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Meditations on sin Anne Vaughan Lock

(1560) This sonnet sequence, consisting of The Preface, Expressing the Passioned Minde of the Penitent Sinner and A Meditation of a Penitent Sinner, upon the 51st Psalme, was published in 1560, appended to Anne Vaughan Lock's English translation of the French Sermons of John Calvin, upon the songe that Ezechias made after he had been sicke, and afflicted by the hand of God. The 19 verses of the 51st Psalme reflect on the need for sinners to confess their sins so that they can receive God's forgiveness. Lock's devotional Meditations elaborate and contemporize each verse of the Psalme to emphasize Calvinist theology, particularly the idea of repentance. The Preface, which contains five sonnets, begins a lament about The loathsome filth of my distained life (l. 5). Twenty-one sonnets rhyming abab, cdcd, efef, gg follow this opening lament in the primary Meditation. The verses of the psalm are printed as marginalia, and the words of the verses are incorporated, repeatedly, into the...

Divine Meditations The William

Alabaster (1597-1598 ) Some question remains regarding the period in which William Alabaster composed the 77 sonnets included in his The Divine Meditations. Critics believe they were written during Alabaster's imprisonment between 1597 and 1598 after his first conversion to Catholicism. They appear in two manuscripts, and the manuscripts have some sonnets in common. While many are titled and numbered, others are only numbered. Alabaster's work represents a look forward to the 17th century, in which the sonnet form would remain a popular vehicle for occasional poems, including devotionals. They are collected into sequences later titled by critics The Portrait of Christ's Death, Penitential Sonnets, Resurrection, Upon the Ensigns of Christ's Crucifying, Miscellaneous Sonnets, New Jerusalem, and Personal Sonnets. A final grouping of two poems, Questionable Sonnets, for a total of 79 sonnets, cannot be attributed to Alabaster with complete confidence. They were found, according to Helen...

Lyric as meditation

One of the striking features of American lyric poetry during the last half of the twentieth century is the predominance of lyrics written in what can be called the meditative mode. I am using the term meditative in its most general sense, to indicate a state of prolonged or concentrated contemplation in which the poet engages with ideas, objects in the natural world, the self, or some combination ofthese. The meditative mode oflyric is certainly not a new one meditative poetry has a long history that includes the visionary strain ofthe Romantics as well as Emersonian and Whitmanic transcendentalism, Yeatsian mysticism, Stevensian philosophical meditation, and the Surrealism of European and South American poets such as Georg Trakl, Federico Garcia Lorca, Cesar Vallejo, and Pablo Neruda.

Notes on Contributors

Isobel Grundy is a Professor Emerita at the University of Alberta. She is author of Samuel Johnson and the Scale of Greatness (1986), Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Comet of the Enlightenment (1999), and (with Virginia Blain and Patricia Clements) The Feminist Companion to Literature in English Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present (1990). She is a joint author of the forthcoming electronic history of women's writing in the British Isles produced by the Orlando Project (director Patricia Clements).

Tradition and the Rise of the Universities

Two ways in which poetry returned to more traditional concerns that had been marginalized by modernism but that were not necessarily rooted in the contemporary world, and even marked a retreat from it, were in a revival of the poetry of meditation, and an associated claim for the moral duties of poets and poetry. Following The Waste Land, T. S. Eliot's poetry moved, with Ash-Wednesday and later Four Quartets, towards a more meditative vein, and following Eliot's conversion to the Anglican Church in 1927 his poetry became more explicitly concerned with linking moral and spiritual issues, and finding redemption through intellectual, spiritual, and physical discipline. Eliot's London journal The Criterion had an important influence on US as well as British poetry, and his editorial position at publishers Faber & Faber also governed which US poets received that important international distribution. Faber & Faber published the verse of Marianne Moore, for example, the volume carrying an...

Wallace Stevens 18791955

When Wallace Stevens published his 1951 book of essays The Necessary Angel he subtitled the collection Essays on Reality and the Imagination, and the terms sum up the two central concerns of his poetry throughout his career. His poetry explores the role that imagination plays in our engagement with, understanding of, and interpretation of the world outside of the self, and conversely the role of the facts in that world - what we can know and say about those facts. The poet, Stevens wrote in his essay The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words, gives to life the supreme fictions without which we are unable to conceive of it. In his poem The Plain Sense of Things Stevens asserts Yet the absence of the imagination had Itself to be imagined. And in The World as Meditation, centered upon Penelope's long wait for the absent Ulysses to return, she senses that he may be moving On the horizon. Yet the question But was it Ulysses Or was it only the warmth of the sun On her pillow The thought kept...

Endymion A Poetic Romance Excerpt

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever Its loveliness increases it will never Pass into nothingness but still will keep A bower quiet for us, and a sleep Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing. Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing A flowery band to bind us to the earth, Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth Of noble natures, of the gloomy days, Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways Made for our searching yes, in spite of all, Some shape of beauty moves away the pall From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon, Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon For simple sheep and such are daffodils With the green world they live in and clear rills That for themselves a cooling covert make 'Gainst the hot season the mid forest brake, Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms And such too is the grandeur of the dooms We have imagined for the mighty dead All lovely tales that we have heard or read An endless fountain of immortal drink, Pouring unto us...

Marianne Moore 18871972

Such economy and precision are characteristics of the imagism dominant at the time that Moore's poems first appeared, but she is no imagist. Equally, her treatment in A Grave of a theme characteristic of Robinson Jeffers, the power of the sea against the arrogance of mankind trying to tame it and use it, marks the very different qualities of her work. In Moore's poem there is some sympathy for human ambition, and for human fear, and her emphasis is finally upon the multitudinous and insouciant ocean life rather than its elemental power and endurance. Many of Moore's poems begin with close observation of a plant, bird, or animal, and move from the close analytical inspection of appearance and movement to a meditation upon the larger significance of the particular qualities. Often there is comparison to social and moral values, to human behavior, or to the act of writing itself. For example, Moore's famous poem The Pangolin begins Another armored animal - scale lapping scale with...

