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Wilfred Owen

Wilfred Edward Salter Owen MC (18 March 1893 – 4 November 1918) was an English poet and soldier, one of the leading poets of the First World War. His shocking, realistic war poetry on the horrors of trenches and gas warfare was heavily influenced by his friend Siegfried Sassoon and stood in stark contrast to both the public perception of war at the time, and to the confidently patriotic verse written by earlier war poets such as Rupert Brooke. Among his best-known works – most of which were published posthumously – are "Dulce et Decorum Est", "Insensibility", "Anthem for Doomed Youth", "Futility" and "Strange Meeting”. Early life Wilfred Owen was born the eldest of four children in a house in Weston Lane, near Oswestry in Shropshire called Plas Wilmot on 18 March 1893, of mixed English and Welsh ancestry. His siblings were Harold, Colin, and Mary Millard Owen. At that time, his parents, Thomas and Harriet Susan (Shaw) Owen, lived in a comfortable house owned by his grandfather but, on his death in 1897, the family was forced to move to lodgings in the back streets of Birkenhead. He was educated at the Birkenhead Institute and at Shrewsbury Technical School (now The Wakeman School), and discovered his vocation in 1903 or 1904 during a holiday spent in Cheshire. Owen was raised as an Anglican of the evangelical school, and in his youth was a devout believer, in part due to his strong relationship with his mother, which was to last throughout his life. His early influences included the "big six" of romantic poetry, particularly John Keats, and the Bible. Shortly after leaving school in 1911, Owen passed the matriculation exam for the University of London, but not with the first-class honours needed for a scholarship (his studies suffered as Owen mourned the loss of his uncle and role model, Edgar Hilton in a hunting accident), which in his family's circumstances was the only way he could have afforded to attend. In return for free lodging, and some tuition for the entrance exam, Owen worked as lay assistant to the Vicar of Dunsden near Reading and as a pupil-teacher at Wyle Cop School in Shrewsbury. He then attended classes at University College, Reading (now the University of Reading), in botany and later, at the urging of the head of the English Department, free lessons in Old English. His time spent at Dunsden parish led him to disillusionment with the church, both in its ceremony and its failure to provide aid for those in need. Prior to the outbreak of World War I, he worked as a private tutor teaching English and French at the Berlitz School of Languages in Bordeaux, France. There he met the older French poet Laurent Tailhade, with whom he later corresponded in French. War service On 21 October 1915, he enlisted in the Artists' Rifles Officers' Training Corps. For the next seven months, he trained at Hare Hall Camp in Essex. On 4 June 1916 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant (on probation) in the Manchester Regiment. Owen started the war as a cheerful and optimistic man, but he soon changed forever. Initially, he held his troops in contempt for their loutish behaviour, and in a letter to his mother described his company as "expressionless lumps". However, Owen's outlook on the war was to be changed dramatically after two traumatic experiences. Firstly, he was blown high into the air by a trench mortar, landing among the remains of a fellow officer. Soon after, he became trapped for days in an old German dugout. After these two events, Owen was diagnosed as suffering from shell shock and sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh for treatment. It was while recuperating at Craiglockhart that he met fellow poet Siegfried Sassoon, an encounter that was to transform Owen's life. After a period of convalescence in northern Ireland, then a short spell working as a teacher in Edinburgh's Tynecastle High School, he returned to light regimental duties. In March 1918, he was posted to the Northern Command Depot at Ripon. A number of poems were composed in Ripon, including "Futility" and "Strange Meeting". His 25th birthday was spent quietly in Ripon Cathedral. After returning to the front, Owen led units of the Second Manchesters on 1 October 1918 to storm a number of enemy strong points near the village of Joncourt. However, only one week before the end of the war, whilst attempting to traverse a canal, he was shot in the head and killed. The news of his death, on 4 November 1918, was given to his mother on Armistice Day. For his courage and leadership in the Joncourt action, he was awarded the Military Cross, an award he had always sought in order to justify himself as a war poet, but the award was not gazetted until 15 February 1919. The citation followed on 30 July 1919: 2nd Lt, Wilfred Edward Salter Owen, 5th Bn. Manch. R., T.F., attd. 2nd Bn. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in the attack on the Fonsomme Line on October 1st/2nd, 1918. On the company commander becoming a casualty, he assumed command and showed fine leadership and resisted a heavy counter-attack. He personally manipulated a captured enemy machine gun from an isolated position and inflicted considerable losses on the enemy. Throughout he behaved most gallantly. Poetry Owen is regarded by historians as the leading poet of the First World War, known for his war poetry on the horrors of trench and gas warfare. He had been writing poetry for some years before the war, himself dating his poetic beginnings to a stay at Broxton by the Hill, when he was ten years old. The Romantic poets Keats and Shelley influenced much of Owen's early writing and poetry. His great friend, the poet Siegfried Sassoon, later had a profound effect on Owen's poetic voice, and Owen's most famous poems ("Dulce et Decorum Est" and "Anthem for Doomed Youth") show direct results of Sassoon's influence. The novel Regeneration by Pat Barker shows this relationship closely. Manuscript copies of the poems survive, annotated in Sassoon's handwriting. Owen's poetry would eventually be more widely acclaimed than that of his mentor. While his use of pararhyme, with its heavy reliance on assonance, was innovative, he was not the only poet at the time to use these particular techniques. He was, however, one of the first to experiment with it extensively. His poetry itself underwent significant changes in 1917. As a part of his therapy at Craiglockhart, Owen's doctor, Arthur Brock, encouraged Owen to translate his experiences, specifically the experiences he relived in his dreams, into poetry. Sassoon, who was becoming influenced by Freudian psychoanalysis, aided him here, showing Owen through example what poetry could do. Sassoon's use of satire influenced Owen, who tried his hand at writing "in Sassoon's style". Further, the content of Owen's verse was undeniably changed by his work with Sassoon. Sassoon's emphasis on realism and "writing from experience" was contrary to Owen's hitherto romantic-influenced style, as seen in his earlier sonnets. Owen was to take both Sassoon's gritty realism and his own romantic notions and create a poetic synthesis that was both potent and sympathetic, as summarised by his famous phrase "the pity of war". In this way, Owen's poetry is quite distinctive, and he is, by many, considered a greater poet than Sassoon. Nonetheless, Sassoon contributed to Owen's popularity by his strong promotion of his poetry, both before and after Owen's death, and his editing was instrumental in the making of Owen as a poet. Thousands of poems were published during the war, but very few of them had the benefit of such strong patronage, and it is as a result of Sassoon's influence, as well as support from Edith Sitwell and the editing of his poems into a new anthology in 1931 by Edmund Blunden that ensured his popularity, coupled with a revival of interest in his poetry in the 1960s which plucked him out of a relatively exclusive readership into the public eye. Though he had plans for a volume of verse, for which he had written a "Preface", he never saw his own work published apart from those poems he included in The Hydra, the magazine he edited at Craiglockhart War Hospital, and "Miners", which was published in The Nation. There were many other influences on Owen's poetry, including his mother. His letters to her provide an insight into Owen's life at the front, and the development of his philosophy regarding the war. Graphic details of the horror Owen witnessed were never spared. Owen's experiences with religion also heavily influenced his poetry, notably in poems such as "Anthem for Doomed Youth", in which the ceremony of a funeral is reenacted not in a church, but on the battlefield itself, and "At a Calvary near the Ancre", which comments on the Crucifixion of Christ. Owen's experiences in war led him to further challenge his religious beliefs, claiming in his poem "Exposure" that "love of God seems dying”. Literary output Only five of Owen's poems were published before his death, one in fragmentary form. His best known poems include "Anthem for Doomed Youth", "Futility", "Dulce Et Decorum Est", "The Parable of the Old Men and the Young" and "Strange Meeting". Some of his poems feature in Benjamin Britten's War Requiem. Owen's full unexpurgated opus is in the academic two-volume work The Complete Poems and Fragments (1994) by Jon Stallworthy. Many of his poems have never been published in popular form. In 1975 Mrs. Harold Owen, Wilfred's sister-in-law, donated all of the manuscripts, photographs and letters which her late husband had owned to the University of Oxford's English Faculty Library. As well as the personal artifacts this also includes all of Wilfred's personal library and an almost complete set of The Hydra – the magazine of Craiglockhart War Hospital. These can be accessed by any member of the public on application in advance to the English Faculty librarian. The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin holds a large collection of Wilfred Owen's family correspondence. Relationship with Sassoon Owen held Siegfried Sassoon in an esteem not far from hero-worship, remarking to his mother that he was "not worthy to light [Sassoon's] pipe". The relationship clearly had a profound impact on Owen, who wrote in his first letter to Sassoon after leaving Craiglockhart "You have fixed my life-however short". Sassoon, in turn, developed a deep fondness for Owen, writing that he took "an instinctive liking to him", and recalled their time together "with affection." On the evening of 3 November 1917, they parted, Owen having been discharged from Craiglockhart. He was stationed on home-duty in Scarborough for several months, during which time he associated with members of the artistic circle into which Sassoon had introduced him, which included Robert Ross and Robert Graves. He also met H.G. Wells and Arnold Bennett, and it was during this period he developed the stylistic voice for which he is now recognised. Many of his early poems were penned while stationed at the Clarence Garden Hotel, now the Clifton Hotel in Scarborough's North Bay. A blue tourist plaque on the hotel marks its association with Owen. Robert Graves and Sacheverell Sitwell (who also personally knew him) have stated Owen was homosexual, and homoeroticism is a central element in much of Owen's poetry. Through Sassoon, Owen was introduced to a sophisticated homosexual literary circle which included Oscar Wilde's friend Robbie Ross, writer and poet Osbert Sitwell, and Scottish writer C. K. Scott-Moncrieff, the translator of Proust. This contact broadened Owen's outlook, and increased his confidence in incorporating homoerotic elements into his work. Historians have debated whether Owen had an affair with Scott-Moncrieff in May 1918; Scott-Moncrieff had dedicated various works to a "Mr W.O.", but Owen never responded. The account of Owen's sexual development has been somewhat obscured because his brother, Harold Owen, removed what he considered discreditable passages in Owen's letters and diaries after the death of their mother. Owen also requested that his mother burn a sack of his personal papers in the event of his death, which she did. Andrew Motion wrote of Owen's relationship with Sassoon: "On the one hand, Sassoon's wealth, posh connections and aristocratic manner appealed to the snob in Owen: on the other, Sassoon's homosexuality admitted Owen to a style of living and thinking that he found naturally sympathetic. Sassoon and Owen kept in touch through correspondance, and when Sassoon was shot in the head in July 1918 and sent back to England to recover, they met in August and spent what Sassoon described as "the whole of a hot cloudless afternoon together." They never saw each other again. Around three weeks later, Owen wrote to bid Sassoon farewell, as he was on the way back to France, and they continued to communicate. After the Armistice, Sassoon waited in vain for word from Owen, only to be told of his death several months later. The loss grieved Sassoon greatly, and he was never "able to accept that disappearance philosophically." Death In July 1918, Owen returned to active service in France, although he might have stayed on home-duty indefinitely. His decision was almost wholly the result of Sassoon's being sent back to England, after being shot in the head in a so-called friendly fire incident, and put on sick-leave for the remaining duration of the war. Owen saw it as his patriotic duty to take Sassoon's place at the front, that the horrific realities of the war might continue to be told. Sassoon was violently opposed to the idea of Owen returning to the trenches, threatening to "stab [him] in the leg" if he tried it. Aware of his attitude, Owen did not inform him of his action until he was once again in France. Owen was killed in action on 4 November 1918 during the crossing of the Sambre–Oise Canal, exactly one week (almost to the hour) before the signing of the Armistice and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant the day after his death. His mother received the telegram informing her of his death on Armistice Day, as the church bells were ringing out in celebration. He is buried at Ors Communal Cemetery. There are memorials to Wilfred Owen at Gailly, Ors, Oswestry, Birkenhead (Central Library) and Shrewsbury. On 11 November 1985, Owen was one of the 16 Great War poets commemorated on a slate stone unveiled in Westminster Abbey's Poet's Corner. The inscription on the stone is taken from Owen's "Preface" to his poems: "My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity." There is also a small museum dedicated to Owen and Sassoon at the Craiglockhart War Hospital, now a Napier University building. The forester's house in Ors where Owen spent his last night, Maison forestière de l'Ermitage, has been transformed by Turner Prize nominee Simon Patterson into a white sculptured memorial to Owen and his poetry, which opened to the public on 1 October 2011. Depictions in popular culture Pat Barker's 1991 historical novel Regeneration describes the meeting and relationship between Sassoon and Owen, acknowledging that, from Sassoon's perspective, the meeting had a profoundly significant effect on Owen. Owen's treatment with his own doctor, Arthur Brock, is also touched upon briefly. Owen's death is described in the third book of Barker's Regeneration trilogy, The Ghost Road. In the 1997 film he was played by Stuart Bunce. The play Not About Heroes by Stephen MacDonald also takes as its subject matter the friendship between Owen and Sassoon, and begins with their meeting at Craiglockhart during World War I. Owen was mentioned as a source of inspiration for one of the correspondents in the epistolary novel The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Owen is the subject of the 2007 BBC docudrama Wilfred Owen: A Remembrance Tale, in which he is played by Samuel Barnett. His poetry has been reworked into various formats, such as The Ravishing Beauties' recording of Owen's poem "Futility" in an April 1982 John Peel session. Benjamin Britten incorporated nine of Owen's poems into his War Requiem, opus 66, along with words from the Latin Mass for the Dead (Missa pro Defunctis). The Requiem was commissioned for the reconsecration of Coventry Cathedral, and first performed there on 30 May 1962. A screen adaptation was made by Derek Jarman in 1988, with the 1963 recording as the soundtrack. In 1982, "Anthem for Doomed Youth" was set to music and recorded by the 10, Maniacs in Fredonia, New York. The recording appeared on their first EP release Human Conflict Number Five and later on the compilation Hope Chest. The song is unique in the oeuvre of the group as the poem is sung by guitarist John Lombardo, not lead singer Natalie Merchant (who sings back-up vocals on the track). Also in 1982, singer Virginia Astley set the poem "Futility" to music she had composed. References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilfred_Owen

