Tag Archives: T.S. Eliot

“Sunlight on a broken column.” It’s T.S. Eliot’s birthday.

Poets like William Carlos Williams and Hart Crane both said that they needed to forcibly divorce themselves from Eliot’s influence in order to be able to write. His language and influence had that strong a pull. Too much pull. His … Continue reading

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“Tennyson’s rank is too well fixed and we love him too much.” — Oscar Wilde

“He was not only a minor Virgil, he is also with Virgil as Dante saw him, a Virgil among the Shades, the saddest of all English poets.” – T.S. Eliot It’s Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s birthday, born on August 6, 1809. … Continue reading

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“Poets, the best of them, are a very chameleonic race.” — Percy Bysshe Shelley

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe Like wither’d leaves to quicken a new birth! And, by the incantation of this verse, Scatter, as from an unextinguish’d hearth Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind! Be through my lips to … Continue reading

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Rejoyce. It’s Bloomsday.

Some men send flowers to commemorate an anniversary. James Joyce wrote Ulysses. Overachiever. On June 15, 1904, young James Joyce sent a note to Nora Barnacle, who was a waitress at Finn’s Hotel. Barnacle (what an apt name) was a … Continue reading

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“That is no country for old men.”: Happy Birthday, William Butler Yeats

“I thought we might bring the halves together if we had a national literature that made Ireland beautiful in the memory, and yet had been freed of provincialism by an exacting criticism, a European pose.” — W.B. Yeats William Butler … Continue reading

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“Language most shows a man. Speak that I may see thee.” — Ben Jonson

“O rare Benn Johnson.” — Jonson’s incorrectly-spelled epitaph in Westminster Abbey It’s his birthday today. Ben Jonson did everything. Plays, poems, satires, elegies, epigrams. His talent was wide and flexible. Everything he wrote feels inevitable. However, as Michael Schmidt writes … Continue reading

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“Literature is the written expression of revolt against expected things.” Happy Birthday to the least happy man ever, Thomas Hardy

“A certain provincialism of feeling is invaluable. It is the essence of individuality, and is largely made up of that crude enthusiasm without which no great thoughts are thought, no great deeds done.” — Thomas Hardy That quote above from … Continue reading

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“When I aim at praise, they say I bite.” — Alexander Pope

How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! -— Alexander Pope, from “Eloisa to Abelard” Alexander Pope was born on this day in 1688. He was so huge … 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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