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Eilidh and Leigh’s Story: ‘Who Knows If the Moon’s A Balloon’ Friday, 26 February 2010

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Hello we are Eilidh and Leigh from Queensferry High School and the poem we are carrying this week is “Who knows if the moon’s a balloon” by E.E Cummings.

Our favourite lines in this poem are:

who knows if the moon’s a balloon coming out of a keen city in the sky.

and

than houses and steeples and clouds go sailing.

We like these lines because they have a good description of what it would be like if the moon really was a balloon. There are many more sentences like this but we piked the sentences above because they have a good description to them. If you read between the lines you can see it has a love story.

Poetry Pocketcards – In Detail Still Monday, 22 February 2010

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Here is your second batch of poetry pocketcards:

William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and dramatist, and one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. In 1923, he was the first Irishman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Edward Estlin Cummings was an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. His body of work encompasses approximately 2,900 poems, two autobiographical novels, four plays and several essays, as well as numerous drawings and paintings.

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and a photographer. His most famous writings are Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, as well as the poems “The Hunting of the Snark” and “Jabberwocky”, all examples of the genre of literary nonsense.

Rudyard Kipling was a British author and poet, born in Bombay in 1865. His children’s books are enduring classics of children’s literature, and his poetry exceptionally popular. In 1907, he was the first English language writer to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and to date he remains its youngest recipient. He declined both the Poet Laureateship and a knighthood.

James Hogg was born near Ettrick in Scotland in 1770 and is often referred to as ‘The Ettrick Shepherd’. His employer introduced him to Sir Walter Scott, who asked him to help with a publication entitled The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. Eventually becoming a well-known literary figure in Edinburgh, he was recruited by William Blackwood for Blackwood’s Magazine, and went on to publish The Private Memoirs and Confessions of A Justified Sinner, now his most widely recognised work, and cited as an influential work by many modern Scottish writers.

Edward Lear was an English artist, illustrator, author, and poet, renowned today primarily for his literary nonsense, in poetry and prose, and especially his limericks, a form that he popularised.

Adrian Mitchell was a London-born poet, novelist and playwright. A former journalist, he became a noted figure on the British anti-authoritarian Left and for almost half a century he was the foremost poet of the country’s anti-Bomb movement. He died in 2008, and is survived by his wife, Celia, and five children.

Robert Burns was born in Ayrshire in 1759  and while he contemplated emigration to the West Indies, his collection of Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect was published by John Wilson of Kilmarnock, and its unexpected success led him to reconsider. Instead, he moved to Edinburgh where he was fêted. During the last years of his life, Burns wrote some of his great poetic masterpieces, including ‘Tam o’Shanter’ and ‘A red, red rose’. He died in aged 37, of heart disease.

Every year, on 25 January, the anniversary of his birth, Scots celebrate Burns Night with a Burns Supper, a traditional celebration consisting of speeches, music and song dedicated to the poet’s life and work.

Thomas Stearns Eliot was an American-born English poet, playwright, and literary critic. His first notable publication, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, is regarded as a masterpiece of the modernist movement. It was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, and Four Quartets. He is also known for his seven plays, particularly Murder in the Cathedral and The Cocktail Party. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Order of Merit in 1948.

William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”.

Over To You

So, there you have them – our poetry pocketcards.  Which do you like best?

@NadineK’s Story: ‘I Carry Your Heart’ Wednesday, 27 January 2010

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I carry the last part of “I carry your heart with me (i carry it in” by E.E. Cummings handwritten on the back of a pic I cherish in my purse. Every person interprets a poem the way he/she carries it in his/her own heart. Every time I miss my love, I reach out for this last part; e.e.cummings’ wording is so delicate that you could almost feel him carrying a small heart in his hands; and then you can’t help but fall in love with his finale.

Simply the most beautiful expressive metaphor of love in the world …

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Marsha’s stories Tuesday, 19 January 2010

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I used to carry E.E. Cummings’ poem “somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond any experience, your eyes have their silence…” in its entirety, in my head. Alas, I’ve lost bits of it. That brings to mind the fact that I also carried Elizabeth Bishop’s ‘One Art’ in its entirety. Bits are gone but since “The art of losing isn’t hard to master; so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster…” I don’t feel so badly about the loss of some of Cummings. After all, I am comforted by what I do recall and can always look them up. Similarly I have lost a few bits of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73, “That time of year thou mayst in me behold/When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang/Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,/Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.” I think that last may explain something about my problem. Still, as I said, better to have those pieces than no poetry at all!

Marsha is the Poetry in The Branches Coordinator for Poets House in New York and retired Coordinator of Adult Services for The New York Public Library.

BIOGRAPHY – E. E. CUMMINGS Wednesday, 6 January 2010

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E. E. Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1894.  He attended Harvard University and served as an ambulance driver in World War I.  His first collection of poetry, Tulips and Chimneys, came out in 1923, displaying the inventive use of typography and grammar which would mark him throughout his career.

While E. E. Cummings won numerous awards throughout his life, critical opinion was generally divided on his output.  Despite this, Cummings was, and still is, one of the most popular American poets and an influential figure of 20th century poetry.  Cummings died in 1962.