#FREE poetry book from Ritu from the 1st to the 3rd of September! Happy Birthday!
Reblogged on WordPress.com
#FREE poetry book from Ritu from the 1st to the 3rd of September! Happy Birthday!
Reblogged on WordPress.com
I have no skill for writing poetry but enjoy it and I had to share this post by Hilary Custance Green in memory of Cynthia Jobin and the joys of poetry.
Dear all, I gather that the lines of poetry are showing incorrectly in some browsers. I can’t correct them as they are fine in mine – so sorry. This is a transcript of a speech I made at Toas…
Source: For Cynthia, The delights of poetry – A Spike of Green and 6 Yellow Tulips | Green Writing Room
As you know on Fridays I bring you guest authors and books, in a shape or another, and recently I decided to start exploring classics again. As my original posts are quite old I thought it might be worth sharing some of the early ones again as many of you might not have been visiting at the time and might enjoy them.
I got many interesting suggestions for other guests that I’ve taken note of (and it’s likely that I’ll start exploring quite a few of them) but an author I know made a suggestion that resonated with me. She told me that one of her books (I’ll share in a few weeks as by the sound of it, it should be a fabulous read) follows quite closely on the steps of a famous classic and she commented on how tagging a new book related to a classic to a post on the classic itself might be a good way to kill two birds with one stone. And I thought, genius! So, although I have a few in mind, if you’ve written a book that is either a new version, a continuation, explores one of the characters, takes place in the world of a classic (or even has one of the writers as a character), or has any strong link to a classic, please let me know in the comments or contact me with the details and I’ll add it to my list.
And now, without further ado, one of my favourites. I bring you my post on Oscar Wilde. As you know I also shared the Selfish Giant over Christmas. And I’m sure I’ll keep on sharing his work.
It’s Friday and it’s again with great pleasure that I bring you one of my favourite authors. Yes, yes, he’s no longer with us but I feel he could hardly be with us more than he is. I’ve loved Oscar Wilde from a young age. I remember my friend Margarita would read everything Poe (I also enjoyed him) and I asked for the complete works of Oscar Wilde as a Christmas present. And loved them!
What can I tell you about him? There are films, biographies, and more recently even novels where he is a character in its own right (involved in quite fun intrigues).
He was born in Dublin in 1853. His father was a doctor and a well-known eminent one. His mother wrote revolutionary poems, spoke several European languages and translated many works. He had an older brother and a sister who died of Scarlet Fever (I love ‘Requiescat’…simple and touching, quite different from much of his other work).
He was an excellent student, excelled at classics, studied at Trinity College in Dublin and Magdalene College in Oxford and became enamoured with aestheticism, to the point where he went to America to deliver a series of lectures on the subject.
He was writing poetry, early plays, went to France and married Constance Lloyd an educated woman with her own mind. He wrote Dorian and in rapid succession many of his plays and became very popular.
His wit is legendary, his homosexuality too, his affair with Lord Alfred Douglas, trial, imprisonment, his famous ‘Ballad of Reading Gaol’ all well known…And he died in Paris in 1900 and you can see his grave at La Pére Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. I love Epstein’s angel sculpture on his grave (Yes, of course I’ve visited. More than once).
There are many websites about Oscar Wilde, I leave you one link but…many…
Before I offer you free links to some of his works in electronic format I will offer you some of his quotes. There are so many….
“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.”
— “An Ideal Husband”
“The Book of Life begins with a man and woman in a garden. It ends with Revelations.”
— “A Woman of No Importance”
“Most men and women are forced to perform parts for which they have no qualification.”
— “Lord Arthur Savile’s Crime”
“The public have an insatiable curiosity to know everything, except what is worth knowing.”
— “The Soul of Man Under Socialism”
“One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that, would tell one anything.”
— “A Woman of No Importance”
“I prefer women with a past. They’re always so damned amusing to talk to.”
— “Lady Windermere’s Fan”
“I don’t like compliments, and I don’t see why a man should think he is pleasing a woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of things that he doesn’t mean.”
— “Lady Windermere’s Fan”
“Men become old, but they never become good.”
— “Lady Windermere’s Fan”
“A man who moralizes is usually a hypocrite, and a woman who moralizes is invariably plain.”
— “Lady Windermere’s Fan”
And now a few links. There are also very cheap versions of his works so…
‘The Importance of Being Earnest’
‘The Picture of Doria Gray’
‘The Canterville Ghost’
‘An Ideal Husband’
The Happy Prince and Other Tales (I adore his tales. Some are just funny and amusing, but some like the Happy Prince and the Selfish Giant really have a heart).
