whether that’s a good or bad thing). But so have other authors — whether within the work itself, or as inspiration (see “Vaster than Empires, and More Slow” by Ursula K. LeGuin), as epigraph, or even by using poets as main characters, as Daniel Abraham does in his sublime LONG PRICE QUARTET.

So I’m curious about your own thoughts on the topic — how do you feel about poetry in your fantasy? Do you read the poems? Skim them? Skip them entirely? Throw the book against the wall at the first sign of verse? Do any stick out as particularly well done (or, if you’re feeling a little mean today, not so well done)?

As always, one random commenter will choose a book from our stacks.