James Merrill 19261995

Water Street (1962) marked Merrill's emergence as an important poet, and many of its poems exhibit the qualities that characterized his work for the rest of his career. To the wit, polish, and elegance of the earlier work was added an increased interest in narrative and a relaxed conversational style and emotional depth. An Urban Convalescence, the first poem of Water Street, is often cited as marking the change. For the first time Merrill writes in an overtly autobiographical mode. The poem begins, Out for a walk, after a week in bed, I find them tearing up part of my block, and goes on to be a meditation on, among other things, the nature of time and home. Characteristic themes in Merrill's mature poetry are the description of a past love, or of lost childhood. The poems are often structured around a particular motif that takes on emotional and narrative resonance through the poem. In The Broken Home the memories of his parents' marriage coming apart return a number of times to a...

Imagination Creativity and Divinity

Th' attentive mind, By this harmonious action on her pow'rs, Becomes herself harmonious wont so oft In outward things to meditate the charm Of sacred order, soon she seeks at home To find a kindred order, to exert Within herself this elegance of love, This fair-inspir'd delight her temper'd pow'rs Refine at length, and every passion wears A chaster, milder, more attractive mien.

Poets Thinking Some Twentieth Century Versions

Scope This lecture proceeds from the previous ones, in order to show how poets can express thought (as well as individual thoughts) through a wide range of means direct statement, supple syntax, shifting images, and the asking of questions. It moves from the relatively preachy style of Robinson Jeffers, to the elegant conundrum posed by Wallace Stevens in The Snow Man, and to Yeats's Among School Children, a poem that resembles in some ways the nineteenth-century nature lyrics of Wordsworth and Coleridge and in some ways the metaphysical speculation inherent in Marvell's The Garden. The lecture ends with a consideration of Robert Hass's Meditation at Lagunitas, a poem with an overt philosophical theme.

When I have Fears that I may cease to be

WHEN I have fears that I may cease to be Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain, Before high pil&grave d books, in charact'ry, Hold like rich garners the full-ripen'd grain When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face, Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance, And feel that I may never live to trace Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance And when I feel, fair creature of an hour That I shall never look upon thee more, Never have relish in the faery power Of unreflecting love --then on the shore Of the wide world I stand alone, and think, Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.

Descriptive Rhetoric

Connected with this is a second weakness of traditional rhetoric - its cultivation of what I am tempted to call the' train-spotting' or' butterfly-collecting' attitude to style. This is the frame of mind in which the identification, classification, and labelling of specimens of given stylistic devices becomes an end in itself, divorced from the higher goal of enriching one's appreciation and critical understanding of literature. The response conveyed by 'Aha, there's an instance of hystcron proteron' is one of satisfaction without enlightenment. This train-spotting mentality was particularly prevalent in Elizabethan times,5 but its persistence to the present day is shown in the survival in modem textbooks of figures like hendiadys, which we can value only as curiosities. Hendiadys (Greek for 'one-by-two') consists in the use of a co-ordinating construction where a structure of modification would be strictly appropriate 'charmed by bright eyes and a woman' instead of'charmed by the...

Flow Chart John Ashbery 1991 In

Flow Chart can be read as a postmodern travel narrative. The poem alludes, for example, to the story of Noah's Ark and refers throughout to the theme of beginning and something also in the way of returning, thus placing itself within the context of epic travel narratives, including The Odyssey, The Iliad, and Dante's Divine Comedy. Unlike its predecessors, however, there is no closure offered in Flow Chart, as the river god never returns to anything resembling home. Most important, the travel that takes place in Flow Chart is not so much in the physical world as it is within the interior world of language, meditation, and narcissistic reverie.

Sonnet 46 Of His Conversion

William Alabaster (1597-1598 ) Within William Alabaster's sonnet sequences that compose his The Divine Meditations, Sonnet 46 falls into the category critics later labeled Personal Sonnets. All of the poems are categorized as devotional poetry, a subgenre abundant since the Middle Ages, producing a tradition of allegory that carried into the beginning of the 17th century as poets such as John Donne used it liberally. The sonnet form proved especially conducive to religious consideration, particularly in the Petrarchan version, Alabaster's favored type. Highly dramatic, the Petrarchan sonnet introduces a problem or question in its first eight lines to which the final six lines respond. A poet could introduce a soul-searching plea in the first part of the poem, to which his own, or another voice, might reply in the closing lines. Alabaster employed symbolism, repetition, rhetorical questions, antithesis, strong verbs, and vivid imagery drawn from traditional Christianity in an attempt...

Wright Charles 1935 Charles

Wright's work across several volumes appears as a seamless whole, a kind of contemplative quest-epic, in which three modes predominate homage, elegy, and meditation (see lyric poetry). In his elegiac mode, claims Helen Vendler, t he hunger for the purity of the dead grows . . . almost to a lust (10), as in 'Where Moth and Rust Doth Corrupt' (1975) I mimic the tongues of green flame in the grass. I live in the one world, the moth and rust in my arms. In a later poem, The Appalachian Book of the Dead (1997), Wright binds together this lust for purity and his profound attachment to landscape in lines of both praise and mourning It always amazes me How landscape recalibrates the stations of the dead. Such meditations liberate the poetic voice from personal history and allow it to enter a liminal world inhabited by both the living and the dead and to face again the dilemma of the would-be visionary poet who cannot avoid seeing the image in language We who would see beyond seeing see only...

