Tag Archives: Poetry

Emily Dickinson’s Summer Reveries

(c) Copyright 2017 Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved Summer, The Dickinson Homestead, Amherst, Mass. Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most beloved and misunderstood poets was an astute observer and student of the natural world.  Nature’s changing pageantry, big bold and … Continue reading

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Ben Lerner’s ‘The Hatred of Poetry’ Revels in Paradox

Heads up, Poets. This review in Flavorwire (6/9/16) of Ben Lerner’s recent book-length essay on the disappointments and shortcomings of poetry is worth reading. Says reviewer Jonathan Sturgeon, “The Hatred of Poetry is an important essay because it doubles as … Continue reading

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Of Poets and Poetasters: National Poetry Month

So what’s a poetaster? Most people are pretty sure they know what a poet is, but poetaster, first used by Ben Jonson in 1600, has fallen into disuse. Well, fact is, though we throw the word poet around with flippant … Continue reading

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What Rough Beast?

“William Butler Yeats is widely considered to be one of the greatest poets of the 20th century.” The Poetry Foundation  And I certainly agree. At the risk of becoming a Yeats “bore,” I am going to provide my readers with … Continue reading

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“A Prayer for My Daughter” –William Butler Yeats

And now, dear friends, enjoy one of the greatest poets in the English language and one of his most highly regarded poems. I’ve been dipping into Yeats’ Collected Poems and savoring them for many years, but recently this one  really … Continue reading

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“A Child Was Born in a Cave to Save the World”

Joseph Brodsky was an emigre poet from the Soviet Union who lived in New York City, and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1987. He was an amazingly gifted, modest man.  He wrote in English after emigrating as an … Continue reading

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“Beauty crowds me till I die.” Emily Dickinson

Here are some of my favorite lines from my favorite poets–just to share and for the heck of it.  Poetry (the really good stuff) has always been my favorite genre as both a reader and writer. The above line is … Continue reading

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“The Frog in my Boot by the Door” a prose poem

Note: I have been so busy editing books for other writers that I have had almost no time to do my regular blogging.  I hope you’ll forgive me dear friends, but I have come up with sort of a makeshift … Continue reading

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“Hope Is the Thing with Feathers”

The following famous Emily Dickinson poem is apropos for any author concluding the arduous process of writing a book (as in your truly). A certain amount of apprehension always attends these times, apprehension in particular that the book will find … Continue reading

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In like a Lion, Out like a Lamb

Readers of this blog will know I’m a life long Emily Dickinson fanatic and have studied and written about her for years. In this messy business we call early spring, it seems I never fail to recollect her many poems … Continue reading

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This year’s National Poetry Month poster

National Poetry Month (is this an organization, an alliance or what?)  in this great land of ours is April and “it” has just released its annual poster which is rather cute.

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Tradition and the Individual Talent – T.S.Eliot

[This is in  a sense a public service announcement of sorts, a refresher, if you will, for poets and would be poets of all stripes among us.  Eliot’s erudition is bullet proof.  If you don’t study the masters, you will … Continue reading

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“Satisfaction is a lowly thing, how pure a thing is joy.” — Marianne Moore

Need a lift or some inspiration to escape the gloom of winter and the doldrums of the winter heart? Here’s a short, beautiful poem that might impart the courage and resolve to get through the season (and life!) by the … Continue reading

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The Flood

After re-reading Emerson’s essay “The Poet” late last night, I became more convinced than ever that human beings have never been more miserable and unhappy than in the last century. This, despite more material abundance, security and personal freedom than … Continue reading

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“Thanks!” Let’s Mean It When We Say It!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, GUYS! A wee bit of social criticism on our Thanksgiving customs from a renowned poet– “Thanks” W. S. Merwin, 1927 Listen with the night falling we are saying thank you we are stopping on the bridges to bow … Continue reading

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T.S Eliot Lite

Stumbled on this on You Tube, for what it’s worth.  Was looking for him reading his lecture “The Music of Poetry.” Not there.  Figures. TS Eliot Lite

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“The Second Coming”–Circles or Lines? Cyclical or Linear? – History, Life and “Us”

I had a fascinating exchange of emails with a gifted poet recently about a poem he had written entitled “Circles.”Initially, I had mis-read the poem, missed his intent and allusions (happens to all of us on off days ;). And … Continue reading

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Have Hit a Major Roadblock – POETS ON POETRY – No “Emotional Slither!”

