12 Famous Book Titles That Come From Poetry

12 Famous Book Titles That Come From Poetry


In this post. we’ve shared a list of 12 famous book titles that come from poetry.

Naming a book is difficult, but you can find inspiration in poetry.

[Must-Read: 8 Points To Consider When You Name Your Book]

You may not realise it, but many famous authors have taken the titles of their books from poems. Here are 12 of them.

12 Famous Book Titles That Come From Poetry

1. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold comes from “I Knew a Woman” by Theodore Roethke.

I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!

2. A Handful of Dust by Evelyn Waugh is taken from “The Waste Land” by T.S. Eliot.

…I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

3. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is taken from “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

4. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck comes from “To a Mouse, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough” by Robert Burns.

But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

5. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy comes from “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” by Thomas Gray.

Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife
Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray;
Along the cool sequester’d vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

6. Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust is taken from “Sonnet 30″ by William Shakespeare.

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:

7. Endless Night by Agatha Christie comes from “Auguries of Innocence” by William Blake.

Every night and every morn,
Some to misery are born,
Every morn and every night,
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.

8. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway comes from “Meditation XVII” by John Donne.

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

9. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers comes from “The Lonely Hunter” by William Sharp.

O never a green leaf whispers, where the green-gold branches swing:
O never a song I hear now, where one was wont to sing.
Here in the heart of Summer, sweet is life to me still,
But my heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill.

10. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou is taken from “Sympathy” by Paul Laurence Dunbar.

It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings —
I know why the caged bird sings!

11. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald comes from “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats.

Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.

12. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster is taken from “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman.

Passage to India!
Struggles of many a captain–tales of many a sailor dead!
Over my mood, stealing and spreading they come,
Like clouds and cloudlets in the unreach’d sky.

If you enjoyed this post, read these:

  1. Poetry 101: What Is A Poem?
  2. Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems: The Ballad
  3. Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – The Villanelle
  4. Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – The Limerick
  5. Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – The Haiku
  6. Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – Free Verse
  7. Poetry 101: Kinds Of Poems – The Sonnet

Original Article Source: http://blogs.publishersweekly.com/blogs/PWxyz/2012/02/29/12-famous-book-titles-that-come-from-poetry/

This article has 3 comments

  1. John Cairns

    go often askew??? By Robert Burns???

  2. Sally Chrisman

    “The Alien Corn” by Somerset Maugham, from Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale”: “Perhaps the self-same song that found a path through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, she stood in tears amid the alien corn.”

  3. Catherine Bjarnason

    Clearly an anglicised version of Burns’ To A Mouse!

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