Astrophil And Stella Overview

The first 35 poems introduce Stella and meditate on Astrophil's love for her. Sonnet 36 is the first poem that addresses Stella directly and initiates a series of poems that attempt to obtain her affections. Sonnet 37, the Fifth Song, and the Eighth Song hint that Stella could already be married, which may explain her refusal of Astrophil's advances. Nonetheless, by Sonnet 69, Stella agrees to a virtuous reciprocal love for Astrophil. Astrophil breaches his promise to love her chastely in the Second Song, stealing a kiss from Stella as she sleeps and incurring her anger. Astrophil continues to struggle with his strong physical desire for Stella, again seeking consummation in the Fourth Song. Stella's anger only cools in the Eighth Song as the couple reconciles and she departs. The remainder of the series bemoans the lady's absence, ending with a final meditation on Astrophil's continued loneliness and despair. Even the resolution of this sonnet sequence both approaches and avoids...

April Inventory Wd Snodgrass

The poem includes the autobiographical element of confessional poetry as Donald Torchiana states, Behind the poem lies a year of meditating that monstrous examination in literary history for the Ph.D. in English (104). Snodgrass engages in critical self-appraisal, finding that he falls short in comparison to starched-collared scholars with the degrees, the jobs, the dollars. Unlike them, he teaches as a graduate student who notices, primarily, how young the women he teaches seem, so young that he has to nudge himself to stare at their attractiveness.

The Waking Theodore Roethke

(1953) The title poem of Theodore roethke's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Waking, Poems 1933-1953 (1953), is a short, haunting meditation on living and learning, and it is one of the finest villanelles in English. Other villanelles in its class are One Art (1979) by Elizabeth bishop and Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night (1952) by Dylan Thomas. The rigidity of the villanelle form makes it so difficult that the truly great ones easily stand out above the rest, and often above most other poetry. Such is the case with The Waking, which may be a philosophical outgrowth of one of Roethke's earlier, simpler nature poems As collected in The Lost Son (1948), the first poem he titled The Waking is a series of descriptive quatrains about how wonderful it feels to stroll across an open field.

Finkel Donald 1929 Donald Finkel

The subjects of Finkel's lyric sequences include cave exploration, experiments in communicating with primates, and a bizarre round-the-world sail that never went anywhere. Perhaps the unifying subject of all of these is a meditation on the limits of our humanity. A trip to the South Pole in 1970, as part of a scientific expedition, produced Finkel's most arresting subject, and most powerful extended metaphor, in Adequate Earth (1972) and Endurance (1978), about the Ernest Shackleton expedition to the pole. Finkel has recently addressed issues of aging in A Question of Seeing (1998) and Burden (2001), which describes a poet's descent into Alzheimer's as if words were the burden he'd been bearing, all his life.

When To Her Lute Corinna Sings

The poem itself serves as a meditation on this loss and demonstrates the speaker's wrestling with resultant suicidal impulses. Its first image is that of a restless (l. 2) head being held up by a hand and, by extension, by the walls themselves that enables the speaker to survey the unfolding of the spring season in a determinedly realistic setting Blossoms flourish, the grass turns green again, wedded (l. 5) birds frolic. The caesura in line 6, the full pause midway through the line, compares this vitality with the speaker's reverie over a former companion the jolly woes and the hateless short debate (l. 7) they shared, and the rakehell unconsidered life (l. 8) that belongs to the ease of love. But with those thoughts comes debilitating nostalgia with the word Wherewith, the first of line 7, Surrey offers his volta, after which the speaker is overcome by a heavy charge of care sorrow Heaped in his breast (ll. 9-10), a sorrow that forces itself from him in the form of smoky sighs (l....

Hatim Tai The Generous Arab Chiefp

It was the fate of Hatim to give umbrage to other monarchs. Numan, King of Yemen, conceived a violent jealousy against him, on account of his reputation and thinking it easier to destroy than surpass him, the envious prince commissioned one of his sycophants to rid him of his rival. The courtier hastened to the desert where the Arabs were encamped. Discovering their tents at a distance, he reflected that he had never seen Hatim, and was contriving means to obtain a knowledge of his person, without exposing himself to suspicion. As he advanced, deep in meditation, he was accosted by a man of an amiable figure, who invited him to his tent. He accepted the invitation, and was charmed with the politeness of his reception. After a splendid repast, he offered to take leave, but the Arab requested him to prolong his visit.

Thomson James 17001748 Born in

Scotland, James Thomson was raised a Scottish Calvinist. He was exposed early to a range of literature, influenced by the social and political atmosphere that followed the Union of Scotland with England. He matured in a family of gardeners and appreciated that occupation as an art. Thomson's keen observation of nature would be reflected in his poetry, especially his detailed observation of landscapes. Most critics viewed him as an English poet for some time, but later criticism regarded Thomson's Scottish background as crucial to his art. While some argued his style was too intellectual for the common man, others noted that only a Scottish peasant could relate to his description, as they had a shared experience with Thomson. His poetry continued to provoke such varying consideration into the 21st century. Later criticism holds that his natural descriptions reflect Scottish enlightenment aesthetic philosophy, which held that specific geography proved crucial to a sense of nationalism....

Batter My Heart John Donne 1633

Until resurrected in the 20th century through the efforts of the poet T. S. Eliot and others. The sonnet's hysterical tone grows from the tradition of meditation, which may be used as an emotional stimulus. Typical of Donne, he heavily emphasizes the first-person pronouns I and me, enabling readers to visualize the speaker's involvement and the importance of the experience to him, while the strong but simple language does not distract the reader from the poem's theme of the importance in the Christian life of total surrender to God. While critics including the Donne expert Helen Gardner insist that a true assessment of Donne's spiritual and moral achievement may be gained only through his sermons, the sonnets best reveal his extreme capacity for passion and ecstasy.

