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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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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

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
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