Ferlinghetti's Two Scavengers in a Truck is an immediate snapshot of a scene in San Francisco, where garbage men look down on a wealthy couple in their Mercedes at a red stoplight. Free verse rules, irony underpins and the speaker questions the democratic system and the social divide.
Sonnet 55 focuses on time, immortality and the power of poetry. The essence of his lover will be preserved forever, in the poem. It will outlast fine monuments, wars, death and unclean time.
Robert Browning's dramatic monologue is all about power and the psychology of possession. The curiously disturbing Duke of Ferrara, who is telling lies, or truths, to an emissary of the next family he will marry into, comments on his last duchess, now a painting on the wall. A satire on the elite?
A writer's notebook or inspiration journal is a great way to inspire yourself through quotes, writing prompts, poems, pictures, or really anything else you find interesting.
Where I'm From is a poem all about identity and the places and things of memory that make us what we are. From clothespins to those special moments that create our uniqueness and George Lyon's.
Such keen observation, such vivid imagery together with simile and figurative language make this apparently simple poem so much more than the catching of a big fish. Elizabeth Bishop's poem, with short terse lines and evocative description, is a neat summing up of the human versus nature issue.
The Trees is a poem that reflects Larkin's love of spring and his fascination with natural cycles of renewal. Subtle rhythm and rhyme capture the mysterious growth of leaves, mortality, a tree's age.
A really short poem that can spark off many a debate on the subject of being a nobody versus being a somebody. Written in Emily Dickinson's dashed off style.
The speaker in Frost's poem is of two minds; whether to stay and watch the lovely woods fill with snow or keep his promises and move on. His confused horse shakes the harness bells. Move on? Or what?
The ditzy character, known only as "Russian Sonia," would have her listeners think she actually muses on the "thing called life."
Despite being written in 1948, many parts of George Orwell's fictional dystopian society have become reality. The prevalence of surveillance and loss of privacy, the state of perpetual war with shifting landscapes and changing enemies, the truncation of language and fake news are the new norm.
The Second Coming is a poem of powerful imagery and symbolism. Spiritual forces are at work in the world and a 'rough beast' is slouching towards Bethlehem. Humankind is at risk from mere anarchy.
'The Cold Earth Slept Below' is an example of Shelley's interest in both the sublime and in the Gothic tradition in literature. The poem has parallels with a tragic event in his personal life.
Snake, one of D.H.Lawrence's celebrated animal poems, is a personal account of a meeting with a Sicilian viper. This analysis will guide both student and poetry lover through the layers of meaning.
In Dorothy Sayer's Gaudy Night, Latin quotations carry important subtexts that are inaccessible to modern readers. Here are my translations and interpretations of these phrases, to help you discover nuances which dictionaries and online translators cannot give you.
Should we read the Jack Reacher books in order? And what is the reading order anyway for Lee Child's books?
Dilip Chitre's most popular poem depicts an uprooted father returning home from work to a family that doesn't understand him. A poem about alienation, lost love and the struggle to find meaning.
A look at the novel "Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza" by world-renowned feminist, cultural activist, and author Gloria Anzaldua.
A Vietnam veteran, Yusef Komunyakaa faces his past whilst visiting the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC. With strong images and figurative language this poem explores reality versus memory.
A brief history of tanka, along with some of my tanka poems. Tips about poems for kids, photos, and videos are included. Written by a retired literature and writing teacher.
W.H. Auden's The Unknown Citizen is an ironic take on the Unknown Soldier, whose monument represents all those anonymous victims of war. It praises and mocks a model citizen. Who is free and happy?
Herein lies a detailed analysis of Edgar Allen Poe's famous short story "The Cask of Amontillado." This story of a vengeful murder is still popular today, even 150 years after it was published.
Scout has many experiences with loss of innocence throughout Harper Lee's novel To Kill a Mockingbird and learns many lessons along the way.
Analysis of Tennyson’s Ring Out, Wild Bells, a New Year's poem published 1850. The sentiments about the need to let go the past, the unfair inequalities in society,and wishes for a better future for everyone,are still relevant in the twenty-first century.
