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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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A Light Exists in Spring by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson was a famous American poet who lived during the 1800s. In addition to writing, she also studied botany, which could have been an influence in her poems about nature. This poem is about the light that illuminates all that’s around it during spring. While this poem is about nature, it has a strong religious undertone, showing there are things science is unable to fully explain. Continue reading

A Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy

“The Darkling Thrush” is a poem by Thomas Hardy and was published in the 1900’s. For The Darkling Thrush, Thomas Hardy chose a word with tremendous history in poetry. ‘Darkling’ means in darkness, or becoming dark, for Hardy can still see the landscape, and the sun is ‘weakening’ but not completely set. The word itself goes back to the mid fifteenth century. Keats famously uses the word in his ‘Ode to a Nightingale’: ‘Darkling, I listen’. This title gives the poem a resonance of past poets and their thoughts and feelings on a similar subject. Continue reading

It must be October by Pearl Sorrels

Pearl Hinken Sorrels, was born in Missouri in 1912 and was a resident of Yucaipa. She was a member of the Unity Church of Yucaipa for 38 years and served as the church’s board president, a Sunday school teacher and weekday volunteer who served when and where needed. She died aged 87 in 2008, at her home. Continue reading

The First Day of School

Howard Nemerov was an American poet. He was twice Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, from 1963 to 1964 and again from 1988 to 1990. He was born 29 February 1920 in New York City. His parents were David Nemerov and Gertrude, a Russian Jewish couple who lived in New York City and owned Russek’s, a famous Fifth Avenue department store. Nemerov died on 5 July 1991 in Missouri. Continue reading

The Faeries

William Allingham was an Irish poet, diarist and editor. He wrote several volumes of lyric verse, however, he is maybe better known for his published ‘Diary’ in which he records his lively encounters with Tennyson, Carlyle and other writers and artists. He was born in Ballyshannon, County Donegal on 19 March 1824. His wife, Helen Allingham, was a well-known painter in water colours. He died in 1889 in Hampstead, London at the age of 65. Continue reading

‘England, My England

William Ernest Henley (1849 – 1903) was an English poet, critic and editor. Born in Gloucester, Henley was the oldest of six children. Henley earned his living in publishing and in 1889 became the editor of the Scots Observer (an Edinburgh journal) which was transferred to London in 1891 as the National Observer. Arguably Henley’s best remembered work is the poem ‘Invictus,’ which Nelson Mandela was said to have recited to other prisoners whilst incarcerated in Robben Island Prison. Continue reading

A Memory of June

Claude McKay, born Festus Claudius McKay, was a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance, a prominent literary movement of the 1920s. McKay was born in Sunny Ville, Jamaica, in 1889. The son of peasant farmers, he was infused with racial pride and a great sense of his African heritage. Continue reading
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