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W. H. Auden

Wystan Hugh Auden (21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973), who published as W. H. Auden, was an Anglo-American poet, born in England, later an American citizen, regarded by many as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His work is noted for its stylistic and technical achievements, its engagement with moral and political issues, and its variety of tone, form and content. The central themes of his poetry are love, politics and citizenship, religion and morals, and the relationship between unique human beings and the anonymous, impersonal world of nature. Auden grew up in Birmingham in a professional middle class family and read English literature at Christ Church, Oxford. His early poems, written in the late 1920s and early 1930s, alternated between telegraphic modern styles and fluent traditional ones, were written in an intense and dramatic tone, and established his reputation as a left-wing political poet and prophet. He became uncomfortable in this role in the later 1930s, and abandoned it after he moved to the United States in 1939, where he became an American citizen in 1946. His poems in the 1940s explored religious and ethical themes in a less dramatic manner than his earlier works, but still combined traditional forms and styles with new forms devised by Auden himself. In the 1950s and 1960s many of his poems focused on the ways in which words revealed and concealed emotions, and he took a particular interest in writing opera librettos, a form ideally suited to direct expression of strong feelings. He was also a prolific writer of prose essays and reviews on literary, political, psychological and religious subjects, and he worked at various times on documentary films, poetic plays and other forms of performance. Throughout his career he was both controversial and influential. After his death, some of his poems, notably "Funeral Blues" ("Stop all the clocks") and "September 1, 1939", became widely known through films, broadcasts and popular media. Childhood Auden was born at 54 Bootham, in York, England, to George Augustus Auden, a physician, and Constance Rosalie Bicknell Auden, who had trained (but never served) as a missionary nurse. He was the third of three children, all sons; the eldest, George Bernard Auden, became a farmer, while the second, John Bicknell Auden, became a geologist. Auden's grandfathers were both Church of England clergymen; he grew up in an Anglo-Catholic household which followed a "High" form of Anglicanism with doctrine and ritual resembling those of Roman Catholicism. He traced his love of music and language partly to the church services of his childhood. He believed he was of Icelandic descent, and his lifelong fascination with Icelandic legends and Old Norse sagas is visible throughout his work. In 1908 his family moved to Harborne, Birmingham, where his father had been appointed the School Medical Officer and Lecturer (later Professor) of Public Health; Auden's lifelong psychoanalytic interests began in his father's library. From the age of eight he attended boarding schools, returning home for holidays. His visits to the Pennine landscape and its declining lead-mining industry figure in many of his poems; the remote decaying mining village of Rookhope was for him a "sacred landscape", evoked in a late poem, "Amor Loci." Until he was fifteen he expected to become a mining engineer, but his passion for words had already begun. He wrote later: "words so excite me that a pornographic story, for example, excites me sexually more than a living person can do." Education Auden's first boarding school was St Edmund's School, Hindhead, Surrey, where he met Christopher Isherwood, later famous in his own right as a novelist. At thirteen he went to Gresham's School in Norfolk; there, in 1922, when his friend Robert Medley asked him if he wrote poetry, Auden first realized his vocation was to be a poet. Soon after, he "discover(ed) that he (had) lost his faith" (through a gradual realisation that he had lost interest in religion, not through any decisive change of views). In school productions of Shakespeare, he played Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew in 1922, and Caliban in The Tempest in 1925, his last year at Gresham's. His first published poems appeared in the school magazine in 1923. Auden later wrote a chapter on Gresham's for Graham Greene's The Old School: Essays by Divers Hands (1934). In 1925 he went up to Christ Church, Oxford, with a scholarship in biology, but he switched to English by his second year. Friends he met at Oxford included Cecil Day Lewis, Louis MacNeice, and Stephen Spender; these four were commonly though misleadingly identified in the 1930s as the "Auden Group" for their shared (but not identical) left-wing views. Auden left Oxford in 1928 with a third-class degree. He was reintroduced to Christopher Isherwood in 1925; for the next few years Isherwood was his literary mentor to whom he sent poems for comments and criticism. Auden probably fell in love with Isherwood and in the 1930s they maintained a sexual friendship in intervals between their relations with others. In 1935–39 they collaborated on three plays and a travel book. From his Oxford years onward, his friends uniformly described him as funny, extravagant, sympathetic, generous, and, partly by his own choice, lonely. In groups he was often dogmatic and overbearing in a comic way; in more private settings he was diffident and shy except when certain of his welcome. He was punctual in his habits, and obsessive about meeting deadlines, while choosing to live amidst physical disorder. Britain and Europe, 1928–1938 In the autumn of 1928 Auden left Britain for nine months in Berlin, partly to rebel against English repressiveness. In Berlin, he said, he first experienced the political and economic unrest that became one of his central subjects. On returning to Britain in 1929, he worked briefly as a tutor. In 1930 his first published book, Poems (1930), was accepted by T. S. Eliot for Faber and Faber; the firm also published all his later books. In 1930 he began five years as a schoolmaster in boys' schools: two years at the Larchfield Academy, in Helensburgh, Scotland, then three years at The Downs School, in the Malvern Hills, where he was a much-loved teacher. At the Downs, in June 1933, he experienced what he later described as a "Vision of Agape," when, while sitting with three fellow-teachers at the school, he suddenly found that he loved them for themselves, that their existence had infinite value for him; this experience, he said, later influenced his decision to return to the Anglican Church in 1940. During these years, Auden's erotic interests focused, as he later said, on an idealized "Alter Ego" rather than on individual persons. His relations (and his unsuccessful courtships) tended to be unequal either in age or intelligence; his sexual relations were transient, although some evolved into long friendships. He contrasted these relations with what he later regarded as the "marriage" (his word) of equals that he began with Chester Kallman in 1939 (see below), based on the unique individuality of both partners. From 1935 until he left Britain early in 1939, Auden worked as freelance reviewer, essayist, and lecturer, first with the G.P.O. Film Unit, a documentary film-making branch of the post office, headed by John Grierson. Through his work for the Film Unit in 1935 he met and collaborated with Benjamin Britten, with whom he also worked on plays, song cycles, and a libretto. Auden's plays in the 1930s were performed by the Group Theatre, in productions that he supervised to varying degrees. His work now reflected his belief that any good artist must be "more than a bit of a reporting journalist." In 1936 he spent three months in Iceland, where he gathered material for a travel book Letters from Iceland (1937), written in collaboration with Louis MacNeice. In 1937 he went to Spain intending to drive an ambulance for the Republic in the Spanish Civil War, but was put to work broadcasting propaganda, a job he left in order to visit the front. His seven-week visit to Spain affected him deeply, and his social views grew more complex as he found political realities to be more ambiguous and troubling than he had imagined. Again attempting to combine reportage and art, he and Isherwood spent six months in 1938 visiting the Sino-Japanese War, working on their book Journey to a War (1939). On their way back to England they stayed briefly in New York and decided to move to the United States. Auden spent the autumn of 1938 partly in England, partly in Brussels. Many of his poems during the 1930s and afterward were inspired by unconsummated love, and in the 1950s he summarized his emotional life in a famous couplet: "If equal affection cannot be / Let the more loving one be me" ("The More Loving One"). He had a gift for friendship and, starting in the late 1930s, a strong wish for the stability of marriage; in a letter to his friend James Stern he called marriage "the only subject." Throughout his life, he performed charitable acts, sometimes in public (as in his marriage of convenience to Erika Mann in 1935 that gave her a British passport with which to escape the Nazis), but, especially in later years, more often in private, and he was embarrassed if they were publicly revealed, as when his gift to his friend Dorothy Day for the Catholic Worker movement was reported on the front page of The New York Times in 1956. United States and Europe, 1939–1973 Auden and Isherwood sailed to New York in January 1939, entering on temporary visas. Their departure from Britain was later seen by many there as a betrayal and Auden's reputation suffered. In April 1939 Isherwood moved to California, and he and Auden saw each other only intermittently in later years. Around this time, Auden met the poet Chester Kallman, who became his lover for the next two years (Auden described their relation as a "marriage" that began with a cross-country "honeymoon" journey). In 1941 Kallman ended their sexual relationship because he could not accept Auden's insistence on a mutual faithful relationship, but he and Auden remained companions for the rest of Auden's life, sharing houses and apartments from 1953 until Auden's death. Auden dedicated both editions of his collected poetry (1945/50 and 1966) to Isherwood and Kallman. In 1940–41, Auden lived in a house in Brooklyn Heights which he shared with Carson McCullers, Benjamin Britten, and others, and which became a famous center of artistic life. In 1940, he joined the Episcopal Church, returning to the Anglican Communion he had abandoned at thirteen. His reconversion was influenced partly by what he called the "sainthood" of Charles Williams, whom he had met in 1937, partly by reading Søren Kierkegaard and Reinhold Niebuhr; his existential, this-worldly Christianity became a central element in his life. After Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939 Auden told the British embassy in Washington that he would return to the UK if needed, but was told that, among those his age (32), only qualified personnel were needed. In 1941–42 he taught English at the University of Michigan. He was called up to be drafted in the United States Army in August 1942, but was rejected on medical grounds. He had been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for 1942-43, but did not use it, choosing instead to teach at Swarthmore College in 1942–45. In the summer of 1945, after the end of World War II in Europe, he was in Germany with the U. S. Strategic Bombing Survey, studying the effects of Allied bombing on German morale, an experience that affected his postwar work as his visit to Spain had affected him earlier. On his return, he settled in Manhattan, working as a freelance writer, and as a lecturer at The New School for Social Research and a visiting professor at Bennington, Smith, and other American colleges. In 1946 he became a naturalized citizen of the US. His theology in his later years evolved from a highly inward and psychologically oriented Protestantism in the early 1940s to a more Roman Catholic-oriented interest in the significance of the body and in collective ritual in the later 1940s and 1950s, and finally to the theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer which rejected "childish" conceptions of God for an adult religion that focused on the significance of human suffering. Auden began summering in Europe in 1948, first in Ischia, Italy, where he rented a house, then, starting 1958, in Kirchstetten, Austria where he bought a farmhouse, and, he said, shed tears of joy at owning a home for the first time. In 1951, shortly before the two British spies Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean fled to the USSR, Burgess attempted to phone Auden to arrange a vacation visit to Ischia that he had earlier discussed with Auden; Auden never returned the call and had no further contact with either spy, but a media frenzy ensued in which his name was mistakenly associated with their escape. The frenzy was repeated when the MI5 documents on the incident were released in 2007. In 1956–61, Auden was Professor of Poetry at Oxford University where he was required to give three lectures each year. This fairly light workload allowed him to continue to winter in New York, where he now lived on St. Mark's Place, and to summer in Europe, spending only three weeks each year lecturing in Oxford. He now earned his income mostly by readings and lecture tours, and by writing for The New Yorker and other magazines. During his last years, his conversation became repetitive, to the disappointment of friends who had known him earlier as a witty and wide-ranging conversationalist. In 1972, he moved his winter home from New York to Oxford, where his old college, Christ Church, offered him a cottage, but he continued to summer in Austria. He died in Vienna in 1973 and was buried in Kirchstetten. Overview Auden published about four hundred poems, including seven long poems (two of them book-length). His poetry was encyclopaedic in scope and method, ranging in style from obscure twentieth-century modernism to the lucid traditional forms such as ballads and limericks, from doggerel through haiku and villanelles to a "Christmas Oratorio" and a baroque eclogue in Anglo-Saxon meters. The tone and content of his poems ranged from pop-song clichés to complex philosophical meditations, from the corns on his toes to atoms and stars, from contemporary crises to the evolution of society. He also wrote more than four hundred essays and reviews about literature, history, politics, music, religion, and many other subjects. He collaborated on plays with Christopher Isherwood and on opera libretti with Chester Kallman, worked with a group of artists and filmmakers on documentary films in the 1930s and with the New York Pro Musica early music group in the 1950s and 1960s. About collaboration he wrote in 1964: "collaboration has brought me greater erotic joy . . . than any sexual relations I have had." Auden controversially rewrote or discarded some of his most famous poems when he prepared his later collected editions. He wrote that he rejected poems that he found "boring" or "dishonest" in the sense that they expressed views that he had never held but had used only because he felt they would be rhetorically effective. His rejected poems include "Spain" and "September 1, 1939". His literary executor, Edward Mendelson, argues in his introduction to Auden's Selected Poems that Auden's practice reflected his sense of the persuasive power of poetry and his reluctance to misuse it. (Selected Poems includes some poems that Auden rejected and early texts of poems that he revised.) Early work, 1922–1939 Up to 1930 Auden began writing poems at thirteen, mostly in the styles of 19th-century romantic poets, especially Wordsworth, and later poets with rural interests, especially Thomas Hardy. At eighteen he discovered T. S. Eliot and adopted an extreme version of Eliot's style. He found his own voice at twenty, when he wrote the first poem later included in his collected work, "From the very first coming down." This and other poems of the late 1920s tended to be in a clipped, elusive style that alluded to, but did not directly state, their themes of loneliness and loss. Twenty of these poems appeared in his first book Poems (1928), a pamphlet hand-printed by Stephen Spender. In 1928 he wrote his first dramatic work, Paid on Both Sides, subtitled "A Charade," which combined style and content from the Icelandic sagas with jokes from English school life. This mixture of tragedy and farce, with a dream play-within-the-play, introduced the mixed styles and content of much of his later work. This drama and thirty short poems appeared in his first published book Poems (1930, 2nd edition with seven poems replaced, 1933); the poems in the book were mostly lyrical and gnomic mediations on hoped-for or unconsummated love and on themes of personal, social, and seasonal renewal; among these poems were "It was Easter as I walked," "Doom is dark," "Sir, no man's enemy," and "This lunar beauty." A recurrent theme in these early poems is the effect of "family ghosts", Auden's term for the powerful, unseen psychological effects of preceding generations on any individual life (and the title of a poem). A parallel theme, present throughout his work, is the contrast between biological evolution (unchosen and involuntary) and the psychological evolution of cultures and individuals (voluntary and deliberate even in its subconscious aspects). 1931 to 1935 Auden's next large-scale work was The Orators: An English Study (1932; revised editions, 1934, 1966), in verse and prose, largely about hero-worship in personal and political life. In his shorter poems, his style became more open and accessible, and the exuberant "Six Odes" in The Orators reflect his new interest in Robert Burns. During the next few years, many of his poems took their form and style from traditional ballads and popular songs, and also from expansive classical forms like the Odes of Horace, which he seems to have discovered through the German poet Hölderlin. Around this time his main influences were Dante, William Langland, and Alexander Pope. During these years, much of his work expressed left-wing views, and he became widely known as a political poet, although his work was more politically ambivalent than many reviewers recognized. He generally wrote about revolutionary change in terms of a "change of heart", a transformation of a society from a closed-off psychology of fear to an open psychology of love. His verse drama The Dance of Death (1933) was a political extravaganza in the style of a theatrical revue, which Auden later called "a nihilistic leg-pull." His next play The Dog Beneath the Skin (1935), written in collaboration with Isherwood, was similarly a quasi-Marxist updating of Gilbert and Sullivan in which the general idea of social transformation was more prominent than any specific political action or structure. The Ascent of F6 (1937), another play written with Isherwood, was partly an anti-imperialist satire, partly (in the character of the self-destroying climber Michael Ransom) an examination of Auden's own motives in taking on a public role as a political poet. This play included the first version of "Funeral Blues" ("Stop all the clocks"), written as a satiric eulogy for a politician; Auden later rewrote the poem as a "Cabaret Song" about lost love (written to be sung by the soprano Hedli Anderson for whom he wrote many lyrics in the 1930s). In 1935, he worked briefly on documentary films with the G.P.O. Film Unit, writing his famous verse commentary for Night Mail and lyrics for other films that were among his attempts in the 1930s to create a widely-accessible, socially-conscious art. According to F. Hardy's biography of Grierson, "Auden wrote the verse on a trial and error basis. It had to be cut to fit the visuals, edited by R. Q. McNaughton, working with Cavalcanti and Wright. Many lines were discarded, ending as crumpled fragments in the wastepaper basket. Some of Auden's verbal images -- the rounded Scottish hills 'heaped like slaughtered horses' -- were too strong for the film but what was retained made Night Mail as much a film about loneliness and companionship as about the collection and delivery of letters. It was that difference that made it a work of art. Night Mail was a genuinely collaborative effort. Stuart Legg spoke the verse, timed, with Britten's music, to the beat of the train's wheels. Grierson himself spoke the moving culmination passage: And none will hear the postman's knock without a quickening of the heart, for who can bear to feel himself forgotten?" 1936 to 1939 These tendencies in style and content culminate in his collection Look, Stranger! (1936; his British publisher chose the title, which Auden hated; Auden retitled the 1937 US edition On This Island). This book included political odes, love poems, comic songs, meditative lyrics, and a variety of intellectually intense but emotionally accessible verse. Among the poems included in the book, connected by themes of personal, social, and evolutionary change and of the possibilities and problems of personal love, were "Hearing of harvests", "Out on the lawn I lie in bed", "O what is that sound", "Look, stranger, on this island now" (later revised versions change "on" to "at"), and "Our hunting fathers." Auden was now arguing that an artist should be a kind of journalist, and he put this view into practice in Letters from Iceland (1937) a travel book in prose and verse written with Louis MacNeice, which included his long social, literary, and autobiographical commentary "Letter to Lord Byron." In 1937, after observing the Spanish Civil War he wrote a politically-engaged pamphlet poem Spain (1937); he later discarded it from his collected works. Journey to a War (1939) a travel book in prose and verse, was written with Isherwood after their visit to the Sino-Japanese War. Auden's last collaboration with Isherwood was their third play, On the Frontier, an anti-war satire written in Broadway and West End styles. Auden's themes in his shorter poems now included the fragility and transience of personal love ("Danse Macabre", "The Dream", "Lay your sleeping head"), a theme he treated with ironic wit in his "Four Cabaret Songs for Miss Hedli Anderson" (which included "O Tell Me the Truth About Love" and the revised version of "Funeral Blues"), and also the corrupting effect of public and official culture on individual lives ("Casino", "School Children", "Dover"). In 1938 he wrote a series of dark, ironic ballads about individual failure ("Miss Gee", "James Honeyman", "Victor"). All these appeared in his next book of verse, Another Time (1940), together with other famous poems such as "Dover", "As He Is", and "Musée des Beaux Arts" (all written before he moved to America in 1939), and "In Memory of W. B. Yeats", "The Unknown Citizen", "Law Like Love", "September 1, 1939", and "In Memory of Sigmund Freud" (written in America). The elegies for Yeats and Freud are partly statements of Auden's anti-heroic theme, in which great deeds are performed, not by unique geniuses whom others cannot hope to imitate, but by otherwise ordinary individuals who were "silly like us" (Yeats) or of whom it could be said "he wasn't clever at all" (Freud), and who became teachers of others, not awe-inspiring heroes. Middle period, 1940–1957 1940 to 1946 In 1940 Auden wrote a long philosophical poem "New Year Letter", which appeared with miscellaneous notes and other poems in The Double Man (1941). At the time of his return to the Anglican Communion he began writing abstract verse on theological themes, such as "Canzone" and "Kairos and Logos." Around 1942, as he became more comfortable with religious themes, his verse became more open and relaxed, and he increasingly used the syllabic verse he learned from the poetry of Marianne Moore. His recurring themes in this period included the artist's temptation to use other persons as material for his art rather than valuing them for themselves ("Prospero to Ariel") and the corresponding moral obligation to make and keep commitments while recognizing the temptation to break them ("In Sickness and Health"). From 1942 through 1947 he worked mostly on three long poems in dramatic form, each differing from the others in form and content: "For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio", "The Sea and the Mirror: A Commentary on Shakespeare's The Tempest" (both published in For the Time Being, 1944), and The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue (published separately 1947). The first two, with Auden's other new poems from 1940–44, were included in his first collected edition, The Collected Poetry of W. H. Auden (1945), with most of his earlier poems, many in revised versions. 1947 to 1957 After completing The Age of Anxiety in 1946 he focused again on shorter poems, notably "A Walk After Dark," "The Love Feast", and "The Fall of Rome." Many of these evoked the Italian village where he summered in 1948-57, and his next book, Nones (1951), had a Mediterranean atmosphere new to his work. A new theme was the "sacred importance" of the human body in its ordinary aspect (breathing, sleeping, eating) and the continuity with nature that the body made possible (in contrast to the division between humanity and nature that he had emphasized in the 1930s); his poems on these themes included "In Praise of Limestone" and "Memorial for the City." In 1949 Auden and Kallman wrote the libretto for Igor Stravinsky's opera The Rake's Progress, and later collaborated on two libretti for operas by Hans Werner Henze. Auden's first separate prose book was The Enchafèd Flood: The Romantic Iconography of the Sea (1950), based on a series of lectures on the image of the sea in romantic literature. Between 1949 and 1954 he worked on a sequence of seven Good Friday poems, "Horae Canonicae", an encyclopedic survey of geological, biological, cultural, and personal history, focused on the irreversible act of murder; the poem was also a study in cyclical and linear ideas of time. While writing this, he also wrote a sequence of seven poems about man's relation to nature, "Bucolics." Both sequences appeared in his next book, The Shield of Achilles (1955), with other short poems, including the book's title poem, "Fleet Visit", and "Epitaph for the Unknown Soldier." Extending the themes of "Horae Canonicae", in 1955–56 he wrote a group of poems about "history," the term he used to mean the set of unique events made by human choices, as opposed to "nature," the set of involuntary events created by natural processes, statistics, and anonymous forces such as crowds. These poems included "T the Great", "The Maker", and the title poem of his next collection Homage to Clio (1960). Later work, 1958–1973 In the late 1950s Auden's style became less rhetorical while its range of styles increased. In 1958, having moved his summer home from Italy to Austria, he wrote "Good-bye to the Mezzogiorno"; other poems from this period include "Dichtung und Wahrheit: An Unwritten Poem", a prose poem about the relation between love and personal and poetic language, and the contrasting "Dame Kind", about the anonymous impersonal reproductive instinct. These and other poems, including his 1955–66 poems about history, appeared in Homage to Clio (1960). His prose book The Dyer's Hand (1962) gathered many of the lectures he gave in Oxford as Professor of Poetry in 1956–61, together with revised versions of essays and notes written since the mid-1940s. While translating the haiku and other verse in Dag Hammarskjöld's Markings, Auden began using haiku for many of his poems. A sequence of fifteen poems about his house in Austria, "Thanksgiving for a Habitat", appeared in About the House (1965), with other poems that included his reflections on his lecture tours, "On the Circuit." In the late 1960s he wrote some of his most vigorous poems, including "River Profile" and two poems that looked back over his life, "Prologue at Sixty" and "Forty Years On." All these appeared in City Without Walls (1969). His lifelong passion for Icelandic legend culminated in his verse translation of The Elder Edda (1969). He was commissioned in 1963 to write lyrics for the Broadway musical Man of La Mancha, but the producer rejected them as insufficiently romantic. In 1971 Secretary-General of the United Nations U Thant commissioned Auden to write the words, and Pablo Casals to compose the music, for a "Hymn to the United Nations", but the work had no official status. A Certain World: A Commonplace Book (1970) was a kind of self-portrait made up of favorite quotations with commentary, arranged in alphabetical order by subject. His last prose book was a selection of essays and reviews, Forewords and Afterwords (1973). His last books of verse, Epistle to a Godson (1972) and the unfinished Thank You, Fog (published posthumously, 1974) include reflective poems about language ("Natural Linguistics") and about his own aging ("A New Year Greeting", "Talking to Myself", "A Lullaby" ["The din of work is subdued"]). His last completed poem, in haiku form, was "Archeology", about ritual and timelessness, two recurring themes in his later years. Reputation and influence Auden's stature in modern literature has been disputed, with opinions ranging from that of Hugh MacDiarmid, who called him "a complete wash-out", to the obituarist in The Times (London), who wrote: "W. H. Auden, for long the enfant terrible of English poetry . . . emerges as its undisputed master." In his enfant terrible stage in the 1930s he was both praised and dismissed as a progressive and accessible voice, in contrast to the politically nostalgic and poetically obscure voice of T. S. Eliot. His departure for America in 1939 was hotly debated in Britain (once even in Parliament), with some critics treating it as a betrayal, and the role of influential young poet passed to Dylan Thomas, although defenders such as Geoffrey Grigson, in an introduction to a 1949 anthology of modern poetry, wrote that Auden "arches over all." His stature was suggested by book titles such as Auden and After by Francis Scarfe (1942) and The Auden Generation by Samuel Hynes (1972). In the US, starting in the late 1930s, the detached, ironic tone of Auden's regular stanzas set the style for a whole generation of poets; John Ashbery recalled that in the 1940s Auden "was the modern poet." His manner was so pervasive in American poetry that the ecstatic style of the Beat Generation was partly a reaction against his influence. In the 1950s and 1960s, some writers (notably Philip Larkin and Randall Jarrell) lamented that Auden's work had declined from its earlier promise. By the time of Auden's death in 1973 he had attained the status of a respected elder statesman. The Encyclopaedia Britannica notes that "by the time of Eliot's death in 1965 ... a convincing case could be made for the assertion that Auden was indeed Eliot's successor, as Eliot had inherited sole claim to supremacy when Yeats died in 1939." With some exceptions, British critics tended to treat his early work as his best, while American critics tended to favor his middle and later work. Unlike other modern poets, his reputation did not decline after his death, and Joseph Brodsky wrote that his was "the greatest mind of the twentieth century." Auden's popularity and familiarity suddenly increased after his "Funeral Blues" ("Stop all the clocks") was read aloud in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994); subsequently, a pamphlet edition of ten of his poems, Tell Me the Truth About Love, sold more than 275, copies. After 11 September 2001, his poem "September 1, 1939" was widely circulated and frequently broadcast. Public readings and broadcast tributes in the UK and US in 2007 marked his centenary year. On 2 October 1974 a memorial stone for Auden, was unveiled at Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. Published works The following list includes only the books of poems and essays that Auden prepared during his lifetime; for a more complete list, including other works and posthumous editions, see W. H. Auden bibliography. In the list below, works reprinted in the Complete Works of W. H. Auden are indicated by footnote references. Books * Poems (London, 1930; second edn., seven poems substituted, London, 1933; includes poems and Paid on Both Sides: A Charade[43]) (dedicated to Christopher Isherwood). * The Orators: An English Study (London, 1932, verse and prose; slightly revised edn., London, 1934; revised edn. with new preface, London, 1966; New York 1967) (dedicated to Stephen Spender). * The Dance of Death (London, 1933, play)[43] (dedicated to Robert Medley and Rupert Doone). * Poems (New York, 1934; contains Poems [1933 edition], The Orators [1932 edition], and The Dance of Death). * The Dog Beneath the Skin (London, New York, 1935; play, with Christopher Isherwood)[43] (dedicated to Robert Moody). * The Ascent of F6 (London, 1936; 2nd edn., 1937; New York, 1937; play, with Christopher Isherwood)[43] (dedicated to John Bicknell Auden). * Look, Stranger! (London, 1936, poems; US edn., On This Island, New York, 1937) (dedicated to Erika Mann) * Letters from Iceland (London, New York, 1937; verse and prose, with Louis MacNeice)[45] (dedicated to George Augustus Auden). * On the Frontier (London, 1938; New York 1939; play, with Christopher Isherwood)[43] (dedicated to Benjamin Britten). * Journey to a War (London, New York, 1939; verse and prose, with Christopher Isherwood)[45] (dedicated to E. M. Forster). * Another Time (London, New York 1940; poetry) (dedicated to Chester Kallman). * The Double Man (New York, 1941, poems; UK edn., New Year Letter, London, 1941) (Dedicated to Elizabeth Mayer). * For the Time Being (New York, 1944; London, 1945; two long poems: "The Sea and the Mirror: A Commentary on Shakespeare's The Tempest", dedicated to James and Tania Stern, and "For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio", in memoriam Constance Rosalie Auden [Auden's mother]). * The Collected Poetry of W. H. Auden (New York, 1945; includes new poems) (dedicated to Christopher Isherwood and Chester Kallman). * The Age of Anxiety: A Baroque Eclogue (New York, 1947; London, 1948; verse; won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry) (dedicated to John Betjeman). Collected Shorter Poems, 1930–1944 (London, 1950; similar to 1945 Collected Poetry) (dedicated to Christopher Isherwood and Chester Kallman). * The Enchafèd Flood (New York, 1950; London, 1951; prose) (dedicated to Alan Ansen).[55] Nones (New York, 1951; London, 1952; poems) (dedicated to Reinhold and Ursula Niebuhr) * The Shield of Achilles (New York, London, 1955; poems) (won the 1956 National Book Award for Poetry)[56] (dedicated to Lincoln and Fidelma Kirstein). * Homage to Clio (New York, London, 1960; poems) (dedicated to E. R. and A. E. Dodds). * The Dyer's Hand (New York, 1962; London, 1963; essays) (dedicated to Nevill Coghill).[57] * About the House (New York, London, 1965; poems) (dedicated to Edmund and Elena Wilson). * Collected Shorter Poems 1927–1957 (London, 1966; New York, 1967) (dedicated to Christopher Isherwood and Chester Kallman). * Collected Longer Poems (London, 1968; New York, 1969). Secondary Worlds (London, New York, 1969; prose) (dedicated to Valerie Eliot). * City Without Walls and Other Poems (London, New York, 1969) (dedicated to Peter Heyworth). * A Certain World: A Commonplace Book (New York, London, 1970; quotations with commentary) (dedicated to Geoffrey Gorer). * Epistle to a Godson and Other Poems (London, New York, 1972) (dedicated to Orlan Fox). Forewords and Afterwords (New York, London, 1973; essays) (dedicated to Hannah Arendt). * Thank You, Fog: Last Poems (London, New York, 1974) (dedicated to Michael and Marny Yates). Referenes Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._H._Auden