The appearance of Ireland

The texts of the Melodies also meditate on their own strange relation to the music, as well as to the Gaelic lyrics that they replace. It is a kind of temporising by considering things from a philosophical point of view, Moore once again can avoid addressing political issues directly once again, he 'breathes not his name'. Such meditations are Moore's attempt to empty out the meaning of his own language (with the result that most of the texts of the Melodies are, to modern taste, vapid and listless). But they also display an acute self-awareness, which if it does not ultimately save the poems, it does at least provide an excuse for their blandness. The title poem is an expansive meditation in which a man finds consolation away from the crowds of mankind, in classic Romantic fashion, and this leaves him confronting the wild landscape of Callanan's native Cork. It is a strongly autobiographical poem, as Callanan also had a strong solitary streak. Moreover, the recluse of the title...

Theodore Roethkes North American Sequence

North American Sequence is a series of visionary landscape poems written in the final years of his life. As James Dougherty suggests, the sequence resembles the Four Quartets in several respects it reflects upon specific landscapes with a mind trammeled in memories but in quest of the eternal 2 it adopts a sequential and quasi-musical structure and it even ends with the symbol of the rose. Yet at the same time, Roethke's poem can equally well be linked with other predecessor poems, such as Whitman's Song of Myself and his two seaside meditations As I Ebb'd with the Ocean of Life and Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking, and Wordsworth's Romantic landscape meditation Tintern Abbey. One important difference between Roethke's sequence and Eliot's is that, as Dougherty observes, Roethke's spiritual insight and deliverance from the egoistic self. . . come not from ascetic detachment but from the plenitude of his experience of nature. For example, Roethke rewrites Eliot's imagery in...

The Twentieth Century American Long Poem

This use of the long poem for philosophical speculation was taken up by Wallace Stevens in the late 1930s and for the next 15 years he produced a number of complex, sophisticated long poems. An earlier long poem by Stevens, The Comedian as the Letter C, had been framed around a narrative of settlement, although as always with Stevens the poem was centrally about the poet's relationship to the world in which he found himself, and to the language with which he could express it. The letter C, and its associated sounds, are to the fore of the poem's witty narrative. This poem appeared in Stevens's playful first volume Harmonium (1923). But with such long poems as The Man With the Blue Guitar (1937), Examination of the Hero in a Time of War (1942), Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction (1947), and An Ordinary Evening in New Haven (1950) Stevens claimed for the long poem the seriousness that Robinson had claimed, and these poems are often seen as Stevens's finest achievement. The long poem...

Bludy Serk The Robert Henryson

The king is identified with the Holy Trinity, the lady with the human soul, and the giant with Lucifer. The knight is Christ, whose death redeemed humanity from the pit of Hell, and pious meditation on this sacrifice emerges as a duty that will preserve the believer from

Romantic poetry and antiquity

Stones, once (it was believed - even hoped) stained with human blood. This is the poetry that makes those rugged monuments speak, that gives a voice to the dead, to ghosts, to nothingness, to what never was. In this, the poetry of antiquity goes far beyond the limits of elegy. These mysterious ruins, then, like graveyards, served as the focus for meditations - the meditation being a form of restoration through hallucination. Warton's sonnet Written at Stonehenge (published in 1791), for instance, presents a series of meditative possibilities - or obscurities - for the noblest monument of Albion's isle (l. 1). Stonehenge is both an aid to pagan reflection and a tangle of riddles ( We muse on many an antient tale renown'd , l. 14).19 In the eyes and mind of an antiquarian poet, the triliths could be any manner of - or all - things a crossroads in the mystical imagination of the nation, a meeting place for myth, legend, and history, resounding in Warton's lines with memories of Merlin...

Waldrop Keith 1932 Keith

Waldrop's early poems are dense lyrics that combine free and metrical verse (see prosody and free verse). His recent work has become increasingly austere and draws on the book as an architectural form embodying time's passage. A book, such as Seramis If I Remember (self portrait as mask) (2001), becomes an extended meditation on language shifting into and emerging out of the spaces of narrative and history a map of Babylon is that book's guiding metaphor. Always elegiac, Waldrop consistently revisits the vicissitudes of memory subjective, physical, collective in a variety of literary forms. For Waldrop, the body is a doomed monument simultaneously distant and proximate memory allows the mind to intermittently behold. In Poem from Memory (1983), Waldrop's pithy lines enact the process of recalling his body as he sift s ruins for old manuscripts. Memory and the materiality of literary history are spaces suspended between the body and the mind. The tightly enclosed lines reflect the...

Gary Snyder and Galway Kinnell

Snyder's speaker is not overawed by his natural surroundings instead, he seems completely at peace with them. His actions are simple drinking water, gazing down from the mountain. In this way, his method resembles that of Zen Buddhist meditation, in which insights can occur in the course of the most mundane activities. His language avoids the kind of abstractions that characterize Kinnell's style, remaining close to the physical details of his surroundings. (Snyder was in fact working as a forester in the Pacific Northwest at the time the poem was written.) In the first stanza, he describes with precise detail the pitch on the fir-cones, the humidity coming up from the valley, and the swarms of flies in the August heat, not embellishing the images through the use of figurative language. The speaker perceives the mountain now, not as a place of stillness and permanence ( dimensions of depth ), but as a place of emptiness and disintegration. The vines encircle him so that he must turn...

Khaqani and other twelfth century poets of the qaslda

One of Khaqanl's most impressive poems is a long qaslda to which the Arabic title Mir'at as-safa ('The Mirror of Purity') has become attached.16 It is a perfect example of a homiletic poem developing a string of themes with a discursive coherence revealing itself if one carefully traces its line of thought through the seemingly random use of images and rhetorical conceits. The qaslda tells of the poet's dealings with his own heart, which in the course of the poem is identified as his himmat, a term which R.A. Nicholson has translated by 'holy aspiration'. At first he represents the heart as a teacher from whom he learns how to kill the lower soul and bury it in a 'grave' where it will be guarded by Islamic Law. Then he switches to another metaphor a king invites the poet to his table and speaks to him about poverty and withdrawal from the world, the ideals of a derwish's life. This is how, at the beginning of this discourse, he draws the picture of a Koranic school as an extended...

