Category: Poetry

  • William Wordsworth and William Blake – Nature and Anti Nature

    Reading William Blake and William Wordsworth back-to-back brings to mind the similarities and differences between them. As they are contemporaries, and both are considered key figures in the Romantic movement in poetry, it’s natural to assume that they have much in common. But any close reading of the two reveals a different story. G.K. Chesterton […]

  • G.K. Chesterton on William Blake and Mysticism

    I’m reading G.K. Chesteron’s biography of William Blake, and it’s a real treat, full of Chesterton’s unique insights and witticisms. The following quote provides a fresh angle on three of the poets we’ve discussed so far in the Culture Club: Blake, Shakespeare and Yeats. Chesterton is commenting on the fact that William Blake’s father, James […]

  • Heptameters in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

    Stephen Fry, in his book The Ode Less Travelled, discusses meter in some detail, and provides this interesting angle on the ‘Pyramus and Thisbe’ segment of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Nabokov, in his Notes on Prosody, suggests that the hexameter [i.e a six-stress line] is a limit ‘beyond which the metrical line is no longer […]

  • Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 and Wordsworth’s The Prelude

    The Culture Club has chosen for its next session to discuss Beethoven’s 6th Symphony and Wordsworth’s two-part Prelude of 1799, because both are related to the countryside. While reading around the subject, I came across this quote which reveals a deeper link between the two. This is from Richard Osborne’s chapter on Beethoven, from the […]

  • Fine Art on YouTube

    Terry Teachout, the drama critic of the Wall Street Journal, has effectively created a cultural video-on-demand site from material uploaded on YouTube. Read his article about it at WhoseTube? ArtsTube – Quote: YouTube, like the other new Web-based media, is a common carrier, a means to whatever ends its millions of users choose, be […]

  • Nature and Spirituality in William Wordsworth’s Poetry

    Jonathan Wordsworth (a descendant of William Wordsworth), in his introduction to the Penguin edition of the four texts of the Prelude by William Wordsworth, makes interesting notes on the evolution of the poet’s view of nature and spirituality. He traces these thoughts from Tintern Abbey, where Wordsworth talks of a pantheistic divine presence – ‘the […]

  • J.B. Priestley on William Wordsworth

    This quote from J.B. Priestley really struck a chord with me: ‘A good deal of [Wordsworth’s poetry], perhaps most of it, is very dull, like a long walk on a grey day. But just as somewhere on that walk there might be a sudden and superb flash of beauty, so in Wordsworth’s poetry there are […]

  • Download The Classics With Google

    Google Book Search now enables you to download PDF versions of out-of-copyright books and print them out for yourself. Examples of books available include: Ferriar’s The Bibliomania A futurist from 1881’s 1931: A Glance at the Twentieth Century Aesop’s Fables Shakespeare’s Hamlet Abbott’s Flatland Hugo’s Marion De Lorme Dunant’s Eine Erinnerung an Solferino Bolívar’s Proclamas […]

  • Stephen Fry, The Ode Less Travelled

    Despite its terrible title, Stephen Fry’s ‘The Ode Less Travelled’ is an excellent and highly approachable book for anyone who wants to understand the mechanics of writing poetry. It also helps to explain what makes good poetry good and great poetry great. The following quote expresses very well something that I take as fundamental to […]

  • TS Eliot and Meaning in Poetry

    My background reading on the late Yeats poems drew me to the CK Stead book, The New Poetic: Yeats to Eliot. Here I discovered an interesting perspective on the ‘meaning’ of poetry, derived from Eliot’s literary criticism (and clearly, informing his own poetry). Stead says: ‘For Eliot, as for Yeats, a poem is to be […]