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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?

Elizabeth’s Story: Poems in my diary Wednesday, 10 February 2010

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I carry my poems in my handmade diary, printed on brown kraft paper, typed in different fonts.  Some are ‘The Path Less Taken’ and ‘Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening’ by Robert Frost, ‘Jabberwocky’ (like Brian Taylor), ‘Ode’ by Arthur O’Shaughnessy, ‘I Am’ by John Clare, and Kathleen Jamie’s ‘Queen of Sheba’ because I live in Currie and did travel on the Brownie’s borrowed truck.

My mother used to read Browning and Brooke to me when I was little, in Lincolnshire, and I was taught a lot of poetry at High School but I wish I could remember more complete poems.

Claire’s story: ‘The Lobster Quadrille’ Monday, 18 January 2010

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by Sir John Tenniel I carry a poem on me at all times – in my mp3 player – and when I don’t have that on me, it’s usually rattling around in my head anyway- because it’s so damned catchy!

The poem is ‘The Lobster Quadrille’ from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the reason why it’s in my mp3 player is because it has been set to music by the wonderfully eccentric and fabulous Neil Ardley, British Jazz polymath extraordinaire. Apart from being a fantastic arrangement dashingly performed by some of the UK’s finest jazz musicians, the words are a celebration of British manners, eccentricity and the absurd.

I will never get tired of it and it is also handy to have in your arsenal of tunes in case you have to walk somewhere quickly, it really spurs you on and you can hardly fail to have a smile on your face when listening to it.
Essential poetry for your pocket.

The Lobster Quadrille

“Will you walk a little faster?” said a whiting to a snail,
“There’s a porpoise close behind us, and he’s treading on my tail.
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on the shingle – will you come and join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
will you join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
won’t you join the dance?”
“You can really have no notion how delightful it would be

When they take us up and throw us, with the lobsters out to sea!”
But the snail replied “Too far, too far!”, and gave a look askance –
Said he thanked the whiting kindly, but he would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the dance.

“What matters it how far we go?” his scaly friend replied.
“There is another shore, you know, upon the other side.
The farther off from England the nearer is to France –
Then turn not pale, beloved snail, but come and join the dance.
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
will you join the dance?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
won’t you join the dance?”

From Chapter 10 of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

BIOGRAPHY – LEWIS CARROLL Wednesday, 6 January 2010

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Lewis Carroll was the pen name for Charles Dodgson, born in 1832 in Cheshire, England.  Carroll was a mathematician, photographer, and deacon in addition to a writer of prose and poetry.  Best known for his children’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), Carroll also achieved a great deal of recognition for his nonsense poetry such as Jabberwocky and The Hunting of the Snark.

Carroll wrote poetry from an early age, but the first published piece to appear under his pen name came out in 1856.  In 1865, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was published to enormous commercial success.  Carroll died in Surrey in 1898.