George Orwell

Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist and journalist. His work is marked by clarity, intelligence and wit, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and belief in democratic socialism. Considered perhaps the 20th century's best chronicler of English culture, Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry, fiction and polemical journalism. He is best known for the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) and the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945), which together have sold more copies than any two books by any other 20th-century author. His book Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, is widely acclaimed, as are his numerous essays on politics, literature, language and culture. In 2008, The Times ranked him second on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”. Orwell's work continues to influence popular and political culture, and the term Orwellian—descriptive of totalitarian or authoritarian social practices—has entered the vernacular with several of his neologisms, such as doublethink, thoughtcrime, and thought police. Early life and education Eric Arthur Blair was born on 25 June 1903, in Motihari, Bihar, in India. His great-grandfather Charles Blair was a wealthy country gentleman in Dorset who married Lady Mary Fane, daughter of Thomas Fane, 8th Earl of Westmorland, and had income as an absentee landlord of slave plantations in Jamaica. His grandfather, Thomas Richard Arthur Blair, was a clergyman. Although the gentility passed down the generations, the prosperity did not; Eric Blair described his family as "lower-upper-middle class". His father, Richard Walmesley Blair, worked in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service. His mother, Ida Mabel Blair (née Limouzin), grew up in Moulmein, Burma, where her French father was involved in speculative ventures. Eric had two sisters: Marjorie, five years older, and Avril, five years younger. When Eric was one year old, his mother took him and his sister to England. In 1904, Ida Blair settled with her children at Henley-on-Thames. Eric was brought up in the company of his mother and sisters, and apart from a brief visit in the summer of 1907, they did not see the husband and father Richard Blair until 1912. His mother's diary from 1905 describes a lively round of social activity and artistic interests. The family moved to Shiplake before the First World War, where Eric became friendly with the Buddicom family, especially their daughter Jacintha. When they first met, he was standing on his head in a field. On being asked why, he said, "You are noticed more if you stand on your head than if you are right way up." Jacintha and Eric read and wrote poetry, and dreamed of becoming famous writers. He said that he might write a book in the style of H. G. Wells's A Modern Utopia. During this period, he also enjoyed shooting, fishing and birdwatching with Jacintha's brother and sister. At the age of five, Eric was sent as a day-boy to the convent school in Henley-on-Thames, which Marjorie also attended. (It was a Roman Catholic convent run by French Ursuline nuns, who had been exiled from France after religious education was banned in 1903). His mother wanted him to have a public school education, but his family could not afford the fees, and he needed to earn a scholarship. Ida Blair's brother Charles Limouzin recommended St Cyprian's School, Eastbourne, East Sussex. Limouzin, who was a proficient golfer, knew of the school and its headmaster through the Royal Eastbourne Golf Club, where he won several competitions in 1903 and 1904. The headmaster undertook to help Blair to win the scholarship, and made a private financial arrangement that allowed Blair's parents to pay only half the normal fees. In September 1911 Eric arrived at St Cyprian's. He boarded at the school for the next five years, returning home only for school holidays. He knew nothing of the reduced fees although he 'soon recognised that he was from a poorer home'. Blair hated the school and many years later wrote an essay "Such, Such Were the Joys", published posthumously, based on his time there. At St. Cyprian's, Blair first met Cyril Connolly, who became a noted writer and, as the editor of Horizon, published many of Orwell's essays. As part of school work, Blair wrote two poems that were published in the Henley and South Oxfordshire Standard, He came second to Connolly in the Harrow History Prize, had his work praised by the school's external examiner, and earned scholarships to Wellington and Eton colleges. But, an Eton scholarship did not guarantee a place, and none was immediately available for Blair. He chose to stay at St Cyprian's until December 1916, in case a place at Eton became available. In January, Blair took up the place at Wellington, where he spent the Spring term. In May 1917 a place became available as a King's Scholar at Eton. He studied at Eton until December 1921, when he left at age eighteen-and-a-half. Wellington was 'beastly', Orwell told his childhood friend Jacintha Buddicom, but he said he was 'interested and happy' at Eton. His principal tutor was A. S. F. Gow, fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, who also gave him advice later in his career. Blair was briefly taught French by Aldous Huxley, who worked there. Stephen Runciman, who was at Eton with Blair, noted that he and his contemporaries appreciated Huxley's linguistic flair. Cyril Connolly followed Blair to Eton, but because they were in separate years, they did not associate with each other. Blair's academic performance reports suggest that he neglected his academic studies, but during his time at Eton, he also worked with Roger Mynors to produce a college magazine, The Election Times, joined in the production of other publications—College Days and Bubble and Squeak—and participated in the Eton Wall Game. His parents could not afford to send him to university without another scholarship, and they concluded from his poor results that he would not be able to win one. Runciman noted that he had a romantic idea about the East and the family decided that Blair should join the Indian Police Service. To do this, he had to pass an entrance examination. His father had retired to Southwold, Suffolk by this time; Blair was enrolled at a "crammer" there called Craighurst, and brushed up on his classics, English and History. Blair passed the exam, coming seventh out of the twenty-six candidates who exceeded the set "pass mark.” Policing in Burma Blair's maternal grandmother lived at Moulmein, so he chose a posting in Burma. In October 1922 he sailed on board S.S. Herefordshire via the Suez Canal and Ceylon to join the Indian Imperial Police in Burma. A month later, he arrived at Rangoon and made the journey to Mandalay, the site of the police training school. After a short posting at Maymyo, Burma's principal hill station, he was posted to the frontier outpost of Myaungmya in the Irrawaddy Delta at the beginning of 1924. Working as an imperial policeman gave him considerable responsibilities while most of his contemporaries were still at university in England. When he was posted farther east in the Delta to Twante as a sub-divisional officer, he was responsible for the security of some 200, people. At the end of 1924, he was promoted to Assistant District Superintendent and posted to Syriam, closer to Rangoon. Syriam had the refinery of the Burmah Oil Company, "the surrounding land a barren waste, all vegetation killed off by the fumes of sulphur dioxide pouring out day and night from the stacks of the refinery." But the town was near to Rangoon, a cosmopolitan seaport, and Blair went into the city as often as he could, "to browse in a bookshop; to eat well-cooked food; to get away from the boring routine of police life." In September 1925 he went to Insein, the home of Insein Prison, the second largest jail in Burma. In Insein, he had "long talks on every conceivable subject" with Elisa Maria Langford-Rae (who later married Kazi Lhendup Dorjee). She noted his "sense of utter fairness in minutest details”. In April 1926 he moved to Moulmein, where his maternal grandmother lived. At the end of that year, he was assigned to Katha in Upper Burma, where he contracted dengue fever in 1927. Entitled to a leave in England that year, he was allowed to return in July due to his illness. While on leave in England and on holiday with his family in Cornwall in September 1927, he reappraised his life. Deciding against returning to Burma, he resigned from the Indian Imperial Police to become a writer. He drew on his experiences in the Burma police for the novel Burmese Days (1934) and the essays "A Hanging" (1931) and "Shooting an Elephant" (1936). In Burma, Orwell had acquired a reputation as an outsider — he spent much of his time alone, reading or pursuing non-pukka activities, such as attending the churches of the ethnic Karen group. A colleague, Roger Beadon, recalled (in a 1969 recording for the BBC) that Orwell was fast to learn the language and that before he left Burma, "was able to speak fluently with Burmese priests in 'very high-flown Burmese.'" Orwell wrote later that he felt guilty for his role in the work of empire and he "began to look more closely at his own country and saw that England also had its oppressed..." Orwell made changes to his appearance in Burma that remained for the rest of his life. "While in Burma, he acquired a moustache similar to those worn by officers of the British regiments stationed there. [He] also acquired some tattoos; on each knuckle he had a small untidy blue circle. Many Burmese living in rural areas still sport tattoos like this – they are believed to protect against bullets and snake bites.” London and Paris In England, he settled back in the family home at Southwold, renewing acquaintance with local friends and attending an Old Etonian dinner. He visited his old tutor Gow at Cambridge for advice on becoming a writer. Early in the autumn of 1927 he moved to London. Ruth Pitter, a family acquaintance, helped him find lodgings, and by the end of 1927 he had moved into rooms in Portobello Road;(a blue plaque commemorates his residence there.) Pitter's involvement in the move "would have lent it a reassuring respectability in Mrs Blair's eyes." Pitter had a sympathetic interest in Blair's writing, pointed out weaknesses in his poetry, and advised him to write about what he knew. In fact he decided to write of "certain aspects of the present that he set out to know" and "ventured into the East End of London – the first of the occasional sorties he would make to discover for himself the world of poverty and the down-and-outers who inhabit it. He had found a subject. These sorties, explorations, expeditions, tours or immersions were made intermittently over a period of five years." In imitation of Jack London, whose writing he admired (particularly "The People of the Abyss"), Orwell started to explore slumming the poorer parts of London. On his first outing he set out to Limehouse Causeway, spending his first night in a common lodging house, possibly George Levy's 'kip'. For a while he "went native" in his own country, dressing like a tramp and making no concessions to middle-class mores and expectations; he recorded his experiences of the low life for use in "The Spike", his first published essay in English, and in the second half of his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933). In the spring of 1928, he moved to Paris, whose low cost of living and bohemianism were attractive to many aspiring writers. He lived in the Rue du Pot de Fer, a working class district in the 5th Arrondissement. His Aunt Nellie Limouzin also lived in Paris and gave him social and, when necessary, financial support. He began to write novels, including an early version of Burmese Days but nothing else survives from that period. He was more successful as a journalist and published articles in Monde, a political/literary journal edited by Henri Barbusse, – his first article as a professional writer, La Censure en Angleterre, appeared in this paper on 6 October 1928 – G. K.'s Weekly – where his first article to appear in England, A Farthing Newspaper, was printed on 29 December 1928 – and Le Progrès Civique (founded by the left-wing coalition Le Cartel des Gauches). Three pieces appeared in successive weeks in Progrès Civique: discussing unemployment, a day in the life of a tramp, and the beggars of London, respectively. "In one or another of its destructive forms, poverty was to become his obsessive subject – at the heart of almost everything he wrote until Homage to Catalonia." He fell seriously ill in February 1929 and was taken to the Hôpital Cochin in the 14th arrondissement, a free hospital where medical students were trained. His experiences there were the basis of his essay How the Poor Die, published in 1946. He chose not to identify the hospital, indeed was deliberately misleading about its location. Shortly afterwards, he had all his money stolen from his lodging house. Whether through necessity or simply to collect material, he undertook menial jobs like dishwashing in a fashionable hotel on the rue de Rivoli, which he later described in Down and Out in Paris and London. In August 1929, he sent a copy of "The Spike" to New Adelphi magazine in London. This was owned by John Middleton Murry, who had released editorial control to Max Plowman and Sir Richard Rees. Plowman accepted the work for publication. Southwold In December 1929, after nearly two years in Paris, Blair returned to England and went directly to his parents' house in Southwold, which was to remain his base for the next five years. The family was well-established in the town and his sister Avril was running a tea-house there. He became acquainted with many local people, including Brenda Salkeld, the clergyman's daughter who worked as a gym-teacher at St Felix Girls' School, Southwold. Although Salkeld rejected his offer of marriage, she was to remain a friend and regular correspondent for many years. He also renewed friendships with older friends, such as Dennis Collings, whose girlfriend Eleanor Jacques was also to play a part in his life. Southwold – North Parade In the spring he stayed briefly in Bramley, Leeds, with his sister Marjorie and her husband Humphrey Dakin, who was as unappreciative of Blair as when they knew each other as children. Blair was writing reviews for Adelphi and acting as a private tutor to a disabled child at Southwold. He then became tutor to three young brothers, one of whom, Richard Peters, later became a distinguished academic. "His history in these years is marked by dualities and contrasts. There is Blair leading a respectable, outwardly eventless life at his parents' house in Southwold, writing; then in contrast, there is Blair as Burton (the name he used in his down-and-out episodes) in search of experience in the kips and spikes, in the East End, on the road, and in the hop fields of Kent." He went painting and bathing on the beach, and there he met Mabel and Francis Fierz who were later to influence his career. Over the next year he visited them in London, often meeting their friend Max Plowman. He also often stayed at the homes of Ruth Pitter and Richard Rees, where he could "change" for his sporadic tramping expeditions. One of his jobs was to do domestic work at a lodgings for half a crown a day. Blair now contributed regularly to Adelphi, with "A Hanging" appearing in August 1931. From August to September 1931 his explorations of poverty continued, and, like the protagonist of A Clergyman's Daughter, he followed the East End tradition of working in the Kent hop fields. He kept a diary about his experiences there. Afterwards, he lodged in the Tooley Street kip, but could not stand it for long and with financial help from his parents moved to Windsor Street, where he stayed until Christmas. "Hop Picking", by Eric Blair, appeared in the October 1931 issue of New Statesman, whose editorial staff included his old friend Cyril Connolly. Mabel Fierz put him in contact with Leonard Moore, who was to become his literary agent. At this time Jonathan Cape rejected A Scullion's Diary, the first version of Down and Out. On the advice of Richard Rees, he offered it to Faber & Faber, whose editorial director, T. S. Eliot, also rejected it. Blair ended the year by deliberately getting himself arrested, so he could experience Christmas in prison, but the authorities did not regard his "drunk and disorderly" behaviour as imprisonable, and he returned home to Southwold after two days in a police cell. Teaching In April 1932 Blair became a teacher at The Hawthorns High School, a prep school for boys in Hayes, West London. This was a small school offering private schooling for children of local tradesmen and shopkeepers, and had only twenty boys and one other master. While at the school he became friendly with the curate of the local parish church and became involved with activities there. Mabel Fierz had pursued matters with Moore, and at the end of June 1932, Moore told Blair that Victor Gollancz was prepared to publish A Scullion's Diary for a £40 advance, through his recently founded publishing house, Victor Gollancz Ltd, which was an outlet for radical and socialist works. At the end of the summer term in 1932, Blair