Sidney Sheldon is the 7th best selling author of all time. He has written over 200 scripts for TV series, but it is his 18 novels for which he is best known. I'd like to introduce you to five of my favourite Sidney Sheldon novels.
In her work, "A New England Nun," Mary E. Wilkins Freeman illustrates a woman's struggle with the commitment of marriage. This essay examines how Freeman illustrates the feminine struggle to be independent while being dedicated to a man.
The speaker in Barrett Browning's Sonnet 14 insists that her paramour love her only for the sake of love and not for any qualities that she possesses, such as her smile or the way she speaks.
A short Victorian poem which Henley wrote whilst in hospital. Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill have all used the poem for inspiration and guidance. Invictus means unconquerable.
A short poem all about poetry and how we, as readers, should approach a poem. Is it to be tied up in a confessional chair, beaten? Or is a poem like a hive,built from light, full of hidden sweetness?
An analysis of the evocative, lyric poem, Ode to Autumn, the last poem written by the English Romantic poet Keats before he died at the early age of 26.
One of Shakespeare's most popular love sonnets, the poet is comparing his lover to a summer's day and finding the lover more lovely. Full analysis includes critical look at rhythm, rhyme and syntax.
Countee Cullen's poem deals with God and the awesome power he wields, over humans and the mole. Still, a black poet can sing. It is a traditional 14 line sonnet in iambic pentameter with full rhyme.
Anne Sexton's poetry is unique in that it confronts mental illness head on, gives direct access to the heart and soul of a troubled mother, artist and poet. 'I hold back nothing,' she wrote. So true.
How to Understand Shakespeare gives tips on getting to grips with the language, style and form of Shakespeare's plays and sonnets.
Hansel and Gretchen (or Gretel) is well known story with very rich smbolism and several possible interpretations. Let's summarize it and check some of its deeper truths.
Binsey Poplars is a protest poem Hopkins wrote when he discovered a row of aspen trees had been felled. Full of sprung rhythm which Hopkins considered closer to common speech patterns, and inscape.
Yusef Kommunyakaa's Emotional Response Surrounding the Vietnam Memorial Yusef Komunyakaa emphasizes his ethnicity at the very beginning of his poem "Facing It" in the first lines: "My black face fades,/hiding inside the black granite." In these...
A black female poet speaks to the white establishment in this short poem. Taken from her home in Africa, Phillis Wheatley ended up in Boston where she wrote verse and eventually to became free.
A Dream Within A Dream is a rhyming poem all about life and time and human perception. How real is reality, how unreal the dream? Edgar Allan Poe in philosophical mood, dreaming on.
Erotic fantasy or religious experience? Emily Dickinson was known as the virgin recluse but Wild Nights suggests that her passions ran deep and her yearnings for release were genuine enough. A poem about a liaison with God or a relationship with someone she knew? Ambiguous and metaphorical.
A detailed analysis and meaning of "The South," a poem written by the famed African American poet Langston Hughes in the 1920s.
A short poem with rhythm and rhyme, Frost's talent for the simple yet profound stays with the reader long after the poem is read. Nature, the seasonal cycle of life and human existence in eight lines.
Love alters not..Shakespeare's sonnet 116 is one of the ultimate definitions of true love, an ideal most of us humans strive to achieve. Love is not Love which alters..according to the Bard.
The poetry of the early modern period into the age of enlightenment forged the way for romantic literature. William Shakespeare’s sonnets of the 17th century as well as William Blake’s and William Wordsworth’s poetry of 18th century follow the romantic formula of expressing emotion through the delightful language, rhythm, and meter of the written word. An emotional tie that these three writers of romanticism have is the idea of memories, and the wistful, happy, and sometimes sorrowful connecti
Aphrodite is a woman who changes herself to be whatever her current man wants her to be. She may not realize that she does this. She is the muse who inspires men to write poems and songs.
This is a brief overview of the 16 major archetypes for reference if anyone is looking. These are not to be confused with the Jungian motives or character roles in a story.