Robert Duncan and the San Francisco Renaissance

In Duncan's radically eclectic style, each poem was allowed to achieve its own specific form according to an aesthetic system he referred to as grand collage, the poem would collect and arrange various ideas, symbols, myths, and images in a new and complex constellation. In this sense, his poetics are clearly influenced by the model of Pound's Cantos and by Pound's ideogrammatic method. But Duncan, who described himself as a literary magpie, derived his idiosyncratic poetics from a wide range of sources, including the experimental modernism of Stein and H. D. and the mythical and prophetic lineage of Pindar, Dante, Shelley, Whitman, Blake, and Rimbaud. As Michael Davidson observes, many of Duncan's finest poems are readings of other texts, his own poem serving as meditation and transformation. 3 Perhaps the most complex example of this intertextual writing is Poem Beginning with a Line by Pindar, in which he finds aspects of the story of Eros (Cupid) and Psyche in Pindar's...

General Survey Of Periods Authors And Works

The four volumes of the Facts On File Companion to British Poetry offer the work of such minds for the reader's consideration. They invite each reader not simply to read about the poets and their work, but to go to the poems themselves for pleasure and enlightenment. Only then might readers develop a private and satisfactory definition of this most magical of the creative genres.

San Francisco Renaissance In the

Gist precisionism satire and self-projection surrealism personalist meditation (Davidson 4). Robert Duncan, Lew Welch, Kenneth patchen, Bob kaufman, Diane di prima, and Lenore Kandel are also among those whose names often appear in assessments of the renaissance, but any version of the list might include up to 30 names, from Amiri baraka and Charles bukowski to Anne waldman and David Rafael Wang not surprisingly, due to prevailing 1950s attitudes, there were few women and few minorities.

Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard Figurative Language

He discarded four stanzas of an early version, which were probably read by his friend Horace Walpole, and planned to title the work simply Stanzas until his friend William Mason suggested Elegy instead. A meditation in a burial ground proved a popular theme of that era, and Gray may have first thought of recording his thoughts about a graveyard while living next door to a cemetery in Peterhouse. However, the description of the grounds matches those of the churchyard at Stoke Poges, where his mother and aunt lived and he often visited. He mentions unhonoured dead, which suggests members of a rural community, rather than the distinguished occupants of graves in Cambridge in addition, the scenery as described by Gray matches the Stoke Poges cemetery, particularly that of two yew trees. Although Gray did not at first intend the poem for publication, it so impressed Walpole that he immediately began to circulate it in manuscript form.

Pavlova and Literary Conventions

As for poetic persona, from the beginning Pavlova used feminine endings when writing about herself as poet ( Sonet Sonnet , 1839, 76 Da il' net Yes or no , 1839, 78 Duma Meditation , 1840, 89 Duma, 1843, 114), although she also wrote poems with unmarked endings (for example, Esf liubimtsy vdokhnovenii There are inspiration's favorites , 1839, 79 Motylek The butterfly , 1840, 83-84), and very occasionally verses in a male voice ( Vezde i vsegda Everywhere and always , 1846, 127 Sputnitsa feia The fairy companion , 1858, 198). Pavlova's awareness of the issue of gender and poetic persona emerges clearly in Fantasmagorii (Phantasmagorias, 1856-58, 37376). In the first section of this mixed-genre work she recounts the thoughts of a poet whose gender she carefully withholds. The poet plays with gendered metaphors to describe the act of writing the writer is a rapist who attacks the virgin white page with a (phallic) pen, but also the princess Scheherazade, who must constantly find new ways...

SONNET 10 Though All Forsake Thee Lord Yet I Will Die William

Physical poets and poetry cannot help but enjoy William Alabaster's Sonnet 10 from his group of the first 23 sonnets in The Divine Meditations, numbers 1-11 of which focus on Christ's death. Alabaster's use of paradox and antithesis is skillful, if his summary statement in his final two lines is not. He writes in clear metaphysical style The imagery of chains suggests slavery and imprisonment, but not in the sense of one will forced into service by another. Instead the speaker has voluntarily assumed the chains and has no will, or intent, to extricate himself. His abiding with his lord is done not in spite of his will, but actually, willingly. The release of the will supports Alabaster's exercise in meditation, an activity undertaken to promote the realization of Divine Truth. In an allusion to St. Peter's denial of Christ at his Passion, Alabaster writes, Though all forsake thee, lord, yet cannot I, again making clear that because of his collapse of will, he has not the power he...

Allen Ginsberg 19261997

Ginsberg's poetry became somewhat diffuse in the 1960s, although he became if anything an even more prominent figure. He continued to advocate sexual freedom and experimentation with drugs, and became more involved in political activism. His poem Wichita Vortex Sutra is an indictment of the war in Vietnam. In this decade Buddhism and the practice of meditation began to play an important role in Ginsberg's explorations of consciousness, eventually replacing drugs, a realization that is recorded in his poem The Change. In 1974 with poet Anne Waldman he co-founded the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, based at Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa Ripoche's Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and he began teaching there regularly in the summer. Ginsberg's environmental concerns and anti-nuclear activities are represented in the poems of his Plutonian Ode (1982). His characterization of the title poem, on the volume's back cover, is that it combines scientific info on...

Intrapoetic Relationships

A Meditation upon Priority, and a Synopsis in which that life-cycle is enacted, it will be compelled to examine simultaneously the relations between poets as cases akin to what Freud called the family romance, and as chapters in the history of modern revisionism, modern meaning here post-Enlightenment. The modern poet, as W. J. Bate shows in The Burden of the Past and the English Poet, is the inheritor of a melancholy engendered in the mind of the Enlightenment by its skepticism of its own double heritage of imaginative wealth, from the ancients and from the Renaissance masters. In this book I largely neglect the area Bate has explored with great skill, in order to center upon intra-poetic relationships as parallels of family romance. Though I employ these parallels, I do so as a deliberate revisionist of some of the Freudian emphases. For every poet begins (however unconsciously ) by rebelling more strongly against the consciousness of death's necessity than all other men and women...