My library is fated to swell and I to be buried in the falling, cascading books from the shelves. An appropriate end for a misspent life, I suppose, monomaniacally focused on books. Have unearthed a modest looking old paperback anthology … Continue reading

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Oh, Eliot, You Wonderful, Infernal, Old Dog of My Heart

       (c) Copyright 2014, Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” ― T.S. Eliot I received a jolt, as I always do, when I opened … Continue reading

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“I will drink life to the lees” – Tennyson’s “Ulysses”

Poor Tennyson, like so many of the Victorians today, he can come across as pompous, grandiose, even corny.  Or, worse, quaint. That is our loss, I think, and a result of our own myopia and a contraction of our brains … Continue reading

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Into the Silver Dawn -“All in green went my love riding” – e.e. cummings

  I’m on a poetry trip here lately, and not that I go looking for trouble, or even that I am actually reading poetry (that’s a trap and routine buster for me, to tell the truth, everything inconsequential – not … Continue reading

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On a Darkling Plain – “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold

I stumbled on this wonderful old poem today and was wracked  once more by its beauty – in structure, meter, image, theme, everything in the poetics toolkit-so masterfully melded, pulled together, so plaintively and  profoundly phrased,no wonder that it’s a … Continue reading

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From Wallace Steven’s “Examination of the Hero in Time of War”

Wallace Stevens, magnifico American poet of the mid-twentieth century, a giant truly whom general readers are only now beginning to appreciate. For Stevens, Imagination was the supreme faculty of mankind. Utterly mysterious, transformative, redemptive and given to only a privileged … Continue reading

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“The Waking” by Theodore Roethke

After posting the poem”My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke on Father’s Day, I’ve been off on  a Roethke tangent, I confess, revisiting many of my fav Roethke poems.  Here’s one that lodged itself in my brain long ago like a … Continue reading

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“Poetry: Who Needs It?” by William Logan in today’s NY Times

“Poetry: Who Needs It?” by William Logan in today’s NY Times.

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“Poetry: Who Needs It?” by William Logan in today’s NY Times

“The dirty secret of poetry is that it is loved by some, loathed by many, and bought by almost no one.”—William Logan ~.~ I know several readers of this humble blog (including its writer) are deeply interested in poetry. Many … Continue reading

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Happy Father’s Day! “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke

Here is a poem that came to mind this morning by a great 20th Century American poet, Theodore Roethke.  His father was a horticulturist, maintained several greenhouses and plant nurseries.  Roethke said once that the greenhouse was for him a  … Continue reading

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Hot tip for aspiring writers today: Ploughshares Emerging Writers Contest

The prestigious literary magazine Ploughshares with a long distinguished history of discovering and publishing tomorrow’s literary greats, has announced this year’s “Emerging Writers Contest.” Go for it, hatchling writers!  Whether you win or not, you will get experience and exposure, … Continue reading

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“What Each of Us Is Seeking the Poet Already Knows” – Harvard Classics (now free online)

Poetry: A General Introduction. HARVARD  CLASSICS The Harvard Classics have just now become available–for free– online. The nearly 60 books in this series are so well written, erudite, thoughtful and stimulating, that I want to share them with you. If … Continue reading

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“Why are we by all creatures waited on?”

  What can one add to a poet like Donne? Exegesis is pointless John Donne

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A Star in My Eyes

From the NY Times a few years ago and on my fridge behind a magnet ever since. Brodsky is or was – as a poet – so big, I hesitate to offer any commentary. That’s big (and maybe not dead … Continue reading

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A Certain Slant of Light, Winter Afternoons

Winter has its charms and compensations, yes, and a terrible abbreviated monochromatic beauty, but it’s also a challenge for certain light sensitive, shivery types, requiring ever-increasing degrees of resolve as they march deeper into December, dreading January and that thing … Continue reading

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Split the Lark–and You’ll Find the Music?