Selected poems of Oscar Wilde
I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Thank you for reading and please, like, comment, share and CLICK!
As you know Fridays are guest author days and recently I have been bringing you the work of some bloggers I’m very fond of but who’ve never come as authors to share their books here yet, and today I have a treat. A “real” Lord. Lord David Prosser.
David Prosser was born in 1951 and worked for many years as a Local Government Officer before taking early retirement due to health problems.
Finding it difficult to talk to people as a result of the illness he found himself in the situation of being housebound most of the time.In an effort to prove to himself he still had a value he started The Buthidars which is an all denomination, all colour,all creed group determined to better the world by Hugging.There is a site dedicated to this that welcomes all people who feel the World is better by forgetting our differences whilst celebrating the individuality of all peoples.
The next step was to remind the world of Edwardian style and beg the designers to recreate it in exchange for clothing that displays too much of next weeks washing. Let’s dress with some dignity !
Often heard are the words, life begins at 40. David is trying to show that life can get a kick-start at 60 too. He chose this age to sit and write his first novel, My Basetshire Diary, a fictional look at the life of the gentry.
Book 2 which is also in diary form is a prequel telling of the days between gaining his title and now, when he performed the duties of an unofficial envoy to Her Majesty.There are times when confronted by women when it’s not sure if his stiff upper lip is enough to help him get by. !
The third book, More Barsetshire Diary is a continuation of the first book. Lord David was volunteered to help the Dreaded Edna achieve an ambition. In this book he starts the job of making her more popular when Lady J volunteers his services to help Diana The Dowager Duchess of Cheam raise enough money to save her childhood home. Maybe he can do it with the help of the Toastie Tenors and the mysterious Eileen Dover.
Here his blog:
My Barsetshire Diary
A fictitious look at Lord David’s day as a member of the Gentry living in a small village. Come and meet the villagers like Mellors the gardener with a past and Grizelda the housekeeper. Join us at the village fete where Edna is determined to win the jam making competition at any price. See how the formidable Lady J intends to knock Lord David into shape.
Is the famous stiff upper lip his only protection? Is anyone really this naive? The answer is a resounding YES !
The Queen’s Envoy
The preview to My Barsetshire Diary in which David inherits his title and retires from work only to be asked to take on a job that his late cousin did, as an unofficial envoy to HMG. Lord David is a fish out of water travelling the world trying to solve his Government’s embarrassing little problems. With him attracting the attention of so many females, and making so many new enemies can he return to the formidable Lady J in one piece?
More Barsetshire Diary
The continuing saga of a member of the gentry. Lord David Prosser has to help the dreaded Edna in her campaign to become a Councillor as well as help raise funds for Diana the Dowager Duchess of Cheam to restore her beloved first home. All this while coping with life in the village, Oscar and Lady J.
Memoirs of a superior
David Prosser, Lord of Bouldnor was selected as Ghost Writer of this book because of his intimate knowledge of the subject who dictated the stories as well as dictating David’s sleeping patterns. Oscar is a Superior among Superiors and feels his stories should be told for the betterment of all cat-kind. It can be used as a training manual as well as providing entertainment. Longlegs (Humans) may well find some value in knowing how to behave with Superiors in future. David is the author of the Barsetshire Diaries in which Oscar naturally plays a starring role. The books are. My Barsetshire Diary The Queen’s Envoy More Barsetshire Diary.
Tall Animal Tales for Toddlers & Up
A book of slightly anarchic poems for toddlers, gigglers and up!
Thanks so much to Lord David for his sense of humour and sharing his wonderful life and wit with us, thank you so much for reading, and please, like, share, comment and of course CLICK!
It is Friday and it’s guest author day. I seemed to have to write about Sir Walter Scott as he kept appearing everywhere. When I was writing last week’s post on Frederick Douglass, he chose his free-man name by adopting that of one of the characters in Sir Walter Scott’s ‘Lady of the Lake’. I was writing about Jorge Manrique, who was a Spanish knight and poet, and that made me think about knights, novels… and Sir Walter Scott. And today somebody mentioned Robbie Burns on the radio, and that made me think of Scotland and… So here he is.
Walter Scott (he was knighted by George the IV and became First Baronet) was born on the 15th of August 1771. His father was a successful solicitor and his grandfather (on his mother’s side, John Rutherford), had been Professor of Physiology at the University of Edinburgh. He contracted poliomyelitis when he was only a few months old and spent plenty of time at his grandparents’ farm in the Scottish Borders, (Tweeddale) where he showed an interest in history and the local customs.