Allen Ginsberg's Howl is an evocative poem in three parts. A counter-cultural work full of emotional, sexual, religious and social themes. Explicit language and image create a raw, surreal world, drug fueled, full of pain and glory. Howl inspired Dylan, broke the rules, began the 'Beat' revolution.
Seamus Heaney's Follower is a poem about his father, a man who worked the land. With full and slant rhyme, assonance and alliteration, it works its magic on the reader as the horses plough the furrow.
An analysis of the imagery used in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s most famous speech, "I Have a Dream" and why it was so effective.
We've all heard quotes from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, but have you ever stopped to wonder what they mean? Here are 10 life lessons from Alice in Wonderland.
One Art is a traditional villanelle, a form which contrasts nicely with Bishop's casual language and her observations on the art of losing. Ever lost your keys, a watch, a house, a country?
What is Gothic literature? Gothic is a genre with a rich history that still exists today through the works of authors like Stephen King. Learn more about its elements and characteristics.
Matthew Arnold's poem Dover Beach is an intelligent take on the nature of existence and the future of humanity. A honeymoon poem, the conclusion is that love will prevail despite the gloom and doom.
The character of Macbeth has seven different soliloquies within the play. Four of them are exceptionally well known. The other three soliloquies are not quoted as frequently, but they are essential to Macbeth’s character development.
An allegorical poem, "I died for beauty but was scarce" focuses on two people in the afterlife, one who died for beauty and one for truth. Emily Dickinson's fascination with life after death explored.
This article will explore how Nathaniel Hawthorne uses Hester Prynne in the Scarlet Letter to promote an early version of feminism specifically regarding single motherhood.
James Wright's popular poem is both real experience and found love. Two men stop to visit two ponies just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota. For the speaker this simple meeting is transcendent.
An analysis of Max Ehrmann's didactic prose poem "Desiderata." The wise advice in these calming lines from 1927 still holds strong in the twenty-first century.
Two lovers meet by a pond in winter but there is little to warm them. Even the sun seems cold and indifferent. Love has been cruel and the memory of that meeting is still painful. Classic Hardy.
She Walks In Beauty is a lyric poem by the archetypal romantic, Lord Byron. With full rhyme, alliteration and simile, written in iambic tetrameter, it explores the feelings of a speaker inspired by female beauty. Is beauty based on inner purity and goodness alone, or a mix of light and dark?
In depth analysis of Mending Wall, a blank verse poem about territorial rights, barriers and how we communicate with each other. Frost's poem is full of intrigue, tension and neighborly goings-on.
An essay explaining the neccessity of an empathetic fatherly figure in a boy's life, using the novel "Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini
A deer is hit by a car driven by a teenage drunk who reacts by taking the severely injured animal back home. Big mistake? An angry father puts an end to the agony of the deer but what about the teen?
Need help on a memory essay? I give full instructions, organizing tips and sample essays to help you write.
D. H. Lawrence's "Last Lesson of the Afternoon" features a teacher, who dramatizes the uninspired performance of his/her lackluster students. S/he has become weary from vain attempts to instruct them as they refuse to learn.
An early poem of Heaney's that takes the reader back to his childhood and the devastating death of his young brother. In a subtle, controlled form, powerful imagery emerges out of this family scene.
Red Riding Hood is one of the classic fairy tales. Everybody knows it. Less known is powerful symbolism behind the story. Let's explore it through short summary!
Since the 1960s, in Western culture, "duty" has been a dirty word. It smacks of kowtowing to authority, not being allowed to "do your own thing"; it cramps your style.
There is a decision to be made. Which road to travel down, which path to take in life? Frost's thoughtful poem on free will and the choices it allows.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte is a classical work of fiction which everyone should read. If you enjoy a conflict between conscience and passion, you will certainly enjoy my Jane Eyre book review.
An elegy to the jazz singer Billie Holiday, The Day Lady Died is full of New York buzz, time schedules and cultural associations. Life in the here and now, until a headline sparks a memory.