Harlem Gallery Melvin Tolson

The first five parts of Harlem Gallery, Alpha through Epsilon, set the tone for the themes of exploration into the everyday life of black America and the role of the black artist in white American society. The next four parts, Zeta through Iota, reveal philosophical commentaries on the subjects of art, the gap between the races, and what is considered happiness for black Americans, as told by Curator and Dr. Nkomo. Following is Kappa through Xi, focusing on the colorful character Hideho Heights. The next two parts, Omicron and Pi, are reflections about art, historical figures, and biblical passages. The last four parts, Phi through Omega, reflect on art and the problem of the black artist, Joy Flasch reports, noting that this portion of the poem recalls the enslavement and suffering of Africans brought to America and issues a warning to the white man to beware of the power of the black minority in this country (126). Harlem Gallery concludes with the Curator meditating on the state of...

Salutation of the rising and setting sun

Hesiod (Op. 338-40) enjoins that we should propitiate the gods with libations and oblations 'both when you go to bed and when the divine light returns, so that they may have a favourable mind towards you'. The sun appears here only as a time-marker, but Plato (Laws 887e) refers to prostrations and hand-kissings at the rising and setting of the sun and moon among Greeks and all barbarians. He also mentions that Socrates prayed to the sun at sunrise after concluding a prolonged meditation (Symp. 220d). Orpheus was portrayed in Aeschylus' Bassarai as going up Mt Pangaion to greet HeliosApollo at sunrise. Lucian (cited above) says that whereas the Indians faced the east and performed dance movements, the Greeks contented themselves with a hand-kissing salutation.

Student Writing Center American Poetry

In his poem On the Oregon Coast, Galway Kinnell describes a conversation with fellow-poet Richard Hugo in which the two agree that as post-Darwinians it was up to us to anthropomorphize the world less and animalize, vegetable-ize, and mineralize ourselves more. We doubted that pre-Darwinian language would let us. This attempt to make language express the self's folding into the elemental world around it produces the subjects frequent in Kinnell's poetry the primal rhythms of birth and death, transcendence and mortality, raw confrontations of survival, sexual love, memory, and time. Kinnell's poetry is first and foremost personal. Sometimes his subject is a member of his family - perhaps a son's birth or a young daughter's nightmare - but the poetry is rooted in the poet's response to and meditation upon what the experiences might reveal of the human place in a world outside of human order and understanding. The poet for Kinnell is finally an The Book of Nightmares (1971) is usually...

Berssenbrugge Meimei 1947

Berssenbrugge frequently exerts, as she puts it in Naturalism (1989), an erotic concentration on a vicissitude of light. The preoccupation with ever-shifting perspectives on constantly changing visual impressions is erotic in its intensity, prolonged focus, aesthetic pleasures, and inextricability from meditation on female male and mother daughter intimacies. Even as she marks how individuals cannot master each other's subjective truths, the poet suggests that separations between a self's inside and outside are arbitrary in the long poem Endocrinology (1997), a speaker declares She can't see where her sadness ends and someone else's is. Furthermore, the erotic exploration is fraught with many disruptions and erasures of memory. An apostrophe in Fog (1989) plaintively questions If you do remember correctly, how can we compare the feeling without being influenced by what has happened since

Shapiro David 1947 David Shapiros

One of many poems that reflects upon literature's imaginative terrain, To an Idea (1983) explores a poet's mind in the act of composition. He begins by articulating, then revising a desire to write out of the experience of possibility that an abstract nothingness represents I wanted to start Ex Nihilo I mean a review of sorts. The poem transforms itself into an ode

Endymion Book I

Pass into nothingness but still will keep And breathe them sighingly among the boughs, To sue her gentle ears for whose fair head, Daily, I pluck sweet flowerets from their bed, And weave them dyingly send honey-whispers Round every leaf, that all those gentle lispers May sigh my love unto her pitying 0 charitable echo hear, and sing This ditty to her --tell her --so I stay'd My foolish tongue, and listening, half afraid, Stood stupefied with my own empty folly, And blushing for the freaks of melancholy. Salt tears were coming, when I heard my name Most fondly lipp'd, and then these accents came 'Endymion the cave is secreter Than the isle of Delos. Echo hence shall stir No sighs but sigh-warm kisses, or light noise Of thy combing hand, the while it travelling cloys And trembles through my labyrinthine hair. At that oppress'd I hurried in. Ah where Are those swift moments Whither are they fled I'll smile no more, Peona nor will wed Sorrow the way to death, but patiently Bear up...


Alexander Pope, the greatest poet of the century, had this to say on the subject of scientific Enlightenment The tribute of one genius to another, Pope's couplet brilliantly encapsulates the effect that science, in the person of the iconic Newton, had on his century. New Science offered Enlightenment indeed. Crucially, however, Pope's epigram places Newton under the fiat of God, and this is where Newton was to stay in our period science, poetry, and religion usually were to be partners rather than enemies.

Women and Science

Although women were largely debarred from professional qualifications of any sort, we should not forget that they too could contribute to the scientific Enlightenment Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was the prime mover in importing the technique of smallpox inoculation from the Middle East. Smallpox was the greatest killer of the century and the destroyer of female beauty Montagu records her own case in Saturday. The SmallPox (Six Town Eclogues, 1747, in Fairer and Gerrard 1999 282). Although Montagu was an aristocratic exception to the rule in terms of her own social power, education, and indeed general self-confidence, other female poets felt able, however cautiously, to participate in the poetic and scientific revolution of the time. Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea, wrote The Spleen as an account of her own suffering from a condition (also known as the vapours or hypochondria ) that nowadays we might loosely term depression, and showed a similarly detailed medical knowledge of her...


