Monthly Archives: July 2016

Illuminated,

the granite boles uplifted,

supplication arching

branches mingled in

the lofty canopy,

enfolding and assuring

the restless souls beneath.

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A Short Analysis of John Donne’s ‘The Good-Morrow’

An enjoyable and illuminating breakdown of one of the most loving and memorable love poems by the undoubted master of the art, whose verses span the centuries without a hint of staleness or decay

Interesting Literature

A reading of a classic Donne poem

‘I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I / Did, till we loved?’ With these frank and informal words, John Donne (1572-1631) begins one of his most remarkable poems, a poem often associated – as is much of Donne’s work – with the Metaphysical ‘school’ of English poets. But what is ‘The Good-Morrow’ actually about? In this post, we offer some notes towards an analysis of Donne’s ‘The Good-Morrow’ in terms of its language, meaning, and themes.

I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?
’Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.

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A Very Short Biography of Christina Rossetti

A much admired, by me, poet who deserves more recognition

Interesting Literature

An introduction to Rossetti’s life and work

Christina Rossetti (1830-94) was one of the Victorian era’s greatest and most influential poets, along with Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, and Algernon Charles Swinburne. In this post we offer a very short biography of Christina Rossetti, taking in the most curious and interesting aspects of her life and work.

Rossetti was the younger sister (by two years) of the Pre-Raphaelite artist and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Christina Rossetti was born in London in 1830, and lived with her mother virtually all of her life. She never married. Next to a biography of her brother Dante Gabriel, the biography of Christina Rossetti can seem tame by comparison; but her work is curious and idiosyncratic and raises interesting questions about how much it reflects her own life and her own beliefs.

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Five Fascinating Facts about Philip Larkin

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Interesting facts from Larkin’s life

1. Philip Larkin wrote a number of stories featuring girls at boarding school. While he was completing his English degree at St John’s College, Oxford in 1943, Larkin started writing stories and poems – and even a whole novella, Trouble at Willow Gables – under the pseudonym Brunette Coleman. The stories very much parody girls’ boarding-school stories of the time, which Larkin considered too flat and passionless when it came to treating the awakening of romantic and erotic feelings (specifically, homoerotic feelings) in adolescent girls.

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A Short Analysis of Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Anne Hathaway’

A pleasure to read this sonnetesque rendering from one of our most accomplished modern poets. A joy both to the ear and to the memory’s eye.

Interesting Literature

A critical reading of Duffy’s Shakespeare poem

Carol Ann Duffy, born in 1955, is the UK Poet Laureate, a post she has held since 2009 and will hold until 2019. Her 1999 collection The World’s Wife contains a number of poems written about the female other halves of famous male figures from history and literature – everyone from Eurydice (Orpheus’ lover in Greek myth) to Charles Darwin’s wife. ‘Anne Hathaway’ is one of the finest poems in this volume, so we thought we’d offer a few words of analysis and interpretation of this popular Carol Ann Duffy poem. You can read ‘Anne Hathaway’ here, where it is reproduced by kind permission of the author.

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A Short Analysis of Philip Larkin’s ‘An Arundel Tomb’

The enjoyment i most gain from poetry is the rhythm and metre when I read a poem aloud. Some people may look at me on a bus or sitting on a station mouthing almost silently the words , thinking perhaps I have just learnt to read and this is the only way I am capable. I cannot though, for the life of me, find a way to read this poem aloud. It stops and starts and grates in such a way I am compelled to sit in silent contemplation of the words and phrases. Perhaps this is what he was striving for, the same quiet contemplation afforded the memorial by the viewer.

Interesting Literature

A summary of Larkin’s great poem

Completed in February 1956 but not published until 1964, when it appeared in Philip Larkin’s volume The Whitsun Weddings, ‘An Arundel Tomb’ is one of Larkin’s most popular and widely anthologised poems. It might also be called one of the truly great love poems of the twentieth century. But its images and meaning can best be approached through an analysis of how Larkin uses language and form to achieve his effects. You can read ‘An Arundel Tomb’ here.

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Five Fascinating Facts about Piers Plowman

Interesting Literature

Curious facts about a classic medieval poem

1. The poem contains the first known reference to Robin Hood. Although the earliest known full ballads and stories involving Robin Hood date from the fifteenth century, the brave redistributor of Nottinghamshire’s wealth (though Robin Hood originally lived in Yorkshire) makes his debut – at least his known debut – in William Langland’s poem Piers Plowman, a long dream-vision poem dating from c. 1370-1390. In the poem, a man named Will falls asleep in the Malvern Hills in England, and experiences a series of religious visions which are presented allegorically.

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Five Fascinating Facts about John Heywood

One of the best Tudor men of letters and possibly one of the least known.

Interesting Literature

The life of Elizabethan poet John Heywood

Who is being described here? A provincial lad from Warwickshire in England, this poet and dramatist left the sticks for London, where he performed at the royal court, writing and acting in his own plays, including at the court of Queen Elizabeth I. No, not Shakespeare of course, but … John Heywood.

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A Short Analysis of Ezra Pound’s ‘In a Station of the Metro’

A fine example of, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” although perhaps this should be read as ear. This article only goes to show that you can read anything into this lame excuse for a poem. By any other name this would grate on the ear and leave you unmoved.

Interesting Literature

A critical reading of a classic Imagist poem

‘In a Station of the Metro’, written by Ezra Pound in 1913, is the Imagist poem par excellence. In just two lines, Pound distils the entire manifesto for Imagism into a vivid piece of poetry, what T. E. Hulme had earlier called ‘dry, hard, classical verse’. But what does the poem mean, precisely? You can read ‘In a Station of the Metro’ here. Below, we offer a few words of analysis on this striking poem, which is one of Ezra Pound’s most famous pieces of writing.

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