An in-depth analysis of William Shakespeare's King Lear. Scrutinizes how Shakespeare used what we know to be as a fool to show wisdom and how even kings can be quite foolish.
Women’s literature presents a unique view into the female American experience. America experienced many changes following the Civil War. The country was in a period of transformation, including political, economic, social, and literary shifts. As the country emerged into the Industrial Revolution female authors were forging a place for themselves in literary cannon. The feminist movement called into question the role of women in society and female authors responded by creating works presenting
A sonnet that combines Greek mythology and world events, resulting in a powerful poem, a metaphor for the violence inherent in the cyclic nature of human history, as seen by the mystic Yeats.
One of the most influential poems of modern times, T.S.Eliot's dramatic monologue takes us into the mind of an ageing J. Alfred Prufrock. Do I disturb the universe or eat a peach? Full analysis.
Soseki's "Kokoro" and Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" both explore Western imperialism, although the stories that each author has to tell differ due to time period and location. Each novel shows how the author struggles with American and European influence in their native land.
One of Emily Dickinson's poems on the subject of human pain, exploring the physical, mental and emotional anguish we experience when grief hits. Full of metaphor and cold imagery.
Carl Sandburg, inspired by a book of Japanese haiku, wrote this little poem whilst passing near Chicago harbor. Fog is one of his best-known short poems. It captures the silent mystery of the cat.
Two brothers are walking through a field of snow. An innocent walk turns into a serious question and answer session when they notice snow angels. Have the angels been shot? Were they trespassing?
Annabel Lee is one of Poe's best known poems. The theme is loss of love based on the death of a beautiful maiden, narrated in first person by the speaker. Haunting, dark and gothic.
Composed upon Westminster Bridge is Wordsworth's Petrarchan sonnet to the pre-industrial city of smokeless London, seen at dawn. Romantic and painterly, Wordsworth captures the mood and his feelings.
Twenty classic books written by poets who broke new ground in the field of modern poetry. Are your favourites here? A guide to help you choose your own poet of the modern era.
Emily Dickinson's American (innovative) sonnet reveals an attitude dramatized in the Shakespeare sonnets: the poet's confidence in her creation of a world of beauty that will last forever.
The "rags to riches" stories that Horatio Alger Jr. wrote in the late nineteenth century helped the population of the United States believe the myth that anyone could work hard and become rich, a "self made man". His readers ignored the moral...
The Beast in the Jungle, by Henry James is a poignant story about a man who is expecting a great event that never happens. He wastes his entire life awaiting this, and misses out on life as a result.
A thriving family once lived in this abandoned farmhouse. What happened to the farmer? Why did they all have to leave? Only the toys and objects are left to speak for those now absent.
With a title taken from Shakespeare's play Macbeth, Frost's poem Out, Out is about life and death on a rural farm. In an idyllic setting a young boy is working a buzz saw but a fateful accident brings about his sad demise. Is his death insignificant? Who is responsible? Blank verse, deep imagery.
Written as part of a fund raiser for the new Statue of Liberty, The New Colossus gave new meaning to the Mother of Exiles, a welcoming light for the homeless hudded masses coming to America.
A powerful war poem, a sonnet, written whilst Owen was in hospital in 1917. The poet highlights the madness of war and the many young men who die 'as cattle.' Part elegy, part cry for justice.
Robert Frost's Dust of Snow focuses on the most trivial event - a crow in a tree sending snow particles down onto an unhappy speaker. What is special is the way the bird does it, completely changing the mood. Frost uses ambiguous stressed keywords, rhyme, enjambment and symbolism. Nature helping man
There is a difference between genre and form in literature. Genre and form are not the same? Is fiction a genre or a form? How about poetry, romance or fantasy. Here are one writer's thoughts about genre and form. Read and I believe you will have greater insight into these categories of literature.
Emily Dickinson's As Imperceptibly As Grief is a subtle and melancholic study of summer passing, as metaphor for life fading away. With varied meter, personification, full rhyme and slant rhyme the language reflects the day ending. Seasons pass, life transitions. Sad but beautiful.