He attended the Edinburgh High School and then with his father’s encouragement studied law at Edinburgh University (although according to one source he never took the degree exams as he only wanted to become an advocate, but passed the bar exam in 1792). Although he persevered with the legal job, he started writing poetry when he was 25 (he initially translated German poems and works). In 1797 he married Charlotte Carpenter, the daughter of a French refugee. They were happily married until her death (in 1826). They had four children. Their first born died when he was only one day old. In 1803 he published a three-volume set of collected Scottish ballads, The Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders. This was followed by many narrative poems that became extremely popular, like The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805), Marmion (1808), The Lady of the Lake (1810), Rokeby (1813) and The Lord of the Isles (1815). His depictions of the Scottish landscape, stories and customs helped to put Scotland on the radar and it became a touristic destination, fueling a fashion for all Scottish things.
He became Sheriff-Depute of Selkirk and a Principal Clerk to the Court of Session at Edinburgh. He continued to publish his own poems, reviewed, edited, set up a theatre in Edinburgh and helped fund the Quarterly Review in 1809.
Despite his great fame as poet (he declined the Poet Laureate in 1813 suggesting Robert Southey for the post) it would be his novels that would make him reach new heights in esteem and popularity. He published (anonymously) Waverley in 1814 (subtitled Sixty Years Since). This novel has been credited with creating the genre of the historical novel. Other novels dealing also with the Highlands and Jacobitism and forming part of what has become known as ‘the Waverley novels’ are Rob Roy (1817), The Heart of Midlothian (1818) and Redgauntlet (1824).
He associated with Ballantyne’s in his publishing company, and was badly affected by the bank crisis of 1825 (yes, this is not a new thing). He also had difficulties due to the financing of the built of his home at Abottsford. I have read variously that the debt amounted to between £114000 to £140000 (a fortune at the time). Rather than declare himself bankrupt, he placed his home and income into a trust belonging to his creditors and carried on writing his way out of his debts. He suffered a series of strokes and died on 21st September 1832. It seems that he had not fully paid his debt at the time but with the royalties from his books this was settled shortly after his death. He was buried at Dryburgh Abbey with his ancestors.
Some of his other novels include: Ivanhoe (set in England, 1819, probably the best known of them all), The Bride of Lammermmoor (also in 1819), Kenilworth (1821), The Fortunes Of Nigel (1822), Peveril Of The Peak (1823), Quentin Durward (1823), The Talisman (1825), Woodstock (1826), The Surgeon’s Daughter (1827), and Anne Of Geierstein (1829).
Sir Walter Scott was also one of the first authors to become internationally renowned and admired in other countries, and he toured often.
He was not only prolific, hard-working and principled, but very modest. I loved this comment that I felt I had to share:
While on holiday in Shetland he wrote:
…it would be a fine situation to compose an ode to the Genius of Sumburgh-head,
or an Elegy upon a Cormorant – or to have written or spoken madness of any kind
in prose or poetry. But I gave vent to my excited feelings in a more simple way;
and sitting gentle down on the steep green slope which led to the beach, I e’en
slid down a few hundred feet, and found the exercise quite an adequate vent to
my enthusiasm, I recommend this exercise (time and place suiting) to all my brother
scribblers, and I have no doubt it will save much effusion of Christian ink.
(I must thank Stuart Kelly at the Scottish Poetry Library for sharing it in his page. Link below)
His digital archive at the University of Edinburgh.
BBC2. Writing Scotland:
Website for Abbotsford, his home:
His page at the Scottish Poetry Library:
The Literature network:
His books in Amazon.co.uk (there a few free versions and many cheap ones):
And in Amazon.com:
This is his author page at the Project Gutenberg where you can find and download free e-books:
Some of the above links, like his digital archive, contain also online links to his works.
The header is from:
And the quote above came from:
For more pictures and information about his home:
And I leave you also an article quoting Stuart Kelly talking about Sir Walter Scott’s importance:
Thanks for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed it and if you have, please remember to like, share, comment and CLIC! Never stop reading!
As you know normally I bring you a guest on Fridays. As today is Valentine’s day, I fancied doing something different. I randomly chose some poems I like (I’ve shared some of my other favourite ones when posting about their authors and there are more to come) that I thought were suitable for the day. I decided to post them in English, Spanish and Catalan. You can pick and choose. I could not help but post Shakespeare (I’ve been feeling quite bad for not bringing him as a guest yet, but there is so much I haven’t decided how to do it yet), and e.e. cummings (or E. E. Cummings, he had his own punctuation style) always makes me smile. Regarding Luis Cernuda, I was thinking of a particular poem and looking for it could not help but add another one. The Catalan ones I just like the directness of Vicent Andrés Estellés and love the song by Serrat (that now I can’t stop singing).
