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.
William Allingham, On a Forenoon of Spring - William Allingham was born in Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal, Ireland, and was the son of the manager of a local bank who was of English descent. In 1874 Allingham married Helen Paterson, who was a water-colour painter. Allingham produced many excellent lyrical and descriptive poetry, and the best of his pieces are thoroughly national in spirit and local colouring. His verse is clear, fresh, and graceful. He died at Hampstead in 1889, and his ashes are interred at St. Anne’s in his native Ballyshannon.
Sara Teasdale was an American lyric poet, born on 8th August 1884 and due to poor health she did not start school until the age of 14. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and married Ernst Filsinger in 1914. Her first poem was published in 1907 followed by her first collection of poems, Sonnets to Duse and Other Poems. Her second collection, Helen of Troy and Other Poems, was published in 1911 and was well received by critics, who praised its lyrical mastery and romantic subject matter. Her third poetry collection, Rivers to the Sea, was published in 1915 and was a bestseller. In 1916 she moved to New York City and won a Pulitzer Prize for her poetry collection Love Songs. Sara died in 1933 due to an overdose of sleeping pills.
MAY DAY Continue reading
Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1840 - 1922) was born in England into an old Sussex family. When he was 18 he entered the British diplomatic corps and he worked in Athens, Constantinople, Frankfort, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris and Argentina. After his retirement in 1872 and his marriage to Anne Isabella Noel (the only known descendant of Lord Byron), they travelled on horseback through the Mid-East and lived in Cairo. Blunt opposed British rule in Egypt and was in favour of Irish home rule for which he served a prison term.
When he died in 1922 he was buried like a Muslim at the Newbuildings Estate,
16 miles away from Crabbet.
Written in March by William Wordsworth, While resting on the Bridge at the foot of Brother’s Water. William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850) was an English poet who helped launch the Romantic Age in English Literature. Wordsworth made his debut as a writer in 1787 when he published a sonnet in The European Magazine. That same year he began attending St John’s College, Cambridge and received his B.A. degree in 1791. In 1795 Wordsworth met fellow poet Samuel Coleridge with whom he would produce the work Lyrical Ballads with in 1798, an important work in the English Romantic Movement. Continue reading
Victor Hugo (1802 - 1885) Victor Hugo was a renowned poet, novelist & playwright of the Romantic Movement in 19th century France. He is considered by many as one of the greatest and best-known French authors of all times. He was also a political statesman and human rights activist, although he is primarily remembered for his literary creations like poetry and novels. His most popular novels are ‘Les Misérables’ & ‘Notre-Dame de Paris’ (‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’). He was the foremost supporter of the Romantic Movement in France and campaigned for social causes like the abolition of capital punishment.
Robert Burns was born on January 25, 1759 and his birthday is celebrated throughout the world as Burns Night, with Burns Suppers, poems, songs and anecdotes about Scotland’s National Bard.
This poem by Phyllis McGinley, an American poet and writer for the New Yorker, takes some of the features of the perannially-popular ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ and weaves them into a mediation on family and love against the backdrop of the modern festive season. Continue reading
Though various legends have developed as to the inspiration for the poem, the most commonly held belief is that McCrae wrote “In Flanders Fields” on May 3, 1915, the day after presiding over the funeral and burial of his friend Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who had been killed during the Second Battle of Ypres. The poem was written as he sat upon the back of a medical field ambulance near an advance dressing post at Essex Farm, just north of Ypres. The poppy, which was a central feature of the poem, grew in great numbers in the spoiled earth of the battlefields and cemeteries of Flanders. Continue reading
“A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day” is the original title of the poem that has become better known as a song: “Over the River and Through the Wood.” It’s the most famous poem by Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880), a women’s rights activist. She was also the author of “The Frugal Housewife”, a book aimed at poorer housewives who didn’t have servants (the vast majority of women in the world). It was an attempt at a scientific approach to housekeeping and cooking, focussed on how to save money and time. By 1930, the full title had become: “The American Frugal Housewife, Dedicated to Those Who Are Not Ashamed of Economy.” Continue reading
October’s Bright Blue Weather by Helen Hunt Jackson
“When gentians roll their fingers tight
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;
When on the ground red apples lie
In piles… Continue reading