returned to Southwold, where his parents had used a legacy to buy their own home. Blair and his sister Avril spent the summer holidays making the house habitable while he also worked on Burmese Days. He was also spending time with Eleanor Jacques, but her attachment to Dennis Collings remained an obstacle to his hopes of a more serious relationship. "Clink", an essay describing his failed attempt to get sent to prison, appeared in the August 1932 number of Adelphi. He returned to teaching at Hayes and prepared for the publication of his book, now known as Down and Out in Paris and London. He wished to publish under a different name in order to avoid any embarrassment to his family over his time as a "tramp". In a letter to Moore (dated 15 November 1932), he left the choice of pseudonym to him and to Gollancz. Four days later, he wrote to Moore, suggesting the pseudonyms P. S. Burton (a name he used when tramping), Kenneth Miles, George Orwell, and H. Lewis Allways. He finally adopted the nom de plume George Orwell because, as he told Eleanor Jacques, "It is a good round English name." Down and Out in Paris and London was published on 9 January 1933, as Orwell continued to work on Burmese Days. Down and Out was successful and was next published by Harper and Brothers in New York. In the summer of 1933 Blair left Hawthorns to become a teacher at Frays College, in Uxbridge, West London. This was a much larger establishment with 200 pupils and a full complement of staff. He acquired a motorcycle and took trips through the surrounding countryside. On one of these expeditions he became soaked and caught a chill that developed into pneumonia. He was taken to Uxbridge Cottage Hospital, where for a time his life was believed to be in danger. When he was discharged in January 1934, he returned to Southwold to convalesce and, supported by his parents, never returned to teaching. He was disappointed when Gollancz turned down Burmese Days, mainly on the grounds of potential suits for libel, but Harpers were prepared to publish it in the United States. Meanwhile, Blair started work on the novel A Clergyman's Daughter, drawing upon his life as a teacher and on life in Southwold. Eleanor Jacques was now married and had gone to Singapore and Brenda Salkield had left for Ireland, so Blair was relatively isolated in Southwold—working on the allotments, walking alone and spending time with his father. Eventually in October, after sending A Clergyman's Daughter to Moore, he left for London to take a job that had been found for him by his Aunt Nellie Limouzin. Hampstead This job was as a part-time assistant in "Booklovers' Corner", a second-hand bookshop in Hampstead run by Francis and Myfanwy Westrope, who were friends of Nellie Limouzin in the Esperanto movement. The Westropes were friendly and provided him with comfortable accommodation at Warwick Mansions, Pond Street. He was sharing the job with Jon Kimche, who also lived with the Westropes. Blair worked at the shop in the afternoons and had his mornings free to write and his evenings free to socialise. These experiences provided background for the novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying (1936). As well as the various guests of the Westropes, he was able to enjoy the company of Richard Rees and the Adelphi writers and Mabel Fierz. The Westropes and Kimche were members of the Independent Labour Party, although at this time Blair was not seriously politically active. He was writing for the Adelphi and preparing A Clergymans Daughter and Burmese Days for publication. At the beginning of 1935 he had to move out of Warwick Mansions, and Mabel Fierz found him a flat in Parliament Hill. A Clergyman's Daughter was published on 11 March 1935. In the spring of 1935 Blair met his future wife Eileen O'Shaughnessy, when his landlady, Rosalind Obermeyer, who was studying for a masters degree in psychology at University College London, invited some of her fellow students to a party. One of these students, Elizaveta Fen, an autobiographer and future translator of Chekhov, recalled Orwell and his friend Richard Rees 'draped' at the fireplace, looking, she thought, 'moth-eaten and prematurely aged.' Around this time, Blair had started to write reviews for the New English Weekly. In June, Burmese Days was published and Cyril Connolly's review in the New Statesman prompted Orwell to re-establish contact with his old friend. In August, Blair moved into a flat in Kentish Town, which he shared with Michael Sayers and Rayner Heppenstall. The relationship was sometimes awkward and Orwell and Heppenstall even came to blows, though they remained friends and later worked together on BBC broadcasts. Orwell was now working on Keep the Aspidistra Flying, and also tried unsuccessfully to write a serial for the News Chronicle. By October 1935 his flat-mates had moved out and he was struggling to pay the rent on his own. He remained until the end of January 1936, when he stopped working at Booklovers' Corner. The Road to Wigan Pier At this time, Victor Gollancz suggested Orwell spend a short time investigating social conditions in economically depressed northern England. Two years earlier J. B. Priestley had written about England north of the Trent, sparking an interest in reportage. The depression had also introduced a number of working-class writers from the North of England to the reading public. On 31 January 1936, Orwell set out by public transport and on foot, reaching Manchester via Coventry, Stafford, the Potteries and Macclesfield. Arriving in Manchester after the banks had closed, he had to stay in a common lodging-house. Next day he picked up a list of contacts sent by Richard Rees. One of these, the trade union official Frank Meade, suggested Wigan, where Orwell spent February staying in dirty lodgings over a tripe shop. At Wigan, he visited many homes to see how people lived, took detailed notes of housing conditions and wages earned, went down a coal mine, and used the local public library to consult public health records and reports on working conditions in mines. During this time, he was distracted by concerns about style and possible libel in Keep the Aspidistra Flying. He made a quick visit to Liverpool and spent March in south Yorkshire, spending time in Sheffield and Barnsley. As well as visiting mines, including Grimethorpe, and observing social conditions, he attended meetings of the Communist Party and of Oswald Mosley – "his speech the usual claptrap—The blame for everything was put upon mysterious international gangs of Jews" – where he saw the tactics of the Blackshirts – "one is liable to get both a hammering and a fine for asking a question which Mosley finds it difficult to answer." He also made visits to his sister at Headingley, during which he visited the Brontë Parsonage at Haworth, where he was "chiefly impressed by a pair of Charlotte Brontë's cloth-topped boots, very small, with square toes and lacing up at the sides.” The result of his journeys through the north was The Road to Wigan Pier, published by Gollancz for the Left Book Club in 1937. The first half of the book documents his social investigations of Lancashire and Yorkshire. It begins with an evocative description of working life in the coal mines. The second half is a long essay on his upbringing and the development of his political conscience, which includes criticism of some of groups on the left. Gollancz feared the second half would offend readers and added a disculpatory preface to the book while Orwell was in Spain. Orwell needed somewhere he could concentrate on writing his book, and once again help was provided by Aunt Nellie, who was living at Wallington, Hertfordshire in a very small sixteenth-century cottage called the "Stores". Wallington was a tiny village thirty-five miles north of London and the cottage had with almost no modern facilities. Orwell took over the tenancy and moved in on 2 April 1936. He started work on Wigan Pier by the end of April, but also spent hours working on the garden and testing the possibility of re-opening the Stores as a village shop. Keep the Aspidistra Flying was published by Gollancz on 20 April 1936. On 4 August Orwell gave a talk at the Adelphi Summer School held at Langham, entitled An Outsider Sees the Distressed Areas; others who spoke at the School included John Strachey, Max Plowman, Karl Polanyi and Reinhold Niebuhr. Orwell's research for The Road to Wigan Pier led to him being placed under surveillance by the Special Branch in 1936, for 12 years, until one year before the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Orwell married Eileen O'Shaughnessy on 9 June 1936. Shortly afterwards, the political crisis began in Spain and Orwell followed developments there closely. At the end of the year, concerned by Francisco Franco's Falangist uprising, (supported by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy), Orwell decided to go to Spain to take part in the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side. Under the erroneous impression that he needed papers from some left-wing organisation to cross the frontier, on John Strachey's recommendation he applied unsuccessfully to Harry Pollitt, leader of the British Communist Party. Pollitt was suspicious of Orwell's political reliability; he asked him whether he would undertake to join the International Brigade and advised him to get a safe-conduct from the Spanish Embassy in Paris. Not wishing to commit himself until he'd seen the situation in situ, Orwell instead used his Independent Labour Party contacts to get a letter of introduction to John McNair in Barcelona. The Spanish Civil War and Catalonia Orwell set out for Spain on about 23 December 1936, dining with Henry Miller in Paris on the way. A few days later at Barcelona, he met John McNair of the Independent Labour Party (ILP) Office who quoted him: "I've come to fight against Fascism". Orwell stepped into a complex political situation in Catalonia. The Republican government was supported by a number of factions with conflicting aims, including the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM – Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista), the anarcho-syndicalist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo and the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia (a wing of the Spanish Communist Party, which was backed by Soviet arms and aid). The ILP was linked to the POUM and so Orwell joined the POUM. After a time at the Lenin Barracks in Barcelona he was sent to the relatively quiet Aragon Front under Georges Kopp. By January 1937 he was at Alcubierre 1, feet (460 m) above sea level, in the depth of winter. There was very little military action, and the lack of equipment and other deprivations made it uncomfortable. Orwell, with his Cadet Corps and police training, was quickly made a corporal. On the arrival of a British ILP Contingent about three weeks later, Orwell and the other English militiaman, Williams, were sent with them to Monte Oscuro. The newly arrived ILP contingent included Bob Smillie, Bob Edwards, Stafford Cottman and Jack Branthwaite. The unit was then sent on to Huesca. Meanwhile, back in England, Eileen had been handling the issues relating to the publication of The Road to Wigan Pier before setting out for Spain herself, leaving Aunt Nellie Limouzin to look after The Stores. Eileen volunteered for a post in John McNair's office and with the help of Georges Kopp paid visits to her husband, bringing him English tea, chocolate and cigars. Orwell had to spend some days in hospital with a poisoned hand and had most of his possessions stolen by the staff. He returned to the front and saw some action in a night attack on the Nationalist trenches where he chased an enemy soldier with a bayonet and bombed an enemy rifle position. In April, Orwell returned to Barcelona. Wanting to be sent to the Madrid front, which meant he "must join the International Column", he approached a Communist friend attached to the Spanish Medical Aid and explained his case. "Although he did not think much of the Communists, Orwell was still ready to treat them as friends and allies. That would soon change." This was the time of the Barcelona May Days and Orwell was caught up in the factional fighting. He spent much of the time on a roof, with a stack of novels, but encountered Jon Kimche from his Hampstead days during the stay. The subsequent campaign of lies and distortion carried out by the Communist press, in which the POUM was accused of collaborating with the fascists, had a dramatic effect on Orwell. Instead of joining the International Brigades as he had intended, he decided to return to the Aragon Front. Once the May fighting was over, he was approached by a Communist friend who asked if he still intended transferring to the International Brigades. Orwell expressed surprise that they should still want him, because according to the Communist press he was a fascist. "No one who was in Barcelona then, or for months later, will forget the horrible atmosphere produced by fear, suspicion, hatred, censored newspapers, crammed jails, enormous food queues and prowling gangs of armed men." After his return to the front, he was wounded in the throat by a sniper's bullet. Orwell was considerably taller than the Spanish fighters and had been warned against standing against the trench parapet. Unable to speak, and with blood pouring from his mouth, Orwell was carried on a stretcher to Siétamo, loaded on an ambulance and after a bumpy journey via Barbastro arrived at the hospital at Lleida. He recovered sufficiently to get up and on 27 May 1937 was sent on to Tarragona and two days later to a POUM sanatorium in the suburbs of Barcelona. The bullet had missed his main artery by the barest margin and his voice was barely audible. It had been such a clean shot that the wound immediately went through the process of cauterisation. He received electrotherapy treatment and was declared medically unfit for service. By the middle of June the political situation in Barcelona had deteriorated and the POUM—painted by the pro-Soviet Communists as a Trotskyist organisation—was outlawed and under attack. The Communist line was that the POUM were 'objectively' Fascist, hindering the Republican cause. " A particularly nasty poster appeared, showing a head with a POUM mask being ripped off to reveal a Swastika-covered face beneath. " Members, including Kopp, were arrested and others were in hiding. Orwell and his wife were under threat and had to lie low, although they broke cover to try to help Kopp. Finally with their passports in order, they escaped from Spain by train, diverting to Banyuls-sur-Mer for a short stay before returning to England. In the first week of July 1937 Orwell arrived back at Wallington; on 13 July 1937 a deposition was presented to the Tribunal for Espionage & High Treason, Valencia, charging the Orwells with 'rabid Trotskyism', and being agents of the POUM. The trial of the leaders of the POUM and of Orwell (in his absence) took place in Barcelona in October and November 1938. Observing events from French Morocco Orwell wrote that they were " – only a by-product of the Russian Trotskyist trials and from the start every kind of lie, including flagrant absurdities, has been circulated in the Communist press." Orwell's experiences in the Spanish Civil War gave rise to Homage to Catalonia (1938). Rest and recuperation Orwell returned to England in June 1937, and stayed at the O'Shaughnessy home at Greenwich. He found his views on the Spanish Civil War out of favour. Kingsley Martin rejected two of his works and Gollancz was equally cautious. At the same time, the communist Daily Worker was running an attack on The Road to Wigan Pier, misquoting Orwell as saying "the working classes smell"; a letter to Gollancz from Orwell threatening libel action brought a stop to this. Orwell was also able to find a more sympathetic publisher for his views in Frederic Warburg of Secker & Warburg. Orwell returned to Wallington, which he found in disarray after his absence. He acquired goats, a rooster he called "Henry Ford", and a poodle puppy he called "Marx" and settled down to animal husbandry and writing Homage to Catalonia. There were thoughts of going to India to work on the Pioneer, a newspaper in Lucknow, but by March 1938 Orwell's health had deteriorated. He was admitted to Preston Hall Sanatorium at Aylesford, Kent, a British Legion hospital for ex-servicemen to which his brother-in-law Laurence O'Shaughnessy was attached. He was thought initially to be suffering from tuberculosis and stayed in the sanatorium until September. A stream of visitors came to see him including Common, Heppenstall, Plowman and Cyril Connolly. Connolly brought with him Stephen Spender, a cause of some embarrassment as Orwell had referred to Spender as a "pansy friend" some time earlier. Homage to Catalonia was published by Secker & Warburg and was a commercial flop. In the latter part of his stay at the clinic Orwell was able to go for walks in the countryside and study nature. The novelist L.H. Myers secretly funded a trip to French Morocco for half a year for Orwell to avoid the English winter and recover his health. The Orwells set out in September 1938 via Gibraltar and Tangier to avoid Spanish Morocco and arrived at Marrakech. They rented a villa on the road to