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Ann Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an American author and poet. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning more than fifty years. She received dozens of awards and over thirty honorary doctoral degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of seventeen, and brought her international recognition and acclaim. Angelou's long list of occupations has included pimp, prostitute, night-club dancer and performer, cast-member of the musical Porgy and Bess, coordinator for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, author, journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the days of decolonization, and actor, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs. Since 1991, she has taught at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she holds the first lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies. She was active in the Civil Rights movement, and worked with both Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Since the 1990s she has made around eighty appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at President Bill Clinton's inauguration, the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961. With the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou was heralded as a new kind of memoirist, one of the first African American women who was able to publicly discuss her personal life. She is highly respected as a spokesperson of Black people and women, and her works have been considered a defense of Black culture. Although attempts have been made to ban her books from some US libraries, her works are widely used in schools and universities worldwide. Angelou's major works have been labelled as autobiographical fiction, but many critics have characterized them as autobiographies. She has made a deliberate attempt to challenge the common structure of the autobiography by critiquing, changing, and expanding the genre. Her books center on themes such as racism, identity, family, and travel. Angelou is best known for her autobiographies, but she is also an established poet, although her poems have received mixed reviews. Early years Marguerite Johnson was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 4, 1928, the second child of Bailey Johnson, a navy dietitian, and Vivian (Baxter) Johnson, a nurse and card dealer. Angelou's older brother, Bailey Jr., nicknamed Marguerite "Maya", shortened from "my-a-sister". The first 17 years of Angelou's life are documented in her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. When Angelou was three, and her brother four, their parents' "calamitous marriage" ended. Their father sent them to Stamps, Arkansas alone by train to live with their paternal grandmother, Annie Henderson. In "an astonishing exception" to the harsh economics of African Americans of the time, Angelou's grandmother prospered financially during the Great Depression and World War II because the general store she owned sold needed basic commodities and because "she made wise and honest investments”. Four years later, the children's father "came to Stamps without warning" and returned them to their mother's care in St. Louis. At the age of eight, while living with her mother, Angelou was sexually abused and raped by her mother's boyfriend, Mr. Freeman. She confessed it to her brother, who told the rest of their family. Freeman was found guilty, but was jailed for only one day. Four days after his release, he was murdered, probably by Angelou's uncles. Angelou became mute for almost five years, believing, as she has stated, "I thought, my voice killed him; I killed that man, because I told his name. And then I thought I would never speak again, because my voice would kill anyone..." According to Angelou's biographers it was during this period of silence when Angelou developed her extraordinary memory, her love for books and literature, and her ability to listen and observe the world around her. Shortly after Freeman's murder, Angelou and her brother were sent back to their grandmother once again. Angelou credits a teacher and friend of her family, Mrs. Bertha Flowers, with helping her speak again. Flowers introduced her to authors such as Dickens, Shakespeare, Poe, Douglas Johnson (historian), and James Weldon Johnson, authors that would affect her life and career, as well as Black female artists like Frances Harper, Anne Spencer, and Jessie Fauset. When Angelou was 14, she and her brother returned to live with her mother in Oakland, California. During World War II, she attended George Washington High School while studying dance and drama on a scholarship at the California Labor School. Before graduating, she worked as the first Black female streetcar conductor in San Francisco. Three weeks after completing school, at the age of 17, she gave birth to her son, Clyde, who also became a poet. Angelou's second autobiography, Gather Together in My Name, recounts her life from age 17 to 19 and "depicts a single mother's slide down the social ladder into poverty and crime." Angelou worked as "the front woman/business manager for prostitutes," restaurant cook, and prostitute. She moved through a series of relationships, occupations, and cities as she attempted to raise her son without job training or advanced education. Adulthood and early career: 1951—1961 In her third autobiography, Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas, Angelou describes her three-year marriage to Greek electrician, former sailor, and aspiring musician Enistasious (Tosh) Angelos in 1951, despite the condemnation of interracial relationships at the time and the disapproval of her mother. She took modern dances classes during this time, and met dancers and choreographers Alvin Ailey and Ruth Beckford. Angelou and Ailey formed a dance team, calling themselves "Al and Rita", and performed Modern Dance at fraternal Black organizations throughout San Francisco, but never became successful. Angelou, her new husband, and son moved to New York City so that she could study African dance with Trinidadian dancer Pearl Primus, but they returned to San Francisco a year later. After Angelou's marriage ended, she danced professionally in clubs around San Francisco, including the nightclub The Purple Onion, where she sang and danced calypso music. Up to that point she went by the name of "Marguerite Johnson", or "Rita", but at the strong suggestion of her managers and supporters at The Purple Onion she changed her professional name to "Maya Angelou", a "distinctive name" that set her apart and captured the feel of her Calypso dance performances. During 1954 and 1955 Angelou toured Europe with a production of the opera Porgy and Bess. She began her practice of trying to learn the language of every country she visited, and in a few years she gained proficiency in several languages. In 1957, riding on the popularity of calypso, Angelou recorded her first album, Miss Calypso, which was reissued as a CD in 1996. She appeared in an off-Broadway review that inspired the film Calypso Heat Wave, in which Angelou sang and performed her own compositions. As Angelou described in her fourth autobiography, The Heart of a Woman, she met novelist James O. Killens in 1959, and at his urging, moved to New York to concentrate on her writing career. She joined the Harlem Writers Guild, where she met several major African-American authors, including John Henrik Clarke, Rosa Guy, Paule Marshall, and Julian Mayfield, and was published for the first time. After meeting and hearing civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speak in 1960, she and Killens organized "the legendary" Cabaret for Freedom to benefit the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and she was named SCLC's Northern Coordinator. According to scholar Lyman B. Hagen, her contributions to civil rights as a fundraiser and SCLC organizer were successful and "eminently effective". Angelou also began her pro-Castro and anti-apartheid activism during this time. Africa to Caged Bird: 1961—1969 In 1961, Angelou performed in Jean Genet's The Blacks, along with Abbey Lincoln, Roscoe Lee Brown, James Earl Jones, Louis Gossett, Godfrey Cambridge, and Cicely Tyson. That year she met South African freedom fighter Vusumzi Make; they never officially married. She and her son Guy moved to Cairo with Make where Angelou worked as an associate editor at the weekly English-language newspaper The Arab Observer. In 1962 her relationship with Make ended, and she and Guy moved to Accra, Ghana, he to attend college, where he was seriously injured in an automobile accident. Angelou remained in Accra for his recovery and ended up staying there until 1965, later relating her experiences as an African American residing in Ghana in her fifth autobiography, All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes. She became an administrator at the University of Ghana, and was active in the African-American expatriate community. She was a feature editor for The African Review, a freelance writer for the Ghanaian Times, wrote and broadcast for Radio Ghana, and worked and performed for Ghana's National Theatre. She performed in a revival of The Blacks in Geneva and Berlin. In Accra, she became close friends with Malcolm X during his visit in the early 1960s. Writing about their relationship in her sixth and final autobiography A Song Flung Up to Heaven (2002), Angelou said she returned to the U.S. in 1965 to help him build a new civil rights organization, the Organization of Afro-American Unity; he was assassinated shortly afterward. Devastated and adrift, she joined her brother in Hawaii, where she resumed her singing career, and then moved back to Los Angeles to focus on her writing career. She worked as a market researcher in Watts and witnessed the riots in the summer of 1965. She acted in and wrote plays, and returned to New York in 1967. She met her life-long friend Rosa Guy and renewed her friendship with James Baldwin, whom she met in Paris in the 1950s and called "my brother", during this time. Her friend Jerry Purcell provided Angelou with a stipend to support her writing. In 1968, Martin Luther King asked Angelou to organize a march. She agreed, but "postpones again", and in what Angelou's biographers call "a macabre twist of fate", he was assassinated on her 40th birthday (April 4). Devastated again, she was encouraged out of her depression by her friend James Baldwin. As her biographers state, "If 1968 was a year of great pain, loss, and sadness, it was also the year when America first witnessed the breadth and depth of Maya Angelou's spirit and creative genius". Despite almost no experience, she wrote, produced, and narrated "Blacks, Blues, Black!", a ten-part series of documentaries which dealt with the connection between blues music and Black Americans' African heritage, as well as what Angelou called the "Africanisms still current in the U.S." for National Educational Television, the precursor of PBS. Also in 1968, inspired at a dinner party she attended with Baldwin, cartoonist Jules Feiffer, and his wife Judy, and challenged by Random House editor Robert Loomis, she wrote her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, published in 1969, which brought her international recognition and acclaim. Later career Angelou's Georgia, Georgia, produced by a Swedish film company and filmed in Sweden, the first screenplay written by a Black woman, was released in 1972. She also wrote the film's soundtrack, despite having very little additional input in the filming of the movie. Angelou married Welsh carpenter and ex-husband of Germaine Greer, Paul du Feu, in San Francisco in 1973. In the next ten years, as her biographers stated, "She had accomplished more than many artists hope to achieve in a lifetime". She worked as a composer, writing for singer Roberta Flack and composing movie scores. She wrote articles, short stories, TV scripts and documentaries, autobiographies and poetry, produced plays, and was named visiting professors of several colleges and universities. She was "a reluctant actor", and was nominated for a Tony Award in 1973 for her role in Look Away. In 1977 Angelou appeared in a supporting role in the television mini-series Roots. She began being awarded with hundreds of awards and honorary degrees from colleges and universities from all over the world. In the late '70s, Angelou met Oprah Winfrey when Winfrey was a TV anchor in Baltimore, Maryland; Angelou would later become Winfrey's close friend and mentor. In 1981, Angelou and du Feu divorced. Her attempts at producing and directing films were frustrated throughout the 80s. She returned to the southern United States in 1981, where she accepted the lifetime Reynolds Professorship of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she taught a variety of subjects that reflected her interests, including philosophy, ethics, theology, science, theater, and writing. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem On the Pulse of Morning at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton, becoming the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961. Her recitation resulted in more fame and recognition for her previous works, and broadened her appeal "across racial, economic, and educational boundaries". The recording of the poem was awarded a Grammy Award. In June 1995, she delivered what Richard Long called her "second 'public' poem", entitled "A Brave and Startling Truth", which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. Angelou finally achieved her goal of directing a feature film in 1996, Down in the Delta, which featured actors such as Alfre Woodard and Wesley Snipes. Since the 1990s, Angelou has actively participated in the lecture circuit in a customized tour bus, something she continued into her eighties. In 2000, she created a successful collection of products for Hallmark, including greeting cards and decorative household items. Over thirty years after Angelou began writing her life story, she completed the sixth and final autobiography in her series of six, A Song Flung Up to Heaven, in 2002. Angelou campaigned for Senator Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Party in the 2008 presidential primaries. When Clinton's campaign ended, Angelou put her support behind Senator Barack Obama, who won the election and became the first African American president of the United States. She stated, "We are growing up beyond the idiocies of racism and sexism". In late 2010, Angelou donated her personal papers and career memorabilia to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. They consisted of over 340 boxes of documents that featured her handwritten notes on yellow legal pads for I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, a 1982 telegram from Coretta Scott King, fan mail, and personal and professional correspondence from colleagues such as her editor Robert Loomis. Personal life Evidence suggests that Maya Angelou, who preferred to be called "Dr. Angelou" by people outside of her family and close friends, was partially descended from the Mende people of West Africa. A 2008 PBS documentary found that Angelou's maternal great-grandmother Mary Lee, who had been emancipated after the Civil War, became pregnant by her former white owner, John Savin. Savin forced Lee to sign a false statement accusing another man of being the father of her child. After indicting Savin for forcing Lee to commit perjury, and despite discovering that Savin was the father, a grand jury found him not guilty. Lee was sent to the Clinton County poorhouse in Missouri with her daughter, Marguerite Baxter, who became Angelou's grandmother. Angelou described Lee as "that poor little Black girl, physically and mentally bruised." The details of Angelou's life described in her six autobiographies and in numerous interviews, speeches, and articles tend to be inconsistent. Her biographer, Mary Jane Lupton, has explained that when Angelou has spoken about her life, she has done so eloquently but informally and "with no time chart in front of her". For example, she has been married at least twice, but has never clarified the number of times she has been married, "for fear of sounding frivolous"). According to her autobiographies and her biographers, she married Tosh Angelos in 1951 and Paul du Feu in 1973, and began her relationship with Vusumzi Make in 1961, but never formally married him. Angelou has one son Guy, whose birth was described in her first autobiography, one grandson, and two young great-grandchildren, and according to her biographers, a large group of friends and extended family. Angelou's mother Vivian Baxter and brother Bailey Johnson, Jr., both of whom were important figures in her life and her books, die; her mother in 1991 and her brother in 2000 after a series of strokes. In 1981, the mother of her son Guy's child disappeared with him; it took eight years to find Angelou's grandson. As of 2008, Angelou owned two homes in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and one in Harlem, full of her "growing library" of books she has collected throughout her life, artwork collected over the span of many decades, and well-stocked kitchens. According to her biographers, she hosted several celebrations per year at her main residence in Winston-Salem, including Thanksgiving; "her skill in the kitchen is the stuff of legend—from haute cuisine to down-home comfort food". She combined her cooking and writing skills in her 2004 book Hallelujah! The Welcome Table, which featured recipes she learned from her grandmother and mother, along with stories that preceded each recipe. Beginning with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou has used the same "writing ritual" for many years. She would wake early in the morning and check into a hotel room, where the staff was instructed to remove any pictures from the walls. She would write on legal pads while lying on the bed, with only a bottle of sherry, a deck of cards to playsolitaire, Roget's Thesaurus, and the Bible, and would leave by the early afternoon. She would average 10–12 pages of written material a day, which she edited down to three or four pages in the evening. Angelou went through this process to "enchant" herself, and as she has said in a 1989 interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, "relive the agony, the anguish, the Sturm und Drang." She placed herself back in the time she wrote about, even traumatic experiences like her rape in Caged Bird, in order to "tell the human truth" about her life. Angelou has stated that she played cards in order to get to that place of enchantment, in order to access her memories more effectively. She has stated, "It may take an hour to get into it, but once I’m in it—ha! It’s so delicious!" She did not find the process cathartic; rather, she has found relief in "telling the truth”. Angelou's work Although Angelou wrote her first autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, without the intention of writing a series, she went on to write five additional volumes. The volumes "stretch over time and place", from Arkansas to Africa and back to the U.S., and take place from the beginnings of World War II to assassination. of Martin Luther King, Jr. Critics have tended to judge Angelou's subsequent autobiographies "in light of the first", with Caged Bird receiving the highest praise. Angelou has written five collections of essays, which writer Hilton Als called her "wisdom books" and "homilies strung together with autobiographical texts". Angelou has used the same editor throughout her writing career, Robert Loomis, an executive editor at Random House, who retired in 2011 and has been called "one of publishing's hall of fame editors." Angelou has said regarding Loomis: "We have a relationship that's kind of famous among publishers”. Angelou's long and extensive career also includes poetry, plays, screenplays for television and film, directing, acting, and public speaking. She is a prolific writer of poetry; her volume Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie (1971) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and she was chosen by President Bill Clinton to recite her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" during his inauguration in 1993. Angelou's successful acting career has included roles in numerous plays, films, and television programs, including her appearance in the television mini-series Roots in 1977. Her screenplay,Georgia, Georgia (1972), was the first original script by a Black woman to be produced and she was the first African American woman to direct a major motion picture, Down in the Delta, in 1998. Since the 1990s, Angelou has actively participated in the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. Reception and legacy Influence When I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was published in 1969, Angelou was hailed as a new kind of memoirist, one of the first African American women who was able to publicly discuss her personal life. Up to that point, black female writers were marginalized to the point that they were unable to present themselves as central characters. Scholar John McWhorter agreed, seeing Angelou's works, which he called "tracts", as "apologetic writing". He placed Angelou in the tradition of African-American literature as a defense of Black culture, which he called "a literary manifestation of the imperative that reigned in the black scholarship of the period". Writer Julian Mayfield, who called Caged Bird "a work of art that eludes description", has insisted that Angelou's autobiographies set a precedent not only for other black women writers, but for the genre of autobiography as a whole. Through the writing of her autobiography, Angelou became recognized and highly respected as a spokesperson for blacks and women. It made her "without a doubt, ... America's most visible black woman autobiographer", and "a major autobiographical voice of the time". As writer Gary Younge has said, "Probably more than almost any other writer alive, Angelou's life literally is her work". Author Hilton Als has insisted that although Caged Bird was an important contribution to the increase of black feminist writings in the 1970s, he attributed its success less to its originality than with "its resonance in the prevailing Zeitgeist", or the time in which it was written, at the end of the American Civil Rights movement. Als also insisted that Angelou's writings, more interested in self-revelation than in politics or feminism, has freed many other female writers to "open themselves up without shame to the eyes of the world". Angelou biographer Joanne M. Braxton has insisted that Caged Bird was "perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing" autobiography written by an African-American woman in its era. Critical reception Reviewer Elsie B. Washington, most likely due to President Clinton's choice of Angelou to recite her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at his 1993 inauguration, has called Angelou "the black woman's poet laureate" Sales of the paperback version of her books and poetry rose by 300–600% the week after Angelou's recitation. Bantam Books had to reprint 400, copies of all her books to keep up with the demand. Random House, which published Angelou's hardcover books and published the poem later that year, reported that they sold more of her books in January 1993 than they did in all of 1992, accounting for a 1200% increase. Angelou has famously said, in response to criticism regarding using the details of her life in her work, "I agree with Balzac and 19th-century writers, black and white, who say, 'I write for money'". Angelou's books, especially I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, have been criticized by many parents, causing their removal from school curricula and library shelves. According to the National Coalition Against Censorship, parents and schools have objected to Caged Bird's depictions of lesbianism, premarital cohabitation, pornography, and violence. Some have been critical of the book's sexually explicit scenes, use of language, and irreverent religious depictions. Caged Bird appeared third on the American Library Association (ALA) list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000, sixth on the ALA's 2000–2009 list, and one of the ten books most frequently banned from high school and junior high school libraries and classrooms. Awards and honors Angelou is one of the most honored writers of her generation. She has been honored by universities, literary organizations, government agencies, and special interest groups. Her honors have included a National Book Award nomination for I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, aPulitzer Prize nomination for her book of poetry, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie, a Tony Award nomination for her role in the 1973 play Look Away, and three Grammys for her spoken word albums. In 1995, Angelou's publishing company, Random House, recognized her for having the longest-running record (two years) on The New York Times Paperback Nonfiction Bestseller List. She has served on two presidential committees, and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2000, the Lincoln Medal in 2008, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. Angelou has been awarded over thirty honorary degrees. Uses in education Angelou's autobiographies have been used in narrative and multicultural approaches in teacher education. Jocelyn A. Glazier, a professor at George Washington University, has trained teachers how to "talk about race" in their classrooms with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Gather Together in My Name. According to Glazier, Angelou's use of understatement, self-mockery, humor, and irony, have led readers of Angelou's autobiographies unsure of what she "left out" and how they should respond to the events Angelou describes. Angelou's depictions of her experiences of racism has forced white readers to explore their feelings about race and their own "privileged status". Glazier found that although critics have focused on where Angelou fits within the genre of African-American autobiography and on her literary techniques, readers have tended to react to her storytelling with "surprise, particularly when [they] enter the text with certain expectations about the genre of autobiography". Educator Daniel Challener, in his 1997 book, Stories of Resilience in Childhood, analyzed the events in Caged Bird to illustrate resiliency in children. Challener insisted that Angelou's book has provided a "useful framework" for exploring the obstacles many children like have Maya faced and how communities have helped children succeed as Angelou did. Psychologist Chris Boyatzis has reported using Caged Bird to supplement scientific theory and research in the instruction of child development topics such as the development of self-concept and self-esteem, ego resilience, industry versus inferiority, effects of abuse, parenting styles, sibling and friendship relations, gender issues, cognitive development, puberty, and identity formation in adolescence. He found the book a "highly effective" tool for providing real-life examples of these psychological concepts. Style and genre in Angelou's autobiographies Angelou's use of fiction-writing techniques such as dialogue, characterization, and development of theme, setting, plot, and language has often resulted in the placement of her books into the genre of autobiographical fiction, but Angelou has characterized them as autobiographies. As feminist scholar Maria Lauret has stated, Angelou has made a deliberate attempt in her books to challenge the common structure of the autobiography by critiquing, changing, and expanding the genre. Scholar Mary Jane Lupton has insisted that all of Angelou's autobiographies conform to the genre's standard structure: they are written by a single author, they are chronological, and they contain elements of character, technique, and theme. Angelou has recognized that there are fictional aspects to her books; Lupton agreed, stating that Angelou has tended to "diverge from the conventional notion of autobiography as truth", which has paralleled the conventions of much of African-American autobiography written during the abolitionist period of U.S. history, when as both Lupton and African-American scholar Crispin Sartwell put it, the truth was censored out of the need for self-protection. Scholar Lyman B. Hagen has placed Angelou in the long tradition of African-American autobiography, but insisted that Angelou has created a unique interpretation of the autobiographical form. The challenge for much of the history of African-American literature was that its authors have had to confirm its status as literature before they could accomplish their political goals, which was why Angelou's editor Robert Loomis was able to dare her into writing Caged Bird by challenging her to write an autobiography that could be considered "high art". Angelou has acknowledged that she has followed the slave narrative tradition of "speaking in the first-person singular talking about the first-person plural, always saying I meaning 'we'". Scholar John McWhorter called Angelou's books "tracts" that defended African-American culture and fought against negative stereotypes. According to McWhorter, Angelou structured her books, which to him seemed to be written more for children than for adults, to support her defense of Black culture. McWhorter saw Angelou as she depicted herself in her autobiographies "as a kind of stand-in figure for the Black American in Troubled Times". Although McWhorter saw Angelou's works as dated, he recognized that "she has helped to pave the way for contemporary black writers who are able to enjoy the luxury of being merely individuals, no longer representatives of the race, only themselves. Scholar Lynn Z. Bloom has compared Angelou's works to the writings of Frederick Douglass, stating that both fulfilled the same purpose: to describe Black culture and to interpret it for her wider, white audience. According to scholar Sondra O'Neale, whereas Angelou's poetry could be placed within the African-American oral tradition, her prose "follows classic technique in nonpoetic Western forms". O'Neale stated that although Angelou avoided a "monolithic Black language", she accomplished, through direct dialogue, what O'Neale called a "more expected ghetto expressiveness". McWhorter, however, found both the language Angelou used in her autobiographies and the people she depicted unrealistic, resulting in a separation between her and her audience. As McWhorter stated, "I have never read autobiographical writing where I had such a hard time summoning a sense of how the subject talks, or a sense of who the subject really is". McWhorter asserted, for example, that Angelou's depiction of key figures like herself, her son Guy, and mother Vivian did not speak as one would expect, and that their speech was "cleaned up". Guy, for example, represented the young Black male, while Vivian represented the idealized mother figure. The stiff language Angelou used, both in her text and in the language of her subjects, was intended to prove that Blacks were able to competently use standard English. McWhorter recognized, however, that much of the reason for Angelou's style was the "apologetic" nature of her writing. When Angelou wrote Caged Bird at the end of the 1960s, one of the necessary and accepted features of literature at the time was "organic unity", and one of her goals was to create a book that satisfied that criteria. The events in her books were episodic and crafted like a series of short stories, but their arrangements did not follow a strict chronology. Instead, they were placed to emphasize the themes of her books, which include racism, identity, family, and travel. English literature scholar Valerie Sayers has asserted that "Angelou's poetry and prose are similar". They both relied on her "direct voice", which alternated steady rhythms with syncopated patterns and used similes and metaphors (e,g., the caged bird). According to Hagen, Angelou's works have been influenced by both conventional literary and the oral traditions of the African-American community. For example, she referenced over 100 literary characters throughout her books and poetry. In addition, she used the elements of blues music, including the act of testimony when speaking of one's life and struggles, ironic understatement, and the use of natural metaphors, rhythms, and intonations. Angelou, instead of depending upon plot, used personal and historical events to shape her books. Poetry Although Angelou considered herself a playwright and poet when her editor Robert Loomis challenged her to write I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, she is best known for her autobiographies. According to Lupton, many of Angelou's readers identify her as a poet first and an autobiographer second. Reviewer Elsie B. Washington has called her "the black woman's poet laureate", and has called Angelou's poetry the anthems of African Americans. Angelou has experienced similar success as a poet as she did as an autobiographer. She began, early in her writing career, of alternating the publication of an autobiography and a volume of poetry. Her first volume of poetry Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Diiie, published in 1971 shortly after I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings became a best-seller, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Angelou's most famous poem was "On the Pulse of Morning", which she recited at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton in 1993. Lupton has insisted that "Angelou's ultimate greatness will be attributed" to the poem, and that Angelou's "theatrical" performance of it, using skills she learned as an actor and speaker, marked a return to the African-American oral tradition of speakers such as Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Angelou delivered what Richard Long called her "second 'public' poem", entitled "A Brave and Startling Truth", which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the United Nations in 1995. Also in 1995, she was chosen to recite one of her poems at the Million Man March. In 2009, Angelou wrote "We Had Him", a poem about Michael Jackson, which was read by Queen Latifah at his funeral. As Angelou's biographers have stated, Angelou had "fallen in love with poetry in Stamps, Arkansas". After her rape at the age of eight, she memorized and studied great works of literature, including poetry, and according to Caged Bird, her friend Mrs. Flowers encouraged her to recite them, which helped bring her out of her muteness. Angelou's biographers have also stated that Angelou's poems "reflect the richness and subtlety of Black speech and sensibilities" and were meant to be read aloud. Angelou has supported her biographers, telling an interviewer in 1983 that she wrote poetry so that it would be read aloud. Scholar Zofia Burr has connected Angelou's "failure to impress professional poetry critics" to both the public nature of many of her poems and to Angelou's popular success, and to critics' preferences for poetry as a written form rather than a verbal performed one. Critic James Finn Cotter, in his review of Angelou's 1976 volume of poetry Oh Pray My Wings Are Gonna Fit Me Well, called it an "unfortunate example of the dangers of success". Critic John Alfred Avant, despite the fact that the volume was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, stated that Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Diiie “isn't accomplished, not by any means”. Scholar Joanne Braxton has asserted that “Angelou's audience, composed largely of women and blacks, isn't really affected by what white and/or male critics of the dominant literary tradition have to say about her work. This audience does not read literary critics; it does read Maya Angelou”. Burr has countered Angelou's critics by condemning them for not taking into account Angelou's larger purposes in her writing: “to be representative rather than individual, authoritative rather than confessional”. Referenes Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maya_Angelou