An overview of Sir Walter Raleigh's "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" and an analysis of the recurring motifs of mortality, lack of reasoning, love versus lust, and time.
In A. E. Housman's "When I was one-and-twenty," the speaker at age twenty-two reports the truth of sage advice he received at age twenty-one about falling in love.
An adolescent love poem that looks back at a first date, with the emphasis on oranges and new potential. Full of images and contrasts, this insightful poem is an extended metaphor of sorts.
Buried beneath the stream of consciousness sentence structure in Faulkner's Barn Burning is the story of a boy and the father he both loves and hates.
Sonnet 29 focuses on the depressed state of the speaker who is full of envy, self-pity and hopelessness. He despises those better looking and more talented. He's down, until he thinks about his lover.
Analysis of Seamus Heaney's sonnet #5, one of eight he wrote in memory of his mother. This 14 line poem about mother and son taking sheets off a washing line has deeper meaning.
We Real Cool packs quite a punch despite being a lean poem. Written from experience of teenagers in a pool hall, Gwendolyn Brooks combines slick diction with an unusual poetic form, creating rebels.
These slogans in the novel 1984 underscore the destructiveness of believing in contradictions and encompass one of the overarching themes of the book.
A short story contains 3,500-7,500 words, while a novel contains 40,000 - 320,000. Learn all the differences between a short story, novelette, novella, and a novel.
Prayer Before Birth is a poem Louis MacNeice wrote during World War Two. He was living in London and German rocket bombs were landing. The speaker in the poem is an unborn child, destined to be born into a violent, disturbed world. A powerful monologue addressed to God and humanity.
The Adventure of the Speckled Band is a Sherlock Holmes short story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The Speckled Band tells of murder most foul, undertaken by an evil villain.
What if you're a poet in love? A look at some of the more unusual love poems by famous and unknown poets. Here is passion, sex and romance, with some weird twists.
Shakespeare wrote some of the most famous tragedies of all time. Each of his tragic characters were responsible for their own downfall due to their fatal flaws.
Kate is an amazingly strong character displayed in Shakespeare's play The Taming of the Shrew. Here you can see how Kate may actually be the tamest of the sisters.
A poem written to flatter a loved one, a list of 'you are' lines that stretches to metaphorical overload. Litany is tongue in cheek work from Billy Collins, an exercise in and parody of, anaphora.
Romanticism is one of the most influential movements in art, philosophy and literature. Discover who the Romantic Poets and Philosophers were and why they had such an impact on the world we know today.
eBooks offer many benefits over traditional print books. Here are 10 reasons why eBooks can be better than print.
Wilfred Owen's WW1 poem is about reconciliation. Two soldiers meet in Hell, one having killed the other in battle, and their dialogue is a powerful and moving creation full of truth about humanity.
The speaker in John Donne's Holy Sonnet VI now finds himself very close to leaving his body. He speculates about his journey, after death has uncoupled his soul from its physical encasement.
The speaker in Emily Dickinson's "A Light exists in Spring" is striving to portray a certain kind of light that "exists [only] in Spring" or very near spring.
Louise Erdrich's poem is based on the experiences of many Indian children who were taken from their tribal homes and 'educated' in boarding schools. They were not allowed to speak their native language, grow long hair or make contact with family. A poem about identity, roots and state oppression.
The apple harvest is complete, the apple picker exhausted. Will he sleep a natural sleep or remain troubled as he dreams? Frost's metaphorical, strange poem has a complex rhyme scheme, a core mystery.
Line breaks are a fundamental aspect of poetry and can play a part in meaning, sound, rhythm and syntax. Knowing where and why a line has to be short or long can help both reader and poet. This guide to lineation gives many examples and explains the basics of enjambment, caesura and end stops.
The word epic has been derived a Greek word epikos, which means a word, song or speech. An epic is well-defined as a long story in verse dwelling upon an important theme in a most elegant style and language.
John Keats, romantic poet, wrote this ballad in 1819. It is mysterious, with hints of personal anxieties and sexual desperation hidden within the experience of a man, now alone, having loved a beauty.
