Tag Archives: Michael Schmidt

“Before verse can be human again it must learn to be brutal.” — Irish poet Austin Clarke

“He cleared a non-Yeatsian space in which an Irish poet might build a confident poetry in English for which the term ‘Anglo-Irish’ is meaningless.” – Michael Schmidt, Lives of the Poets Austin Clarke was born in Dublin on this day … Continue reading

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“Is there any virtue, for literature, for poetry, in the simple continuity of a tradition? I believe there is not.” — Irish poet Thomas Kinsella

The Dolmen Press, operated out of Dublin, was founded in 1951 by Liam Miller, and played a crucial part in the development of Irish poetry in the mid-20th century. It was a strictly nationalist operation; before The Dolmen Press, poets … Continue reading

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When proud-pied April, dressed in all his trim, / Hath put a spirit of youth in everything …

Today is (supposedly, roughly) the birthday of William Shakespeare. April 23, 1564. (Title of the post from Sonnet 98.) One of the things I think about when I think about Shakespeare, is my late great teacher Doug Moston, who died … Continue reading

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“Some syllables are swords.” — Metaphysical poet Henry Vaughan

”I’ve always been much influenced by the 17th-century metaphysical poets like Donne, and especially Henry Vaughan.” — Philip K. Dick It’s Henry Vaughan’s birthday today. I was just thinking the other day about how I encountered certain famous writers in … Continue reading

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“For I am of the seed of the WELCH WOMAN and speak the truth from my heart.” Happy Birthday, Poet Christopher Smart

“For in my nature I quested for beauty, but God, God hath sent me to sea for pearls.” — Christopher Smart, from “Jubilate Agno” Christopher Smart, born on this day in 1722, spent over 10 years of his life locked … Continue reading

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“For never has such soothing voice / Been to your shadowy world convey’d…” — Matthew Arnold on William Wordsworth

“I have said that poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings; it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity; the emotion is contemplated till by a species of reaction the tranquillity gradually disappears, and an emotion, kindred to … Continue reading

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“Art indeed is long, but life is short.” — Metaphysical poet Andrew Marvell

“Andrew Marvell spans three ages like a delicate but serviceable bridge. The first length spans Charles I’s reign and fall, the second spans the Commonwealth, the third the Restoration.” — Michael Schmidt, Lives of the Poets It’s his birthday today. … Continue reading

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“Attention equals Life.” — Frank O’Hara

“I am the least difficult of men. All I want is boundless love.” – poet Frank O’Hara It’s his birthday today. First up: I launched my column at Film Comment with a piece about American poet Frank O’Hara’s love of … Continue reading

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“Too many poets delude themselves by thinking the mind is dangerous and must be left out. Well, the mind is dangerous, and must be left in.” — Robert Frost

“[The poem] begins in delight, it inclines to the impulse, it assumes direction with the first line laid down, it runs a course of lucky events, and ends in a clarification of life–not necessarily a great clarification, such as sects … Continue reading

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“I did not begin to write poetry in earnest until the really emotional part of my life was over.” — poet A.E. Housman

OUCH, A.E. OUCH. He was born in 1859 and he died in 1936. That generation saw so much change it boggles the mind, and I say that as a member of a generation which grew up sans internet – who … Continue reading

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