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa, Ontario. She earned a B.A. from Victoria College, University of Toronto, and an M.A. from Harvard. She is the author of over fifteen books of poetry, including Eating Fire: Selected Poems, 1965-1995 (Virago Press Limited, 1998); Morning in the Burned House (1995), which was a co-winner of the Trillium Award; Selected Poems II: Poems Selected and New 1976-1986 (1987); Two-Headed Poems (1978); You Are Happy (1975); and The Animals in That Country (1968). Among her novels are Oryx and Crake: A Novel (McClelland & Stewart, 2003); The Blind Assassin (2000), which won the Booker Prize and the Dashell Hammett Prize; Alias Grace (1996); The Robber Bride (1993); The Handmaid's Tale (1986), winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award; Bodily Harm (1982); Lady Oracle (1976); and The Edible Woman (1970). Her collections of short fiction include A Quiet Game: And Other Early Works (1997), Good Bones (1992), Wilderness Tips and Other Stories (1991), Murder in the Dark: Short Fictions and Prose Poems (1983), and Dancing Girls and Other Stories (1977). She is the author of four collections of nonfiction: Strange Things: The Malevolent North in Canadian Literature (1995), Second Words: Selected Critical Prose (1982), Days of the Rebels 1815-1840 (1977), and Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature (1972). Her books for children include Princess Prunella and the Purple Peanut (1995), For the Birds (1990), and Up in the Tree (1978). Atwood's work has been translated into many languages and published in more than twenty-five countries. Among her numerous honors and awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Molson Award, the Ida Nudel Humanitarian Award, and a Canada Short Fiction Award. In 1986 Ms Magazine named her Woman of the Year. She has served as a Writer-In-Residence and a lecturer at many colleges and universities. Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto. References Poets.org – www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/746