Regarded as the founder of Methodism, John Wesley was a High Churchman who forged his religious constancy as a counter to the worldliness of university life at Oxford, where he studied in the 1720s. He was deemed a Methodist by his friends for following a strict religious regime, and in 1738 underwent an enthusiastic conversion in which he was struck by a conviction of the love of a personal Saviour ( Jay 1983 3). Personal salvation took second place only to his will to save others, and Wesley initiated a huge conversion project, in which hundreds of thousands of believers were transformed by their own physical and emotional experience of God (Hempton 1984 12). Wesley's discovery of singing as a way to aid conversion was made during his voyage to Georgia just before his own enlightenment on board ship were a group of Moravians whose mystical Puritanism attracted the preacher far more than the latitudinarian tone of his home church. Collecting and translating their

Art Pepper

And blowing freedom into the night, into the faces Of emptiness that peer along the bar, ghosts, Shallow hulls of nothingness. Hatred of God. Hatred of white skin that never turns black. Hatred of Patti, of Dianne, of Christine. A daughter who grew up without him, a stranger. Years of being strung out, years without speaking.

Lose The Wires

Dejection was written in 1802 but was originally drafted in the form of a letter to Sara Hutchinson, the woman Coleridge loved. The much longer original version of the poem contained many of the same elements as The Nightingale and Frost at Midnight, including the same meditation on his children and their natural education. This version also referred explicitly to Sara (replaced in the later version by Lady ) and William (a clear reference to Wordsworth). Coleridge's strict revision process shortened and tightened the poem, depersonalizing it, but the earlier draft hints at just how important the poem's themes were to Coleridge personally and indicates that the feelings expressed were the poet's true beliefs about his own place in the world.

Allen Tate

Tate's poem represented his own quest of the past, as he put it in a 1928 letter. It was a quest to recover not only the cultural past of the South, but also the history of his family, which had been scattered to the four winds after the Civil War. The poem is formally complex though lacking a regular verse form, it contains a varied rhyme scheme and makes use of frequent repetition and internal rhyme. The action of the poem takes place at the gate of a Confederate graveyard on a late autumn afternoon. A lone man views the falling leaves, which remind him of the seasonal eternity of death as they pile up on the gravestones. In the second stanza, the man pauses for what Tate calls a baroque meditation on the ravages of time


Alas what boots it with uncessant care To tend the homely, slighted, shepherd's trade, And strictly meditate the thankless Muse Were it not better done, as others use, To sport with Amaryllis in the shade, Or with the tangles of Neaera's hair Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise (That last infirmity of noble mind) To scorn delights and live laborious days But, the fair guerdon when we hope to find, And think to burst out into sudden blaze, Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears, And slits the thin-spun life. RBut not the praise, Phoebus replied, and touched my trembling ears RFame is no plant that grows on mortal soil, Nor in the glistering foil

Poets Thinking

Scope This lecture is the first of three, all of which will deal with the ways in which poets think, or introduce abstract thoughts, make logical or figurative arguments, or attempt to reach philosophical conclusions via the medium of a poem. Some poets have been interested in abstract thinking (T. S. Eliot almost completed a doctorate in philosophy at Harvard Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Shelley both read deeply in Plato and contemporary German metaphysics) others, who may produce works just as deep, do not have such a pronounced academic or metaphysical bent. In any case, we shall examine ways in which poets meditate and make arguments via a variety of means.

Further Reading

Century England (New York Harper & Row, 1946) Brown, Marshall, Romanticism and Enlightenment, in The Cambridge Companion to British Romanticism, ed. Stuart Curran (Cambridge Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 25-47 Carabelli, Giancarlo, In the Image of Priapus (London Duckworth, 1996) Colley, Linda, Britons Forging the Nation 1707-1837 (New Haven and London


It could be argued that Romanticism, at least in its somewhat confined designation as a change in the history of English poetry, was a response to an unprecedented pattern of intellectual, social and political developments. The effects of the Enlightenment were felt in the theoretical underpinnings of both the French and the American revolutions. Writers such as Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, Paine and Godwin had begun to challenge and threaten the distinction between the literary and political-social functions of


England in the 1690s, to strife in Scotland, conflict with Holland and France, enlightenment in Europe. The Victorian poets, a dozen decades later, had to be responsive to a time of unprecedented growth in London, to industrialization on the one hand and art for art's sake on the other, to challenges aimed at traditional beliefs in geology, biology, and economics to famine in Ireland and to the 1848 Revolutions on the Continent. By this same logic, one could reasonably say that poets of the Romantic period were responding, well, to the sorts of things that they themselves identified in their own time the loss of the American colonies, uprising in Ireland, the emergence of mass literacy, wholesale reconfigurations of discourses of knowledge (e.g. history, moral philosophy, political economy, chemistry, physiology, electromagnetism), the new constitutional theories and reform movements in politics, and of course to the French Revolution, which many of them considered the most momentous...

Eliots Four Quartets

The poem is a meditation on time as well as place. Eliot explores temporality and the way in which human beings experience time as historical progression, as temporal moment, or as a part of eternity. The poem begins with the famous proposition, All moments in time, Eliot goes on to say, are eternally present thus there is no need to divide our experience into that of the historical past, the lived present, and the expected future. The temporal meditation of the poem is also reflected in its musical structure. Each section of the poem is itself a quartet (analogous to the string quartet as classical musical form) consisting of five movements. These movements are used to explore and develop the language, ideas, and symbols introduced in the poem.