And here they are:
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red, than her lips red:
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
I grant I never saw a goddess go,
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet by heaven, I think my love as rare,
As any she belied with false compare.
E.E. Cummings (or e e cummings)
i carry your heart with me
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
No decía palabras
No decía palabras,
acercaba tan sólo un cuerpo interrogante,
porque ignoraba que el deseo es una pregunta
cuya respuesta no existe,
una hoja cuya rama no existe,
un mundo cuyo cielo no existe.
La angustia se abre paso entre los huesos,
remonta por las venas
hasta abrirse en la piel,
surtidores de sueño
hechos carne en interrogación vuelta a las nubes.
Un roce al paso,
una mirada fugaz entre las sombras,
bastan para que el cuerpo se abra en dos,
ávido de recibir en sí mismo
otro cuerpo que sueñe;
mitad y mitad, sueño y sueño, carne y carne,
iguales en figura, iguales en amor, iguales en deseo.
Auque sólo sea una esperanza
porque el deseo es pregunta cuya respuesta nadie sabe.
Lee todo en: No decía palabras – Poemas de Luis Cernuda http://www.poemas-del-alma.com/no-decia-palabras.htm#ixzz2sH7iPEmp
Mi tierra eres tú.
Mi gente eres tú.
El destierro y la muerte
para mi están adonde
no estés tú.
¿Y mi vida?
Dime, mi vida,
¿qué es, si no eres tú?
Lee todo en: Contigo – Poemas de Luis Cernuda http://www.poemas-del-alma.com/contigo.htm#ixzz2sH7wO9WQ
Vicent Andrés Estellés:
No hi havia a València dos amants com nosaltres.
Feroçment ens amàvem del matí a la nit.
Tot ho recorde mentre vas estenent la roba.
Han passat anys, molt anys; han passat moltes coses.
De sobte encara em pren aquell vent o l’amor
i rodolem per terra entre abraços i besos.
No comprenem l’amor com un costum amable,
com un costum pacífic de compliment i teles
(i que ens perdone el cast senyor López-Picó).
Es desperta, de sobte, com un vell huracà,
i ens tomba en terra els dos, ens ajunta, ens empeny.
Jo desitjava, a voltes, un amor educat
i en marxa el tocadiscos, negligentment besant-te,
ara un muscle i després el peço d’una orella.
El nostre amor és un amor brusc i salvatge
i tenim l’enyorança amarga de la terra,
d’anar a rebolcons entre besos i arraps.
Què voleu que hi faça! Elemental, ja ho sé.
Ignorem el Petrarca i ignorem moltes coses.
Les Estances de Riba i les Rimas de Bécquer.
Després, tombats en terra de qualsevol manera,
comprenem que som bàrbars, i que això no deu ser,
que no estem en l’edat, i tot això i allò.
No hi havia a València dos amants com nosaltres,
car d’amants com nosaltres en són parits ben pocs.
Joan Manuel Serrat
Paraules d’amor (Serrat)
Ella em va estimar tant…
Jo me l’estimo encara.
Plegats vam travessar
una porta tancada.
Ella, com us ho podré dir,
era tot el meu món llavors
quan en la llar cremàvem
només paraules d’amor…
Paraules d’amor senzilles i tendres.
No en sabíem més, teníem quinze anys.
No havíem tingut massa temps per aprendre’n,
tot just despertàvem del son dels infants.
En teníem prou amb tres frases fetes
que havíem après d’antics comediants.
D’històries d’amor, somnis de poetes,
no en sabíem més, teníem quinze anys…
Ella qui sap on és,
ella qui sap on para.
La vaig perdre i mai més
he tornat a trobar-la.
Però sovint en fer-se fosc,
de lluny m’arriba una cançó.
Velles notes, vells acords,
velles paraules d’amor…
I could not resist adding the link to the You-Tube video of a very early rendering of ‘Paraules d’amor’ de Serrat (he was very young there):
And just in case you fancy a silly game, here it is:
Thanks for reading, and you know, if you’ve enjoyed it, don’t forget to like, share, comment and especially, love!
I recently finished listening to the audio of The Spirit of Ireland by Alan Cooke. I had listened (and read) Naked in New York where the author explores his adventures and experiences in New York, that I’ve reviewed in the past and again recommend. I’ve also watched his movie Home that I feel is a good companion piece of Naked and has the advantage of documenting Cooke’s personal journey whilst incorporating the views of New Yorkers old and young, famous and unknown, native and immigrants. He well deserves the Emmy for his writing in the film and I am at a loss to account for the lack of distribution for it.