           A recent online exchange with a fellow blogger about the inexpressible and inexplicable nature of really great books brought to mind the following poem by Emily Dickinson. I thought I’d share it with you for it captures so concisely and … Continue reading

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New Online Emily Dickinson Archive

This reclusive, intensely shy and private poet, virtually ignored by the literati during her 19th century  lifetime, has acquired a staying power and an exponentially growing reputation today that would have shocked the socks off the people who knew her … Continue reading

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“By Night when Others Soundly Slept”

  I had an fairly elaborate post in the works for National Poetry Day, but alas, life intervened and blew it out of the water for the time being.  I will finish it and post it later, but I ran … Continue reading

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Bogland

Originally posted on scienceandartblog:
Seamus Heaney, the Irish poet who won The Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, died last week aged 74. His 1966 poems Death of a Naturalist give the essence of his early life tending the soil as a…

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“Feeling into Words” by Seamus Heaney

“The poet is on the side of undeceiving the world. It means being vigilant in the public realm. But you can go further still and say that poetry tries to help you to be a truer, purer, wholer being.” SEAMUS … Continue reading

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Emily Dickinson’s Encounters with the Sublime

© Copyright 2013, Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved.                                          Nature and God – I neither knew                    Yet Both so well knew me                    They startled, like Executors                    Of My identity.—E.D. I’ve read, studied and written about … Continue reading

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A Bird Came Down the Walk

For some reason my Dickinsonia instincts and my deep appreciation of her poetry kick in full blast in the summer and winter (“There’s a certain slant of light/On winter afternoons/That oppresses like the heft/Of cathedral tunes” etc). But today I observed … Continue reading

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The Sound of One Leg Rapping

Cricket song in the summer, particularly at night, is one of the wonders and pleasures of the season.  Their sweet tinny chorus rises and falls resonantly,  is the soundtrack for a host of happy outdoor activities this time of year, and … Continue reading

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Love Fled

The creative person’s life is full of bunny trails, astonishments/surprises (most pulled off by the powerful imagination which hides out, resides in the murk of the unconscious.  It will not be thwarted; it will prevail.). One thing leads to another.  … Continue reading

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Losing

It’s inevitable.  It’s part of life. It doesn’t get any easier. Loss piled upon loss probably can become too much for some people. After putting up the previous post about my poor ole sweet dogs and parrot, Eddie, Booger and … Continue reading

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Oranges in a Sunny Chair: Wallace Stevens’ “Sunday Morning”

Sunday traditionally has been a time for reflection, easy speculation, and many of us call a truce with the nattering details of our lives to indulge our senses and explore with greater interest and attention the possible sense in things (if anything). Poetry, the best, … Continue reading

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The Flower That Splits the Rocks: What Poetry Has to Do With Everything

  It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.[21] William Carlos Williams 1883-1963 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Carlos_Williams Related articles spring… and all (in2thewood.com) The therapeutic capacity of POETRY (connectingmindbodybreath.wordpress.com)

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Raising Some Hell: The Inferno and Its Often Hellish Translators & Rips

(c) Copyright 2013, Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved [Posting this here as a follow up to “Our Words Indict Us” (see below).] I’m on a bit of soapbox here, but I think these are important issues that discriminating readers, curious … Continue reading

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Our Words Indict Us

(c) Copyright 2013, Margaret Langstaff, All Rights  Reserved “What a piece of work is man.”  It takes genius to fully render him, both in time and for all time. Trying to verify a phrase and give correct attribution for a … Continue reading

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“When I have Fears that I may Cease to be” by John Keats (read by Tom O’Bedlam)

Originally posted on Learnalltheway:
John Keats, Portrait by William Hilton, after Joseph Severn (National Portrait Gallery, London). (Photo credit: Books18)   When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be BY JOHN KEATS When I have fears that I may…

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“’Dear Patron:’ A Savage Terrorist Attack on the Weakest Most Vulnerable Members of Western Civilization, Book Critics!”

[NOTE AND BACKGROUNDER: This is a slightly edited version—for reasons of privacy only—of a real  email a colleague of mine received recently.  Identifiers, names, addresses, urls etc. have been X’ed out.  Book Critics (sullied by some recurrent craven disreputable yellow-bellied … Continue reading

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Need to Chill?

Sometimes you just really need to kick back, detach, and escape from the nattering, frustrating minutia and bad news of everyday life. Especially today. One of my favorite poets is my perfect fix for this desperate neediness, and one of … Continue reading

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A Valentine for Emily Dickinson

(c) Copyright 2013, Margaret Langstaff, All Rights Reserved. WARNING, STUDENTS: DO NOT COPY & PASTE We’ll get ya, count on it! For all the critical and popular acclaim she receives today, the poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) passed her life in … Continue reading

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