Economou George 145

Eberhart's poetry includes meditations on landscape and, widely conceived, on spiritual aspects of the human experience. A contemporary of T. S. eliot and other poets of modernism who often shunned formal poetry, Eberhart often wrote in form. According to Bernard Engel, Eberhart is not a follower of William Carlos WILLIAMS, Ezra pound, Robert frost or any of the other influential figures in the generation immediately preceding his own. Wordsworth, Blake and perhaps Gerard Manley Hopkins are, Eberhart feels, his real poetic ancestors and he can be considered both a transcendentalist and a visionary poet (24). Eberhart's poems meditate on the relationship of the cosmos to the lived experience of the individual. In The Groundhog (1936), the speaker meditates upon a dead groundhog's decomposition. The death disturbs him deeply for his senses shook, And mind outshot our naked frailty, but two years hence the field where the groundhog died is Massive and burning, full of life. Thus does the...

Edwin Morgan

Links between poetry and science, far from being rare and strange, are actually quite hard to avoid, if one takes the whole history of poetry into account. Well-known names line up to be considered Lucretius, Dante, Milton, Goethe, Shelley, Leopardi, to which you might add Omar Khayyam, famous in the West as a poet but more famous in his own country of Persia as a mathematician and astronomer, and Virgil, whose Georgics is a fine poem but at the same time a manual of agriculture and animal husbandry, written by an author who was not a dilettante but himself a farmer. Virgil's overall title of the four-part poem, Georgicon, can be translated as 'works of earth' poet, farmer, and poem are all a part of nature and the understanding of nature and the transformation of nature. This poem looks back to Lucretius (whom Virgil admired) in being didactic. Lucretius' De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of the Universe) is first and foremost a great poem, but it has the purpose, as the author tells us...


That musing meditation most affects The pensive secrecy of desert cell, Far from the cheerful haunt of men and herds, And sits as safe as in a senate house For who would rob a hermit of his weeds, His few books, or his beads, or maple dish, Or do his grey hairs any violence But Beauty, like the fair Hesperian tree Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard Of dragon-watch with unenchanted eye To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit, From the rash hand of bold Incontinence. You may as well spread out the unsunned heaps Of miser's treasure by an outlaw's den, And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope Danger will wink on Opportunity, And let a single helpless maiden pass Uninjured in this wild surrounding waste. Of night or loneliness it recks me not I fear the dread events that dog them both, Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person Of our unowned sister. Within the navel of this hideous wood, Immured in cypress shades, a sorcerer dwells, Of Bacchus and of Circe born, great...

Stein Gertrude 475

Stanzas in Meditation (written in 1932, unpublished until 1956) is Stein's longest poem, which she wrote at her summer home in the French countryside much of it seems to refer to the landscape around her and the people who visit. Stein loved to discriminate between similar words in this case, between seeing and describing. She claims that she writes what she sees without describing it. To see is to write about something that cannot be described but only enacted the tension between words, as objects, in relation to other words objects. The referents for words only play a part in meaning language means according to how it is used. As she writes the words split Because I know by weight how eight are eight (emphasis added). To know how many things there are, she assesses how much they weigh knowledge is thus achieved indirectly. Consider these lines A plain is a mountain not made

New York Norton 1978

At the center of The Dream of a Common Language are the Twenty-One Love Poems of the second section. These free-form sonnets had earlier been published in a limited, hand-printed edition of 1,000 copies in 1976. The love for the loved woman brings an understanding to the poet in poem V of the centuries of books unwritten piled behind the shelves of books by male authors, some of those authors scorning women and homosexual love. The result is a civilization that is a half-world. The poems are a meditation upon the pain, joy, and necessary courage of lesbian love, the need for tenderness (poem X) and avoiding evasion. Following poem XIV is (THE FLOATING POEM, UNNUMBERED) which is the most frank in its physical description of intimacy, as if to take its praise of the physical joy of one woman's body for another beyond this particular relationship to the realm of possibility for all women. What is important, the final poem in this

The Argument

THIS Poem was occasioned by a little incident highly characteristic of pastoral manners. Tarafa and his brother Mabed jointly possessed a herd of camels, and had agreed to watch them alternately, each on his particular clay, lest, as they were grazing, they should be driven off by a tribe with whom their own clan was at war. But our poet was so immersed in meditation, and so wedded to his muse, that he often neglected his charge, and was sharply reproved by his brother, who asked him, sarcastically, whether, if he lost the camels, they could be restored by his poetry. You shall be convinced of it, answered Tarafa and persisted so long in his negligence that the whole herd was actually seized by the Modarites.

New York Viking 1975

Ashbery's poems follow in the path of Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore, and W. H. Auden in being poems of meditation that can take unexpected directions as part of their account of the mind thinking. In the case of Ashbery's poetry, this is part of his exploration of the nuances of ordinary experience, the origins of a poem that records it, and the interruptions and diversions that the act of recording encounters. The poems are organized around what the poem Tenth Symphony calls connexion, either as noticed by the poet or as imposed upon the narrative by the circumstance of their happening. No great claim is usually made for the experience examined beyond the implicit one that it is of interest, and that poetry is an appropriate medium in which to address it. Some poems offer in their titles apparent claims to significance, as with The One Thing That Can Save America, and Poem in Three Parts Love, Courage, and I Love the Sea , only to deflate such claims in their content. In the poems...


The idea of a privileging of qualities such as refinement, correctness, and politeness in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries is not simply an ideological construct of literary critics and historians, although it has often been overgeneralized. The process was seen in the period itself as relating to the necessary rebuilding and consolidation of English society after the trauma of the Civil Wars. This included a reaction against the religious zeal that had fueled the wars and a celebration of moderation and politeness, much-needed qualities in the development of the new public sphere of the eighteenth century. This incorporated both the urban space of coffee-houses and visible sociability, and the more symbolic space in which a new sense of public opinion was created and expressed. The prestige of English science also contributed to the sense of enlightenment from the superstition and fanaticism of the past but the alliance of Newtonian science with religion reminds us...

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