The author, an Irish actor, now turned writer, voice coach, and creator of audio and video sketches, returned to Ireland after his visit to the US. The Spirit of Ireland is his memoir of the process of rediscovering his country, his nation, his culture, and himself. In some ways it picks up from where Naked left, but in my opinion it goes further and deeper than the previous book.
Mr Cooke combines purely autobiographical episodes (I find his remembrances of childhood scenes particularly touching) with passages where he sets his spiritual/real travels. In his trips to places known (his parents’ house, villages they used to visit when he was a child) he notes the changes experienced, the contrast between his expectations, built through years of dreaming about “home” from afar, and the sometimes stark reality. He also observes the changes inside, and how he sees and feels differently now.
In his travels to new places, places that call to him, he feels at times a communion with the elements, with the spirit and soul of Ireland that he embraces fully.
His descriptions of quasi-mythical animals (the horse that visits his house and seems to symbolise the untamed Celtic s spirit of the island), of primeval landscapes (that reflect the magical and ancestral power of the land), of people and faces will touch you, even if you, like me, have not a drop of Irish blood running through your veins. The author seems to tap into something that is at the same time profoundly personal but also universal, and through his voice he takes us to a place that is wondrous, exhilarating, frightening and raw. A place where we have to confront ourselves, and if we survive, we’ll finally be Home. I wonder if this is what Carl Jung was talking about when he referred to the Collective Unconscious.
The collective unconscious – so far as we can say anything about it at all – appears to consist of mythological motifs or primordial images, for which reason the myths of all nations are its real exponents. In fact, the whole of mythology could be taken as a sort of projection of the collective unconscious… We can therefore study the collective unconscious in two ways, either in mythology or in the analysis of the individual. (From The Structure of the Psyche, CW 8, par. 325.)
Having visited a tiny bit of West Ireland a few months ago I recognised some of the descriptions (loved the Isles of Aran and adored CD 4). I could also identify with some of the experiences (I remember my thoughts during my First Communion too). I gladly accompanied him on his visits and would love to meet the many characters he comes across, that always have stories to tell and help create a quilt of experiences and voices to illustrate the nature of the place and its people. The author, a bard and raconteur, is narrator, protagonist, interpreter, and performer. He has said in interviews that above all he is a performer and he can connect and communicate with people live in ways he feels is not possible by writing on the page. I feel he is too modest, although I must admit that the combination of the words with his voice and reading makes it irresistible. (And I take the opportunity to recommend some of his other audios too [A Christmas Carol, De Profundis, Oscar Wilde’s Fairy Tales…]. You might not want to listen to anybody else’s work after that but…).
The memoir genre has become oversubscribed. Sometimes it feels as if everybody wants to write one or has written one. Don’t worry, though. This is not your standard memoir. Although the author shares very personal and even intimate experiences (the image of his mother’s reaction when she heard of the death of her own mother, the author’s grandmother, run over by a lorry will stay with me forever), it never becomes an exercise in self-indulgence. He is the consciousness of that spirit, and you won’t get any gossip or know the everyday details of life in the Burren. I leave you a link to an interesting article posted at BerkeleyUniversity on memoirs. According to Christopher Booker’s seven basic plots, The Spirit of Ireland probably falls within the plots of ‘quest’ (Odyssey being a very apt word), ‘voyage and return’ and ‘rebirth’. And if we look at William Grimes’s article: ‘We All Have A Life. Must We All Write About It?’ it would probably fall somewhere between ‘the spiritual-journey memoir’ and ‘the spirit of place memoir’. It is all of that and more. If you want to go to places you haven’t been, get in touch with your own spirituality, and connect with collective myths, whilst listening to a beautiful and engrossing voice, I recommend you the audio of The Spirit of Ireland.
Mr Cooke sells all his work through his own website, here:
There you will also find links to his Facebook pages (where you can follow his posts, including samples of new work, photographs, etc.), his e-mail address if you want to contact him, and you can also access updates on his projects.
Thank you for reading and as if you’ve enjoyed it, remember to like, comment, share and of course CLICK!
This is the link to the article on memoirs:
Guest Classic Author: Emily Dickinson
As most Fridays, I bring you a guest author. This time is a classic, Emily Dickinson. I studied at Mount Holyoke (where famously Emily spent a year) and lived in the building named after her (that housed the Women’ Studies Department). I also visited her house in Amherst, a beautiful town and fascinating place. So although I was aware of her before, the proximity made me look into her work more closely. And I wanted to share it with you. As usual I’ll include a brief biography (Emily was a fairly reclusive character) and links and examples of her work. Also links where you can find more detailed information.
Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was born in Amherst (Massachusetts) of a family descending from the pilgrims’ times. Her paternal grandfather was one (the main) of the founders of Amherst College; her father was one of its treasurers and also served as State Legislator and representative of Hampshire district in Congress.
She had an older brother and a younger sister and her education was extensive for a girl of her time, attending Amherst Academy (for 7 years, somewhat interrupted due to ill health) and then Mount Holyoke College (briefly). She was described as a gifted musician and she had a good relationship with her father although not so good with her mother.
She seems to have been concerned and preoccupied by the deaths of those around her, including a female cousin, since she was fairly young, and that preoccupation accompanied her for the rest of her life.
A young lawyer who stayed with her family, Benjamin Franklin Newton, introduced her to the work of a variety of writers, including Wordsworth and Emerson, and he always thought of her as a poet. She was also influenced by Longfellow, Lydia Maria Child’s Letters from New York and Charlotte Brönte’s Jane Eyre.
She was very affected when the principal of Amherst Academy, and good friend, Leonard Humphrey, died at 25.
She was also good friends with Susan Gilbert, who later married her brother Austin, and who was her main correspondent.
In 1855 she visited Washington and Philadelphia with her mother, who later became bedridden, and Emily hardly left the house after that. In the late 1950s the family met Samuel Bowles, owner and editor of the Springfield Republican and he would later publish some of her poems and letters.
In the early 1860s she was very prolific and appears to have considered publication, but eventually did not come to pass. From 1866 she wrote far less and her behaviour started to change, hardly ever leaving the house. From 1867 she would talk to visitors through the door, although she continued to exchange letters and had good relationship with children. In the few occasions when she ventured outside of her house she dressed in white.
She studied botany and she was well known for her collection of plants.
Although she continued to write, she did not edit her work. The 1880s proved difficult, with her brother’s marriage breaking, her youngest nephew’s death and the death of her mother. In summer of 1884 she fainted while baking and did not recover for many hours. After that she was ill for weeks and never went back to health. In November 1885 she took to bed for several months and eventually on the 15th May 1886 she died of what was diagnosed as Bright’s disease (that the physician thought she had been suffering from for at least two and a half years).
Fewer than a dozen of her poems were published during her life and it was her sister who discovered her poems and got them published for the first time four years after her death.
“Faith” is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see—
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—
And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—
I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!
My life closed twice before its close;
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me,
So huge, so hopeless to conceive,
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.
We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.
Or rather, he passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.
We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.
Since then ’tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.
In poets’ organisation:
Her electronic archive:
The Poetry Foundation:
The Emily Dickinson International Society:
Links to her work:
Poems Series 1
Poems Series 2
Poems Series 3
And the three series in one:
As you’ll remember I brought you the work of a good friend Susana Araujo a few months ago. We met at the University of Sussex when we were both researching and writing up our PhDs in American Literature. Susana was writing about Joyce Carol Oates‘s short stories and I was writing about David Mamet’s films. We both were “blessed” with very prolific authors, still producing lots of work, and we had plenty of chance to talk, compare notes, and even taught some film courses together. Since completing her PhD Susana has gone back to Portugal and is now teaching at the University of Lisbon. We also shared our love of writing and Susana has recently published a collection of poems, Dívida Soberana. She was very kind and sent me a copy and also agreed to feature some of her poems in my blog. Although her collection is mostly in Portuguese, part 3 ‘Global Warming’ contains her own translation of some of her poems, offering a bilingual rendering in Portuguese and English. A very socially conscious collection, dealing with current situation and ever actual, I could not resist but bring you another of her poems.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
And I add some information of where to buy her book at the end. Don’t forget to click!
Será o acossar de cada palavra sintoma
de fome? Depois de teres sorvido o líquido
de todo o alfabeto e ingerido fonemas tão
garridos como o velho palhaço do McDonalds
Abriste com mãos limpas a porta do templo,
penetras o mistério das sementes de sésamo
e entre famílias inteiras: nativas e estrangeiras
sentas-te e recitas o epinício da congregação
na esperança que o teu pedido (batido de
percepções) não aborte
Pois bem. Se comes o hambúrguer em paz
é porque, efectivamente, carnes orgânicas
não salvam um planeta de si próprio
nem aliviam a dor de nenhum poeta.
Is the hunting for each word a symptom
of hunger? After you sipped the liquid
of all the alphabet and ingested phonemes
as garish as McDonald’s old clown
You opened the doors of the temple with
clean hands, penetrated the mystery of
sesame seeds and among entire families:
native and foreign, you sit and recite the hymn
of the congregation in the hope that your order
(a milkshake of perceptions) shall not abort
Well then. If you eat your burger in peace
it is because, in reality, organic meat
does not save a planet from itself, nor
does it ease a poet’s pain.
