Tag Archive: John Keats


Poetic flavours from Flavorwire

  • Your Favorite Poets’ Favorite Books of Poetry

  • 23 People Who Will Make You Care About Poetry in 2013- ( In the context of Rape Joke by By Patricia Lockwood )

  • The Fascinating, Handwritten Poems of Famous Authors

“Poets don’t draw. They unravel their handwriting and then tie it up again, but differently,” Jean Cocteau once said. When examining the handwritten poems of famous authors — those made popular by their texts and several famous for other art forms — there is an unparalleled intimacy that typed words cannot convey. Many of these poems were born from spontaneous bursts of creativity or late-night meditations, unsparing and instinctive in thought. Words are ostensibly silent, but these handwritten poems speak volumes about their creators. See what poets put pen to paper and revealed their inner worlds.

shelley

 

dickinson

 

Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Poems

 

Emily Dickinson wrote many of her poems on torn scraps of paper, envelopes, and other fragments. Artist Jen Bervin and Dickinson scholar Marta L. Werner have compiled a beautiful collection of the writer’s “envelope poems” in The Gorgeous Nothings, releasing this October. You can pre-order the book about Dickinson’s “crucially important, experimental late work,” or spring for the limited-edition.

 

fitz

 

 

 

dylan

 

Bob Dylan, “Little Buddy”

 

“Your too late sir my doggy’s dead.”

 

A teenage Bob Dylan, born Bobby Zimmerman, proved to be a lyrical artist at an early age in this poetic revision of the Hank Snow song, “Little Buddy.” The future singer-songwriter saw his poem published in the Herzl Herald — the official newspaper of the Wisconsin camp where Dylan spent summers (but didn’t learn the difference between “your” and “you’re”).

 

ode

 

John Keats, “Ode to a Nightingale”

 

Looking at the Romantic poet’s handwritten verse, we can almost imagine him under a plum tree in the garden of his London home. Keats’ friend Charles Armitage Brown observed the poet deep in thought while composing one of his most famous works:

 

“In the spring of 1819 a nightingale had built her nest near my house. Keats felt a tranquil and continual joy in her song; and one morning he took his chair from the breakfast-table to the grass-plot under a plum-tree, where he sat for two or three hours. When he came into the house, I perceived he had some scraps of paper in his hand, and these he was quietly thrusting behind the books. On inquiry, I found those scraps, four or five in number, contained his poetic feelings on the song of our nightingale.”

 

See more handwritten pages by Keats, here.

 

monroe

 

 

 

poe

 

Virginia Clemm Poe’s Valentine’s Day Poem to her Cousin and Husband Edgar Allan Poe

 

“Ever with thee I wish to roam —
Dearest my life is thine.
Give me a cottage for my home
And a rich old cypress vine,
Removed from the world with its sin and care
And the tattling of many tongues.”

 

Although Poe’s teenage wife (his first cousin) was not a poet, she wrote this Valentine’s Day prose to him in 1846 – the year before she died of tuberculosis. At the time, she lived with the troubled author in a small cottage in Fordham (Bronx), New York. The “tattling of many tongues” is believed to be a reference to Poe’s scandalous relationship with writer Frances Sargent Osgood, who was married — though people had plenty to talk about when it came to the boozy, tormented Poe.

 

Bronte

 

Charlotte Brontë’s Tiny Poem

 

“I’ve been wandering in the greenwoods
And mid flowery smiling plains
I’ve been listening to the dark floods
To the thrushes thrilling strains.”

 

The Brontë sisters often wrote their works in a minuscule handwriting on whatever scraps of paper they could find. A magnifying glass is often required to read the texts. ………

 

 

carroll

 

 

emily

 

“There is No Frigate Like a Book (1286),” by Emily Dickinson

 

Short, sweet escapism:

 

There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page (read the rest here)

 

thomas

 

“Notes on the Art of Poetry,” by Dylan Thomas

 

The Welsh writer waxes lyrical about the “delight and glory and oddity and light” between pages:

 

I could never have dreamt that there were such goings-on
in the world between the covers of books,
such sandstorms and ice blasts of words,
such staggering peace, such enormous laughter,
such and so many blinding bright lights,
splashing all over the pages (read the rest here)

 

 

 

 

 

pablo

 

“Ode to the Book,” by Pablo Neruda

 

The Chilean poet advises that books invite new possibilities, but we should never forget that wisdom is also gained from experience:

 

When I close a book
I open life.
I hear
faltering cries
among harbours.

 

(read the rest here)

 

RLS

 

“The Land of Story-books,” by Robert Louis Stevenson

 

The magic of books as seen through a child’s eyes:

 

At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play at anything.

 

Now, with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back.

 

There, in the night, where none can spy,
All in my hunter’s camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Till it is time to go to bed.