Didn't have time to read the novel? Read this comprehensive chapter-by-chapter plot summary instead. Contains the explanation of Carter's most important themes and features.
Larkin explores the nature of love and human relationships whilst visiting a 14th century cathedral tomb. What will survive of us is love the final line says, but does cynical Larkin believe that?
What can we learn from Hamlet's soliloquies? How does Shakespeare show his talents through these soliloquies? This article will attempt to answer both of these questions.
This article explores the origin of drama. It also shows us the development of drama through various stages. The origin of drama is deeply rooted in the Church.
'The Emperor's New Clothes' is a fairy tale for children, but it is also a perceptive commentary on the human condition. In this review I look at the story, its history and its great wisdom
A man sits eating poetry in a library. He's never been happier. The librarian is concerned. Why is that man consuming verse? And much worse, he's now turning into a dog and licking her hand. Surreal.
The Secret Garden is a story about a seemingly magical garden that has healing powers. The garden has been hidden for ten years when a young girl discovers it.
The famous poet Virgil Wikimedia Commons Dido, the Phoenician Queen in Virgil's The Aeneid, is a tragic character who is a victim of the will of the gods. Enchanted by the god Amor, Dido becomes hopelessly enamored with Aeneas and abandons all else...
The English Romantic poets are artists of a movement that spread out from England, across Europe and to America. Influenced by radical ideas and revolutions, their lives are as poetic as their words.
Andrew Marvell is best known for this seduction poem, or carpe diem poem, To His Coy Mistress. With wit, intellect and conceit the speaker tries to persuade a virgin lady to have sex with him.
Neoclassical Poetry is a type of poetry, which follows the pattern of poetry authored by the poets of ancient time i.e., Greek and Rome. Pope and Dryden were the leading writers of neoclassicism.
Her Kind is an early poem by Anne Sexton, published in her first book To Bedlam and Part Way Back. It is full of dark imagery, written as the poet was battling against depression and inner demons.
The difference between postmodernism and modernism in literature is not always easy to establish. This article will give you an overview and comparison of both cultural currents.
Auto Wreck is a poem of vivid imagery written at a time when car crashes were relatively rare. It is a commentary on the actual accident scene but also explores human fragility and death.
Seamus Heaney's "Whatever You Say, Say Nothing" is displayed in four parts. The piece dramatizes a rough-style free verse with an irregularly paced rime scheme.
maggie and milly and molly and may is a short poem from e.e.cummings that is greater than the sum of its parts. Full of varied rhythm and rhyme, it tells the story of four girls who go down to the beach, each one relating to an object or creature they discover. Experimental and entertaining.
The theme of madness defines Shakespeare's "Hamlet." While many characters display symptoms of madness, madness or mental illness are most readily apparent in Hamlet and Ophelia.
Dystopian stories with short summaries and links for easy reading. For all fans of dystopian fiction.
The Adventure of the Final Problem was penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to the the final problem faced by Sherlock Holmes. Taking down the gang of Professor Moriarty could have some deadly results.
'Come live with me and by my love' by Christopher Marlowe is one of the most loved pastoral poems of all time. This article gives an explanation and contextual analysis of this 16th-century appeal to a sweetheart to join the speaker in a country idyll.
"Puss in Boots" is a famous fairytale, but its moral is pretty questionable. The title character achieves everything through trickery and his masters become rich doing nothing.
Cozy Apologia is Rita Dove's ironic take on a romantic relationship with husband Fred. The speaker waits for a hurricane to hit and starts to daydream about her love and past acquaintances. Lyrical, fun and touching, this poem is a monologue on intimacy and time well spent.
Sarah Orne Jewett and Ernest Hemingway both use nature to develop the main characters in their short stories.
Sonnet 130 is an anomaly. Shakespeare breaks with convention and creates a parody of tired Petrarchan ideals. His lover has wires for hairs, her lips are not red as coral, her breasts are dingy brown not white and her breath reeks. Praise beauty? Not in sonnet 130. Yet his love for her runs deeper?
