poetry

The Poetry of Walt Whitman

The Poetry of Walt Whitman

On May 31, 1819, American poet, essayist and journalist Walt Whitman was born. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. “It is a beautiful truth that all men contain something of the artist in them. And perhaps it is the case that…
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The Satirical and Discursive Poetry of Alexander Pope

The Satirical and Discursive Poetry of Alexander Pope

On May 21, 1688, English poet Alexander Pope was born. Pope is regarded as one of the greatest English poets, and the foremost poet of the early eighteenth century. He is best known for his satirical and discursive poetry, including The Rape of the Lock, The Dunciad, and An Essay on Criticism, as well as for his translation of Homer. “Nature and nature’s laws lay hid in night; God said “Let Newton…
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The Expressionistic Power of The Poems of Georg Trakl

The Expressionistic Power of The Poems of Georg Trakl

On February 3, 1887, Austrian poet Georg Trakl was born. Trakl is most probably the most important Austrian poet of Expressionism with strong influences of Symbolism. However, it is not possible to clearly assign his poetic works to one of the almost simultaneous currents of literary history of the 20th century. Verwandlung (2. Fassung) Entlang an Gärten, herbstlich, rotversengt: Hier zeigt im Stillen sich ein tüchtig Leben. Des Menschen Hände tragen braune…
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Giovanni Boccaccio and his Famous Decameron

Giovanni Boccaccio and his Famous Decameron

On December 21, 1375, Italian author, poet, correspondent of Petrarch, and important Renaissance humanist Giovanni Boccaccio passed away. He is best known for his masterpiece ‘The Decameron‘ told as a frame story encompassing 100 tales. You haven’t heart about the ‘Decameron‘? You definitely should, simply because it is the masterpiece of European Renaissance literature. In its 100 stories it provides us with an intimate contemporary view into medieval and early Renaissance European…
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The Meistersinger of Nuremberg – Hans Sachs

The Meistersinger of Nuremberg – Hans Sachs

On November 5, 1494, German Meistersinger (master singer), poet, playwright, and shoemaker Hans Sachs was born. His work is considered the most important testimony of the bourgeois imperial town culture of the 16th century. What is a Meistersinger? What makes Hans Sachs so special – although you might have never heart of him – is his profession as being a ‘Meistersinger’. Actually, he is also the only ‘Meistersinger’ whose fame lasted over the…
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Andreas Gryphius – Master Poet of the German Baroque

Andreas Gryphius – Master Poet of the German Baroque

On October 11, 1616, German Baroque lyric poet and dramatist Andreas Gryphius was born. For his poems and tragedies Gryphius chose the topics of pain and moral decay during the times of the Thirty Years’ War as well as human restlessness, solitude and inner conflicts. Unless you have attended a German highschool or have a strong interest in baroque poetry, you might have never heard of him. Back at school, we had to…
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Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy

Dante Alighieri and the Divine Comedy

In the night from September 13 to 14, 1321, major Italian poet Dante Alighieri passed away. His Divine Comedy is widely considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language and a masterpiece of world literature. Together with his poet colleagues Petrarch [7] and Boccaccio,[8] Dante – the ‘supreme poet’ (il Sommo Poeta) – is referred to as “the three crowns” or “the three fountains”. Moreover, he is also called the “Father of…
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Ludovico Ariosto and the Frenzy of Orlando

Ludovico Ariosto and the Frenzy of Orlando

On September 8, 1474, Italian Renaissance poet Ludovico Ariosto was born. He is best known for his romance epic Orlando Furioso (The Frenzy of Orlando), which describes the adventures of Charlemagne, Orlando, and the Franks as they battle against the Saracens.[4] “Of ladies, knights, of passions and of wars, of courtliness, and of valiant deeds I sing.” – Ariosto, Orlando Furioso, Canto I, stanza 1 (1532) Ariosto – Early Years Ariosto was the…
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Petrarch and the Invention of the Renaissance

Petrarch and the Invention of the Renaissance

On July 20, 1304, Italian scholar and poet Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) was born. He is considered to be one of the earliest humanists and also the “father of the Renaissance.” Petrarch’s sonnets were admired and imitated throughout Europe during the Renaissance and became a model for lyrical poetry. He is also known for being the first to develop the concept of the “Dark Ages”. “I rejoiced in my progress, mourned my weaknesses, and…
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Thomas Moore – Ireland’s National Bard

Thomas Moore – Ireland’s National Bard

On May 28, 1779, Irish poet, singer, songwriter Thomas Moore was born. He is best remembered for the lyrics of “The Minstrel Boy” and “The Last Rose of Summer“. Moreover, he was responsible, with John Murray, for burning Lord Byron’s memoirs after his death.[3] Thomas Moore – From Laws to Poetry Thomas Moore’s father came from a Catholic Irish-speaking family in a Gaeltacht region of County Kerry, his mother was from Wexford; her…
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