Simon Armitage

Simon Robert Armitage CBE (born 26 May 1963) is an English poet, playwright and novelist. He is currently a Professor of Poetry at the University of Sheffield. On 19 June 2015, Armitage was elected to the part-time position of Oxford Professor of Poetry, succeeding Geoffrey Hill. Life and career Armitage was born in Huddersfield, West Riding of Yorkshire and grew up in the village of Marsden. Armitage first studied at Colne Valley High School, Linthwaite and went on to study geography at Portsmouth Polytechnic; his first poetry collection was called Human Geography (1988). He was a post-graduate student at the University of Manchester where his MA thesis concerned the effects of television violence on young offenders. Until 1994 he worked as a probation officer in Greater Manchester. He has lectured on creative writing at the University of Leeds, the University of Iowa, and was senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has made literary, history and travel programmes for BBC Radios 3 and 4; and since 1992 he has written and presented a number of TV documentaries. From 2009-2012 he was Artist in Residence at London’s South Bank, and in February 2011 he became Professor of Poetry at the University of Sheffield. He lives in the Holme Valley, West Yorkshire. He is a lifelong Huddersfield Town fan and makes many references to supporting his local team in his book All Points North. Writing Armitage’s poetry collections include Book of Matches (1993) and The Dead Sea Poems (1995). He has written two novels, Little Green Man (2001) and The White Stuff (2004), as well as All Points North (1998), a collection of essays on Northern England. He produced a dramatised version of Homer’s Odyssey and a collection of poetry entitled Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus The Corduroy Kid (which was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize), both of which were published in July 2006. Many of Armitage’s poems appear in the AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) GCSE syllabus for English Literature in the United Kingdom. These include “Homecoming”,"Extract from Out of the Blue", “November”, “Kid”, “Hitcher”, and a selection of poems from Book of Matches, most notably of these “Mother any distance...”. His writing is characterised by a dry Yorkshire wit combined with “an accessible, realist style and critical seriousness.” His translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2007), was adopted for the ninth edition of The Norton Anthology of English Literature, and he was the narrator of a 2010 BBC documentary about the poem and its use of landscape. Armitage also writes for radio, television, film and stage. He is the author of four stage plays, including Mister Heracles, a version of Euripides’ The Madness of Heracles. He is currently writing a fifth, The Last Days of Troy, to be premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe in June 2014. He was commissioned in 1996 by the National Theatre in London to write Eclipse for the National Connections series, a play inspired by the real-life disappearance of a girl in Hebden Bridge, and set at the time of the 1999 solar eclipse in Cornwall. Most recently he wrote the libretto for an opera scored by Scottish composer Stuart MacRae, The Assassin Tree, based on a Greek myth recounted in The Golden Bough. The opera premiered at the 2006 Edinburgh International Festival, Scotland, before moving to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. Saturday Night (Century Films, BBC2, 1996)– wrote and narrated a fifty-minute poetic commentary to a documentary about night-life in Leeds, directed by Brian Hill. In 2010, Armitage walked the 264-mile Pennine Way, walking south from Scotland to Derbyshire. Along the route he stopped to give poetry readings, often in exchange for donations of money, food or accommodation, despite the rejection of the free life seen in his 1993 poem, the Hitcher, and has written a book about his journey, called Walking Home. He has received numerous awards for his poetry, including The Sunday Times Author of the Year, a Forward Prize, a Lannan Award, and an Ivor Novello Award for his song lyrics in the Channel 4 film Feltham Sings. Kid and CloudCuckooLand were short-listed for the Whitbread poetry prize. The Dead Sea Poems was short-listed for the Whitbread, the Forward Poetry Prize and the T. S. Eliot Prize. The Universal Home Doctor was also short-listed for the T.S. Eliot. In 2000, he was the UK’s official Millennium Poet and went on to judge the 2005 Griffin Poetry Prize, the 2006 Man Booker Prize for Fiction and the 2010 Manchester Poetry Prize. In 2004, Armitage was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours. He is a vice president of the Poetry Society and a patron of the Arvon Foundation. For the Stanza Stones Trail, which runs through 47 miles (76 km) of the Pennine region, Armitage composed six new poems on his walks. With the help of local expert Tom Lonsdale and letter-carver Pip Hall, the poems were carved into stones at secluded sites. A book, containing the poems and the accounts of Lonsdale and Hall, has been produced as a record of that journey and has been published by Enitharmon Press. In 2016 the arts programme 14-18 NOW commissioned a series of poems by Simon Armitage as part of a five-year programme of new artwork created specifically to mark the centenary of the First World War. The poems are a response to six aerial or panoramic photographs of battlefields from the archive of the Imperial War Museum in London. The poetry collection “Still” premiered at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival and has been published in partnership with Enitharmon Press. Awards and honours * 1988 Eric Gregory Award * 1989 Zoom! made a Poetry Book Society Choice * 1992 A Forward Poetry Prize for Kid * 1993 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year * 1994 Lannan Award * 1998 Yorkshire Post Book of the Year for All Points North * 2003 BAFTA winner * 2003 Ivor Novello Award for song-writing * 2004 Fellow of Royal Society for Literature * 2005 Spoken Word Award (Gold) for The Odyssey * 2006 Royal Television Society Documentary Award Winner for Out of the Blue * 2008 The Not Dead (C4, Century Films) Mental Health in the Media Documentary Film Winner * 2010 Seeing Stars made a Poetry Book Society Choice * 2010 Keats-Shelley Prize for Poetry * 2010 Awarded the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, for services to poetry * 2012 The Death of King Arthur made Poetry Book Society Choice * 2012 Hay Medal for Poetry * 2012 T S Eliot Prize, shortlist, The Death of King Arthur * 1996 Doctor of Letters, University of Portsmouth * 1996 Honorary Doctorate, University of Huddersfield * 2009 Honorary Doctorate, Sheffield Hallam University * 2011 Doctor of the University, The Open University * 2015 Honorary Doctor of Letters, University of Leeds Published works Selected television and radio works * Second Draft from Saga Land– six programmes for BBC Radio 3 on W. H. Auden and Louis MacNeice. * Eyes of a Demigod– on Victor Grayson commissioned by BBC Radio 3. * The Amherst Myth– on Emily Dickinson, for BBC Radio 4. * Points of Reference– on the history of navigation and orientation, for BBC Radio 4. * From Salford to Jericho– A verse drama for BBC Radio 4. * To Bahia and Beyond– Five travelogue features in verse with Glyn Maxwell from Brazil and the Amazon for BBC Radio 3. * The Bayeux Tapestry– A six-part dramatisation, with Geoff Young, for BBC Radio 3. * Saturday Night (1996) - Century Films/BBC TV * A Tree Full of Monkeys (2002)– commissioned by BBC Radio 3, with Zoviet France. * The Odyssey (2004)– A three-part dramatisation for BBC Radio 4. * Writing the City (2005)– commissioned by BBC Radio 3. * Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2010) - BBC documentary * Gods and Monsters—Homer’s Odyssey (2010) - BBC documentary * The Making of King Arthur (2010) - BBC documentary * The Pendle Witch Child (2011) - BBC documentary, examining the role of Jennet Device in the Pendle Witch Trials * Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster (2011), consisting of poems telling the story of Sophie Lancaster’s life, together with the personal recollections of her mother. * The Last Days of Troy (2015) - A two-part dramatisation for BBC Radio 4. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Armitage

Franklin Pierce Adams

Franklin Pierce Adams (November 15, 1881– March 23, 1960) was an American columnist, well known by his initials F.P.A., and wit, best known for his newspaper column, “The Conning Tower”, and his appearances as a regular panelist on radio’s Information Please. A prolific writer of light verse, he was a member of the Algonquin Round Table of the 1920s and 1930s. New York newspaper columnist Adams was born Franklin Leopold Adams to Moses and Clara Schlossberg Adams in Chicago on November 15, 1881. He changed his middle name to “Pierce” when he had a Jewish confirmation ceremony at age 13. Adams graduated from the Armour Scientific Academy (now Illinois Institute of Technology) in 1899, attended the University of Michigan for one year and worked in insurance for three years. Signing on with the Chicago Journal in 1903, he wrote a sports column and then a humor column, “A Little about Everything”. The following year he moved to the New York Evening Mail, where he worked from 1904 to 1913 and began his column, then called “Always in Good Humor”, which used reader contributions. During his time on the Evening Mail, Adams wrote what remains his best known work, the poem Baseball’s Sad Lexicon, a tribute to the Chicago Cubs double play combination of “Tinker to Evers to Chance”. In 1911, he added a second column, a parody of Samuel Pepys’s Diary, with notes drawn from F.P.A.'s personal experiences. In 1914, he moved his column to the New-York Tribune, where it was famously retitled The Conning Tower and was considered to be “the pinnacle of verbal wit”. During World War I, Adams was in the U.S. Army, serving in military intelligence and also writing a column, “The Listening Post”, for Stars and Stripes editor Harold Ross. After the war, the so-called “comma-hunter of Park Row” (for his knowledge of the language) returned to New York and the Tribune. He moved to the New York World in 1922, and his column appeared there until the paper merged with the inferior New York Telegram in 1931. He returned to his old paper, by then called the New York Herald Tribune, until 1937, and finally moved to the New York Post, where he ended his column in September 1941. During its long run, “The Conning Tower” featured contributions from such writers as Robert Benchley, Edna Ferber, Moss Hart, George S. Kaufman, Edna St. Vincent Millay, John O’Hara, Dorothy Parker and Deems Taylor. Having one’s work published in “The Conning Tower” was enough to launch a career, as in the case of Dorothy Parker and James Thurber. Parker quipped, “He raised me from a couplet.” Parker dedicated her 1936 publication of collected poems, Not So Deep as a Well, to F.P.A. Many of the poems in that collection were originally published in “The Conning Tower”. Much later, the writer E. B. White freely admitted his sense of awe: "I used to walk quickly past the house in West 13th Street between Sixth and Seventh where F.P.A. lived, and the block seemed to tremble under my feet—the way Park Avenue trembles when a train leaves Grand Central.” Adams is credited with coining the term “aptronym” for last names that fit a person’s career or job title, although it was later refined to “aptonym” by Frank Nuessel in 1992. Satires No Sirree!, staged for one night only in April 1922, was a take-off of a then-popular European touring revue called La Chauve-Souris directed by Nikita Balieff. Robert Benchley is often credited as the first person to suggest the parody of Balieff’s group. No Sirree! had its genesis at the studio of Neysa McMein, which served as something of a salon for Round Tablers away from the Algonquin. Acts included: “Opening Chorus” featuring Woollcott, Toohey, Kaufman, Connelly, Adams, and Benchley with violinist Jascha Heifetz providing offstage, off-key accompaniment; “He Who Gets Flapped,” a musical number featuring the song “The Everlastin’ Ingenue Blues” written by Dorothy Parker and performed by Robert Sherwood accompanied by “chorus girls” including Tallulah Bankhead, Helen Hayes, Ruth Gillmore, Lenore Ulric, and Mary Brandon; “Zowie, or the Curse of an Akins Heart”; “The Greasy Hag, an O’Neill Play in One Act” with Kaufman, Connelly and Woollcott; and “Mr. Whim Passes By - An A. A. Milne Play.” F.P.A. often included parodies in his column. His satire of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “Annabel Lee” was later collected in his book Something Else Again (1910): Soul Bride Oddly Dead in Queer Death Pact High-Born Kinsman Abducts Girl from Poet-Lover—Flu Said to Be Cause of Death—Grand Jury to Probe Annabel L. Poe of 1834½ 3rd Ave., the beautiful young fiancee of Edmund Allyn Poe, a magazine writer from the South, was found dead early this morning on the beach off E. 8th Street. Poe seemed prostrated and, questioned by the police, said that one of her aristocratic relatives had taken her to the “seashore,” but that the cold winds had given her “flu,” from which she never “rallied.” Detectives at work on the case believe, they say, that there was a suicide compact between the Poes and that Poe also intended to do away with himself. He refused to leave the spot where the woman’s body had been found. Radio As a panelist on radio’s Information Please (1938–48), he was the designated expert on poetry, old barroom songs and Gilbert and Sullivan, which he always referred to as Sullivan and Gilbert. A running joke on the show was that his stock answer for quotes that he didn’t know was that Shakespeare was the author. (Perhaps that was a running gag: Information Please’s creator/producer Dan Golenpaul auditioned Adams for the job with a series of sample questions, starting with: “Who was the Merchant of Venice?” Adams: “Antonio.” Golenpaul: “Most people would say ‘Shylock.’” Adams: “Not in my circle.”) John Kieran was the real Shakespearean expert and could quote from his works at length. A translator of Horace and other classical authors, F.P.A. also collaborated with O. Henry on Lo, a musical comedy. Film portrayal Adams was portrayed by the actor Chip Zien in the film Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994). Bibliography Books * His books include In Cupid’s Court (1902), Tobogganning on Parnassus (1911), In Other Words (1912) and Answer This One (a 1927 trivia book with Harry Hansen). The two-volume The Diary of Our Own Samuel Pepys, collected from his newspaper columns, was published in 1935 by Simon and Schuster. The Melancholy Lute (1936) featured Adams’ selections from three decades of his work. Articles * F. P. A. (February 21, 1925). “Short-story scenarios”. The New Yorker. 1 (1): 19. * (October 9, 1926). “A day in the courts”. The New Yorker. 2 (41): 29. * (March 5, 1927). “Grant”. The Talk of the Town. The New Yorker. 3 (10): 20. * F. P. A.; Harold Ross; James Thurber (April 30, 1927). “Mot”. The Talk of the Town. The New Yorker. 3 (18): 19. * F. P. A.; E. B. White (April 7, 1927). “Another”. The Talk of the Town. The New Yorker. 3 (19): 19. Quotes * “I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.” * “To err is human; to forgive, infrequent.” * “Elections are won by men and women chiefly because most people vote against somebody rather than for somebody.” References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_Pierce_Adams