One of Frost's darker poems, about identity, full of the mystery of the night and the inner world of a speaker who is walking all alone, beyond the city lights.
A poem full of drama, powerful language and poetic device, Wind is typical Ted Hughes in that here is described a struggle with nature, a battle with the elements. Six stanzas of tense physicality.
The basic aspects and definition of autobiography including common characteristics such as perspective, identity, and introspection.
Seamus Heaney wrote this poem whilst watching his father digging in the garden. It is his most popular poem, using the metaphors of pen and spade to explore time and family commitments.
Greed, material wealth, obsession with consumer goods - Humanity versus Nature - Wordsworth's sonnet still resonates today. A summary and close analysis of this classic English poem.
An in-depth analysis of "Daddy," a dark and powerful poem by Sylvia Plath, written a year or so before her tragic death. Plath's 16-stanza song of a tortured daughter is full of symbolism and allusion.
An in-depth analysis of Carol Ann Duffy's poem 'A Dreaming Week' from her 'Feminine Gospels' anthology, in which we pick out its themes, motifs and its true message to the inquisitive reader.
This article explores the connection between Disney's "The Lion King" and Shakespeare's "Hamlet"—both similarities and differences.
M.C. Escher created artworks of great beauty and rich, illusive design. These poems are inspired by his graphic, highly unusual masterpieces.
Derek Walcott's A Far Cry from Africa explores the bloody history of colonial Africa, in Kenya, where Mau Mau fighters fought the British in the 1950s. Walcott's mixed race roots divide his loyalties.
A poem that unites music and brain, jazz and soul, bringing a feel-good cosmic factor to the simple act of walking downtown listening to a CD. Join Billy Collins as he steps out to the beat.
Island Man is a poem about cultural identity and explores the mind of a Caribbean man waking up in London but still dreaming of his life on the island of his birth. Grace Nichols uses metaphor, enjambment and other poetic devices to juxtapose dull city life with ideal island life.
Frost's Fire and Ice could have been inspired by Dante's Inferno, Canto 32, where in a fiery hell sinners are up to their necks in a lake of ice. Conversely, a chat with astronomer Harlow Shapley about the end of the world may have spurred Frost to write this compact rhyming classic. Desire or hate?
Poetry analysis of Donne's "Goe and catch...", pointing out the central symbols, imagery and theme which make it a representative metaphysical poem.
Young is Anne Sexton's early look back to her own adolescence, a time when her relationship with parents and the wider world was changing. Between childhood and adulthood; figuratively imagined.
Langston Hughes, champion of black causes, wrote this short, powerful poem questioning the delay or postponement of individual and collective dreams.
Sylvia Plath's pregnancy poem "You're" is full of powerful imagery and metaphors. Her sensitive, creative nature comes out in this two stanza poem.
Journey of the Magi is a reflective, dramatic monologue, that utilizes allusions, symbols and metaphors to produce a poem about birth, death, spiritual and cultural renewal.
A sonnet written for her husband, poet Robert Browning, who she eloped with in 1846 to escape her reclusive London life under the strict control of her father. She must have really loved Robert.
An all-encompassing list of 101 (plus a few) books set in France, to read if you're planning a holiday, remembering one, or just because you want to. All tastes provided for!
Full analysis of Byzantium, Yeats's great mystical poem. This poem's theme is that of the creative human soul and the spiritual struggle for purification. Eternity lies in perfecting Art. Based in Yeats's dream city Byzantium, where divine art, golden imagery and symbols create a unity of being.
Hawk Roosting is a powerful poem that focuses on a hawk as it sits overlooking its domain. Ted Hughes gives the hawk a human mind, personifies it, and explores the raptor's reason for existence. Contains raw and savage language. Some think the theme is political dominance, the hawk being a fascist.
Springtime makes us all act a bit silly. Reciting rhymes and poems seems to come naturally. Here are some old favorites. Many are well known, but I hope you discover some that are new to you.
