Category: Poetry

  • Is Shakespeare a Greater Poet or a Greater Dramatist?

    My English teacher at school once told me: ‘Shakespeare is a greater poet than he is a dramatist.’ This isn’t meant to mean that Shakespeare wrote better poems than plays, which is clearly not the case. Rather it means that the poetry in his plays is what drives the drama, and it is in his […]

  • Shakespeare’s Sonnets: Form and Meaning in Lyric Poetry

    I’m just reading Helen Vendler’s The Art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets (Amazon affiliate link). I think she is my favourite interpreter of poetry, and this might be her greatest work. Every page is revelatory. One of her major themes is that a consideration of ‘form’ in lyric poetry is vital for a full understanding of the […]

  • Shakespeare’s Sonnets: Essays, Resources and Links

    The following links offer useful and free online resources for the study and analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Full text Shakespeare: Sonnets – easy access to all 154 sonnets The amazing web site of Shakespeare’s Sonnets – this site is a little clumsy to navigate, but does feature the complete texts plus useful commentaries and sonnets […]

  • Knowledge of Good and Evil in Milton’s Paradise Lost

    At our Culture Club discussion on Milton’s Paradise Lost, one aspect of the narrative came up as a particular problem. This was the meaning of the ‘tree of knowledge of good and evil’, the instrument of humanity’s fall. I think we all agreed that the tree is symbolic of something, but the nature of the […]

  • John Milton’s Paradise Lost: Essays, Resources and Links

    The following links offer useful resources for the study and analysis of John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Full text Paradise Lost, Project Gutenberg Paradise Lost, with Notes Explanatory and Critical, Edited by Rev. James Robert Boyd Paradise Lost, Milton Reading Room, Dartmouth College Paradise Lost, Electronic Literature Foundation Resources Milton, Open Yale Course, YouTube (Video) Milton, […]

  • Campaign to make Jeremy Prynne the new poet laureate

    Charlotte Higgins is only joking, in her piece on the Guardian Culture blog: Jeremy Prynne for poet laureate! But I think it’s a great idea. He may write obscure and difficult poems, but wouldn’t it be refreshing to get the nation scratching its head on a regular basis? And after all, he is the most […]

  • Allen Ginsberg on William Carlos Williams

    I found this link, with audio of a lecture by Allen Ginsberg on William Carlos Williams. The notes say: First half of a class by Allen Ginsberg on William Carlos Williams and prosody. Included are discussions on Williams’s poems: “Thursday,” “To Elsie,” “Horned Purple,” and “The Term.” This class also covers the importance of Williams […]

  • Marlon Brando Reads The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot

    Colonel Kurtz, played by Marlon Brando, reads excerpts from T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men in the film Apocalypse Now. Here is his reading of the entire poem, much of which was cut from the movie, but was released later in the Apocalypse Now Complete Dossier on DVD. httpv://

  • Poetry’s Popularity Soars Online: Telegraph

    In light of traffic figuresto the Poetry Archive website, which is delivering 1 million page views a month and reaching 125,000 unique users, Andrew Motion suggests that the internet is providing a better medium for poetry than books: “Either books have not been doing the job or they are being outmanoeuvred by the internet.” Full […]

  • Joseph Conrad and T.S. Eliot: Heart of Darkness

    Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness had a special significance for T.S. Eliot. He made references to it in The Waste Land, as described in this note to the essay Notes on the Publishing History and Text of The Waste Land (1964, reproduced in The Waste Land Casebook Series): In the first of the published […]