Casablanca and during that time Orwell wrote Coming Up for Air. They arrived back in England on 30 March 1939 and Coming Up for Air was published in June. Orwell spent time in Wallington and Southwold working on a Dickens essay and it was in July 1939 that Orwell's father, Richard Blair, died. World War II and Animal Farm On the outbreak of World War II, Orwell's wife Eileen started work in the Censorship Department in London, staying during the week with her family in Greenwich. Orwell also submitted his name to the Central Register for war effort but nothing transpired. "They won't have me in the army, at any rate at present, because of my lungs", Orwell told Geoffrey Gorer. He returned to Wallington, and in the autumn of 1939 he wrote material for his first collection of essays, Inside the Whale. For the next year he was occupied writing reviews for plays, films and books for The Listener, Time and Tide and New Adelphi. On 29 March 1940 his long association with Tribune began with a review of a sergeant's account of Napoleon's retreat from Moscow. At the beginning of 1940, the first edition of Connolly's Horizon appeared, and this provided a new outlet for Orwell's work as well as new literary contacts. In May the Orwells took lease of a flat in London at Dorset Chambers, Chagford Street, Marylebone. It was the time of the Dunkirk evacuation and the death in France of Eileen's brother Lawrence caused her considerable grief and long-term depression. Throughout this period Orwell kept a wartime diary. Orwell was declared "unfit for any kind of military service" by the Medical Board in June, but soon afterwards found an opportunity to become involved in war activities by joining the Home Guard. He shared Tom Wintringham's socialist vision for the Home Guard as a revolutionary People's Militia. His lecture notes for instructing platoon members include advice on street fighting, field fortifications, and the use of mortars of various kinds. Sergeant Orwell managed to recruit Frederic Warburg to his unit. During the Battle of Britain he used to spend weekends with Warburg and his new friend Zionist Tosco Fyvel at Twyford, Berkshire. At Wallington he worked on "England Your England" and in London wrote reviews for various periodicals. Visiting Eileen's family in Greenwich brought him face-to-face with the effects of the blitz on East London. In the summer of 1940, Warburg, Fyvel and Orwell planned Searchlight Books. Eleven eventually appeared and Orwell's The Lion and the Unicorn: Socialism and the English Genius was the first and was published on 19 February 1941. Early in 1941 he started writing for the American Partisan Review and contributed to Gollancz' anthology The Betrayal of the Left, written in the light of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact (although Orwell referred to it as the Russo-German Pact and the Hitler-Stalin Pact). He also applied unsuccessfully for a job at the Air Ministry. In the Home Guard his mishandling of a mortar put two of his unit in hospital. Meanwhile he was still writing reviews of books and plays and at this time met the novelist Anthony Powell. He also took part in a few radio broadcasts for the Eastern Service of the BBC. In March the Orwells moved to St John's Wood in a 7th floor flat at Langford Court, while at Wallington Orwell was "digging for victory" by planting potatoes. In August 1941, Orwell finally obtained "war work" when he was taken on full time by the BBC's Eastern Service. He supervised cultural broadcasts to India to counter propaganda from Nazi Germany designed to undermine Imperial links. This was Orwell's first experience of the rigid conformity of life in an office. However it gave him an opportunity to create cultural programmes with contributions from T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, E. M. Forster, Ahmed Ali, Mulk Raj Anand, and William Empson among others. At the end of August he had a dinner with H. G. Wells which degenerated into a row because Wells had taken offence at observations Orwell made about him in a Horizon article. In October Orwell had a bout of bronchitis and the illness recurred frequently. David Astor was looking for a provocative contributor for The Observer and invited Orwell to write for him—the first article appearing in March 1942. In spring of 1942 Eileen changed jobs to work at the Ministry of Food and Orwell's mother and sister Avril took war work in London and came to stay with the Orwells. In the summer, they all moved to a basement at Mortimer Crescent in Kilburn. At the BBC, Orwell introduced Voice, a literary programme for his Indian broadcasts, and by now was leading an active social life with literary friends, particularly on the political left. Late in 1942, he started writing for the left-wing weekly Tribune directed by Labour MPs Aneurin Bevan and George Strauss. In March 1943 Orwell's mother died and around the same time he told Moore he was starting work on a new book, which would turn out to be Animal Farm. In September 1943, Orwell resigned from the BBC post that he had occupied for two years. His resignation followed a report confirming his fears that few Indians listened to the broadcasts, but he was also keen to concentrate on writing Animal Farm. At this time he was also discharged from the Home Guard. In November 1943, Orwell was appointed literary editor at Tribune, where his assistant was his old friend Jon Kimche. On 24 December 1943, Tribune published, under the authorship of "John Freeman" – possibly in reference to the British politician – the short essay "Can Socialists Be Happy?", which has since been widely attributed to Orwell; see Bibliography of George Orwell. Orwell was on staff until early 1945, writing over 80 book reviews as well as the regular column "As I Please". He was still writing reviews for other magazines, and becoming a respected pundit among left-wing circles but also close friends with people on the right like Powell, Astor and Malcolm Muggeridge. By April 1944 Animal Farm was ready for publication. Gollancz refused to publish it, considering it an attack on the Soviet regime which was a crucial ally in the war. A similar fate was met from other publishers (including T. S. Eliot at Faber and Faber) until Jonathan Cape agreed to take it. In May the Orwells had the opportunity to adopt a child, thanks to the contacts of Eileen's sister Gwen O'Shaughnassy, then a doctor in Newcastle upon Tyne. In June a V-1 flying bomb landed on Mortimer Crescent and the Orwells had to find somewhere else to live. Orwell had to scrabble around in the rubble for his collection of books, which he had finally managed to transfer from Wallington, carting them away in a wheelbarrow. Another bombshell was Cape's reversal of his plan to publish Animal Farm. The decision followed his personal visit to Peter Smollett, an official at the Ministry of Information. Smollett was later identified as a Soviet agent. The Orwells spent some time in the North East, near Carlton, County Durham, dealing with matters in the adoption of a boy whom they named Richard Horatio Blair. In October 1944 they had set up home in Islington in a flat on the 7th floor of a block. Baby Richard joined them there, and Eileen gave up work to look after her family. Secker and Warburg had agreed to publish Animal Farm, planned for the following March, although it did not appear in print until August 1945. By February 1945 David Astor had invited Orwell to become a war correspondent for the Observer. Orwell had been looking for the opportunity throughout the war, but his failed medical reports prevented him from being allowed anywhere near action. He went to Paris after the liberation of France and to Cologne once it had been occupied by the Allies. It was while he was there that Eileen went into hospital for a hysterectomy and died under anaesthetic on 29 March 1945. She had not given Orwell much notice about this operation because of worries about the cost and because she expected to make a speedy recovery. Orwell returned home for a while and then went back to Europe. He returned finally to London to cover the 1945 UK General Election at the beginning of July. Animal Farm: A Fairy Story was published in Britain on 17 August 1945, and a year later in the U.S., on 26 August 1946. Jura and Nineteen Eighty-Four Animal Farm struck a particular resonance in the post-war climate and its worldwide success made Orwell a sought-after figure. For the next four years Orwell mixed journalistic work—mainly for Tribune, The Observer and the Manchester Evening News, though he also contributed to many small-circulation political and literary magazines—with writing his best-known work, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was published in 1949. In the year following Eileen's death he published around 130 articles and was active in various political lobbying campaigns. He employed a housekeeper, Susan Watson, to look after his adopted son at the Islington flat, which visitors now described as "bleak". In September he spent a fortnight on the island of Jura in the Inner Hebrides and saw it as a place to escape from the hassle of London literary life. David Astor was instrumental in arranging a place for Orwell on Jura. Astor's family owned Scottish estates in the area and a fellow Old Etonian Robert Fletcher had a property on the island. During the winter of 1945 to 1946 Orwell made several hopeless and unwelcome marriage proposals to younger women, including Celia Kirwan (who was later to become Arthur Koestler's sister-in-law), Ann Popham who happened to live in the same block of flats and Sonia Brownell, one of Connolly's coterie at the Horizon office. Orwell suffered a tubercular haemorrhage in February 1946 but disguised his illness. In 1945 or early 1946, while still living at Canonbury Square, Orwell wrote an article on "British Cookery", complete with recipes, commissioned by the British Council. Given the post-war shortages, both parties agreed not to publish it. His sister Marjorie died of kidney disease in May and shortly after, on 22 May 1946, Orwell set off to live on the Isle of Jura. Barnhill was an abandoned farmhouse with outbuildings near the northern end of the island, situated at the end of a five-mile (8 km), heavily rutted track from Ardlussa, where the owners lived. Conditions at the farmhouse were primitive but the natural history and the challenge of improving the place appealed to Orwell. His sister Avril accompanied him there and young novelist Paul Potts made up the party. In July Susan Watson arrived with Orwell's son Richard. Tensions developed and Potts departed after one of his manuscripts was used to light the fire. Orwell meanwhile set to work on Nineteen Eighty-Four. Later Susan Watson's boyfriend David Holbrook arrived. A fan of Orwell since school days, he found the reality very different, with Orwell hostile and disagreeable probably because of Holbrook's membership of the Communist Party. Susan Watson could no longer stand being with Avril and she and her boyfriend left. Orwell returned to London in late 1946 and picked up his literary journalism again. Now a well-known writer, he was swamped with work. Apart from a visit to Jura in the new year he stayed in London for one of the coldest British winters on record and with such a national shortage of fuel that he burnt his furniture and his child's toys. The heavy smog in the days before the Clean Air Act 1956 did little to help his health about which he was reticent, keeping clear of medical attention. Meanwhile he had to cope with rival claims of publishers Gollancz and Warburg for publishing rights. About this time he co-edited a collection titled British Pamphleteers with Reginald Reynolds. As a result of the success of Animal Farm, Orwell was expecting a large bill from the Inland Revenue and he contacted a firm of accountants of which the senior partner was Jack Harrison. The firm advised Orwell to establish a company to own his copyright and to receive his royalties and set up a "service agreement" so that he could draw a salary. Such a company "George Orwell Productions Ltd" (GOP Ltd) was set up on 12 September 1947 although the service agreement was not then put into effect. Jack Harrison left the details at this stage to junior colleagues. In April 1947 Orwell left London for good, ending the leases on the Islington flat and Wallington cottage. Back on Jura in gales and rainstorms he struggled to get on with Nineteen Eighty-Four but through the summer and autumn made good progress. During that time his sister's family visited, and Orwell led a disastrous boating expedition which nearly led to loss of life whilst trying to cross the notorious gulf of Corryvreckan and gave him a soaking which was not good for his health. In December a chest specialist was summoned from Glasgow who pronounced Orwell seriously ill and a week before Christmas 1947 he was in Hairmyres hospital in East Kilbride, then a small village in the countryside, on the outskirts of Glasgow. Tuberculosis was diagnosed and the request for permission to import streptomycin to treat Orwell went as far as Aneurin Bevan, now Minister of Health. By the end of July 1948 Orwell was able to return to Jura and by December he had finished the manuscript of Nineteen Eighty-Four. In January 1949, in a very weak condition, he set off for a sanatorium in Gloucestershire, escorted by Richard Rees. The sanatorium at Cranham consisted of a series of small wooden chalets or huts in a remote part of the Cotswolds near Stroud. Visitors were shocked by Orwell's appearance and concerned by the short-comings and ineffectiveness of the treatment. Friends were worried about his finances, but by now he was comparatively well-off. He was writing to many of his friends, including Jacintha Buddicom, who had "rediscovered" him, and in March 1949, was visited by Celia Kirwan. Kirwan had just started working for a Foreign Office unit, the Information Research Department, set up by the Labour government to publish anti-communist propaganda, and Orwell gave her a list of people he considered to be unsuitable as IRD authors because of their pro-communist leanings. Orwell's list, not published until 2003, consisted mainly of writers but also included actors and Labour MPs. Orwell received more streptomycin treatment and improved slightly. In June 1949 Nineteen Eighty-Four was published to immediate critical and popular acclaim. Final months and death Orwell courted Sonia Brownell a second time during the summer, and they announced their marriage in September, shortly before he was removed to University College Hospital in London. Sonia took charge of Orwell's affairs and attended diligently in the hospital, causing concern to some old friends such as Muggeridge. In September 1949 Orwell invited his accountant Harrison to visit him in hospital, and Harrison claimed that Orwell then asked him to become director of GOP Ltd and to manage the company but there was no independent witness. Orwell's wedding took place in the hospital room on 13 October 1949, with David Astor as best man. Orwell was in decline and visited by an assortment of visitors including Muggeridge, Connolly, Lucian Freud, Stephen Spender, Evelyn Waugh, Paul Potts, Anthony Powell and his Eton tutor Anthony Gow. Plans to go to the Swiss Alps were mooted. Further meetings were held with his accountant at which Harrison and Mr and Mrs Blair were confirmed as directors of the company and at which Harrison claimed that the "service agreement" was executed, giving copyright to the company. Orwell's health was in decline again by Christmas. On the evening of 20 January 1950, Potts visited Orwell and slipped away on finding him asleep. However a later visit was made by Jack Harrison who claimed that Orwell gave him 25% of the company. Early on the morning of 21 January, an artery burst in his lungs, killing him at age 46. Orwell had requested to be buried in accordance with the Anglican rite in the graveyard of the closest church to wherever he happened to die. The graveyards in central London had no space, and fearing that he might have to be cremated, against his wishes, his widow appealed to his friends to see whether any of them knew of a church with space in its graveyard. David Astor lived in Sutton Courtenay, Oxfordshire and negotiated with the vicar for Orwell to be interred in All Saints' Churchyard there, although he had no connection with the village. His gravestone bore the simple epitaph: "Here lies Eric Arthur Blair, born 25 June 1903, died 21 January 1950"; no mention is made on the gravestone of his more famous pen-name. Orwell's son, Richard Blair, was raised by an aunt after his father's death. He maintains a low public profile, though he has occasionally given interviews about the few memories he has of his father. Richard Blair worked for many years as an agricultural agent for the British government. In 1979 Sonia brought a High Court action against Harrison who had in the meantime transferred 75% of the company's voting stock to himself and had dissipated much of the value of the company. She was considered to have a strong case, but was becoming increasingly ill and eventually was persuaded to settle out of court on 2 November 1980. She died on 11 December 1980, aged 62. References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Orwell