Matthew Arnold

Although remembered now for his elegantly argued critical essays, Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) began his career as a poet, winning early recognition as a student at the Rugby School where his father, Thomas Arnold, had earned national acclaim as a strict and innovative headmaster. Arnold also studied at Balliol College, Oxford University. In 1844, after completing his undergraduate degree at Oxford, he returned to Rugby as a teacher of classics. After marrying in 1851, Arnold began work as a government school inspector, a grueling position which nonetheless afforded him the opportunity to travel throughout England and the Continent. Throughout his thirty-five years in this position Arnold developed an interest in education, an interest which fed into both his critical works and his poetry. Empedocles on Etna (1852) and Poems (1853) established Arnold's reputation as a poet and in 1857 he was offered a position, which he accepted and held until 1867, as Professor of Poetry at Oxford. Arnold became the first professor to lecture in English rather than Latin. During this time Arnold wrote the bulk of his most famous critical works, Essays in Criticism (1865) and Culture and Anarchy (1869), in which he sets forth ideas that greatly reflect the predominant values of the Victorian era. Meditative and rhetorical, Arnold's poetry often wrestles with problems of psychological isolation. In "To Marguerite—Continued," for example, Arnold revises Donne's assertion that "No man is an island," suggesting that we "mortals" are indeed "in the sea of life enisled." Other well-known poems, such as "Dover Beach," link the problem of isolation with what Arnold saw as the dwindling faith of his time. Despite his own religious doubts, a source of great anxiety for him, in several essays Arnold sought to establish the essential truth of Christianity. His most influential essays, however, were those on literary topics. In "The Function of Criticism" (1865) and "The Study of Poetry" (1880) Arnold called for a new epic poetry: a poetry that would address the moral needs of his readers, "to animate and ennoble them." Arnold's arguments, for a renewed religious faith and an adoption of classical aesthetics and morals, are particularly representative of mainstream Victorian intellectual concerns. His approach—his gentlemanly and subtle style—to these issues, however, established criticism as an art form, and has influenced almost every major English critic since, including T. S. Eliot, Lionel Trilling, and Harold Bloom. Though perhaps less obvious, the tremendous influence of his poetry, which addresses the poet's most innermost feelings with complete transparency, can easily be seen in writers as different from each other as W. B. Yeats, James Wright, Sylvia Plath, and Sharon Olds. Late in life, in 1883 and 1886, Arnold made two lecturing tours of the United States. Matthew Arnold died in Liverpool in 1888. A Selected Bibliography Poetry A Matthew Arnold Birthday Book (1883) Alaric at Rome: A Prize Poem (1840) Cromwell: A Prize Poem (1843) Empedocles on Etna and Other Poems (1852) Empedocles on Etna: A Dramatic Poem (1900) Merope: A Tragedy (1858) New Poems (1867) Poems: A New Edition (1853) Poems: Second Series (1855) The Poems of Matthew Arnold (1965) The Poetical Works of Matthew Arnold (1950) The Strayed Reveller and Other Poems (1849) The Works of Matthew Arnold (1903) Prose Essays, Letters, and Reviews by Matthew Arnold Essays, Letters, and Reviews by Matthew Arnold (1960) Friendship's Garland (1883) "Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve," in Encyclopedia Britannica, ninth edition, IX: 162-165 (1886) "Isaiah of Jerusalem" in the Authorized English Version, with an Introduction, Corrections and Notes (1883) "Schools," in The Reign of Queen Victoria (1887) A Bible-Reading for Schools: The Great Prophecy of Israel's Restoration (1872) A French Eton; or, Middle Class Education and the State (1864) Arnold as Dramatic Critic (1903) Civilization in the United States: First and Last Impressions of America (1888) Complete Prose Works (1960) Culture and Anarchy (1883) Culture and Anarchy: An Essay in Political and Social Criticism (1869) Culture and the State (1965) Discourses in America (1885) Education Department (1886) England and the Italian Question (1859) England and the Italian Question, (1953) Essays in Criticism (1865) Essays in Criticism: Second Series (1888) Essays in Criticism: Third Series (1910) Five Uncollected Essays of Matthew Arnold (1953) General Grant, with a Rejoinder by Mark Twain (1966) General Grant: An Estimate (1887) God and the Bible: A Review of Objections to "Literature and Dogma" (1875) Heinrich Heine (1863) Higher Schools and Universities in Germany (1874) Irish Essays, and Others (1882) Isaiah XLLXVI; with the Shorter Prophecies Allied to It (1875) Last Essays on Church and Religion (1877) Letters of Matthew Arnold, 1848-1888 (1895) Letters of an Old Playgoer (1919) Letters, Speeches and Tracts on Irish Affairs by Edmund Burke (1881) Literature and Dogma: An Essay towards a Better Apprehension of the Bible (1873) Matthew Arnold's Letters: A Descriptive Checklist (1968) Matthew Arnold's Notebooks (1902) Mixed Essays (1879) On Home Rule for Ireland: Two Letters to "The Times" (1891) On Translating Homer: Last Words: A Lecture Given at Oxford (1862) On Translating Homer: Three Lectures Given at Oxford (1861) On the Modern Element in Literature (1869) On the Study of Celtic Literature (1883) Poems of Wordsworth (1879) Poetry of Byron (1881) Reports on Elementary Schools 1852-1882 (1889) Schools and Universities on the Continent (1867) St. Paul and Protestantism; with an Introduction on Puritanism and the Church of England (1883) The Hundred Greatest Men: Portraits of the One Hundred Greatest Men of History (1879) The Letters of Matthew Arnold to Arthur Hugh Clough (1932) The Note-Books of Matthew Arnold (1952) The Popular Education of France, with Notices of That of Holland and Switzerland (1861) The Six Chief Lives from Johnson's "Lives of the Poets," with Macaulay's "Life of Johnson," (1878) The Study of Poetry (1880) Thoughts on Education Chosen From the Writings of Matthew Arnold (1912) Unpublished Letters of Matthew Arnold (1923) References Poets.org - www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/88

Alfred Austin

Alfred Austin DL (30 May 1835– 2 June 1913) was an English poet who was appointed Poet Laureate in 1896, after an interval following the death of Tennyson, when the other candidates had either caused controversy or refused the honour. It was claimed that he was being rewarded for his support for the Conservative leader Lord Salisbury in the General Election of 1895. Austin’s poems are little-remembered today, his most popular work being prose idylls celebrating nature. Life Alfred Austin was born in Headingley, near Leeds, on 30 May 1835, to a Roman Catholic family. His father, Joseph Austin, was a merchant in Leeds; his mother was a sister of Joseph Locke, the civil engineer and M.P. for Honiton. Austin was educated at Stonyhurst College (Clitheroe, Lancashire), St Mary’s College, Oscott, and University of London, from which he graduated in 1853. He became a barrister in 1857 but after inheriting a fortune from his uncle gave up his legal career for literature. Politically conservative, between 1866 and 1896 Austin edited National Review and wrote leading articles for The Standard. He was Foreign Affairs Correspondent with the Standard, and served as a special correspondent to The Ecumenical Council of the Vatican in 1870; at the Headquarters of the King of Prussia during the Franco-Prussian War, 1870; at the Congress of Berlin, 1878 where he was granted an audience by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. An ardent imperialist and follower of Disraeli he became, in 1883, joint editor of the National Review with W.J. Courthope and was sole editor from 1887 until 1896. On Tennyson’s death in 1892 it was felt that none of the then living poets, except Algernon Charles Swinburne or William Morris, who were outside consideration on other grounds, was of sufficient distinction to succeed to the laurel crown, and for several years no new poet-laureate was nominated. In the interval the claims of one writer and another were assessed, but eventually, in 1896, Austin was appointed to the post after Morris had declined it. As a poet Austin never ranked highly in the opinions of his peers, and was often derided as being a ‘Banjo Byron’ Broadus writes that the choice of Austin for poet-laureate had much to do with Austin’s friendship with Lord Salisbury, his position as an editor and leader writer, and his willingness to use his poetry to support the government. For example, shortly before his appointment was announced, Austin published a sonnet entitled A Vindication of England, written in response to a series of sonnets by William Watson, published in the Westminster Gazette, that had accused Salisbury’s government of betraying Armenia and abandoning its people to Turkish massacres. Sir Owen Seaman (1861–1936) gave added currency to the supposed connection with Lord Salisbury in his poem, 'To Mr Alfred Austin’, In Cap and Bells, London & New York, 1900, 9: ‘At length a callous Tory chief arose, Master of caustic jest and cynic gibe, Looked round the Carlton Club and lightly chose Its leading scribe.’ Austin served as Deputy-Lieutenant for Herefordshire. Austin died of unknown causes at Swinford Old Manor, Hothfield, near Ashford, Kent, England, where he had been ill for some time. Family On 14 November 1865 Austin married Hester Jane Homan-Mulock, tenth child of Thomas Homan-Mulock and Frances Sophia Berry at St Marylebone Parish Church, London. In his Autobiography, Austin gives a curious account of their first meeting with her. Seeing the photograph of a young lady in an album belonging to a friend in Florence, he had asked: ‘Who is that?’ and received the reply, ‘The girl you ought to marry, if you can.’ Austin brought home a letter of introduction, the presentation of which led to his receiving at his cottage in Hertfordshire two of the Misses Mulock and their chaperon, together with their friend T.A. Trollope, brother of Anthony Trollope. At the second visit Hester became engaged to Alfred. Throughout his career as journalist and writer Austin derived constant help and support from his wife. She died suddenly on 23 September 1929 at her residence in Kensington. His nephews included the Polar Explorer Captain George F.A. Mulock DSO, RN, FRGS and British diplomat Sir Howard William Kennard KCMG, CMG, CVO (1878–1955), British Ambassador to Poland at the outbreak of the Second World War. Poetry In 1861, after two false starts in poetry and fiction, he made his first noteworthy appearance as a writer with The Season: a Satire, which contained incisive lines, and was marked by some promise both in wit and observation. In 1870 he published a volume of criticism, The Poetry of the Period, which was conceived in the spirit of satire, and attacked Tennyson, Browning, Matthew Arnold and Swinburne in an unrestrained fashion. The book aroused some discussion at the time, but its judgments were extremely uncritical. As poet-laureate, his topical verses did not escape negative criticism; a hasty poem written in praise of the Jameson Raid in 1896 being a notable instance. The most effective characteristic of Austin’s poetry, as of the best of his prose, was a genuine and intimate love of nature. His prose idylls, The Garden that I love and In Veronica’s Garden, are full of a pleasant, open-air flavour. His lyrical poems are wanting in spontaneity and individuality, but many of them possess a simple, orderly charm, as of an English country lane. He had, indeed, a true love of England, sometimes not without a suspicion of insularity, but always fresh and ingenuous. A drama by him, Flodden Field, was performed at His Majesty’s theatre in 1903, with incidental music by Percy Pitt. A number of his poems were set to music by Frances Allitsen, and Alexander Mackenzie’s contribution to Choral Songs in Honour of Her Majesty Queen Victoria (1899) was a setting of Austin’s occasional poem With wisdom, goodness, grace. Bibliography * Novels * (1858). Five Years of It– Published by J.F. Hope (London) [2 vols] Volume 1 · Volume 2 * (1864). An Artist’s Proof– Published by Tinsley (London) [3 vols] Volume 1 · Volume 2 · Volume 3 * (1866). Won by a Head– Published by Chapman & Hall (London) [3 vols] Volume 1 · Volume 2 · Volume 3 * Poetry * (1855). Randolph: A Poem in Two Cantos, Saunders & Otley (London), revised edition published as Leszko the Bastard: A Tale of Polish Grief, Chapman & Hall, 1877. * (1861). The Season: A Satire, Hardwicke (London), revised edition, Manwaring (London), 1861, new revised edition, Hotten (London), 1869. * (1861). My Satire and its Censors - George Manwaring (London) * (1862). The Human Tragedy: A Poem, Hardwicke (London), revised edition, Blackwood (Edinburgh) 1876, new revised edition, Macmillan (London) 1889. * (1871). The Golden Age: A Satire– Published by Chapman & Hall. * (1872). Interludes– Published by Blackwood (Edinburgh and London) * (1873). Rome or Death! - Published by Blackwood (Edinburgh and London) * (1882). Soliloquies in Song - Macmillan (London) * (1885). At the Gate of the Convent and Other Poems– Published by Macmillan (London) * (1889). Love’s Widowhood and Other Poems– Published by Macmillan (London) * (1891). Lyrical Poems– Published by Macmillan (London & New York City) * (1891). Narrative Poems– Published by Macmillan (London & New York City) 2nd edition, 1896 * (1895). Madonna’s Child - Macmillan (London) * (1897). The Conversion of Winckelmann and Other Poems– Published by Macmillan (London) * (1900). Songs of England - Macmillan (London) * (1902). A Tale of True Love and Other Poems– Published by Macmillan (London), Harper (New York City) * (1906). The Door of Humility - published by Macmillan (London) * (1908). Sacred and Profane Love and Other Poems– Published by Macmillan (London) * Drama * (1874). The Tower of Babel: A Poetical Drama– Published by Blackwood (Edinburgh) * (1881). Savonarola: A Tragedy– Published by Macmillan (London) * (1887). Prince Lucifer, Macmillan (London), 3rd edition, 1891 * (1892). Fortunatus the Pessimist: A Dramatic Poem– Published by Macmillan (London & New York City) * (1896). England’s Darling– Published by Macmillan (London & New York City) Republished as Alfred the Great: England’s Darling– Macmillan (London), 1901 * (1903). Flodden Field: A Tragedy– Published by Macmillan (London) * (1904). A Lesson in Harmony– Published by Samuel French (London and New York) * Other * (1869). A Vindication of Lord Byron– Published by Chapman & Hall. * (1870). The Poetry of the Period– Published by Richard Bentley (London) * (1885). Skeletons at the Feast. Or, The Radical Programme W. H. Allen (London) * (1894). The Garden that I Love– Published by Macmillan (London & New York City) * (1895). In Veronica’s Garden– Published by Macmillan (London & New York City) * (1898). Lamia’s Winter-Quarters– Published by Macmillan (London) * (1902). Haunts of Ancient Peace– Published by Macmillan (London & New York City), A. & C. Black (London) * (1904). The Poet’s Diary– Published by Macmillan (London) * (1904). An Eighteenth Century Anthology– Published by Blackie (London) * (1910). The Bridling of Pegasus: Prose Papers on Poetry– Published by Macmillan (London) * (1911). The Autobiography of Alfred Austin, Poet Laureate, 1835–1910– Published by Macmillan (London) [2 vols] - Volume 1 · Volume 2 Trivia * Austin was caricatured as “Sir Austed Alfrin” by L. Frank Baum in his 1906 novel John Dough and the Cherub. * He was also the subject of a Vanity Fair cartoon by Spy published on 20 February 1896. A Poem– To England References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Austin