 

(read the rest here)

 

Painting of William Wordsworth

 

“The Prelude (Book Fifth — Books),” by William Wordsworth

 

An epic poem that frames books as doors to dream worlds and autobiographical reflections:

 

While listlessly I sate, and, having closed
The book, had turned my eyes toward the wide sea.
On poetry and geometric truth,
And their high privilege of lasting life,
From all internal injury exempt,
I mused; upon these chiefly: and at length,
My senses yielding to the sultry air,
Sleep seized me, and I passed into a dream.  (read the full poem here)

 

 

service

 

We couldn’t choose a favorite between these charming Robert William Service poems — one of which laments that the writer never has enough time to read as much as he’d like (i.e. all the time):

 

“Bookshelf,” by Robert William Service

 

I like to think that when I fall,
A rain-drop in Death’s shoreless sea,
This shelf of books along the wall,
Beside my bed, will mourn for me.

 

(read the rest here)

 

“Book Lover,” by Robert William Service

 

I keep collecting books I know
I’ll never, never read;
My wife and daughter tell me so,
And yet I never head.
“Please make me,” says some wistful tome,
“A wee bit of yourself.”
And so I take my treasure home,
And tuck it in a shelf.

 

And now my very shelves complain;
They jam and over-spill.
They say: “Why don’t you ease our strain?”
“some day,” I say, “I will.”
So book by book they plead and sigh;
I pick and dip and scan;
Then put them back, distrest that I
Am such a busy man. (read the rest here)

 

 

macdowell

 

“Old Books,” by Margaret Widdemer

 

The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet reminds us that books are the best kind of soul medicine:

 

The people up and down the world that talk and laugh and cry,
They’re pleasant when you’re young and gay, and life is all to try,
But when your heart is tired and dumb, your soul has need of ease,
There’s none like the quiet folk who wait in libraries–
The counselors who never change, the friends who never go,
The old books, the dear books that understand and know!

 

(read the rest here)

 

guest

 

“Good Books,” by Edgar Guest

 

The homespun poet allows us to identify with his sheer joy and appreciation for books:

 

Good books are friendly things to own.
If you are busy they will wait.
They will not call you on the phone
Or wake you if the hour is late.
They stand together row by row,
Upon the low shelf or the high.
But if you’re lonesome this you know:
You have a friend or two nearby. (read the rest here)

 

 

 

 

 

Its “It’s been a while  since i’ve done an excerpt from brainpickings  ,  a  few picks from the interesting website

How Inviting the Unknown Helps Us Know Life More Richly   –

“The unknown was my encyclopedia. The unnamed was my science and progress.”

“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves,” Rilke famously urged. “It is possible to live and NOT know,” Richard Feynman dissented in his memorable meditation on the responsibility of scientists. John Keats called for “negative capability” — that peculiar art of remaining in doubt “without any irritable reaching after fact & reason.” Debbie Millman advised to look both ways when lingering at the intersection of the known and the unknown. And yet we continue to grasp for the security of our comfort zones, the affirmation of our areas of expertise, the assurance of our familiar patterns — however badly they may need rewiring.

The Diary of Anais Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947 (public library) — It is possible I never learned the names of birds in order to discover the bird of peace, the bird of paradise, the bird of the soul, the bird of desire. It is possible I avoided learning the names of composers and their music the better to close my eyes and listen to the mystery of all music as an ocean. It may be I have not learned dates in history in order to reach the essence of timelessness. It may be I never learned geography the better to map my own routes and discover my own lands. The unknown was my compass. The unknown was my encyclopedia. The unnamed was my science and progress.

It is a sign of great inner insecurity to be hostile to the unfamiliar.

Maya Angelou on Freedom: A 1973 Conversation with Bill Moyers

by

“You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all.”

Well, one works at it, certainly. Being free is as difficult and as perpetual — or rather fighting for one’s freedom, struggling towards being free, is like struggling to be a poet or a good Christian or a good jew or a good Moslem or a good Zen Buddhist. You work all day long and achieve some kind of level of success by nightfall, go to sleep and wake up in the next morning with the job still to be done. So you start all over again.

She addresses the laziness of stereotypes:All you have to do is put a label on somebody. And then you don’t have to deal with the physical fact. You don’t have to wonder if they are waiting for the Easter bunny or love Christmas, or, you know, love their parents and hate small kids and are fearful of dogs. If you say, oh, that’s a junkie, that’s a nigger, that’s a kike, that’s a Jew, that’s a honkie, that’s a — you just — that’s the end of it.

When Moyers asks Angelou what wisdom she’d share with a hypothetical young daughter — a question that would sprout the wonderful Letter to My Daughter more than three decades later — she offers:

I would say you might encounter many defeats but you must never be defeated, ever. In fact, it might even be necessary to confront defeat. It might be necessary, to get over it, all the way through it, and go on. I would teach her to laugh a lot. Laugh a lot at the — and the silliest things and be very, very serious. I’d teach her to love life, I can bet you that.

Moyers asks Angelou how, despite the devastating events of her life, she managed to “stay open to the world, open to hope,” and she reflects:

Well, I think you get to a place where you realize you have nothing to lose. Nothing at all. Then you have no reason to bind yourself. I had no reason to hold on. I found it stupid to hold on, to close myself up and hold within me nothing. So I decided to try everything, to keep myself wide open to human beings, all human beings — seeing them as I understand them to be, not as they wish they were, but as I understand them to be. Very truthfully — not idealistically, but realistically. And seeing that if this person knew better he would do better. That doesn’t mean that I don’t protect myself from his actions, you know.