Here is he link! Don’t forget to click!
Check www.amariposa.net to order some copies.
And here I leave you a link to the previous post. Have a look, Susana’s poems should not be missed!
As you know I usually tend to write about…well, writing, on Tuesdays’ posts. I had an ‘interesting’ week last week (I got stranded in Charles de Gaulle airport due to the snow and ended up spending most of two days there. I didn’t sleep there thanks to my friend Iman and her family, and the RER [train line], but otherwise…). The change of plans gave me time to finish reading some books I had pending and I’ve done a number of reviews. I thought I’d post them here too, all together, for your enjoyment. I’ve also included the translation of the review of a book in Spanish ‘La llave del éxito’. They are all five star reviews, but very different books. I’ve also included links and hope you feel interested enough to have a look at them. And on Friday I have a guest author: Nicole Fergusson…Really looking forward to her post.
Don’t forget to click!
Nic Taylor’s A Plague of Dissent
‘Be Scared, Be Very Scared’
Don’t let the title of my review put you off. No, Nic Taylor’s A Plague of Dissent is not a horror book (although I love horror books). At least not a horror genre book. What the title refers to is the slow realisation – whilst reading the novel – that it is not only topical and the socio/historical events described very close to the bone, but the fictional elements are more than plausible. Although one might have a different opinion as to some of the premises (who organises the terrorist attacks and their reasons, for example), the actual details and planning of it sound incredibly convincing and the more horrifying for it.
The author is well versed in British current affairs and he uses them to create a multilayered background to his fictional (? we hope) story. Recent big news items (phone hacking scandal and enquiry, riots, allegations of child pornography, coalition government…) are not only part of the setting of the novel but become an integral part of the plot, and they are seamlessly woven together to create a complex and realistic tapestry. I live in the UK and must say some of the incidents and situations made me chuckle.
The novel is extremely well plotted and even minor incidents that at first sight might appear insignificant are eventually relevant and their significance revealed. A woman accidentally ran over by a car, a man caught up in the riots and injured, a rugby training session…everything falls into place like a well-oiled machine.
We get to know the main characters gradually, and they reveal themselves to be not only likeable, but also true heroes. Adam is a fantastic protagonist, who goes from being maligned by the media; in an attempt at revenge by a jealous husband, to risking his life to save…well, everybody. His brother, Dan, Ron, his friend and special agent, Isobel, his love interest, the few honest detectives and policemen, are all real people you can relate to but make a larger than life cast who can take on any situation. You would want them by your side in a moment of crisis.
‘A Plague’ is cinematic in its style, moving with ease from sweeping takes that quickly provide a general view of the national and international situation and the consequences of the events narrated, to minute takes of details such as weaponry, computer files and medication. The pace accelerates and you become gripped by the events, at once thrilled and worried as to what would happen if it were real. Would there be enough honest members of the police, and concerned citizens (like Adam and friends) to halt such a terrorist ploy?
I don’t want to give away too many of the details of the novel as not to spoil the many surprises, but I won’t hesitate in recommending it to anybody who enjoys well plotted thrillers, conspiracy theory based stories, current affairs (not only British but international), spy novels…In summary, anybody who loves a good book. I was pleased to read that Nic Taylor is planning to follow ‘A Plague’ with at least two more novels. I for one can’t wait.
Here is the link to the book in Amazon:
A Year of Book Marketing Part 1. Marketing Your Book One Day At A Time by Heather Hart.
I was familiar with Mrs. Hart’s work from some of the publications she has co-authored like ‘Book Marketing 101: Marketing Your Book on a Shoestring’ and the writers’ group of same name in LinkedIn. I asked for a copy of her book when I read her reply to another author who was after novel ways of marketing his book, and a bit tired of ‘same-old, same-old’. She kindly offered me a free copy in exchange for a review and I’m pleased to be able to respond in kind.
The idea behind the book is that it can be used (after reading the first three chapters that contain general advice on marketing, particularly useful to the novice writer) as a daily prompt/calendar, that instead of only having quotations for the day, contains an idea or marketing prompt for each day. The idea is explored in some detail and follows a quotation. Some of the quotations were familiar already (not less useful because of that), some less so, but all were at once reflective and encouraging. The clear message (if it can be simplified into one) is: work hard, consistently, focus on what works for you and you enjoy, but don’t be afraid to try new things. And Rome wasn’t built in a day.