John Ashbery

John Lawrence Ashbery (born July 28, 1927) is an American poet. He has published more than twenty volumes of poetry and won nearly every major American award for poetry, including a Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for his collection Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror. Renowned for its postmodern complexity and opacity, Ashbery's work still proves controversial. Ashbery has stated that he wishes his work to be accessible to as many people as possible, and not to be a private dialogue with himself. At the same time, he once joked that some critics still view him as "a harebrained, homegrown surrealist whose poetry defies even the rules and logic of Surrealism." Langdon Hammer, chairman of the English Department at Yale University, wrote in 2008, "No figure looms so large in American poetry over the past 50 years as John Ashbery" and "No American poet has had a larger, more diverse vocabulary, not Whitman, not Pound." Stephen Burt, a poet and Harvard professor of English, has compared Ashbery to T. S. Eliot, calling Ashbery "the last figure whom half the English-language poets alive thought a great model, and the other half thought incomprehensible". Life Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, the son of Helen (née Lawrence), a biology teacher, and Chester Frederick Ashbery, a farmer. He was raised on a farm near Lake Ontario; his brother died when they were children. Ashbery was educated at Deerfield Academy, an all-boys school, where he read such poets as W. H. Auden and Dylan Thomas and began writing poetry. Two of his poems were published in Poetry magazine under the name of a classmate who had submitted them without Ashbery's knowledge or permission. Ashbery also published a handful of poems, including a sonnet about his frustrated love for a fellow student, and a piece of short fiction in the school newspaper, the Deerfield Scroll. His first ambition was to be a painter. From the age of 11 until he was 15 Ashbery took weekly classes at the art museum in Rochester. Ashbery at a 2007 tribute to W.H. Auden at Cooper Union in New York City. Ashbery graduated in 1949 with an A.B., cum laude, from Harvard College, where he was a member of the Harvard Advocate, the university's literary magazine, and the Signet Society. He wrote his senior thesis on the poetry of W. H. Auden. At Harvard he befriended fellow writers Kenneth Koch, Barbara Epstein, V. R. Lang, Frank O'Hara and Edward Gorey, and was a classmate of Robert Creeley, Robert Bly and Peter Davison. Ashbery went on to study briefly at New York University, and received an M.A. from Columbia in 1951. After working as a copywriter in New York from 1951 to 1955, from the mid-1950s, when he received a Fulbright Fellowship, through 1965, Ashbery lived in France. He was an editor of the 12 issues of Art and Literature (1964–67) and the New Poetry issue of Harry Mathews' Locus Solus (# 3/4; 1962). To make ends meet he translated French murder mysteries, served as the art editor for the European edition of the New York Herald Tribune and was an art critic for Art International (1960–65) and a Paris correspondent for Art News (1963–66), when Thomas Hess took over as editor. During this period he lived with the French poet Pierre Martory, whose books Every Question but One (1990), The Landscape is behind the Door (1994) and The Landscapist he has translated (2008), as he has Arthur Rimbaud (Illuminations), Max Jacob (The Dice Cup), Pierre Reverdy (Haunted House), and many titles by Raymond Roussel. After returning to the United States, he continued his career as an art critic for New York and Newsweek magazines while also serving on the editorial board of ARTNews until 1972. Several years later, he began a stint as an editor at Partisan Review, serving from 1976 to 1980. During the fall of 1963, Ashbery became acquainted with Andy Warhol at a scheduled poetry reading at the Literary Theatre in New York. He had previously written favorable reviews of Warhol's art. That same year he reviewed Warhol's Flowers exhibition at Galerie Illeana Sonnabend in Paris, describing Warhol's visit to Paris as "the biggest transatlantic fuss since Oscar Wilde brought culture to Buffalo in the nineties". Ashbery returned to New York near the end of 1965 and was welcomed with a large party at the Factory. He became close friends with poet Gerard Malanga, Warhol's assistant, on whom he had an important influence as a poet. In 1967 his poem Europe was used as the central text in Eric Salzman's Foxes and Hedgehogs as part of the New Image of Sound series at Hunter College, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies. When the poet sent Salzman Three Madrigals in 1968, the composer featured them in the seminal Nude Paper Sermon, released by Nonesuch Records in 1989. In the early 1970s, Ashbery began teaching at Brooklyn College, where his students included poet John Yau. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1983. In the 1980s, he moved to Bard College, where he was the Charles P. Stevenson, Jr., Professor of Languages and Literature, until 2008, when he retired; since that time, he has continued to win awards, present readings, and work with graduate and undergraduates at many other institutions. He was the poet laureate of New York State from 2001 to 2003, and also served for many years as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. He serves on the contributing editorial board of the literary journal Conjunctions. He was a Millet Writing Fellow at Wesleyan University, in 2010, and participated in Wesleyan's Distinguished Writers Series. Ashbery lives in New York City and Hudson, New York, with his partner, David Kermani. Work Ashbery's long list of awards began with the Yale Younger Poets Prize in 1956. The selection, by W. H. Auden, of Ashbery's first collection, Some Trees, later caused some controversy. His early work shows the influence of Auden, along with Wallace Stevens, Boris Pasternak, and many of the French surrealists (his translations from French literature are numerous). In the late 1950s, John Bernard Myers, co-owner of the Tibor de Nagy Gallery, categorized the common traits of Ashbery's avant-garde poetry, as well as that of Kenneth Koch, Frank O'Hara, James Schuyler, Barbara Guest, Kenward Elmslie and others, as constituting a "New York School". Ashbery published some work in the avant-garde little magazine Nomad at the beginning of the 1960s. He then wrote two collections while in France, the highly controversial The Tennis Court Oath (1962) and Rivers and Mountains (1966), before returning to New York to write The Double Dream of Spring, published in 1970. Increasing critical recognition in the 1970s transformed Ashbery from an obscure avant-garde experimentalist into one of America's most important poets (though still one of its most controversial). After the publication of Three Poems (1973) came Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror, for which he was awarded the three major American poetry awards: the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award). The collection's title poem is considered to be one of the masterpieces of late-20th-century American poetic literature. His subsequent collection, the more difficult Houseboat Days (1977), reinforced Ashbery's reputation, as did 1979's As We Know, which contains the long, double-columned poem "Litany". By the 1980s and 1990s, Ashbery had become a central figure in American and more broadly English-language poetry, as his number of imitators attested. Ashbery's works are characterized by a free-flowing, often disjunctive syntax; extensive linguistic play, often infused with considerable humor; and a prosaic, sometimes disarmingly flat or parodic tone. The play of the human mind is the subject of a great many of his poems. Ashbery once said that his goal was "to produce a poem that the critic cannot even talk about". Formally, the earliest poems show the influence of conventional poetic practice, yet by The Tennis Court Oath a much more revolutionary engagement with form appears. Ashbery returned to something approaching a reconciliation between tradition and innovation with many of the poems in The Double Dream of Spring, though his Three Poems are written in long blocks of prose. Although he has never again approached the radical experimentation of The Tennis Court Oath poems or "The Skaters" and "Into the Dusk-Charged Air" from his collection Rivers and Mountains, syntactic and semantic experimentation, linguistic expressiveness, deft, often abrupt shifts of register, and insistent wit remain consistent elements of his work. Ashbery's art criticism has been collected in the 1989 volume Reported Sightings, Art Chronicles 1957-1987, edited by the poet David Bergman. He has written one novel, A Nest of Ninnies, with fellow poet James Schuyler, and in his 20s and 30s penned several plays, three of which have been collected in Three Plays (1978). Ashbery's Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard University were published as Other Traditions in 2000. A larger collection of his prose writings, Selected Prose, appeared in 2005. In 2008, his Collected Poems 1956–1987 was published as part of the Library of America series. Poetry Collections * Turandot and other poems (1953) * Some Trees (1956), winner of the Yale Younger Poets Prize * The Tennis Court Oath (1962) * Rivers and Mountains (1966) * The Double Dream of Spring (1970) * Three Poems (1972) * The Vermont Notebook (1975), illustrated prose poems * Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975), awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award Houseboat Days (1977) * As We Know (1979) * Shadow Train (1981) * A Wave (1984), awarded the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and the Bollingen Prize * April Galleons (1987) * Flow Chart (1991), book-length poem * Hotel Lautréamont (1992) * And the Stars Were Shining (1994) * Can You Hear, Bird? (1995) * Wakefulness (1998) * Girls on the Run (1999), a book-length poem inspired by the work of Henry Darger * Your Name Here (2000) * As Umbrellas Follow Rain (2001) * Chinese Whispers (2002) * Where Shall I Wander (2005) (finalist for the National Book Award) * Notes from the Air: Selected Later Poems (2007) (winner of the 2008 International Griffin Poetry Prize) * A Worldly Country (2007) * Planisphere (2009) * Collected Poems 1956-87 (Carcanet Press) (2010), ed. Mark Ford Quick Question (2012) * Breezeway (2015) * No i wiesz (1993) (translated into Polish by Bohdan Zadura, Andrzej Sosnowski and Piotr Sommer) References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Ashbery

Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888) was an American novelist and poet best known as the author of the novel Little Women (1868) and its sequels Little Men (1871) and Jo’s Boys (1886). Raised by her transcendentalist parents, Abigail May and Amos Bronson Alcott in New England, she grew up among many of the well-known intellectuals of the day such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Henry David Thoreau. Nevertheless, her family suffered severe financial difficulties and Alcott worked to help support the family from an early age. She began to receive critical success for her writing in the 1860s. Early in her career, she sometimes used the pen name A. M. Barnard and under it wrote novels for young adults. Published in 1868, Little Women is set in the Alcott family home, Orchard House, in Concord, Massachusetts and is loosely based on Alcott’s childhood experiences with her three sisters. The novel was very well received and is still a popular children’s novel today, filmed several times. Alcott was an abolitionist and a feminist and remained unmarried throughout her life. She died in Boston on March 6, 1888. Henry James called her “The novelist of children... the Thackeray, the Trollope, of the nursery and the schoolroom.” Early life Alcott was born on November 29, 1832, in Germantown, which is now part of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on her father’s 33rd birthday. She was the daughter of transcendentalist and educator Amos Bronson Alcott and social worker Abby May and the second of four daughters: Anna Bronson Alcott was the eldest; Elizabeth Sewall Alcott and Abigail May Alcott were the two youngest. The family moved to Boston in 1834, where Alcott’s father established an experimental school and joined the Transcendental Club with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Bronson Alcott’s opinions on education and tough views on child-rearing shaped young Alcott’s mind with a desire to achieve perfection, a goal of the transcendentalists. His attitudes towards Alcott’s wild and independent behavior, and his inability to provide for his family, created conflict between Bronson Alcott and his wife and daughters. In 1840, after several setbacks with the school, the Alcott family moved to a cottage on 2 acres (8,100 m2) of land, situated along the Sudbury River in Concord, Massachusetts. The three years they spent at the rented Hosmer Cottage were described as idyllic. By 1843, the Alcott family moved, along with six other members of the Consociate Family, to the Utopian Fruitlands community for a brief interval in 1843–1844. After the collapse of the Utopian Fruitlands, they moved on to rented rooms and finally, with Abigail May Alcott’s inheritance and financial help from Emerson, they purchased a homestead in Concord. They moved into the home they named “Hillside” on April 1, 1845. Alcott’s early education included lessons from the naturalist Henry David Thoreau, but she received the majority of her schooling from her father, who was strict and believed in “the sweetness of self-denial”. She also received some instruction from writers and educators such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Margaret Fuller, all of whom were family friends. She later described these early years in a newspaper sketch entitled “Transcendental Wild Oats”. The sketch was reprinted in the volume Silver Pitchers (1876), which relates the family’s experiment in “plain living and high thinking” at Fruitlands. Poverty made it necessary for Alcott to go to work at an early age as a teacher, seamstress, governess, domestic helper, and writer. Her sisters also supported the family, working as seamstresses, while their mother took on social work among the Irish immigrants. Only the youngest, May, was able to attend public school. Due to all of these pressures, writing became a creative and emotional outlet for Alcott. Her first book was Flower Fables (1849), a selection of tales originally written for Ellen Emerson, daughter of Ralph Waldo Emerson. In 1847, she and her family served as station masters on the Underground Railroad, when they housed a fugitive slave for one week. Alcott read and admired the “Declaration of Sentiments”, published by the Seneca Falls Convention on women’s rights, advocating for women’s suffrage and became the first woman to register to vote in Concord, Massachusetts in a school board election. The 1850s were hard times for the Alcotts. At one point in 1857, unable to find work and filled with such despair, Alcott contemplated suicide. During that year, she read Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography of Charlotte Brontë and found many parallels to her own life. In 1858, her younger sister Elizabeth died, and her older sister Anna married a man by the name of John Pratt. This felt, to Alcott, to be a breaking up of their sisterhood. Literary success As an adult, Alcott was an abolitionist and a feminist. In 1860, Alcott began writing for the Atlantic Monthly. When the American Civil War broke out, she served as a nurse in the Union Hospital at Georgetown, D.C., for six weeks in 1862–1863. She intended to serve three months as a nurse, but halfway through she contracted typhoid and became deathly ill, though she eventually recovered. Her letters home– revised and published in the Commonwealth and collected as Hospital Sketches (1863, republished with additions in 1869)– brought her first critical recognition for her observations and humor. It was originally written for the Boston anti-slavery paper The Commonwealth. She wrote about the mismanagement of hospitals and the indifference and callousness of some of the surgeons she encountered. Her main character, Tribulation Periwinkle, showed a passage from innocence to maturity and is a “serious and eloquent witness”. Her novel Moods (1864), based on her own experience, was also promising. In the mid-1860s, Alcott wrote passionate, fiery novels and sensational stories under the nom de plume A. M. Barnard. Among these are A Long Fatal Love Chase and Pauline’s Passion and Punishment. Her protagonists for these tales are willful and relentless in their pursuit of their own aims, which often include revenge on those who have humiliated or thwarted them. She also produced wholesome stories for children, and after their positive reception, she did not generally return to creating works for adults. Adult-oriented exceptions include the anonymous novelette A Modern Mephistopheles (1875), which attracted suspicion that it was written by Julian Hawthorne; and the semi-autobiographical tale Work (1873). Alcott became even more successful with the first part of Little Women: or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy (1868), a semi-autobiographical account of her childhood with her sisters in Concord, Massachusetts, published by the Roberts Brothers. Part two, or Part Second, also known as Good Wives (1869), followed the March sisters into adulthood and marriage. Little Men (1871) detailed Jo’s life at the Plumfield School that she founded with her husband Professor Bhaer at the conclusion of Part Two of Little Women. Jo’s Boys (1886) completed the “March Family Saga”. In Little Women, Alcott based her heroine “Jo” on herself. But whereas Jo marries at the end of the story, Alcott remained single throughout her life. She explained her “spinsterhood” in an interview with Louise Chandler Moulton, “I am more than half-persuaded that I am a man’s soul put by some freak of nature into a woman’s body... because I have fallen in love with so many pretty girls and never once the least bit with any man.” However, Alcott’s romance while in Europe with the young Polish man Ladislas “Laddie” Wisniewski was detailed in her journals but then deleted by Alcott herself before her death. Alcott identified Laddie as the model for Laurie in Little Women, and there is strong evidence this was the significant emotional relationship of her life. Likewise, every character seems to be paralleled to some extent, from Beth’s death mirroring Lizzie’s to Jo’s rivalry with the youngest, Amy, as Alcott felt a sort of rivalry for (Abigail) May, at times. Though Alcott never married, she did take in May’s daughter, Louisa, after May’s death in 1879 from childbed fever, caring for little “Lulu” until her death. Little Women was well received, with critics and audiences finding it suitable for many age groups. A reviewer of Eclectic Magazine called it “the very best of books to reach the hearts of the young of any age from six to sixty,”. It was also said to be a fresh, natural representation of daily life. Along with Elizabeth Stoddard, Rebecca Harding Davis, Anne Moncure Crane, and others, Alcott was part of a group of female authors during the Gilded Age, who addressed women’s issues in a modern and candid manner. Their works were, as one newspaper columnist of the period commented, “among the decided 'signs of the times’” Later years Alcott suffered chronic health problems in her later years, including vertigo. She and her earliest biographers attributed her illness and death to mercury poisoning. During her American Civil War service, Alcott contracted typhoid fever and was treated with a compound containing mercury. Recent analysis of Alcott’s illness, however, suggests that her chronic health problems may have been associated with an autoimmune disease, not acute mercury exposure. Moreover, a late portrait of Alcott shows a rash on her cheeks, which is a characteristic of lupus. Alcott died at age 55 of a stroke in Boston, on March 6, 1888, two days after her father’s death. Her last words were “Is it not meningitis?” She is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, near Emerson, Hawthorne, and Thoreau, on a hillside now known as “Authors’ Ridge”. Her Boston home is featured on the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail. Selected works * THE “LITTLE WOMEN” TRILOGY * Little Women or Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy (1868) * There is a Part Second of Little Women, also known as “Good Wives”, published in 1869; and afterwards published together with Little Women. * Little Men: Life at Plumfield with Jo’s Boys (1871) * Jo’s Boys and How They Turned Out: A Sequel to “Little Men” (1886) * OTHER NOVELS * The Inheritance (1849, unpublished until 1997) * Moods (1865, revised 1882) * The Mysterious Key and What It Opened (1867) * An Old Fashioned Girl (1870) * Will’s Wonder Book (1870) * Work: A Story of Experience (1873) * Beginning Again, Being a Continuation of Work (1875) * Eight Cousins or The Aunt-Hill (1875) * Rose in Bloom: A Sequel to Eight Cousins (1876) * Under the Lilacs (1878) * Jack and Jill: A Village Story (1880) * As A. M. Barnard * Behind a Mask, or a Woman’s Power (1866) * The Abbot’s Ghost, or Maurice Treherne’s Temptation (1867) * A Long Fatal Love Chase (1866– first published 1995) * Published anonymously * A Modern Mephistopheles (1877) * SHORT-STORY COLLECTIONS FOR CHILDREN: * Aunt Jo’s Scrap-Bag (1872–1882). (66 short stories in 6 volumes) * 1. Aunt Jo’s Scrap-Bag * 2. Shawl-Straps * 3. Cupid and Chow-Chow * 4. My Girls, Etc. * 5. Jimmy’s Cruise in the Pinafore, Etc. * 6. An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, Etc. * Lulu’s Library (1886–1889) A collection of 32 Short Stories in 3 volumes. * Flower Fables (1849) * On Picket Duty, and other tales (1864) * Morning-Glories and Other Stories (1867) Eight fantasy stories and four poems for children, including: *A Strange Island, (1868); * The Rose Family: A Fairy Tale (1864), A Christmas Song, Morning Glories, Shadow-Childen, Poppy’s Pranks, What the Swallows did, Little Gulliver, The Whale0s story, Goldfin and Silvertail. * Kitty’s Class Day and Other Stories (Three Proverb Stories), 1868, (includes “Kitty’s Class Day”, “Aunt Kipp” and “Psyche’s Art”) * Spinning-Wheel Stories* (1884). A collection of 12 short stories. * The Candy Country (1885) (One short story) * May Flowers(1887) (One short story) * Mountain-Laurel and Maidenhair(1887) (One short story) * A Garland for Girls (1888). A collection of eight short stories. * The Brownie and the Princess (2004). A collection of ten short stories. * OTHER SHORT-STORIES & NOVELETTES * Hospital Sketches (1863) * Pauline’s Passion and Punishment * Perilous Play, (1869)(One short story) * Lost in a Pyramid, or the Mummy’s Curse * Transcendental Wild Oats (1873) A Short story about Alcott’s family and the Transcendental Movement. * Silver Pitchers, and Independence: A Centennial Love Story" (1876) * Comic Tragedies (1893 [posthumously]) References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisa_May_Alcott