Sharon Olds

Sharon Olds (born November 19, 1942) is an American poet. Olds has been the recipient of many awards including the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, the 1984 National Book Critics Circle Award, and the first San Francisco Poetry Center Award in 1980 She currently teaches creative writing at New York University. Early life Sharon Stuart Cobb was born on November 19, 1942 in San Francisco, California, but was brought up in Berkeley, California along with her siblings.. She was raised as a “hellfire Calvinist”, as she describes it. Her father, like his before him, was an alcoholic who was often abusive to his children. In Olds’ writing she often refers to the time(or possibly even times) when her father tied her to a chair. Olds’ mother was often either unable or too afraid to come to the aid of her children. The strict religious environment Olds was raised in had certain rules of censorship and restriction. Olds was not permitted to go to the movies and the family did not own a television. As for the literature granted in the household Olds once said she won a singing contest in church choir. "[The prize] was a book of child martyrs who had been killed for their belief and died very politely." She liked fairy tales, and also read Nancy Drew and Life Magazine. As for her own religious views and her exposure to religious literary art she says she was by nature “a pagan and a pantheist” and notes “I was in a church where there was both great literary art and bad literary art, the great art being psalms and the bad art being hymns. The four-beat was something that was just part of my consciousness from before I was born.” She adds "I think I was about 15 when I conceived of myself as an atheist, but I think it was only very recently that I can really tell that there’s nobody there with a copybook making marks against your name.” For schooling, Olds was sent east, to Dana Hall School, an all girl’s school for grades 6 to 12 in Wellesley, Massachusetts that boasts an impressive list of alumnae. There she studied mostly English, History, and Creative Writing. Her favorite poets included William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, and Edna St. Vincent Millay, but it was Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems which she carried in her purse through tenth grade. For her bachelor’s degree Olds returned to California where she earned her BA at Stanford University in 1964. Following this Olds once again moved cross country to New York, where she earned her Ph.D. in English in 1972 from Columbia University. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on “Emerson’s Prosody”, because she appreciated the way he defied convention. Personal life On March 23, 1968, she married Dr. David Douglas Olds in New York City and, in 1969, gave birth to the first of their two children. In 1997, after 32 years of marriage, they divorced, and Olds moved to New Hampshire, though she commutes to New York three days a week. There, she lives in the same Upper West Side apartment she has lived in for the past 40 years while working as a Professor at New York University. In New Hampshire she lives in Graylag Cabins in Pittsfield with her partner of seven years, Carl Wallman, a former cattle breeder. In 2005, First Lady Laura Bush invited Olds to the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. Olds responded, declining the invitation in an open letter published in the October 10, 2005 issue of The Nation. The letter closes: “So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and shame for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it”. Poetry Following her PhD on Emerson’s prosody, Olds let go of an attachment to what she thought she 'knew about’ poetic convention. Freed up, she began to write about her family, abuse, sex, focusing on the work not the audience. Olds has commented that she is more informed by the work of poets such as Galway Kinnell, Muriel Rukeyser and Gwendolyn Brooks than by confessional poets like Anne Sexton or Sylvia Plath. Plath, she comments “was a great genius, with an IQ of at least double mine” and while these women charted well the way of women in the world she says “their steps were not steps I wanted to put my feet in.” When Olds first sent her poetry to a literary magazine she received a reply saying,"This is a literary magazine. If you wish to write about this sort of subject, may we suggest the Ladies’ Home Journal. The true subjects of poetry are... male subjects, not your children.” Olds eventually published her first collection, Satan Says, in 1980, at the age of 37. Satan Says sets up the sexual and bodily candour that would run through much of her work. In “The Sisters of Sexual Treasure” she writes, The collection is divided into four sections: “Daughter”, “Woman”, “Mother”, “Journeys”. These titles echo the familial influence that is prevalent in much of Olds’ work. The Dead and the Living was published in February 1984. This collection is divided into two sections, “Poems for the Dead” and “Poems for the Living”. The first section begins with poems about global injustices. These injustices include the Turkish Massacre of the Armenians during WWI, the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, and even the death of Marilyn Monroe. After this Olds returns the familiar subjects of childhood, love, marriage, and motherhood. Olds’ book The Wellspring (1996), shares with her previous work the use of raw language and startling images to convey truths about domestic and political violence and family relationships. A reviewer for The New York Times hailed her poetry for its vision: “Like Whitman, Ms. Olds sings the body in celebration of a power stronger than political oppression.” Alicia Ostriker noted Olds traces the “erotics of family love and pain.” Ostriker continues: "In later collections, [Olds] writes of an abusive childhood, in which miserably married parents bully and punish and silence her. She writes, too, of her mother’s apology "after 37 years", a moment when "The sky seemed to be splintering, like a window/ someone is bursting into or out of" Olds’ work is anthologized in over 100 collections, ranging from literary/poetry textbooks to special collections. Her poetry has been translated into seven languages for international publications. She was the New York State Poet Laureate for 1998-2000. Stag’s Leap, her most recent collection, was published in 2013. The poems were written in 1997, following the divorce from her husband of 32 years. The poems focus on her husband, and even sometimes his mistress. The collection won the T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry. She is the first American woman to win this award. It also won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. The political context of Sharon Olds’ The Fear of Oneself can best be understood by looking through the lens of her political views and beliefs. While many of her poems have been criticized for their focus on herself, what some critics even go so far as to call “self obsession,” there are certainly commentaries on the political climate within her works despite her self-reflection.[1] Olds explores the level of “courage” it would take to be able to withstand torture in the face of protecting her own children. She cringes at the idea of “women standing naked on the frozen river, the guards pouring buckets of water over their bodies till they glisten like trees in an ice storm.” This vivid and negative imagery of torture of women prisoners speaks to Olds’ opinion on the subject of torture. She is moved to tears in this poem not only by the thought of her own lack of courage, but also by the thought of women forced to brave such pain. What gives these lines even more political context is the fact that Olds declined an invitation to read at a White House book fair in 2005 because of her conflicting political views with those of the Bush Administration.[2] In her letter refusing the offer Olds writes, “We should not have invaded Iraq…with the resultant loss of life and limb for our brave soldiers, and for the noncombatants in their home terrain.”[3] She also notes her participation in creative writing outreach programs that have worked with women’s prisons.[4] In light of this evidence, this poem becomes more than an exploration of self-courage, it is also a strong critique on the atrocities of war that lead to horrific scenes of torture. Moreover, the line of Olds’ letter that fully elucidates her stance on torture reads, “I would be taking food from the hand of the First Lady who represents the Administration…flying people to other countries where they will be tortured for us.”[5] Olds loudly depicts her anti-war stance around the time of the Iraq War by recounting images of torture that soldiers and even civilians are forced to endure. [1] JP O’Malley, “Sharon Olds’ fear and self-loathing,” The Spectator, 2012. [2] Sharon Olds, “Open Letter to Laura Bush,” The Nation, 2005. [3] Ibid. [4] Ibid. [5] Ibid. Critique Author Michael Ondaatje says of her work, “Sharon Olds’s poems are pure fire in the hands, risky, on the verge of falling, and in the end leaping up. I love the roughness and humor and brag and tenderness and completion in her work as she carries the reader through rooms of passion and loss.” The New York Times noted in 2009, “Olds selects intense moments from her family romance—usually ones involving violence or sexuality or both—and then stretches them in opposite directions, rendering them in such obsessive detail that they seem utterly unique to her personal experience, while at the same time using metaphor to insist on their universality.” Charles Bainbridge stated in The Guardian, “She has always confronted the personal details of her life with remarkable directness and honesty, but the key to her success is the way this material is lit up by a range of finely judged shifts in scale and perspective. Her poems are vivid morality plays, wrestling with ideas of right and wrong, full of symbolic echoes and possibilities.” In 2010 critic Anis Shivani commented, “Stylistically invariant since 1980, she writes about the female body in a deterministic, shamanistic, medieval manner. Infantilization packaged in pseudo-confession is her specialty... Her poetry defines feminism turned upon itself, chewing up its own hot and bothered cadaver, exposed since the 1970s. Female poets in workshops around the country idolize her, collaborate in the masochism, because they say she freed them to talk about taboo subjects, she “empowered” them... Has given confessionalism such a bad name it can’t possibly recover.” Women’s Movement Olds did not participate in the Women’s Movement at first, but she says, “My first child was born in 1969. In 1968 the Women’s Movement in New York City—especially among a lot of women I knew—was very alive. I had these strong ambitions to enter the bourgeoisie if I could. I wasn’t a radical at all. But I do remember understanding that I had never questioned that men had all the important jobs. And that was shocking—well, I was twenty years old! I’d never thought, “Oh, where’s the woman bus driver?” So there’s another subject—which was what it felt like to be a woman in the world.” Honors and awards 1978 Creative Artists Public Service Grant 1978 Madeline Sadin Award, New York Quarterly 1979 Younger Poets Award, Poetry Miscellany 1980 Satan Says inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award. 1981-1982 Guggenheim Fellowship, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation 1982-1983 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship 1983 The Dead and the Living Lamont Poetry Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. 1992 The Father, shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize and was a finalist for The National Book Critics Circle Award. 1993-1996 Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers Award 1998-2000 New York State Poet Laureate 2002 Academy of American Poets Fellowship 2002 The Unswept Room, Nominee for National Book Award in the Poetry category 2003 Judge, Griffin Poetry Prize; for “distinguished poetic achievement at mid-career” 2004 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Awards 2004 Became member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 2006-2012 Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets 2009 One Secret Thing, shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize 2012 T.S. Eliot Prize, Stag’s Leap 2012 Stag’s Leap, named as one of “Oprah’s Favorite Reads of 2012” 2013 Pulitzer Prize, Stag’s Leap 2014 Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry 2015 Elected to become a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters (to be inducted mid-May 2015) Bibliography Collections * Olds, Sharon (1980). Satan Says. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. * 1983 The Dead and the Living, Knopf ISBN 978-0394715636 * 1987 The Gold Cell, Knopf ISBN 978-0394747705 * 1987 The Matter of This World, Slow Dancer Press ISBN 978-0950747989 * 1991 The Sign of Saturn, Secker & Warburg ISBN 978-0436200298 * 1992 The Father, Secker & Warburg ISBN 978-0679740025 * 1996 The Wellspring, Knopf ISBN 978-0679765608 * 1999 Blood, Tin, Straw, Knopf ISBN 978-0375707353 * 2002 The Unswept Room, Tandem Library ISBN 978-0375709982 * 2004 Strike Sparks: Selected Poems 1980-2002, Knopf ISBN 978-0375710766 * 2008 One Secret Thing, Random House ISBN 978-0375711770 * 2012 Stag’s Leap, Knopf ISBN 978-0375712258 References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharon_Olds

Frank O'Hara

Francis Russell “Frank” O’Hara (March 27, 1926– July 25, 1966) was an American writer, poet and art critic. Because of his employment as a curator at the Museum of Modern Art, O’Hara became prominent in New York City’s art world. O’Hara is regarded as a leading figure in the New York School—an informal group of artists, writers and musicians who drew inspiration from jazz, surrealism, abstract expressionism, action painting and contemporary avant-garde art movements. O’Hara’s poetry is personal in tone and in content and described as reading “like entries in a diary”. Poet and critic Mark Doty has said O’Hara’s poetry is “urbane, ironic, sometimes genuinely celebratory and often wildly funny” containing “material and associations alien to academic verse” such as “the camp icons of movie stars of the twenties and thirties, the daily landscape of social activity in Manhattan, jazz music, telephone calls from friends”. O’Hara’s writing “sought to capture in his poetry the immediacy of life, feeling that poetry should be ”between two persons instead of two pages.” The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara edited by Donald Allen (Knopf, 1971), the first of several posthumous collections, shared the 1972 National Book Award for Poetry. Life Frank O’Hara, the son of Russell Joseph O’Hara and Katherine (née Broderick) was born on March 27, 1926, at Maryland General Hospital, Baltimore, and grew up in Grafton, Massachusetts. He attended St. John’s High School. He grew up believing he had been born in June, but in fact had been born in March, his parents having disguised his true date of birth because he was conceived out of wedlock. He studied piano at the New England Conservatory in Boston from 1941 to 1944 and served in the South Pacific and Japan as a sonarman on the destroyer USS Nicholas during World War II. With the funding made available to veterans he attended Harvard University, where artist and writer Edward Gorey was his roommate. O’Hara was heavily influenced by visual art and by contemporary music, which was his first love (he remained a fine piano player all his life and would often shock new partners by suddenly playing swathes of Rachmaninoff when visiting them). His favorite poets were Arthur Rimbaud, Stéphane Mallarmé, Boris Pasternak, and Vladimir Mayakovsky. While at Harvard, O’Hara met John Ashbery and began publishing poems in the Harvard Advocate. Despite his love of music, O’Hara changed his major and graduated from Harvard in 1950 with a degree in English. He then attended graduate school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. While at Michigan, he won a Hopwood Award and received his M.A. in English literature in 1951. That autumn O’Hara moved into an apartment in New York City with Joe LeSueur, who would be his roommate and sometime lover for the next 11 years. It was during this time that he began teaching at The New School. Known throughout his life for his extreme sociability, passion, and warmth, O’Hara had hundreds of friends and lovers throughout his life, many from the New York art and poetry worlds. Soon after arriving in New York, he was employed at the Museum of Modern Art, selling postcards at the admissions desk, and began to write seriously. O’Hara was active in the art world, working as a reviewer for Artnews, and in 1960 was Assistant Curator of Painting and Sculpture Exhibitions for the Museum of Modern Art. He was also a friend of the artists Willem de Kooning, Norman Bluhm, Larry Rivers and Joan Mitchell. In the early morning hours of July 24, 1966, O’Hara was struck by a jeep on the Fire Island beach, after the beach taxi in which he had been riding with a group of friends broke down in the dark. He died the next day of a ruptured liver. Attempts to bring negligent homicide charges against 23-year-old driver Kenneth L. Ruzicka were unsuccessful; many of O’Hara’s friends felt the local police had conducted a lax investigation to protect one of their own locals. O’Hara was buried in Green River Cemetery on Long Island. The painter Larry Rivers, a longtime friend and lover of O’Hara’s, delivered one of the eulogies, along with Bill Berkson, Edwin Denby and René d’Harnoncourt. Poetry While O’Hara’s poetry is generally autobiographical, it tends to be based on his observations of New York life rather than exploring his past. In his introduction to The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara, Donald Allen says "that Frank O’Hara tended to think of his poems as a record of his life is apparent in much of his work.” O’Hara discussed this aspect of his poetry in a statement for Donald Allen’s New American Poetry: What is happening to me, allowing for lies and exaggerations which I try to avoid, goes into my poems. I don’t think my experiences are clarified or made beautiful for myself or anyone else, they are just there in whatever form I can find them. . .My formal “stance” is found at the crossroads where what I know and can’t get meets what is left of that I know and can bear without hatred. . .It may be that poetry makes life’s nebulous events tangible to me and restores their detail; or conversely that poetry brings forth the intangible quality of incidents which are all too concrete and circumstantial. Or each on specific occasions, or both all the time. His initial time in the Navy, during his basic training at Sampson Naval Training Center in upstate New York, along with earlier years spent at St. John’s High School began to shape a distinguished style of solitary observation that would later inform his poems. Immersed in regimented daily routine, first Catholic school then the Navy, he was able to separate himself from the situation and make witty and often singular studies. Sometimes these were cataloged for use in later writing, or, perhaps more often, put into letters. This skill of scrutinizing and recording during the bustle and churn of daily life would, later, be one of the important aspects that shaped O’Hara as an urban poet writing off the cuff. Among his friends, O’Hara was known to treat poetry dismissively, as something to be done only in the moment. John Ashbery claims he witnessed O’Hara “Dashing the poems off at odd moments– in his office at the Museum of Modern Art, in the street at lunchtime or even in a room full of people– he would then put them away in drawers and cartons and half forget them.” In 1959, he wrote a mock manifesto (originally published in Yugen in 1961) called Personism: A Manifesto, in which he explains his position on formal structure: “I don’t... like rhythm, assonance, all that stuff. You just go on your nerve. If someone’s chasing you down the street with a knife you just run, you don’t turn around and shout, ‘Give it up! I was a track star for Mineola Prep.’” He says, in response to academic overemphasis on form, “As for measure and other technical apparatus, that’s just common sense: if you’re going to buy a pair of pants you want them to be tight enough so everyone will want to go to bed with you. There’s nothing metaphysical about it.” He claims that on August 27, 1959, while talking to LeRoi Jones, he founded a movement called Personism which may be “the death of literature as we know it.” He says, “It does not have to do with personality or intimacy, far from it! But to give you a vague idea, one of its minimal aspects is to address itself to one person (other than the poet himself), thus evoking overtones of love without destroying love’s life-giving vulgarity, and sustaining the poet’s feelings toward the poem while preventing love from distracting him into feeling about the person.” His poetry shows the influence of Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism, Russian poetry, and poets associated with French Symbolism. Ashbery says, “The poetry that meant the most to him when he began writing was either French– Rimbaud, Mallarmé, the Surrealists: poets who speak the language of every day into the reader’s dream– or Russian– Pasternak and especially Mayakovsky, for whom he picked up what James Schuyler has called the ‘intimate yell.’” As part of the New York School of poetry, O’Hara to some degree encapsulated the compositional philosophy of New York School painters. Ashbery says, “Frank O’Hara’s concept of the poem as the chronicle of the creative act that produces it was strengthened by his intimate experience of Pollock’s, Kline’s, and de Kooning’s great paintings of the late '40s and early '50s and of the imaginative realism of painters like Jane Freilicher and Larry Rivers.” O’Hara was also influenced by William Carlos Williams. According to Marjorie Perloff in her book Frank O’Hara, Poet among Painters, he and Williams both use everyday language and simple statements split at irregular intervals. Perloff points out the similarities between O’Hara’s “Autobiographia Literaria” and Williams’s “Invocation and Conclusion.” At the end of “Autobiographia Literaria,” the speaker says, "And here I am, the/center of all beauty!/writing these poems!/Imagine!" Similarly, Williams at the end of “Invocation and Conclusion” says, “Now look at me!” These lines show a shared interest in the self as an individual who can only be himself in isolation. A similar idea is expressed in a line from Williams’s “Danse Russe”: "Who shall say I am not/ the happy genius of my household?” In popular culture In music In First Aid Kit’s song “To A Poet”, there is the lyric, “But Frank put it best when he said ”you can’t plan on the heart"", a reference to Frank O’Hara’s poem, My Heart. In films In the 2011 film Beastly, the lovestruck main characters read O’Hara’s poem “Having a Coke with You” aloud to each other. In literature O’Hara is a minor character in William Boyd’s 2002 novel Any Human Heart. In television In the season 1 episode of the HBO series Bored to Death, “The Case of the Missing Screenplay”, the main character loses a screenplay written by Jim Jarmusch about the life of Frank O’Hara. Several episodes of Mad Men (season 2) reference O’Hara’s collection of poetry, Meditations in an Emergency. The first episode shows a character reading from it over lunch in a bar (recalling O’Hara’s 1964 collection Lunch Poems) as does the last episode, which uses the book’s title as its episode title. In the twelfth episode, Don Draper finds his copy of Meditations in an Emergency in Anna Draper’s home in California. Landmarks On June 10, 2014, a plaque was unveiled outside one of O’Hara’s New York City residences, at 441 East Ninth Street. Poets Tony Towle, who inherited the apartment from O’Hara, and Edmund Berrigan read his works at the event. Bibliography * Works by Frank O’Hara at Open Library * Works about Frank O’Hara in libraries (WorldCat catalog) Books in lifetime * A City Winter and Other Poems. Two Drawings by Larry Rivers. (New York: Tibor de Nagy Gallery Editions, 1951 [sic, i.e. 1952]) * Oranges: 12 pastorals. (New York: Tibor de Nagy Gallery Editions, 1953; New York: Angel Hair Books, 1969) * Meditations in an Emergency. (New York: Grove Press, 1957; 1967) * Second Avenue. Cover drawing by Larry Rivers. (New York: Totem Press in Association with Corinth Books, 1960) * Odes. Prints by Michael Goldberg. (New York: Tiber Press, 1960) * Lunch Poems. (San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, The Pocket Poets Series (No. 19), 1964) * Love Poems (Tentative Title). (New York: Tibor de Nagy Gallery Editions, 1965) Posthumous works * In Memory of My Feelings, commemorative volume illustrated by 30 U.S. artists and edited by Bill Berkson (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1967) * The Collected Poems of Frank O’Hara. Edited by Donald Allen with an introduction by John Ashbery (1st ed. New York: Knopf, 1971; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995)—shared the National Book Award with Howard Moss, Selected Poems * The Selected Poems of Frank O’Hara. Edited by Donald Allen (New York: Knopf, 1974; Vintage Books, 1974) * Standing Still and Walking in New York. Edited by Donald Allen (Bolinas, Calif: Grey Fox Press; Berkeley, Calif: distributed by Bookpeople, 1975) * Early Writing. Edited by Donald Allen (Bolinas, Calif: Grey Fox; Berkeley: distributed by Bookpeople, 1977) * Poems Retrieved. Edited by Donald Allen (Bolinas, Calif: Grey Fox Press; Berkeley, Calif: distributed by Bookpeople, 1977) * Selected Plays. Edited by Ron Padgett, Joan Simon, and Anne Waldman (1st ed. New York: Full Court Press, 1978) * Amorous Nightmares of Delay: Selected Plays. (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997) * Selected Poems. Edited by Mark Ford (New York: Knopf, 2008) * Poems Retrieved (City Lights, 2013) * Lunch Poems. 50th Anniversary Edition (City Lights, 2014) Exhibitions * Jackson Pollock. (New York: George Braziller, Inc. 1959) * New Spanish painting and sculpture. (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1960) * Robert Motherwell: with selections from the artist’s writings. by Frank O’Hara (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1965) * Nakian. (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1966) * Art Chronicles, 1954–1966. (New York: G. Braziller, 1975) On O’Hara * Frank O’Hara: Poet Among Painters by Marjorie Perloff (New York: G. Braziller, 1977; 1st paperback ed. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1979; Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, with a new introduction, 1998) * Frank O’Hara by Alan Feldman (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1979 . . . frontispiece photo of Frank O’Hara c. by Richard Moore) * Frank O’Hara: A Comprehensive Bibliography by Alexander Smith, Jr. (New York: Garland, 1979; 2nd print. corrected, 1980) * Homage to Frank O’Hara. edited by Bill Berkson and Joe LeSueur, cover by Jane Freilicher (originally published as Big Sky 11/12 in April, 1978; rev. ed. Berkeley: Creative Arts Book Company, 1980) * Art with the touch of a poet: Frank O’Hara. exhibit companion compiled by Hildegard Cummings (Storrs, Conn.: The William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut, 1983 . . . January 24-March 13, 1983) * Frank O’Hara: To Be True To A City edited by Jim Elledge (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1990) * City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O’Hara by Brad Gooch (1st ed. New York: Knopf, 1993; New York: HarperPerennial, 1994) * In Memory of My Feelings: Frank O’Hara and American Art by Russell Ferguson (Los Angeles: The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles / University of California Press, 1999) * Hyperscapes in the Poetry of Frank O’Hara: Difference, Homosexuality, Topography by Hazel Smith (Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, 2000) * Digressions on Some Poems by Frank O’Hara by Joe LeSueur (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003). * Frank O’Hara: The Poetics of Coterie by Lytle Shaw (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2006) Painting * Alice Neel, Frank O’Hara, 1960, 85.7 x 40.6 x 2.5 cm, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution * Larry Rivers, 'O’Hara Nude with Boots’ (1954), 97" x 53", Larry Rivers Foundation * Jasper Johns, ‘In Memory of My Feelings - Frank O’Hara’ (1961), 40 1/4" x 60", MCA, Chicago * Wynn Chamberlain, Poets (Clothed), Poets (Naked), 1964. Earl McGrath collection. * Alfred Leslie, a link to The Death Cycle, 1966, - The Death of Frank O’Hara [2] References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_O’Hara

