In 1900, James Weldon Johnson composed the hymn, "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," for a school celebration of the birthday of Abraham Lincoln. His brother later added a melody to the lyric, and in 1919, the NAACP designated it the "Negro National Hymn (Anthem)."
Robert Hayden’s unique service to the world of poetry extends beyond that narrow world to his useful assistance in introducing to the culture information about the Baha’i faith, which influenced his own vision in seeing race through the lens of universality rather than tribalism.
This is a book review on one of the most riveting books I read this year. It is based on a true story between the two authors who come from completely different walks of life and manage to forge a life-changing friendship.
A brief analysis of one of the American classics. Here my thoughts on "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell.
The City We Became, by NK Jesimin, is a five-borough Big Apple bust. Whether digested for 60 seconds or 1800 seconds per day, the worm in that apple produces literary indigestion. Lunchtime Lit ponders uninspiring Avatars here, and other issues.
This article looks at the meaning in the short story "Reunion" by John Cheever. It starts with a summary, then looks at themes and some relevant questions.
Genevieve Taggard's 'With Child' focuses on pregnancy and the feelings of the mother towards her baby growing inside. Based on her own experiences, the contrast between the physical challenge and the emotional reaction is neatly handled.
Terrifying Chinese ghosts and demons are the staple of Liaozhai, the classic Chinese compilation of supernatural stories.
This article looks at the meaning in the short story "Miss Awful" by Arthur Cavanaugh. It starts with a summary then looks at themes and some questions.
Emily Dickinson’s mystical affinity informs many of her poems. She invested much of her poetic capital in acquiring knowledge of existence beyond earth-life, and many of her poems include messages from that great beyond.
This article looks at the meaning in the short story "The Scholarship Jacket" by Marta Salinas. It includes a summary, then looks at theme and some questions.
"Veniss Underground," the horror-fantasy novel by Jeff VanderMeer, is "Dante's Inferno" meets Planet of the Meerkats.
Haruki Murakami is undoubtedly one of the greatest fiction writers of the modern era. For those who have not picked up a Murakami book yet, this article is a quick and easy guide on which works from the author you should look out for.
The theme of a piece of literature is a deeper message about human nature that reoccurs in multiple ways throughout the work. It is different from topic. There are two easy ways to understand theme in literature.
This poem is an unusual sonnet created by Hopkins to express his Christian faith in the apocalyptic return of Christ. Using the Heraclitean theory of nature, always in flux, ever-changing, as a contrast to the fixed idea of cleansing and an afterlife.
John Donne’s early poems focus on a deceitful mind that hankers after sexual gratification. In his later life, he completely turns away from those feelings, understanding their destructive effect on his physical health, mental acuity, and spiritual development.
'A Hot Noon in Malabar' focuses on alienation, identity and emotional longing. A poem of two halves reflecting the split in the mind of the speaker, far away from her family home, the place of good memories. Her present situation is dark, full of strangers on such a hot noon.
'The Universe as Primal Scream' explores the emotional reaction we have when we hear children scream and cry. As humans, we're grounded in reality, yet what is our role in the bigger scheme of things? Are we insignificant? Are we helpless victims?
This article offers a summary and analysis of Macbeth's tomorrow soliloquy. It also examines key analytical points, summarizes the meanings of words and phrases, explains ideas and expressions used by Macbeth in his final soliloquy, and breaks down the differences between a monologue and an aside.
'Soonest Mended' explores alienation, the process of fitting in and adjusting to society. Daily life is one thing but true identity and self awareness are perhaps more vital. Ashbery's poem questions then answers, evaluates how to stay true to oneself.
This article looks at the meaning in the short story "Two Kinds" by Amy Tan. It includes a summary and an examination of themes and other important points.
"Polaris", published in December of 1920, was one of H.P. Lovecraft's earlier stories. Following an unnamed narrator into the mystery of a foreign dream land, this short story is packed with mysteries waiting to be unboxed and analyzed.
Shakespeare's 'Sonnet 59' explores the idea that beauty as newly embodied in 'the fair youth' stands the test of time. The speaker wants to know if his new feelings are valid by looking back through 500 courses of the sun. Based on a biblical text, 'there is no new thing under the sun.'
"The Cats of Ulthar" is one of H.P Lovecraft's favorite short stories. But do you know the history behind this iconic piece of work? With Egyptian history, Anglo-Irish inspiration, and of course the familiar Lovecraftian mystery, there's more behind the words.
Addressing his muse, the speaker confesses that he has behaved in ways that he now detests and rejects, and he affirms his dedication to truth and love.
Rudyard Kipling is often referred to as a British poet laureate, but he turned down that honor as well as the knighthood when they were offered to him in 1907. He did accept the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907; he was the first English writer to be awarded that honor.
A classic tale of redemption, hope, appreciation, generosity, and hopefulness. It should sit on every home’s library shelf, and be read every year at Christmas time, a reminder of the hope and joys of the season that can accompany a grateful, kind heart.
Chris Colfer's "The Wishing Spell" is a great initial adventure-fantasy book intended for both children and adults alike, giving its readers glimpses of modern-day fairy tales.
John Milton's 'On His Blindness'—or Sonnet 19 aka 'When I Consider How My Light Is Spent'—focuses on spiritual and creative strength and man's relationship with God. Milton, totally blind by the spring of 1652, learns of accepted patience. Biblical allusions to parables, faith and salvation abound.
Many of Emily Dickinson’s poems suggest that the poet experienced a number of mystical awakenings—events that, no doubt, informed and directed her skill in speaking about ineffable subjects. This poem is one of her most profound in elucidating her situation after such an experience.
Emily Dickinson’s speaker in this jaunty little poem dramatizes an effusion of emotion after becoming enthralled by watching the many machinations of snowflakes as they dance their way through the air before landing on their targets of earthly entities.
Sonnet 30 is one of "The Muse Sonnets," mistakenly thought to be addressed to a young man, but no young man appears in this group of sonnets; no person appears at all. The "dear friend" does not refer to a person but to the speaker’s talent. He is addressing his ability to create poetry.
The speaker in Shakespeare Sonnet 28 is suffering writer’s block and complains that both day and night seem to be conspiring to keep him from fulfilling his belovèd writing duties. He employs this time frame that remains all-inclusive, emphasizing that his mind is constantly focused on his issue.
The speaker of this thematic group of Shakespeare sonnets, "The Muse Sonnets," discovers that even when he is exhausted from a hard day’s work, his mind is wide-awake thinking about and planning the details of his next poem.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s "Christmas Bells" is a widely anthologized poem that celebrates the winter holiday. It features a phrase associated famously with the Christmas season in its chant, "Of peace on earth / Good-will to men."