Conrad Aiken

Conrad Potter Aiken (August 5, 1889– August 17, 1973) was an American writer, whose work includes poetry, short stories, novels, a play, and an autobiography. Biography Early years Aiken was the son of wealthy, socially prominent New Englanders, William Ford and Anna (Potter) Aiken, who had moved to Savannah, Georgia, where his father became a respected physician and brain surgeon. Then something happened for which, as Aiken later said, no one could ever find a reason. Without warning or apparent cause, his father became increasingly irascible, unpredictable, and violent. Finally, early in the morning of February 27, 1901, he murdered his wife and shot himself. According to his own writings, Aiken (who was eleven years old) heard the gunshots and discovered the bodies. He was then raised by his great aunt in Massachusetts and was educated at private schools and at Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts, then at Harvard University where he edited the Advocate with T. S. Eliot, who became a lifelong friend and associate. Aiken’s earliest poetry was written partly under the influence of a beloved teacher, the philosopher George Santayana. This relationship shaped Aiken as a poet, deeply musical in his approach and, at the same time, philosophical in seeking answers to his own problems and the problems of the modern world. Adult years Aiken was strongly influenced by symbolism, especially in his earlier works. In 1930 he received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his Selected Poems. Many of his writings had psychological themes. He wrote the widely anthologized short story Silent Snow, Secret Snow (1934). His collections of verse include Earth Triumphant (1911), The Charnel Rose (1918) and And In the Hanging Gardens (1933). His poem “Music I Heard” has been set to music by a number of composers, including Leonard Bernstein and Henry Cowell. Other influences were Aiken’s grandfather, Potter, who had been a church preacher, as well as Whitman’s poetry which was 'free’ style. This helped Aiken shape his poetry more freely while his recognition of a God grounded his more visually rich explorations into the universe. Some of his best known poetry, such as “Morning Song of Senlin”, uses these influences to great effect. Aiken wrote or edited more than 51 books, the first of which was published in 1914, two years after his graduation from Harvard. His work includes novels, short stories (The Collected Short Stories appeared in 1961), criticism, autobiography, and poetry. He was awarded the National Medal for Literature, the Gold Medal for Poetry from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Pulitzer Prize, the Bollingen Prize, and the National Book Award. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, taught briefly at Harvard, and served as consultant in poetry for the Library of Congress from 1950 to 1952. He lived at 323 Second Street SE, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. He was also largely responsible for establishing Emily Dickinson’s reputation as a major American poet. After 1960, when his work was rediscovered by readers and critics, a new view of Aiken emerged—one that emphasized his psychological problems, along with his continuing study of Sigmund Freud, Carl G. Jung, Otto Rank, and other depth psychologists. Two of his five novels deal with depth psychology. Aiken’s writing was largely influenced by Freud (he was also an admirer of Rank, Ferenczi, Adler, and somewhat less Jung); however, Freud never replied to a letter Aiken sent him. Although Aiken was encouraged by H.D to go to Vienna to meet Freud, the dream was never realized. As he later wrote, “Freud had read Great Circle, and I’m told kept a copy on his office table. But I didn’t go, though I started to. Misgivings set in, and so did poverty.” Personal life Conrad married Canadian Jessie McDonald in 1912, and the couple moved to England in 1921 with their first two children; John (born 1913) and Jane (born 1917). Joan was born in 1924 and the marriage was dissolved in 1929. During his time in England, up until the outbreak of World War II, he served in loco parentis as well as mentor to the budding English author Malcolm Lowry. In 1923 he acted as a witness at the marriage of his friend the poet W. H. Davies. In 1950, he became Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, more commonly known as Poet Laureate of the United States. In 1960 he visited Grasmere in the English Lake District (once the home of William Wordsworth) with his friend the surrealist painter Edward Burra. Aiken returned to Savannah for the last 11 years of his life. Aiken’s tomb, located in Bonaventure Cemetery on the banks of the Wilmington River, was made famous by its mention in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, the bestselling book by John Berendt. According to local legend, Aiken wished to have his tombstone fashioned in the shape of a bench as an invitation to visitors to stop and enjoy a martini at his grave. Its inscriptions read “Give my love to the world,” and “Cosmos Mariner—Destination Unknown.” He was married three times: first to Jessie McDonald (1912–1929); second to Clarissa Lorenz (1930) (author of a biography, Lorelei Two); and third to Mary Hoover (1937). He was the father, by Jessie McDonald, of the writers John Aiken, Jane Aiken Hodge and Joan Aiken. Aiken had three younger siblings, Kempton, Robert and Elizabeth. After their parents’ deaths, they were adopted by Frederick Winslow Taylor and his wife Louise, a distant relative, and took Taylor’s last name. Kempton was known as K. P. A. Taylor (Kempton Potter Aiken Taylor) and Robert was known as Robert P. A. Taylor (Robert Potter Aiken Taylor). Kempton helped establish the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry. The most regarded source for information on Aiken’s life is his autobiographical novel Ushant (1952), one of his major works. In this book he speaks candidly about his various affairs and marriages, his attempted suicide and fear of insanity, and his friendships with T.S. Eliot (who appears in the book as the Tsetse), Ezra Pound (Rabbi Ben Ezra), Malcolm Lowry (Hambo), and others. Awards and recognition Named poetry consultant of the Library of Congress from 1950–1952, Conrad Aiken earned numerous prestigious national writing awards, including a National Book Award, the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, the National Institute of Arts and Letters Gold Medal and the National Medal for Literature. Honored by his native state in 1973 with the title of Poet Laureate, Aiken is remembered there as the first Georgia-born author to win a Pulitzer Prize (in 1930, for his Selected Poems). Aiken was the first winner of the Poetry Society of America (PSA) Shelley Memorial Award, in 1929. In 2009, the Library of America selected Aiken’s 1931 story “Mr. Arcularis” for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American fantastic tales. Selected works Poetry collections * Earth Triumphant (Aiken, 1914) (available online at archive.org) * Turns and Movies and other Tales in Verse (Aiken, 1916, Houghton Mifflin) (available online at archive.org) * The Jig of Forslin: A Symphony, 1916 * Nocturne of Remembered Spring: And Other Poems (Aiken, 1917) (available online at archive.org) * Charnel Rose (Aiken, 1918) (available online at archive.org) * The House of Dust: A Symphony, 1920 * Punch: The Immortal Liar, Documents in His History, 1921 * Priapus and the Pool, 1922 * The Pilgrimage of Festus, 1923 * Priapus and Other Pool, and Other Poems, 1925 * Selected Poems, 1929 * John Deth, A Metaphysical Legacy, and Other Poems, 1930 * The Coming Forth by Day of Oriris Jones, 1931 * Preludes for Memnon, 1931 * Landscape West of Eden, 1934 * Time in the Rock; Preludes to Definition, 1936 * And in the Human Heart, 1940 * Brownstone Eclogues, and Other Poems, 1942 * The Soldier: A Poem, 1944 * The Kid, 1947 * The Divine Pilgrim, 1949 * Skylight One: Fifteen Poems, 1949 * Collected Poems, 1953 * A Letter from Li Po and Other Poems, 1955 * Sheepfold Hill: Fifteen Poems, 1958 * The Morning Song of Lord Zero, Poems Old and New, 1963 * Thee: A Poem, 1967 Short Stories * “Bring! Bring!” * “The Last Visit” * “Mr. Arcularis” * “The Bachelor Supper” * “Bow Down, Isaac!” * “A Pair of Vikings” * “Hey, Taxi!” * “Field of Flowers” * “Gehenna” * “The Disciple” * “Impulse” * “The Anniversary” * “Hello, Tib” * “Smith and Jones” * “By My Troth, Nerisa!” * “Silent Snow, Secret Snow” * “Round by Round” * “Thistledown” * “State of Mind” * “Strange Moonlight” * “The Fish Supper” * “I Love You Very Dearly” * “The Dark City” * “Life Isn’t a Short Story” * “The Night Before Prohibition” * “Spider, Spider” * “A Man Alone at Lunch” * “Farewell! Farewell! Farewell!” * “Your Obituary, Well Written” * “A Conversation” * “No, No, Go Not to Lethe” * “Pure as the Driven Snow” * “All, All Wasted” * “The Moment” * “The Woman-Hater” * “The Professor’s Escape” * “The Orange Moth” * “The Necktie” * “O How She Laughed!” * “West End” * “Fly Away Ladybird” Other books * Scepticisms: Notes on Contemporary Poetry (1919) * Blue Voyage (1927) * Great Circle (1933) * King Coffin (1935) * A Heart for the Gods of Mexico (1939) * The Conversation (1940) * Ushant (1952) * Collected Short Stories (1960) * A Reviewer’s ABC: Collected Criticism of Conrad Aiken from 1916 to the Present (1961) * Collected Short Stories of Conrad Aiken (1965) References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conrad_Aiken

Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Thomas Bailey Aldrich (November 11, 1836– March 19, 1907) was an American literary figure notable for his long editorship of The Atlantic, during which he published works by Charles Chesnutt and for his poetry, including “The Unguarded Gates.” Biography Early life and education Thomas Bailey Aldrich was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on November 11, 1836. When Aldrich was a child, his father moved to New Orleans. After 10 years, Aldrich was sent back to Portsmouth to prepare for college. This period of his life is partly described in his semi-autobiographical novel The Story of a Bad Boy (1870), in which “Tom Bailey” is the juvenile hero. Career Aldrich abandoned college preparations after his father’s death in 1849. At age 16, he entered his uncle’s business office in New York in 1852 and became a constant contributor to the newspapers and magazines. Aldrich befriended other young poets, artists and wits of the metropolitan bohemia of the early 1860s, including Edmund Clarence Stedman, Richard Henry Stoddard, Fitz Hugh Ludlow, Bayard Taylor and Walt Whitman. From 1856 to 1859, Aldrich was on the staff of the Home Journal, then edited by Nathaniel Parker Willis. During the Civil War, he was the editor of the New York Illustrated News. In 1865 Aldrich returned to New England, where he was editor in Boston for ten years for Ticknor and Fields—then at the height of their prestige—of the eclectic weekly Every Saturday. It was discontinued in 1875. From 1881 to 1890, Aldrich was editor of the important Atlantic Monthly. As editor, he created tension with his publisher Henry Houghton by refusing to publish commissioned articles by his friends, including Woodrow Wilson and Marion Crawford. When Houghton chastised Aldrich for turning down submissions from his friend Daniel Coit Gilman, Aldrich threatened to resign and finally did so in June 1890. Meanwhile Aldrich continued his private writing, both in prose and verse. His talent was many-sided. He was well known for his form in poetry. His successive volumes of verse, chiefly The Ballad of Babie Bell (1856), Pampinea, and Other Poems (1861), Cloth of Gold (1874), Flower and Thorn (1876), Friar Jerome’s Beautiful Book (1881), Mercedes and Later Lyrics (1883), Wyndham Towers (1889), and the collected editions of 1865, 1882, 1897 and 1900, showed him to be a poet of lyrical skill and light touch. Critics believed him to show the influence of Robert Herrick. Aldrich’s longer narrative or dramatic poems were not as successful. Notable work includes such lyrics as “Hesperides,” “When the Sultan Goes to Ispahan,” “Before the Rain,” “Nameless Pain,” “The Tragedy,” “Seadrift,” “Tiger Lilies,” “The One White Rose,” “Palabras Cariñosas,” “Destiny,” or the eight-line poem “Identity.” Beginning with the collection of stories entitled Marjorie Daw and Other People (1873), Aldrich wrote works of realism and quiet humor. His novels Prudence Palfrey (1874), The Queen of Sheba (1877), and The Stillwater Tragedy (1880) had more dramatic action. The first portrayed Portsmouth with the affectionate touch shown in the shorter humorous tale, A Rivermouth Romance (1877). In An Old Town by the Sea (1893), Aldrich commemorated his birthplace again. Travel and description are the theme of From Ponkapog to Pesth (1883). Marriage and later life Aldrich married Lillian Woodman and had two sons. Mark Twain apparently detested Aldrich’s wife, writing in 1893: “Lord, I loathe that woman so! She is an idiot—an absolute idiot—and does not know it... and her husband, the sincerest man that walks... tied for life to this vacant hellion, this clothes-rack, this twaddling, blethering, driveling blatherskite!” The Aldriches were close friends of Henry L. Pierce, former mayor of Boston and chocolate magnate. At his death in 1896, he willed them his estate at Canton, Massachusetts. In 1901, Aldrich’s son Charles, married the year before, was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Aldrich built two houses, one for his son and one for him and his family, in Saranac Lake, New York, then the leading treatment center for the disease. On March 6, 1904, Charles Aldrich died of tuberculosis, age thirty-four. The family left Saranac Lake and never returned. Aldrich died in Boston on March 19, 1907. His last words were recorded as, “In spite of it all, I am going to sleep; put out the lights.” His Life was written by Ferris Greenslet (1908). In 1920, Aldrich’s widow Lillian Woodman Aldrich wrote her memoirs under the title Crowding Memories. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Bailey_Aldrich

Francis William Lauderdale Adams

Francis William Lauderdale Adams (27 September 1862– 4 September 1893) was an essayist, poet, dramatist, novelist and journalist who produced a large volume of work in his short life. Early life Adams was born in Malta the son of Andrew Leith Adams F.R.S., F.G.S., an army surgeon, who became afterwards well known as a scientist, a fellow of the Royal Society, and an author of natural history books set in different parts of the British empire. Francis’ mother, Bertha Jane Grundy, became a well-known novelist. Francis was educated at Shrewsbury School and from 1879 served as an attaché in Paris. He took up a teaching position as an assistant master at Ventnor on the Isle of Wight, for two years. He joined the Social Democratic Federation in London in 1883. In 1884 he married Helen Uttley and migrated to Australia where he started work as a tutor on a station at Jerilderie, New South Wales, but soon moved on to Sydney and then Queensland, and dedicated himself to writing. Australia In 1884 Adams published a volume of poems, Henry and Other Tales (London), his autobiographical novel, Leicester, an Autobiography’ (1884). In 1886 a collection of Australian Essays on topics such as Melbourne, Sydney and the poet Adam Lindsay Gordon was published in Melbourne and London. During the time in Australia he contributed to several periodicals, including The Bulletin. Adams then went to Brisbane and published 'Poetical Works’ (1886, Brisbane) which is a quarto volume of over 150 pages printed in double columns. His wife died giving birth to a baby boy, Leith, who also died. Adams remained in Brisbane until the early part of 1887, and published a novel, Madeline Brown’s Murderer, (1887, Sydney). After a short stay in Sydney Adams married again, returned to Brisbane, and remained there until about the end of 1889 writing leaders for the Brisbane Courier. At the end of 1887 Adams published his best known collection of verse Songs of the Army of the Night, which created a sensation in Sydney and, later, went through three editions in London. He returned to England in early 1890 and published two novels, John Webb’s End, a Story of Bush Life (1891, London), and The Melbournians (1892). A volume of short stories, Australian Life, came out in 1892. Adams’ health was failing rapidly from an incurable lung-disease and he spent the winter of December 1892– February 1893 in Alexandria to finish his book attacking the British occupation of Egypt. The result, 'The New Egypt’ was released after his death in 1893. His first novel A Child of the Age, was published posthumously in 1894 by John Lane in the Keynote Series. It vividly describes the schooldays (at 'Glastonbury’) and poverty-stricken struggles of would-be poet and scholar, young orphan Bertram Leicester, and is understandably suffused with a fin-de-siècle melancholy. Other posthumous publications were 'Tiberius’—a striking drama, with an Introduction by William Michael Rossetti, which presents a new view of the Emperor’s character while the last of his posthumous publications was 'Essays in Modernity’ in 1899. Suicide During a massive and (probably fatal) haemorrhage caused by tuberculosis, Adams shot himself at a boarding house in Margate. He had long carried a pistol for this purpose. He was survived by his second wife, Edith (née Goldstone), who assisted his suicide but was not convicted of any crime. A self-professed 'Child of his Age’, Adams combined in his life and work many distinctive features of both fin de siècle British culture and the Australian radical nationalism of the 1890s, including a strong sympathy with socialist and feminist movements. Summary Adams’ energy and drive can be seen through his large output of written work in his short lifetime. He often wrote quickly and did little revision, living as he did on the proceeds of his own work rather than with the support of a family or sinecure. Songs of the Army of the Night has been reprinted in many editions, but the reputation of these poems ascends from their engagement with social issues, rather than their value as pure poetry for Adams was deeply sympathetic towards downtrodden races and men. At a time when London Dock labourers worked for four-pence an hour he could not help but raise his voice, and the rhetoric of his At the West India Docks echoed throughout the world of labour. Some of his verses provoked resentment in Conservative circles; but Adams perceived, as few did in those times, the depth of poverty and misery of a large part of the British nation, in an age before the introduction of unemployment insurance and old-age pensions. He is also important as a writer of novels who was in touch with contemporary social issues and genres. His work, though sometimes hasty and uneven, is always interesting for its treatment of themes, such as the portrayal of women in Australia, or of nationalism (e.g. The Melbournians, a society romance which features an Australian heroine and a democratic young Australian journalist). Although he never intended to be a journalist, once in Australia Adams took to the work quickly and was very highly regarded by colleagues in Sydney and Brisbane for his work, particularly on the Brisbane Courier (where he wrote editorial leaders) and the Sydney Bulletin (to which he contributed mostly verse and paragraphs). He was an astute and intelligent (if sometimes impetuous) critic both of literature and of the social and political milieux he worked in. Works * Henry and Other Tales (1884) * Leicester: An Autobiography (1885) * Australian Essays (1886) * Madeline Brown’s Murderer (1887) * Poetical Works (1887) * Songs of the Army of the Night (1888) * John Webb’s End: Australian Bush Life (1891) * Australian Life (1892) * The Melbournians: A Novel (1892) * The Australians: A Social Sketch (London: T.Fisher Unwin, 1893) * A Child of the Age (1894) * Tiberius: A Drama (1894) * Essays in Modernity: Criticisms and Dialogues (1899) References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Adams_(writer)