Cece Oh!

I was born in Oriental Mindoro, a province in the Philippines. We didn't have many neighbors, I only had few close friends despite my being quite approachable. I used to like the idea of being famous by performing onstage, having the typical talents that my classmates had -- like singing and dancing -- but I wasn't good at both. And so, I grew up into a very introverted person. I rarely speak; although when I do, some of my friends think that my words are always full of sense and humor. But their words didn't help much in my personality development, so, I decided to search for other talents that I could possibly have. That's when I decided to write things (weird or extraordinary, sometimes stupid) random things just popping up inside my head. Some people liked my writings-- my teachers, classmates, friends and my high school crush :). I started reading other people's writings, too, so I could learn more, impress those people some more (possibly gain confidence from their praises). Then I learned how to write poems and how amazing it is to be able to write one's thoughts in verses. I wrote some, and they had been published in our school paper back in high school. But, I didn't take creative writing or anything alike as my course for college. I had to follow what my dad wanted me to take-- Accountancy (it's quite easy to find a job here in the Philippines if you are an accounting graduate, and I badly need a good job to help my poor family). I'm doing fine, but not as fine as I would have been if I had taken creative writing. So, I tried to find a place where I could post my poems and possibly have some people to read them, then, I found this site and I hope it'll be a good refuge for me when I need to let out words that I can't let out with accounting. :) ETA: I have not been in this site for seven years. Yes, seven long years. I actually forgot I had this account (my cousin accidentally found it after searching my name on Ecosia). Lol. The cringe I feel about the things I said here... Beyond explanation. I won't delete them though. It's kinda nostalgic. Just in case anyone may find it interesting, in the last seven years, I have become a CPA, a financial analyst, an even worse introvert, BUT I have not lost my love for poetry. I haven't written much in years, but I think I'd like to give it a try once more.

John Boyle O'Reilly

John Boyle O’Reilly (28 June 1844–10 August 1890) was an Irish-born poet, journalist and fiction writer. As a youth in Ireland, he was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, or Fenians, for which he was transported to Western Australia. After escaping to the United States, he became a prominent spokesperson for the Irish community and culture, through his editorship of the Boston newspaper The Pilot, his prolific writing, and his lecture tours. Early life O’Reilly was born at Dowth Castle, County Meath, near Drogheda in Ireland at the onset of the Great Irish Famine. Ireland was at that time a part of the United Kingdom, and many Irish people bitterly resented British rule. There was a strong nationalist movement. O’Reilly’s relatively wealthy family was fiercely patriotic; his mother was closely related to John Allen, who had played an important role in Robert Emmet’s rising in 1803. The son of a schoolmaster, O’Reilly received a good early education. When he was about thirteen, his older brother contracted tuberculosis, and O’Reilly took his place as apprentice at a local newspaper. At the age of fifteen, he moved to Preston, Lancashire to live with his aunt and uncle, and took up work on a local newspaper. In June 1861, O’Reilly enrolled in the 11th Lancashire Rifle Volunteers, with which he received some military training. He must have enjoyed military life, because on returning to Ireland in 1863, he enlisted with the 10th Hussars in Dublin. Some time in 1865, O’Reilly joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood, then commonly known as the “Fenians”, a secret society of rebels dedicated to an armed uprising against British rule. He turned his energies to recruiting more Fenians within his regiment, bringing in up to 80 new members. By late 1865, the Fenians had become such a large and popular movement that they could no longer evade detection by the British authorities. The government made a number of raids, seized records, and gathered evidence from informers. Many Fenians were arrested, including O’Reilly (see Fenian Rising). Even after his later emigration to the United States of America, O’Reilly remained a close friend of Bernard McNulty, who had founded there the first US branch of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Transportation For his part in the Fenian conspiracy, O’Reilly was sentenced to twenty years’ penal servitude. It appears he was originally sentenced to death but his sentence was commuted to 20 years. He served nearly two years in English prisons before being put aboard the convict ship Hougoumont for transportation to the British colony of Western Australia. Midway through the voyage, O’Reilly and another prisoner John Flood, established a handwritten newspaper called The Wild Goose which contained poetry, stories and anecdotes from members of the ship’s convict fraternity. Seven editions were produced, and the single copy of the original set survives and is held in the State Library of New South Wales collection. The Hougoumont’s passage was the last convict ship transport to Western Australia. After arriving in Fremantle on 9 January 1868, O’Reilly was admitted to the Convict Establishment (now Fremantle Prison), but after a month he was transferred to Bunbury. He was assigned to a party of convicts tasked with building the Bunbury–Vasse road. At Bunbury, O’Reilly quickly developed a good relationship with his warder Henry Woodman, and was appointed probationary convict constable. As assistant to the warder, he did record and account keeping, ordering of stores, and other minor administrative duties. He was frequently used as a messenger, which required him to travel regularly between the work camp and the district convict prison in Bunbury. The warder apparently used O’Reilly to maintain contact with his family, for the prisoner became a regular visitor to the Woodman family home, and at some point began a romantic liaison with Woodman’s daughter Jessie. This ended badly, at least for O’Reilly; he wrote poetry expressing his agony of mind, and hints at romantic causes. On 27 December 1868, O’Reilly attempted suicide by cutting the veins of his left arm. After falling into a faint from loss of blood, he was discovered by another convict, and his life was saved. Escape While in Bunbury, O’Reilly formed a strong friendship with the local Catholic priest, Father Patrick McCabe. Late in 1868, McCabe offered to arrange for O’Reilly to escape the colony. By February, McCabe’s plan was ready for execution. On 18 February 1869, O’Reilly absconded from his work party and met up with James Maguire, a local settler from the town of Dardanup. Together they rode to the Collie River where a rowboat was waiting for them. They rowed out of the Leschenault Inlet into the Indian Ocean, and north about twelve miles up the coast. O’Reilly hid in the dunes, awaiting the departure from Bunbury of the American whaling ship Vigilant, which Father McCabe had arranged would take him on board. The ship was sighted the next day, and the party rowed out to it, but the captain reneged on the agreement, and the Vigilant sailed off without acknowledging the people in the rowboat. O’Reilly had to return to the shore and hide again while his friends tried to make arrangements with another ship. After two weeks, they succeeded in making a deal with the captain of the American whaler Gazelle. O’Reilly and his friends met the Gazelle three miles out to sea on 2 March, and he was taken on board. With him was a ticket of leave convict named James Bowman, who had heard of the intended escape. He had blackmailed the conspirators into allowing him to join O’Reilly. McCabe had arranged for the Gazelle to take O’Reilly only as far as Java, but adverse weather prevented the ship’s finding safe passage through the Sunda Strait. The captain decided to sail for Roderiquez, Mauritius, at that time a British colony. As soon as the Gazelle arrived at Roderiquez, it was boarded by a magistrate and a contingent of police, who claimed to have information that the Gazelle carried an escaped convict from Western Australia, and demanded that he be given up. The crew gave up Bowman, but denied having O’Reilly on board. The Gazelle’s next port of call was to be Saint Helena, another British colony. The captain recommended that O’Reilly transfer to another ship before then. On 29 July, the Gazelle met the American cargo vessel Sapphire on the high seas, and O’Reilly changed ships. The Sapphire arrived at Liverpool on 13 October, and O’Reilly transferred to another American ship, the Bombay. The Bombay docked in Philadelphia on 23 November 1869, where O’Reilly was enthusiastically welcomed by Irish compatriots. Recognition O’Reilly settled in Charlestown, a neighbourhood in Boston, which had a large Irish community, and soon found work on the newspaper The Pilot, started by a Jesuit Catholic bishop. His first major assignment was coverage of the Fenian convention in New York City in 1870, and the subsequent third Fenian invasion of Canada. The invasion was a disaster, and his experience of covering it prompted O’Reilly to reverse his opinion on military Fenianism. In rejecting militancy, he turned to achieving Ireland’s independence by raising the status and self-esteem of its people. O’Reilly expressed his views through his prolific writing, his lecture tours, and his work on The Pilot. He was well received by Boston’s large Irish-born population, and The Pilot’s readership grew until it was one of the most-read newspapers in the country. O’Reilly soon became its editor, and eventually part-owner. Marriage and family In 1872 O’Reilly married Mary Murphy, a journalist who wrote for the Young Crusader under the name of Agnes Smiley. They had four daughters: Mollie, Eliza, Agnes and Blanid. Their third daughter, Agnes O’Reilly, went on to marry the philosopher William Ernest Hocking soon after he earned his PhD from Harvard, where he would later teach. A decade later when they returned to Cambridge, Agnes started an open-air school that developed into Shady Hill School. It continues today near Harvard Square. Their three children were Richard, Joan, and Hester. Poetry O’Reilly published his first book of poems, Songs from the Southern Seas, in 1873. Over the next fifteen years, he published three collections of poetry, a novel, and a treatise on health and exercise. His poetry was extremely popular, and he was often commissioned to write poems for important commemorative occasions. By the late twentieth century, most of his earlier work was dismissed as popular verse, but some of his later, more introspective poetry, such as his best known poem, “The Cry of the Dreamer”, is still highly regarded. In 1875, John Devoy sought O’Reilly’s advice on how the Clan na Gael might rescue the six military Fenians serving time in Western Australia. The first plan was to storm Fremantle Prison and rescue the Fenians by force of arms; O’Reilly rejected that. He suggested that a rescue party pick up the escapees according to a prearranged plan. He also recommended their buying a whaling ship for the purpose, as it could have an appearance of legitimate business in Fremantle. O’Reilly’s plan was adopted, and ultimately led to the Catalpa rescue. In his later years, O’Reilly became prone to illness, and suffered from bouts of insomnia. Late in the evening of 9 August 1890, while suffering from insomnia, he took some of his wife’s sleeping medicine, which contained chloral hydrate. In the early hours of the morning, he was found dead. There remains doubt as to the cause of death. Public announcements attributed O’Reilly’s death to heart failure, but the official death register claims “accidental poisoning”. If O’Reilly died by an overdose of chloral hydrate, then it is possible that he took his life, or misused his wife’s medicine. Legacy and honours 1896, a multi-figure bronze sculpture in O’Reilly’s honour was created by Daniel Chester French and erected on the Fenway in Boston. Named for him, the John Boyle O’ Reilly Club in Springfield, Massachusetts celebrated their 125th anniversary in 2005. In the early 1900s, Boyle O’Reilly Terrace, an estate built on the north side of Drogheda, was named after him. In 2002 an interpretative display was opened for John Boyle O’Reilly, in Western Australia on the Leschenault Peninsula Conservation Park, from where he escaped to America. In April 2011 The John Boyle O’Reilly Association was established in Netterville his ancestral home, near Drogheda, Ireland. J.B. O’Reilly’s pub in West Leederville, Western Australia Works * Songs from the Southern Seas (1873)– a collection of poems * Songs, Legends and Ballads (1878)– a collection of poems * Moondyne (1879)– a novel based on his experiences as a convict in Western Australia * The Statues in the Block (1881)– a collection of poems * In Bohemia (1886)– a collection of poems * The Ethics of Boxing and Manly Sport (1888)– a treatise on health and physical exercise, later republished as Athletics and Manly Sport * Selected poems of John Boyle O’Reilly (1904) * Watchwords (1907) In popular culture * O’Reilly is said to have been US President John F. Kennedy’s favourite poet. * The song “Van Diemen’s Land” on U2's Rattle and Hum (1988) album refers to and is dedicated to O’Reilly. * The county Clare folk singer Sean Tyrrell has set a number of O’Reilly’s poems to music. A trilogy was included on his 1994 album, Cry of a Dreamer. * The musician and local historian Brendan Woods wrote The Catalpa, a play about the 1876 escape from Fremantle Prison. It premiered on 15 November 2006 to a sell-out audience at Fremantle Town Hall and ran until 25 November. The play was based on the diaries of Denis Cashman, with the poetry of John Boyle O’Reilly set to music and dance, supported by a five-part musical ensemble. * Woods released a CD entitled: John Boyle O’Reilly & The Fenian Escape from Fremantle Gaol (2006). References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Boyle_O’Reilly

