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Poetry Please

What is poetry? It is many things to many people. It can make you laugh, or cry, tug at your heartstrings or stiffen your resolve. There is no absolute definition, but we know poetry is more than just a group of meaningful words; it has the ability to arouse a deep, emotional response in the reader.

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The Lamb by William Blake

William Blake (1757 - 1827) was born in Soho, London, and was son to a hosier and his wife. Blake’s early ambitions lay not with poetry but with painting and at the age of 14, after attending drawing school, he was apprenticed to James Basire, engraver. Blake’s artistic energies branched & he privately published his Poetical Sketches (1783), a collection of poems that he had written over the previous years. In August 1782, Blake married Catherine Sophia Boucher, who was illiterate. Continue reading

A Dead Rose

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 - 1861) was one of the most prominent poets of the Victorian era. Born in County Durham, Browning was educated at home. She was an intensely studious, precocious child; writing her first known poem “On the Cruelty of Forcement to Man” between the ages of 6-8. Her first collections of poems “An Essay on Mind, with Other Poems” was published in 1826 and reflected her passion for Byron and Greek politics. In 1849, after the birth of her son and at her husband’s insistence, Browning published her second edition of Poems, including her love sonnets; her popularity increased, as well as critical regard, and her position was confirmed. ‘A Dead Rose’ Continue reading

The Months

Christina Rossetti was born on 5th Dec 1830, in London, the youngest of the four remarkable Rossetti children. Educated entirely at home, she spoke English and Italian with ease and read French, Latin, and German. Her first published poems were the seven she contributed in 1850 to the Pre-Raphaelite magazine, the Germ, under the pseudonym Ellen Alleyne. Rossetti was stricken by Graves’ disease in 1871 which ruined her beauty and brought her close to death. When she recovered, she turned almost exclusively to religious writing, publishing a number of devotional books: In 1891 she began to suffer from cancer and died, after a long and painful illness, on 29th Dec1894, in London. Continue reading

Macavity: The Mystery Cat

Macavity: The Mystery Cat by T.S Eliot. Thomas Stearns Eliot was born on September 26, 1888, in St. Louis, Missouri, the 7th child of Henry Ware Eliot, a brick manufacturer, and Charlotte (Stearns) Eliot, who was active in social reform and was herself a talented poet. Both parents were descended from families that had emigrated from England to Massachusetts in the 17th century. Carol Rundle wanted to share one of her favourite humorous poems which is - Macavity: The Mystery Cat by T. S Eliot. I am sure many cat lovers will smile at Macavity and even children will enjoy this poem. Continue reading

When the frost is on the Punkin by James Whitcomb

Known as “The Hoosier Poet” because of his birth in Indiana and poems celebrating the state, and as “The Children’s Poet” due to his appeal for young readers, James Whitcomb Riley was one of his day’s best-selling writers. Full of sentiment and traditional in form, his work features rustic subjects who speak in a homely, countrified dialect. When Riley died, Woodrow Wilson called him “a man who imparted joyful pleasure and a thoughtful view of many things that other men would have missed,” and some 35,000 people filed past his casket in the Indiana State Capitol. Continue reading

The Love of October by W.S. Merwin

William Stanley Merwin (born September 30, 1927) is an American poet, credited with over fifty books of poetry, translation and prose. During the 1960s anti-war movement, Merwin’s unique craft was thematically characterized by indirect, unpunctuated narration. In the 1980s and 1990s, Merwin’s writing influence derived from his interest in Buddhist philosophy and deep ecology. Residing in a rural part of Maui, Hawaii, he writes prolifically and is dedicated to the restoration of the islands’ rainforests. Merwin has received many honors, including the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, and the Tanning Prize. Merwin is recognized as one of the principal contributors to poetry in the early 21st century. Continue reading

Rhapsody on a Windy Night

Thomas Stearns Eliot, was born on 26 September 1888 in the United States. He moved to the United Kingdom in 1914, aged 25, and became a British Subject in 1927. Eliot attracted widespread attention for his poem “The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock in 1915 which was seen by many as a masterpiece of the modernist movement. He died on 4 January 1965. Continue reading
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