Tag poetry

A Lilac Sprig Dangling from a Horn

Kasia Boddy— In the last eighteen months of his short life, Richard Wright became obsessed with haiku. Since Wright was a self-declared “protest writer,” readers have struggled to reconcile these (4,000 or so) delicate experiments in verse with the hard-hitting naturalism of works such as Black Boy (1945) and Native

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Poetry to Nurture Your Soul

Roses are red, violets are blue, here is some poetry to help get you through. A vital, engaging, and hugely enjoyable guide to poetry, from ancient times to the present, by one of our greatest champions of literature. John Carey tells the stories behind the world’s greatest poems, from the

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

John Carey— The oldest surviving literary work is The Epic of Gilgamesh. It was composed nearly 4,000 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia (roughly equivalent to where Iraq and eastern Syria are now). No one knows who wrote it, or why, or what readership or audience it was intended for. It

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Wordsworth in Self-Isolation

Jonathan Bate— During the great pandemic lockdown, people on Twitter have been “dreaming of other places”—beautiful places that they remember and of which they have treasured photographs. What they are really dreaming of is other times, happier times, special memories. William Wordsworth, whose 250th anniversary falls on April 7, was

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Celebrating World Poetry Day: Five International Poets You Don’t Want to Miss

In honor of World Poetry Day, we are revisiting some of our most beloved poetry volumes in the Yale Margellos series. From ancient traditions of kabbalah to contemporary voices from Ukraine, Greece, and Syria, poetry’s capacity to reimagine the limits of language is as old as humankind itself. From violent

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A Tribute to Kiki Dimoula

On February 22nd, internationally-renowned Greek poet Kiki Dimoula passed away at the age of eighty-nine. One of Greece’s most beloved writers, Dimoula was decorated with the European Prize for Literature, the Greek State Prize, and the Kostas and Eleni Ouranis Prize, among other awards, and in 2002 she was inducted

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Dante’s Pioneering Poetry and Science

Tracy Daugherty— “At some deep level, poetry and physics are similar endeavors,” writes Mark A. Peterson, a mathematician and science historian. Both the poet and the scientist use the tools of their craft—words, numbers—to discover core truths about the nature and shape of the universe and humanity’s place in it. 

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Reading as a Social Activity

Abigail Williams— On 15 April 1802, Dorothy and William Wordsworth took one of the most significant walks in literary history. They set out in blustery weather, across the fells near Ullswater in the Lake District. It was misty and mild, with a strong wind, and the first signs of spring

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Max Eastman: A Brief Introduction

Christoph Irmscher— The writer, editor, poet, and political activist Max Eastman (1883-1969) helped shape the dominant intellectual trends of the early twentieth century. He knew personally the most important minds of his time and corresponded with the ones he didn’t know. The son of two progressive ministers, Max grew up

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On a Hot Summer’s Day

Avner Holtzman— Warsaw, August 1900. Two very young men, Yosef Hayim Brenner and Uri Nissan Gnessin, later to be known as the giants of modern Hebrew literature, were staying in Gnessin’s rented room in 21 Dzielna Street. Both were swept by the intensive atmosphere of Hebrew literary life in Warsaw,

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