I’m fairly new to self-publishing and marketing, although I have been trying my hand at it for a few months. I found reading Ms. Hart’s book that I’d tried some of the ideas suggested, some would not be workable for me at the moment (I’ve only published e-books so far and some of the ideas require a physical book), and some…Well, I should try. I’ve left notes to myself, and even before I read the whole book I checked the appendix and started listing my book on some of the free sites I hadn’t tried yet.
Ms. Hart’s style is easy to follow, engaging, and I particularly liked her sharing her own experiences and insights, including things she did not feel comfortable doing, and her less than successful efforts. I also liked the pace of the book, the encouragement it offers, and its emphasis on having a long-term plan, checking what one is doing and trying to maximise that, rather than frantically trying everything at once.
I read the whole book at once, rather than using it as it is intended (and that’s a limitation of my review), but will definitely be taking her advice at heart and trying some of the ideas I hadn’t considered (and some I’ve been thinking about but haven’t quite got around to…).
In conclusion I would recommend it to anybody who is into the publishing business, no matter the genre, and who feels they could benefit from encouragement and not heavy-handed expertise. And I will be looking forward to part 2.
Click on the link to buy it in Amazon:
Naked in New York. A Memoir by Emmy Winning Writer Alan Cooke
Naked in New York is one of those books that we might never have come across unless circumstances conspired to bring them to our attention, but once they do we feel fortunate because they enrich our lives.
Although I love poetry (or some poetry at least) I don’t regularly read it. I came across the author’s YouTube video where he reads an excerpt of this book (that at that point was not yet published) in Facebook. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoVOnxcdJjg
Alan Cooke is an actor, writer (poet), filmmaker, and hearing him read ‘Naked in New York’ is an experience that I can recommend wholeheartedly. It’s mesmerising, emotional and ravishing. (His audiobook is available in his website).
The memoir describes the five years the author spent in New York, shortly after the 9/11 attack. He is not only an observer but also a participant that immerses himself in the city, its people, and its atmosphere that had been hardly shaken by the incident, an open wound that has left an indelible scar. His is not a story of the American Dream come true (at times quite the opposite), but even if it was just a necessary condition to get to write this book, it would have been more than worth it.
I have had the advantage of listening to a copy of the audiobook read by the author. It has made me stop on my tracks more than once, left me speechless because of the beauty of a sentence or a moment, made me sad at times (like when he reflects upon 9/11 or on the fate of the less fortunate inhabitants of the city), made me smile (a small gesture noted, a deep shared moment with a stranger, the bird having a bath and smiling), and made me reflect and think back to moments and experiences I could identify with. I might have thought it, but he says it much better.
Naked in New York is beautiful, heartfelt, insightful, self-reflective, personal and universal at the same time. It is truly human. I can’t think of anybody who would not like this book, and I would be worried about anybody who does not. Please read it and tell others about it. There isn’t enough beauty around. We must promote it.
Click on the link to buy the book it on Amazon:
Click on the webpage to buy the audiobook:
The Key to Success. Be noticed in Amazon: Marketing for writers by Armando Rodera
I am a writer and started to publish e-books a few months ago. From that moment on (although now I know I should have started well before that, but we can always learn something new) I’ve been reading a fair amount about book marketing. I have watched podcasts, I have read how to guides, books, YouTube videos, I have taken part in groups and discussions…What I mean is this is not the first book I read about it.
What makes Armando Rodera’s book different to all the others? (Because I can assure you it’s very different). Although the majority of these book have personal examples to share about what worked or did not work for the person writing the book in their efforts at marketing, The Key to Success is something other than just a marketing book, it is the story (or as we’ve heard so often these days the ‘journey’) of the path that Mr Rodera has followed since he discovered his vocation and love for writing up to now when he’s a world renown author.
The author offers advice, but it’s based on personal experience, rather than on strategies, plans and boring formulae that might or might not apply to the personal circumstances and taste of each reader. It is a publishing business’s (independent publishing mostly) guide , but one of this annotated guides, where one pauses to read about the typical dishes of the area, the customs and habits of the people, and the folklore of the region. It’s a guide for the traveller of discerning taste and good palate.
Another thing that makes the book exceptional (in my opinion the most important one) is the sheer quality of the writing. The majority of the marketing books I’ve read are written in a fairly simple and practical way, and that’s it. The Key to Success is different. When I was reading it there came a moment when I was no longer focused on the advice and I just concentrated on the pleasure of reading the book. I can assure you that any person who reads the book and has not read any of the author’s novels will feel compelled to read them.
Read The Key to Success. Use the good advice, but most of all, enjoy the prose and style of Armando Rodera. I believe this is the real key to his success.
Click to buy it (in Spanish) here:
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to CLICK. I’m checking!