Monthly Archives: April 2011

A WAY OF SAYING IT: WHAT POETRY IS AND IS NOT

We reach and strain with our thoughts, trying to grasp what poetry is, trying to somehow distinguish it from all that is not poetry, but without success.  Then we come across something as simple as this statement by A. E. … Continue reading

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DRUMMER HODGE: STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND

Thomas Hardy — yes, the same man who wrote Jude the Obscure, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and those other famous novels of Britain — wrote a very meaningful poem about the Boer War (1899-1902).  In that war the British (and … Continue reading

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HOUSMAN’S EASTER HYMN

In the previous posting I discussed the profound sense of insecurity and alienation expressed in Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold.  Now I would like to look at another poem by Alfred Edward Housman, his Easter Hymn.  In it the poet addresses Jesus directly: … Continue reading

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THE RECEDING TIDE: ARNOLD’S DOVER BEACH

Michael Schmidt calls Matthew Arnold’s poem Dover Beach “the greatest single poem of the Victorian period.”  Greatness in poetry is a matter of personal taste, but one can say that probably no single poem so eloquently expresses the growing spiritual … Continue reading

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POETRY, VERSE, PLASTIC FLOWERS AND INTELLECTUALISM

When it comes to the evaluation and criticism of poetry, all is opinion and personal taste.  Taste, it is true, can be developed, but who can say that a man’s liking for a painting of waterlilies by Monet is any … Continue reading

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TO SEE THE CHERRY HUNG WITH SNOW

I have always been very fond of the poetry of Alfred Edward Housman.  He is not a verbal fireworks poet like Dylan Thomas or Gerard Manley Hopkins.  He is more straightforward, with a sense of transience remarkably like that of … Continue reading

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RUST, PAIN, BEAUTY AND TIME

I like to respond, when it is practical and possible, to what I notice people are coming here to find.  Some of them, no doubt, are literature students in high school or college; others are perhaps just curious.  So when … Continue reading

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