Mark Akenside

Mark Akenside (9 November 1721– 23 June 1770) was an English poet and physician. Biography Akenside was born at Newcastle upon Tyne, England, the son of a butcher. He was slightly lame all his life from a wound he received as a child from his father’s cleaver. All his relations were Dissenters, and, after attending the Royal Free Grammar School of Newcastle, and a dissenting academy in the town, he was sent in 1739 to the University of Edinburgh to study theology with a view to becoming a minister, his expenses being paid from a special fund set aside by the dissenting community for the education of their pastors. He had already contributed The Virtuoso, in imitation of Spenser’s style and stanza (1737) to the Gentleman’s Magazine, and in 1738 A British Philippic, occasioned by the Insults of the Spaniards, and the present Preparations for War (also published separately). After one winter as a theology student, Akenside changed to medicine as his field of study. He repaid the money that had been advanced for his theological studies, and became a deist. His politics, said Dr. Samuel Johnson, were characterized by an “impetuous eagerness to subvert and confound, with very little care what shall be established,” and he is caricatured in the republican doctor of Tobias Smollett’s The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle. He was elected a member of the Medical Society of Edinburgh in 1740. His ambitions already lay outside his profession, and his gifts as a speaker made him hope one day to enter Parliament. In 1740, he printed his Ode on the Winter Solstice in a small volume of poems. In 1741, he left Edinburgh for Newcastle and began to call himself surgeon, though it is doubtful whether he practised, and from the next year dates his lifelong friendship with Jeremiah Dyson (1722–1776). During a visit to Morpeth in 1738, Akenside had the idea for his didactic poem, The Pleasures of the Imagination, which was well received and later desecribed as 'of great beauty in its richness of description and language’, and was also subsequently translated into more than one foreign language. He had already acquired a considerable literary reputation when he came to London about the end of 1743 and offered the work to Robert Dodsley for £120. Dodsley thought the price exorbitant, and only accepted the terms after submitting the manuscript to Alexander Pope, who assured him that this was “no everyday writer”. The three books of this poem appeared in January 1744. His aim, Akenside tells us in the preface, was “not so much to give formal precepts, or enter into the way of direct argumentation, as, by exhibiting the most engaging prospects of nature, to enlarge and harmonize the imagination, and by that means insensibly dispose the minds of men to a similar taste and habit of thinking in religion, morals and civil life”. His powers fell short of this ambition; his imagination was not brilliant enough to surmount the difficulties inherent in a poem dealing so largely with abstractions; but the work was well received. Thomas Gray wrote to Thomas Warton that it was “above the middling”, but “often obscure and unintelligible and too much infected with the Hutchinson jargon”. William Warburton took offence at a note added by Akenside to the passage in the third book dealing with ridicule. Accordingly he attacked the author of the Pleasures of the Imagination—which was published anonymously—in a scathing preface to his Remarks on Several Occasional Reflections, in answer to Dr Middleton... (1744). This was answered, nominally by Dyson, in An Epistle to the Rev. Mr Warburton, in which Akenside probably had a hand. It was in the press when he left England in 1744 to secure a medical degree at Leiden. In little more than a month he had completed the necessary dissertation, De ortu et incremento foetus humani, and received his diploma. Returning to England Akenside unsuccessfully attempted to establish a practice in Northampton. In 1744, he published his Epistle to Curio, attacking William Pulteney (afterwards Earl of Bath) for having abandoned his liberal principles to become a supporter of the government, and in the next year he produced a small volume of Odes on Several Subjects, in the preface to which he lays claim to correctness and a careful study of the best models. His friend Dyson had meanwhile left the bar, and had become, by purchase, clerk to the House of Commons. Akenside had come to London and was trying to make a practice at Hampstead. Dyson took a house there, and did all he could to further his friend’s interest in the neighbourhood. But Akenside’s arrogance and pedantry frustrated these efforts, and Dyson then took a house for him in Bloomsbury Square, making him independent of his profession by an allowance stated to have been £300 a year, but probably greater, for it is asserted that this income enabled him to “keep a chariot”, and to live “incomparably well”. In 1746 he wrote his much-praised “Hymn to the Naiads”, and he also became a contributor to Dodsley’s Museum, or Literary and Historical Register. He was now twenty-five years old, and began to devote himself almost exclusively to his profession. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1753. He was an acute and learned physician. He was admitted M.D. at the University of Cambridge in 1753, fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 1754, and fourth censor in 1755. In June 1755 he read the Gulstonian lectures before the College, in September 1756 the Croonian Lectures, and in 1759 the Harveian Oration. In January 1759 he was appointed assistant physician, and two months later principal physician to Christ’s Hospital, but he was charged with harsh treatment of the poorer patients, and his unsympathetic character prevented the success to which his undeniable learning and ability entitled him. At the accession of George III both Dyson and Akenside changed their political opinions, and Akenside’s conversion to Tory principles was rewarded by the appointment of physician to the queen. Dyson became secretary to the treasury, lord of the treasury, and in 1774 privy councillor and cofferer to the household. Akenside died at his house in Burlington Street, where he had lived from 1762. His friendship with Dyson puts his character in the most amiable light. Writing to his friend so early as 1744, Akenside said that the intimacy had “the force of an additional conscience, of a new principle of religion”, and there seems to have been no break in their affection. He left all his effects and his literary remains to Dyson, who issued an edition of his poems in 1772. This included the revised version of the Pleasures of Imagination, on which the author was engaged at his death. Akenside’s verse was better when it was subjected to more severe metrical rules. His odes are rarely lyrical in the strict sense, but they are dignified and often musical. By 1911 his works were little read. Edmund Gosse described him as “a sort of frozen Keats”. Works * The best edition of Akenside’s Poetical Works is that prepared (1834) by Alexander Dyce for the Aldine Edition of the British Poets, and reprinted with small additions in subsequent issues of the series. See Dyce’s Life of Akenside prefixed to his edition, also Johnson’s Lives of the Poets, and the Life, Writings and Genius of Akenside (1832) by Charles Bucke. * The authoritative edition of Akenside’s Poetical Works is that prepared by Robin Dix (1996). An important earlier edition was prepared by Alexander Dyce (1834) for the Aldine Edition of the British Poets, and reprinted with small additions in subsequent issues of the series. See Dyce’s Life of Akenside prefixed to his edition, also Johnson’s Lives of the Poets, and the Life, Writings and Genius of Akenside (1832) by Charles Bucke. References and sources * References * Sources * This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “Akenside, Mark”. Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. Editnotes: External links * Works by Mark Akenside at Project Gutenberg * Works by or about Mark Akenside at Internet Archive * Works by Mark Akenside at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks) * Index entry for Mark Akenside at Poets’ Corner * Akenside’s The pleasures of imagination: a poem, in three books, New York, 1795. * Mark Akenside at University of Toronto Libraries References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Akenside

Joseph Addison

Joseph Addison (1 May 1672– 17 June 1719) was an English essayist, poet, playwright, and politician. He was the eldest son of The Reverend Lancelot Addison. His name is usually remembered alongside that of his long-standing friend, Richard Steele, with whom he founded The Spectator magazine. Life and writing Background Addison was born in Millstone, Wiltshire, but soon after his birth his father, Lancelot Addison, was appointed Dean of Lichfield and the Addison family moved into the cathedral close. He was educated at Charterhouse School, where he first met Richard Steele, and at The Queen’s College, Oxford. He excelled in classics, being specially noted for his Latin verse, and became a fellow of Magdalen College. In 1693, he addressed a poem to John Dryden, and his first major work, a book of the lives of English poets, was published in 1694. His translation of Virgil’s Georgics was published in the same year. Dryden, Lord Somers and Charles Montague, 1st Earl of Halifax, took an interest in Addison’s work and obtained for him a pension of £300 to enable him to travel to Europe with a view to diplomatic employment, all the time writing and studying politics. While in Switzerland in 1702, he heard of the death of William III, an event which lost him his pension, as his influential contacts, Halifax and Somers, had lost their employment with the Crown. Political career He returned to England at the end of 1703. For more than a year he remained without employment, but the Battle of Blenheim in 1704 gave him a fresh opportunity of distinguishing himself. The government, more specifically Lord Treasurer Godolphin, commissioned Addison to write a commemorative poem, and he produced The Campaign, which gave such satisfaction that he was forthwith appointed a Commissioner of Appeals in Halifax’s government. His next literary venture was an account of his travels in Italy, which was followed by an opera libretto titled Rosamund. In 1705, with the Whigs in political power, Addison was made Under-Secretary of State and accompanied Halifax on a mission to Hanover. Addison’s biographer states: “In the field of his foreign responsibilities Addison’s views were those of a good Whig. He had always believed that England’s power depended upon her wealth, her wealth upon her commerce, and her commerce upon the freedom of the seas and the checking of the power of France and Spain.” From 1708 to 1709 he was MP for the rotten borough of Lostwithiel. Addison was shortly afterwards appointed secretary to the new Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Wharton, and Keeper of the Records of that country. Under the influence of Wharton, he was Member of Parliament in the Irish House of Commons for Cavan Borough from 1709 until 1713. From 1710, he represented Malmesbury, in his home county of Wiltshire, holding the seat until his death. Magazine founder He encountered Jonathan Swift in Ireland and remained there for a year. Subsequently, he helped found the Kitcat Club and renewed his association with Richard Steele. In 1709 Steele began to bring out Tatler, to which Addison became almost immediately a contributor: thereafter he (with Steele) started The Spectator, the first number of which appeared on 1 March 1711. This paper, which at first appeared daily, was kept up (with a break of about a year and a half when The Guardian took its place) until 20 December 1714. His last undertaking was The Freeholder, a political paper, 1715–16. Plays He wrote the libretto for Thomas Clayton’s opera Rosamond, which had a disastrous premiere in London in 1707. In 1713 Addison’s tragedy Cato was produced, and was received with acclamation by both Whigs and Tories. He followed this effort with a comedic play, The Drummer (1716). Cato In 1712, Addison wrote his most famous work of fiction, Cato, a Tragedy. Based on the last days of Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis, it deals with such themes as individual liberty versus government tyranny, Republicanism versus Monarchism, logic versus emotion, and Cato’s personal struggle to cleave to his beliefs in the face of death. It has a prologue written by Alexander Pope and an epilogue by Dr. Garth. The play was a success throughout Britain and its possessions in the New World, as well as Ireland. It continued to grow in popularity, especially in the American colonies, for several generations. Indeed, it was almost certainly literary inspiration for the American Revolution, being well known to many of the Founding Fathers. In fact, George Washington had it performed for the Continental Army while they were encamped at Valley Forge. Among the founders, according to John J. Miller, “no single work of literature may have been more important than Cato”. Some scholars have identified the inspiration for several famous quotations from the American Revolution in Cato. These include: Patrick Henry’s famous ultimatum: “Give me liberty or give me death!” (Supposed reference to Act II, Scene 4: "It is not now time to talk of aught/But chains or conquest, liberty or death."). Nathan Hale’s valediction: “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” (Supposed reference to Act IV, Scene 4: "What a pity it is/That we can die but once to serve our country."). Washington’s praise for Benedict Arnold in a letter to him: “It is not in the power of any man to command success; but you have done more—you have deserved it.” (Clear reference to Act I, Scene 2: “'Tis not in mortals to command success; but we’ll do more, Sempronius, we’ll deserve it.”). Not long after the American Revolution, Edmund Burke quotes the play as well in his Letter to Charles-Jean-François Depont (1789) in Further Reflections on the Revolution in France, saying the French may be yet be obliged to go through more transmigrations and “to pass, as one of our poets says, 'through great varieties of untried being’”, before their state obtains its final form. The poet in reference is of course Addison and the passage Burke quoted is from Cato (V.i. II): "Through what variety of untried being,/Through what new scenes and changes must we pass!” Though the play has fallen from popularity and is now rarely performed, it was widely popular and often cited in the eighteenth century, with Cato as an exemplar of republican virtue and liberty. For example, John Trenchard and Thomas Gordon were inspired by the play to write a series of letters, Cato’s Letters on individual rights, using the name “Cato”. The action of the play involves the forces of Cato at Utica, awaiting the arrival of Caesar just after Caesar’s victory at Thapsus (46 BC). The noble sons of Cato, Portius and Marcus, are both in love with Lucia, the daughter of Lucius, a senatorial ally of Cato. Juba, prince of Numidia, another fighting on Cato’s side, loves Cato’s daughter Marcia. Meanwhile, Sempronius, another senator, and Syphax, general of the Numidians, are conspiring secretly against Cato, hoping to draw off the Numidian army from supporting him. In the final act, Cato commits suicide, leaving his supporters to make their peace with the approaching Caesar—an easier task after Cato’s death, since he has been Caesar’s most implacable foe. Hymn Addison wrote the popular church hymn “The Spacious Firmament on High”, publishing it in The Spectator in 1712. It is sung either to the tune known as “London (Addison’s)” by John Sheeles, written c. 1720, or to “Creation” by Franz Haydn, 1798. Marriage and death The later events in the life of Addison did not contribute to his happiness. In 1716, he married Charlotte, Dowager Countess of Warwick, to whose son Edward Rich, 7th Earl of Warwick, he had been tutor, and his political career continued to flourish, as he served as Secretary of State for the Southern Department from 1717 to 1718. However, his political newspaper, The Freeholder, was much criticised, and Alexander Pope, in The Dunciad, made him an object of derision, christening him “Atticus”, likening him to an adder, “Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike”. His wife appears to have been arrogant and imperious; his stepson, seventh Earl, was a rake and unfriendly to him; while in his public capacity his shyness made him of little use in Parliament. He eventually fell out with Steele over the Peerage Bill of 1719. In 1718, Addison was forced to resign as Secretary of State because of his poor health, but remained an MP until his death at Holland House, London, on 17 June 1719, in his 48th year, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. After Addison died, a story circulated that he, on his deathbed, had sent for his stepson, described as a wastrel, to see how a Christian meets death. On 6 April 1808, after Addison’s death, a town in upstate New York which had been originally organized as Middletown in March 1796 was changed to Addison, in honor of Joseph Addison. Contribution It is mostly as an essayist that Addison is remembered today. Addison began writing essays quite casually. In April 1709, his childhood friend, Richard Steele, started The Tatler. Addison inspired him to write this essay. Addison contributed 42 essays while Steele wrote 188. Of Addison’s help, Steele remarked, “when I had once called him in, I could not subsist without dependence on him”. On 2 January 1711, The Tatler was discontinued. On 1 March 1711, The Spectator was published, and it continued until 6 December 1712. The Spectator was issued daily and achieved great popularity. It exercised a great deal of influence over the reading public of the time. In The Spectator, Addison soon became the leading partner. He contributed 274 essays out a total of 555; Steele wrote 236 for this periodical. Addison also assisted Steele with the Guardian which Steele began in 1713. The breezy, conversational style of the essays later elicited Bishop Hurd’s reproving attribution of an “Addisonian Termination”, for preposition stranding, the casual grammatical construction that ends a sentence with a preposition. Besides the works above mentioned, he wrote an essay, Dialogues on Medals, and left incomplete a work, Of the Christian Religion. Timeline Albin Schram letters In 2005 an Austrian banker and collector named Albin Schram died and, in his laundry room, a collection of around 1000 letters from great historical figures was found. One was written by Joseph Addison, reporting on the debate in the House of Commons over the grant to John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, and his heirs, following the Battle of Ramillies. The letter was written on the day of the debate, probably to George Stepney. Addison explains that the motion was opposed by Mr Annesley, Ward, Caesar and Sir William Vevian, “One said that this was showing no honour to His Grace but to a posterity that he was not concern’d in. Casar... hoped ye Duke tho he had ben Victorious over the Enemy would not think of being so over a House of Commons: wch was said in pursuance to a Motion made by some of the Craftier sort that would not oppose the proposition directly but turn it off by a Side-Wind pretending that it being a money affaire it should be refer’d to a Committee of the whole House wch in all probability would have defeated the whole affaire....” Following the Duke of Marlborough’s highly successful campaigns of 1706, he and George Stepney became the first English regents of the Anglo-Dutch condominium for governing the southern Netherlands. It was Stepney who formally took possession of the principality of Mindelheim in Marlborough’s name on 26 May, following the Battle of Ramillies. On Marlborough’s return to London in November, Parliament granted his request that his grant of £5,000 'out of ye Post-Office’ be made in perpetuity for his heirs. A second letter to his friend Sir Richard Steele was also found, concerning the Tatler and other matters. ‘I very much liked your last paper upon the Courtship that is usually paid to the fair sex. I wish you had reserved the Letter in this days paper concerning Indecencies at Church for an entire piece. It wd have made as good a one as any you have published. Your Reflections upon Almanza are very good.’ The letter concludes with references to impeachment proceedings against Addison’s friend, Henry Sacheverell ('I am much obliged to you for yor Letters relating to Sackeverell’), and the Light House petition: 'I am something troubled that you have not sent away ye Letters received from Ireland to my Lord Lieutenant, particularly that from Mr Forster [the Attorney General] with the Enclosed petition about the Light House, which I hope will be delivered to the House before my Return’. Analysis Addison’s character has been described as kind and magnanimous, albeit somewhat cool and unimpassioned. His appealing manners and conversation made him one of the most popular men of his day; and while he laid his friends under obligations for substantial favours, he showed great forbearance towards his few enemies. His essays are noted for their clarity and elegant style, as well as their cheerful and respectful humour. One flaw in Addison’s character was a tendency to convivial excess, which nonetheless should be judged in view of the somewhat lax manners of his time. Thackeray wrote Addison and his colleague Richard Steele into the novel The History of Henry Esmond as characters. “As a man, he may not have deserved the adoration which he received from those who, bewitched by his fascinating society, and indebted for all the comforts of life to his generous and delicate friendship, worshipped him nightly, in his favourite temple at Button’s. But, after full inquiry and impartial reflection, we have long been convinced that he deserved as much love and esteem as can be justly claimed by any of our infirm and erring race. Some blemishes may undoubtedly be detected in his character; but the more carefully it is examined, the more it will appear, to use the phrase of the old anatomists, sound in the noble parts, free from all taint of perfidy, of cowardice, of cruelty, of ingratitude, of envy. Men may easily be named, in whom some particular good disposition has been more conspicuous than in Addison. But the just harmony of qualities, the exact temper between the stern and the humane virtues, the habitual observance of every law, not only of moral rectitude, but of moral grace and dignity, distinguish him from all men who have been tried by equally strong temptations, and about whose conduct we possess equally full information.”– Lord Macaulay References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Addison




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