Blessing is Imtiaz Dharker's short poem on the theme of water and poverty. It is a snapshot of life in the city slum, where children gather round a burst pipe as if it's a god. Simile, metaphor, personification and vivid imagery combine to produce a sensual poem highlighting how crucial water is.
Owen fought on the frontline in WWI and wrote this poem from direct experience. This poem is a powerful, graphic message to all who think it is sweet and proper to die for one's country.
We find the speaker in bed with his lover, having a go at the sun for rudely intruding through windows and curtains. Donne's aubade has all the classic elements - wit, wordplay and warmth.
In "I measure every Grief I meet," the speaker examines the nature of human suffering. The poem is long by Dickinson standards, filling out a whopping ten quatrains.
In the ancient tale of Gilgamesh women represent not only great wisdom and power but also temptation and ruin.
Experimental, innovative, plain weird, romantic - this love poem is unconventional in style, so typical of e.e.cummings.
Emily Dickinson's "The Soul selects her own Society" features a speaker who cherishes her privacy and her intentional striving to live a spiritual life.
Full analysis of Those Winter Sundays, a short, atmospheric poem in which a child looks back in time to cold winter Sunday mornings and the dutiful acts of a hard working father.
In the novel Emma, Jane Austen addresses many issues important to women, making her a feminist of her time.
Frost's blank verse poem explores the nature of reality and idealism using the symbolism of birch trees, a boy and an ice-storm. Acute observation, memory and imaginative thinking under tight control.
This poem, from Songs Of Experience, is about the suppression of anger in our relationships. Is it wise to bottle it up until it bursts out uncontrollably? Or is it better to let it out?
"I shunned the face of man; all sound of joy or complacency was torture to me; solitude was my only consolation--deep, dark, death-like solitude." Aurielle Voices It has often been argued that the definition of a monster is something inhuman,...
Robert Frost's Gathering Leaves is more than just an innocent poem about fallen autumn leaves. Short quatrains with rhyme add up to an intriguing poem.
The word ballad has been taken from Latin word ballare, which means dancing song. Ballad is a shorter narrative poem, which comprises of short stanzas. Ballad is a poem, which is meant for singing.
Emily Dickinson's genius for capturing the unusual and transcendent is precisely expressed in this, one of her longest and best known poems. Summary and full analysis.
A short, poignant poem from Jane Kenyon, The Blue Bowl is about the burial of a cat and the emotional reaction to the world following the loss of a beloved pet. A poem to meditate on in the quiet, away from the bustling restlessness of modern life.
Seamus Heaney's Blackberry-Picking is all about childhood ideals versus adult realities and the passage of time. The first stanza outlines the joy of picking, that lust for the juicy fruit, whilst the second stanza contrasts the fate of the berries, their inevitable decay and loss of goodness.
The first sonnet concentrates on beauty and the need to keep procreating by those who are blessed with good looks. Aimed at the Fair Youth, it entreaties him to marry and have children before he dies.
Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem is a simple yet profound plea to a young female for a kiss, for physical union. To persuade her the speaker turns to Nature, where things mix and mingle naturally. Using personification, metaphor and pulsing rhythm, Shelley puts forward his dubious argument
Sylvia Plath's poem "Mirror" is a reflection on what it means to be a woman uncertain of the future, haunted by the past. When we look into the mirror, is what we see what we get?
Celtic mythology is rich with symbolism of life, death and rebirth, replete with the magic of nature and the ancient world. This article outlines some of the most famous stories from Celtic mythology, in Celtic Ireland and Britain.
Emily Dickinson's classic short poem with full text and analysis. An extended metaphor, it brings the concept of hope that much closer to human understanding.
Emily Dickinson's poem, "The Brain - is wider than the Sky," compares and contrasts the human brain with the sky, the sea, and God.
Escape the urban hell of the city and make for the island of your dreams, where peace comes dripping slow. A timeless classic from Yeats, with music and rhythm all his own. Full analysis.
In this essay, I analyze the cause of William S. Burroughs' heroin addiction and how his shadow self is revealed through his novel "Junky".