William Henry Ogilvie

William Henry Ogilvie (21 August 1869– 30 January 1963) was a Scottish-Australian narrative poet and horseman. Life Ogilvie was born near Kelso, Borders, Scotland and arrived in Australia in 1889, returning to Scotland after a decade. He had a deep love of horses and riding and he became interested in the outback. Before long he became an expert station hand, drover and horse breaker, working on such stations as Belalie on the Warrego, and Maaoupe near Penola in South Australia. He was a friend of Harry “Breaker” Morant and was described as a quiet-spoken Scot of medium height, with a fair moustache and red complexion. He wrote lyrical and romantic poetry noted for its balladic style, with expressive descriptions of outback life and characters. Will, as he was known, also wrote a great deal of work on English and Scottish themes and his work has been included in collections of English and Scottish poetry. All of his work was originally published in and he is most closely associated with Australia. His love of the outback, dogs and horses is well-reflected in his work (My Life in the Open, Kelpies, The Australian). A collection of Will Ogilvie’s poetry was published in (Saddle for a Throne 1952 ISBN 0-9599299-4-0) and was “Dedicated to Comrades of Camp-fire and Muster”; the book contains a foreword by R. M. Williams, who met him in the late 1940s and who was instrumental in publishing the works. Legacy A formal portrait of Ogilvie posing with his Miniature Fox Terrier hangs in the National Library of Australia in Canberra. A memorial committee was set up Scotland in 1991 to raise funds to promote the name of the Ogilvie and his works. A cairn to the poet was erected in 1993 between the villages of Ashkirk and Roberton in Scotland., there are also memorials to him in Australia. One such memorial is a National Trust roadside cairn adjacent to the old shearers quarters at the former Maaoupe station unveiled on 8 June 1995. It is here he was reported to have written his poem Fair Girls and Gray Horses. Bibliography Poetry Collections * Fair Girls and Gray Horses: with other verses (1898) * Hearts of Gold and Other Verses (1903) * Rainbows and Witches (1907) * Whaup o’the Rede (1909) * The Land We Love (1910) * The Overlander and Other Verses (1913) * Gray Horses (1914) * Fair Girls (1914) * The Australian and Other Verses (1916) * Galloping Shoes: verses (1922) * Scattered Scarlet (1923) * Over The Grass (1925) * Hunting Rhymes (1927) * A Handful of Leather (1928) * A Clean Wind Blowing: songs of the out-of-doors (1930) * The Collected Sporting Verse of Will H. Ogilvie (1932) * Saddles Again (1937) * From Sunset to Dawn (1946) * Saddle For a Throne (1952) * Breaker’s Mate: Will Ogilvie in Australia (1996) Short Story Collections * The Honour of the Station (1914) References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Henry_Ogilvie

Amelia Opie

Amelia Opie, née Alderson (12 November 1769– 2 December 1853), was an English author who published numerous novels in the Romantic Period of the early 19th century, through 1828. Opie was also a leading abolitionist in Norwich, England. Life and work Amelia Alderson was the daughter of James Alderson, a physician, and Amelia Briggs of Norwich, England. She was a cousin of notable judge Edward Hall Alderson, with whom she corresponded throughout her life, and also a cousin of notable artist Henry Perronet Briggs. Miss Alderson had inherited radical principles and was an ardent admirer of John Horne Tooke. She was close to activists John Philip Kemble, Sarah Siddons, William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft. Marriage and family In 1798 Alderson married John Opie, the painter. The nine years of her married life before her husband’s death were happy, although her husband did not share her love of society. With his encouragement, in 1801 she completed a novel entitled Father and Daughter, which showed genuine fancy and pathos. Writing career Amelia Opie published regularly after that. Her volume of Poems, published in 1802 went through six editions, and was followed by The Warrior’s Return and other poems in 1808. More novels followed: Adeline Mowbray (1804), Simple Tales (1806), Temper (1812), Tales of Real Life (1813), Valentine’s Eve (1816), Tales of the Heart (1818), and Madeline (1822). Opie wrote The dangers of Coquetry at age 18. Her novel Father and Daughter (1801) is about misled virtue and family reconciliation. Encouraged by her husband to continue writing, she published Adeline Mowbray (1804), an exploration of women’s education, marriage, and abolition of slavery. The novel is noted in particular for engaging the history of Opie’s former friend Mary Wollstonecraft, whose relationship with the American Gilbert Imlay outside marriage, and later marriage to the philosopher William Godwin caused some scandal. Godwin had previously argued against marriage as an institution by which women were owned as property, but when Wollstonecraft became pregnant, they married despite his prior principles. In the novel, Adeline early on becomes involved with a philosopher who takes a principled stand against marriage, only to be convinced to marry a West Indian Landowner against her better judgment. The novel also engages abolitionist sentiment, in the story of a mixed-race woman and her family whom Adeline saves from poverty at some expense to herself. Amelia Opie divided her time between London and Norwich. She was a friend of writers Sir Walter Scott, Richard Brinsley Sheridan and Madame de Stael. In 1825, following the death of her father who objected, she joined the Society of Friends through the influence of Joseph John Gurney and his sisters who were longtime friends and neighbors in Norwich. The rest of her life was spent mostly in travelling and working at charity, though she published an anti-slavery poem, The Black Man’s Lament in 1826 and a volume of devotional poems, Lays for the Dead in 1834. Opie worked with Anna Gurney to create a Ladies Anti-Slavery Society in Norwich. Opie went to World’s Anti-Slavery Convention in London in 1840 where she one of the few women who was included in the commemorative painting. Even late in life, Opie maintained connections with writers, for instance receiving George Borrow as a guest. After a visit to Cromer, a seaside resort on the North Norfolk coast, she caught a chill and retired to her bedroom. A year later on 2 December 1853, she died at Norwich and was said to retain her vivacity to the last. She was buried at the Gildencroft Quaker Cemetery, Norwich. An somewhat sanitized biography of her, A Life, by Miss C.L. Brightwell, was published in 1854. Principal works Novels and Stories Dangers of Coquetry. (published anonymously) 1790 The Father and Daughter. 1801 Adeline Mowbray. 1804 Simple Tales. 1806 Temper 1812 First Chapter of Accidents. 1813 Tales of Real Life. 1813 Valentine’s Eve. 1816 New Tales. 1818 Tales of the Heart. 1820 Madeline. 1822 Illustrations of Lying. 1824 Tales of the Pemberton Family for Children. 1825 The Last Voyage. 1828 Detraction Displayed. 1828 Miscellaneous Tales. (12 Vols.) 1845-7 Biographies Memoir of John Opie. 1809 Sketch of Mrs. Roberts. 1814 Poetry Maid of Corinth. 1801 Elegy to the Memory of the Duke of Bedford. 1802 Poems. 1802 Lines to General Kosciusko. 1803 Song to Stella. 1803 The Warrior’s Return and other poems. 1808 The Black Man’s Lament. 1826 Lays for the Dead. 1834 Miscellaneous Recollections of Days in Holland. 1840 Recollections of a Visit to Paris in 1802. 1831-1832. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amelia_Opie

Alice Oswald

Alice Oswald (born 1966) is a British poet from Reading, Berkshire. Her work won the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2002 and the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2017. In September 2017, she was named as BBC Radio 4's second Poet-in-Residence, succeeding Daljit Nagra. Personal life Oswald is the daughter of Charles William Lyle Keen and Lady Priscilla Mary Rose Curzon, daughter of Edward Curzon, 6th Earl Howe. Oswald read Classics at New College, Oxford. She then trained as a gardener and worked at such sites as Chelsea Physic Garden, Wisley and Clovelly Court Gardens. She currently lives on the Dartington Estate in Devon with her husband, the playwright Peter Oswald (also a trained classicist), and her three children. Alice Oswald is the sister of actor Will Keen and writer Laura Beatty. Works * In 1994, she was the recipient of an Eric Gregory Award. Her first collection of poetry, The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile (1996), won a Forward Poetry Prize (Best First Collection) in 1996, and was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize in 1997. * Her second collection, Dart (2002), combined verse and prose, and tells the story of the River Dart in Devon from a variety of perspectives. Jeanette Winterson called it a " … moving, changing poem, as fast-flowing as the river and as deep … a celebration of difference … ". Dart won the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2002. * In 2004, Oswald was named as one of the Poetry Book Society’s Next Generation poets. Her collection Woods etc., published in 2005, was shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize (Best Collection). * In 2009 she published both A sleepwalk on the Severn and Weeds and Wildflowers, which won the inaugural Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry, and was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. * In October 2011, Oswald published her 6th collection, Memorial. Subtitled “An Excavation of the Iliad”, Memorial is based on the Iliad attributed to Homer, but departs from the narrative form of the Iliad to focus on, and so commemorate, the individual named characters whose deaths are mentioned in that poem. Later in October 2011, Memorial was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize, but in December 2011, Oswald withdrew the book from the shortlist, citing concerns about the ethics of the prize’s sponsors.Oswald was a judge for the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2016. In 2017, she won the Griffin Poetry Prize for her seventh collection of poems, Falling Awake. Bibliography * 1996: The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-282513-5 * 2002: Dart, Faber and Faber, ISBN 0-571-21410-X * 2002: Earth Has Not Any Thing to Shew More Fair: A Bicentennial Celebration of Wordsworth’s Sonnet Composed upon Westminster Bridge (co-edited with Peter Oswald and Robert Woof), Shakespeare’s Globe & The Wordsworth Trust, ISBN 1-870787-84-6 * 2005: The Thunder Mutters: 101 Poems for the Planet (editor), Faber and Faber, ISBN 0-571-21854-7 * 2005: Woods etc. Faber and Faber, ISBN 0-571-21852-0 * 2009: Weeds and Wild Flowers Faber and Faber, ISBN 978-0-571-23749-4 * 2009: A sleepwalk on the Severn Faber and Faber, ISBN 978-0-571-24756-1 * 2011: Memorial Faber and Faber, ISBN 978-0-571-27416-1 * 2016: Falling Awake Jonathan Cape Awards and recognition * 1994: Eric Gregory Award * 1996: Arts Foundation Award for Poetry * 1996: Forward Poetry Prize for (Best First Collection), The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile * 1997: shortlisted for T. S. Eliot Prize, for The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile * 2002: T. S. Eliot Prize for Dart * 2005: shortlisted for Forward Poetry Prize (Best Poetry Collection of the Year), for Woods etc. * 2005: shortlisted for T. S. Eliot Prize for Woods etc. * 2007: Forward Poetry Prize (Best Single Poem) for 'Dunt’ * 2009: Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for Weeds and Wild Flowers * 2011: shortlisted for T. S. Eliot Prize, for Memorial, subsequently withdrawn due to Oswald’s ethical concerns. * 2013: Warwick Prize for Writing, winner for Memorial * 2013: Corneliu M. Popescu Prize for European Poetry, winner for Memorial * 2016: Costa Award for Poetry for Falling Awake * 2017: Griffin Poetry Prize for Falling Awake References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Oswald

Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford

Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (; 12 April 1550 – 24 June 1604) was an English peer and courtier of the Elizabethan era. Oxford was heir to the second oldest earldom in the kingdom, a court favourite for a time, a sought-after patron of the arts, and noted by his contemporaries as a lyric poet and court playwright, but his reckless and volatile temperament precluded him from attaining any courtly or governmental responsibility and contributed to the dissipation of his estate. Since the 1920s he has been among the most popular alternative candidates proposed for the authorship of Shakespeare’s works. De Vere was the only son of John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford, and Margery Golding. After the death of his father in 1562, he became a ward of Queen Elizabeth and was sent to live in the household of her principal advisor, Sir William Cecil. He married Cecil’s daughter, Anne, with whom he had five children. De Vere was estranged from her for five years after he refused to acknowledge her first child as his. De Vere was a champion jouster and travelled widely throughout Italy and France. He was among the first to compose love poetry at the Elizabethan court, and he was praised as a playwright, though none of the plays known as his survive. A stream of dedications praised de Vere for his generous patronage of literary, religious, musical, and medical works, and he patronised both adult and boy acting companies, as well as musicians, tumblers, acrobats and performing animals. He fell out of favour with the Queen in the early 1580s and was exiled from court after impregnating one of her maids of honour, Anne Vavasour, which instigated violent street brawls between de Vere’s retainers and her uncles. De Vere was reconciled to the Queen in 1583, but all opportunities for advancement had been lost. In 1586, the Queen granted de Vere a £1,000 annuity to relieve his financial distress caused by his extravagance and selling off his income-producing lands for ready money. After his wife’s death, he married Elizabeth Trentham, one of the Queen’s maids of honour, with whom he had an heir, Henry de Vere. He died in 1604, having spent the entirety of his inherited estates. Family and childhood De Vere was born heir to the second oldest earldom in England at the de Vere ancestral home, Hedingham Castle, in Essex, north-east of London. He was the only son of John de Vere, 16th Earl of Oxford, and his second wife, Margery Golding. He was probably named to honour Edward VI, from whom he received a gilded christening cup. He had an older half-sister, Katherine, the child of his father’s first marriage to Dorothy Neville, and a younger sister, Mary de Vere. Both his parents had established court connections: the 16th Earl accompanying Princess Elizabeth from house arrest at Hatfield to the throne, and the countess being appointed a maid of honour in 1559. De Vere was styled Viscount Bulbeck and raised in the Protestant reformed faith. Like many children of the nobility, he was raised by surrogate parents, in his case in the household of Sir Thomas Smith. At eight he entered Queens’ College, Cambridge, as an impubes, or immature fellow-commoner, later transferring to St John’s. Thomas Fowle, a former fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge, was paid £10 annually as de Vere’s tutor. His father died on 3 August 1562, shortly after making his will. Because he held lands from the Crown by knight service, his son became a royal ward of the Queen and was placed in the household of Sir William Cecil, her secretary of state and chief advisor. At 12, de Vere had become the 17th Earl of Oxford, Lord Great Chamberlain of England, and heir to an estate whose annual income, though assessed at approximately £2,500, may have run as high as £3,500 (£1.08 million as of 2018). Wardship While living at the Cecil House, de Vere’s daily studies consisted of dancing instruction, French, Latin, cosmography, writing exercises, drawing, and common prayers. During his first year at Cecil House, Oxford was briefly tutored by Laurence Nowell, the antiquarian and Anglo-Saxon scholar. In a letter to Cecil, Nowell explains: “I clearly see that my work for the Earl of Oxford cannot be much longer required”, and his departure after eight months has been interpreted as either a sign of the thirteen-year-old de Vere’s intractability as a pupil, or an indication that his precocity surpassed Nowell’s ability to instruct him. In May 1564 Arthur Golding, in his dedication to his Th’ Abridgement of the Histories of Trogus Pompeius, attributed to his young nephew an interest in ancient history and contemporary events. In 1563 de Vere’s older half-sister, Katherine, then Baroness Windsor, challenged the legitimacy of the marriage of de Vere’s parents in the Ecclesiastical court. His uncle Golding argued that the Archbishop of Canterbury should halt the proceedings since a proceeding against a ward of the Queen could not be brought without prior licence from the Court of Wards and Liveries. Some time before October 1563 de Vere’s mother married Charles Tyrrell, a Gentleman Pensioner. In May 1565 she wrote to Cecil, urging that the money from family properties set aside for de Vere’s use during his minority by his father’s will should be entrusted to herself and other family friends to protect it and ensure that he would be able to meet the expenses of furnishing his household and suing his livery when he reached his majority; this last would end his wardship though cancelling his debt with that Court, and convey the powers attached to his title. There is no evidence that Cecil ever replied to her request. She died three years later, and was buried beside her first husband at Earls Colne. De Vere’s stepfather, Charles Tyrrell, died in March 1570. In August 1564 de Vere was among 17 nobles, knights and esquires in the Queen’s entourage who were awarded the honorary degree of Master of Arts by the University of Cambridge, and was awarded another by the University of Oxford on a Royal progress in 1566. His future father-in-law, William Cecil, also received honorary degrees of Master of Arts on the same progresses. There is no evidence de Vere ever received a Bachelor of Arts degree. In February 1567 he was admitted to Gray’s Inn to study law. On 23 July 1567, while practicing fencing in the backyard of Cecil House in the Strand, the seventeen-year-old Oxford killed Thomas Brincknell, an under-cook in the Cecil household. At the coroner’s inquest the next day, the jury, which included de Vere’s servant and Cecil’s protégé, the future historian Raphael Holinshed, found that Brincknell, drunk, had deliberately committed suicide by running onto Oxford’s blade. As a suicide he was not buried in consecrated ground, and all his worldly possessions were confiscated, leaving his pregnant wife destitute. She delivered a still-born child shortly after Brinknell’s death. Cecil later wrote that he attempted to have the jury find for de Vere’s acting in self-defence. Records of books purchased for de Vere in 1569 attest to his continued interest in history, as well as literature and philosophy. Among them were editions of a Geneva Bible gilt, Chaucer, Plutarch, two books in Italian, and folio editions of Cicero and Plato. In the same year Thomas Underdown dedicated his translation of the Æthiopian History of Heliodorus to de Vere, praising his 'haughty courage’, 'great skill’ and 'sufficiency of learning’. De Vere made the acquaintance of the mathematician and astrologer John Dee in the winter of 1570 and became interested in occultism, studying magic and conjuring. In November 1569, de Vere petitioned Cecil for a foreign military posting. Although the Catholic Revolt of the Northern Earls had broken out that year, Elizabeth refused to grant the request. Cecil eventually obtained a position for him under the Earl of Sussex in a Scottish campaign the following spring. De Vere and Sussex became staunch mutual supporters at court. De Vere received his first vote for membership in the Order of the Garter in 1569, but never attained the honour in spite of his high rank and office. Coming of age On 12 April 1571, de Vere attained his majority and took his seat in the House of Lords. Great expectations attended his coming of age; Sir George Buck recalled predictions that 'he was much more like... to acquire a new erldome then to wast & lose an old erldom’, a prophecy that was never fulfilled. Although formal certification of his freedom from Burghley’s control was deferred until May 1572, de Vere was finally granted the income of £666 which his father had intended him to have earlier, but properties set aside to pay his father’s debts would not come his way for another decade. During his minority as the Queen’s ward, one third of his estate had already reverted to the Crown, much of which Elizabeth had long since settled on Robert Dudley. Elizabeth demanded a further payment of £3,000 for overseeing the wardship and a further £4,000 for suing his livery. De Vere pledged double the amount if he failed to pay when it fell due, effectively risking a total obligation of £21,000. By 1571, de Vere was a court favourite of Elizabeth’s. In May, he participated in the three-day tilt, tourney and barrier, where although he did not win he was given chief honours in celebration of the attainment of his majority, his prowess winning admiring comments from spectators. In August, de Vere attended Paul de Foix, who had come to England to negotiate a marriage between Elizabeth and the Duke of Anjou, the future King Henry III of France. His published poetry dates from this period and, along with Edward Dyer he was one of the first courtiers to introduce vernacular verse to the court. Marriage In 1562, the 16th Earl of Oxford had contracted with Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon, for his son Edward to marry one of Huntingdon’s sisters; when he reached the age of eighteen, he was to choose either Elizabeth or Mary Hastings. However, after the death of the 16th Earl, the indenture was allowed to lapse. Elizabeth Hastings later married Edward Somerset, while Mary Hastings died unmarried. In the summer of 1571, de Vere declared an interest in Cecil’s 14 year-old daughter, Anne, and received the queen’s consent to the marriage. Anne had been pledged to Philip Sidney two years earlier, but after a year of negotiations Sidney’s father, Sir Henry, was declining in the Queen’s favour and Cecil suspected financial difficulties. In addition, Cecil had been elevated to the peerage as Lord Burghley in February 1571, thus elevating his daughter’s rank, so the negotiations were cancelled. Cecil was displeased with the arrangement, given his daughter’s age compared to de Vere’s, and had entertained the idea of marrying her to the Earl of Rutland instead. The wedding was deferred until Anne was fifteen and finally took place at the Palace of Whitehall on 16 December 1571, together with that of Lady Elizabeth Hastings and Lord Herbert, with the Queen in attendance. The tying of two young English noblemen of great fortune into Protestant families was not lost on Elizabeth’s Catholic enemies. Burghley gave de Vere a marriage settlement of land worth £800, and a cash settlement of £3,000. This amount was equal to de Vere’s livery fees and was probably intended to be used as such, but the money vanished without a trace. De Vere assigned Anne a jointure of some £669, but even though he was of age and a married man, he was still not in possession of his inheritance. After finally paying the Crown the £4,000 it demanded for his livery, he was finally licensed to enter on his lands in May. He was entitled to yearly revenues from his estates and the office of Lord Great Chamberlain of approximately £2,250, but he was not entitled to the income from his mother’s jointure until after her death, nor to the income from certain estates set aside to pay his father’s debts until 1583. In addition, the fines assessed against de Vere in the Court of Wards for his wardship, marriage, and livery already totalled some £3,306. To guarantee payment, de Vere entered into bonds to the Court totalling £11,000, and two further private bonds for £6,000 apiece. In 1572, de Vere’s first cousin and closest relative, the Duke of Norfolk, was found guilty of a Catholic conspiracy against Elizabeth and was executed for treason. De Vere had earlier petitioned both the Queen and Burghley on the condemned Norfolk’s behalf, to no avail, and it was claimed in a “murky petition from an unidentified woman” that he had plotted to provide a ship to assist his cousin’s escape attempt to Spain. The following summer de Vere planned to travel to Ireland; at this point, his debts were estimated at a minimum of £6,000. In the summer of 1574, Elizabeth admonished de Vere “for his unthriftyness”, and on 1 July de Vere bolted to the continent without permission, travelling to Calais with Lord Edward Seymour, and then to Flanders, “carrying a great sum of money with him”. Coming as it did during a time of expected hostilities with Spain, Mary, Queen of Scots, interpreted his flight as an indication of his Catholic sympathies, as did the Catholic rebels then living on the continent. Burghley, however, assured the queen that de Vere was loyal, and she sent two Gentlemen Pensioners to summon him back under threat of heavy penalties. De Vere returned to England by the end of the month and was in London on the 28th. His request for a place on the Privy Council was rejected, but the queen’s anger was abated and she promised him a licence to travel to Paris, Germany, and Italy on his pledge of good behaviour. Foreign travel Elizabeth issued de Vere a licence to travel in January 1575, and provided him with letters of introduction to foreign monarchs. Prior to his departure, de Vere entered into two indentures. In first contract he sold his manors in Cornwall, Staffordshire, and Wiltshire to three trustees for £6,000. In the second, since he had no heirs and if he should die abroad the estates would pass to his sister, Mary, he entailed the lands of the earldom on his first cousin, Hugh Vere. The indenture also provided for payment of debts amounting to £9,096, £3,457 of which was still owed to the Queen as expenses for his wardship. De Vere left England in the first week of February, and a month later was presented to the King and Queen of France. News that Anne was pregnant had reached him in Paris, and he sent her many extravagant presents in the coming months. But somewhere along the way his mind was poisoned against Anne and the Cecils, and he became convinced that the expected child was not his. The elder Cecils loudly voiced their outrage at the rumours, which probably worsened the situation. In mid-March he travelled to Strasbourg, and then made his way to Venice, via Milan. Although his daughter, Elizabeth, was born at the beginning of July, for unexplained reasons de Vere did not learn of her birth until late September. He was so taken with Italian culture and language during his travels that after his return he became known as the “Italian Earl” at court. He is recorded by Stow as having introduced various Renaissance fashions to court which immediately became fashionable, such as embroidered or trimmed scented gloves. Elizabeth had a pair of decorated gloves scented with perfume that for many years was known as the “Earl of Oxford’s perfume”. In January 1576 de Vere wrote to Lord Burghley from Siena about complaints that had reached him about his creditors’ demands, which included the Queen and his sister, and directing that more of his land be sold to pay them. De Vere left Venice in March, intending to return home by way of Lyons and Paris; although one later report has him as far south as Palermo in Sicily. At this point the Italian financier Benedict Spinola had lent de Vere over £4,000 for his 15 month-long continental tour, while in England over 100 tradesmen were seeking settlement of debts totalling thousands of pounds. On de Vere’s return across the Channel in April, his ship was hijacked by pirates from Flushing who took his possessions, stripped him to his shirt, and might have murdered him had not one of them recognized him. On his return he refused to live with his wife and took rooms at Charing Cross. Aside from the unspoken suspicion that Elizabeth was not his child, Burghley’s papers reveal a flood of bitter complaints by de Vere against the Cecil family. Upon the Queen’s request, de Vere allowed his wife to attend the Queen at court, but only when de Vere was not present and that she not attempt to speak to him. He also stipulated that Burghley must make no further appeals to him on Anne’s behalf. He was estranged from Anne for five years. In February 1577 it was rumoured that de Vere’s sister Mary would marry Lord Gerald Fitzgerald (1559–1580), but by 2 July she was linked with Peregrine Bertie, later Lord Willoughby d’Eresby. His mother, the Duchess of Suffolk, wrote to Lord Burghley that “my wise son has gone very far with my Lady Mary Vere, I fear too far to turn”. Both the Duchess and her husband Richard Bertie first opposed the marriage, and the Queen initially withheld her consent. De Vere’s own opposition to the match was so vehement that for some time Mary’s prospective husband feared for his life. On 15 December the Duchess of Suffolk wrote to Burghley describing a plan she and Mary had devised to arrange a meeting between de Vere and his daughter. Whether the scheme came to fruition is unknown. Mary and Bertie were married sometime before March of the following year. Quarrels, plots and scandals De Vere had sold his inherited lands in Cornwall, Staffordshire, and Wiltshire prior to his continental tour. On his return to England in 1576 he sold his manors in Devonshire; by the end of 1578 he had sold at least seven more. In 1577 de Vere invested £25 in the second of Martin Frobisher’s expeditions in search of the Northwest Passage. In July 1577 he asked the Crown for the grant of Castle Rising, which had been forfeited to the Crown due to his cousin Norfolk’s attainder in 1572. As soon as it was granted to him, he sold it, along with two other manors, and sank some £3,000 into Frobisher’s third expedition. The 'gold’ ore brought back turned out to be worthless, and de Vere lost the entire investment. In the summer of 1578 de Vere attended the Queen’s progress through East Anglia. The royal party stayed at Lord Henry Howard’s residence at Audley End. A contretemps occurred during the progress in mid-August when the Queen twice requested de Vere to dance before the French ambassadors, who were in England to negotiate a marriage between the 46 year-old Elizabeth and the younger brother of Henri III of France, the 24 year-old Duke of Anjou. De Vere refused on the grounds that he “would not give pleasure to Frenchmen”. In April the Spanish ambassador, Bernardino de Mendoza, wrote to King Philip II of Spain that it had been proposed that if Anjou were to travel to England to negotiate his marriage to the Queen, de Vere, Surrey, and Windsor should be hostages for his safe return. Anjou himself did not arrive in England until the end of August, but his ambassadors were already in England. De Vere was sympathetic to the proposed marriage; Leicester and his nephew Philip Sidney were adamantly opposed to it. This antagonism may have triggered the famous quarrel between de Vere and Sidney on the tennis court at Whitehall. It is not entirely clear who was playing on the court when the fight erupted; what is undisputed is that de Vere called Sidney a 'puppy’, while Sidney responded that “all the world knows puppies are gotten by dogs, and children by men”. The French ambassadors, whose private galleries overlooked the tennis court, were witness to the display. Whether it was Sidney who next challenged de Vere to a duel or the other way around, de Vere did not take it further, and the Queen personally took Sidney to task for not recognizing the difference between his status and de Vere’s. Christopher Hatton and Sidney’s friend Hubert Languet also tried to dissuade Sidney from pursuing the matter, and it was eventually dropped. The specific cause is not known, but in January 1580 de Vere wrote and challenged Sidney; by the end of the month de Vere was confined to his chambers, and was not released until early February. De Vere openly quarrelled with the Earl of Leicester about this time; he was confined to his chamber at Greenwich for some time 'about the libelling between him and my Lord of Leicester’. In the summer of 1580, Gabriel Harvey, apparently motivated by a desire to ingratiate himself with Leicester, satirized de Vere’s love for things Italian in verses entitled Speculum Tuscanismi in Three Proper and Witty Familiar Letters. Although details are unclear, there is evidence that in 1577 de Vere attempted to leave England to see service in the French Wars of Religion on the side of King Henry III. Like many members of older established aristocratic families in England, de Vere inclined to Catholicism; after his return from Italy he was reported to have embraced the religion, perhaps after a distant kinsman, Charles Arundell, introduced de Vere to a seminary priest named Richard Stephens, by. But just as quickly, late in 1580 he denounced a group of Catholics, among them Arundell, Francis Southwell, and Henry Howard, for treasonous activities and asking the Queen’s mercy for his own, now repudiated, Catholicism. Elizabeth characteristically delayed in acting on the matter and he was detained under house arrest for a short time. Leicester is credited for having “dislodged de Vere from the pro-French group”, i.e., the group at court which favoured Elizabeth’s marriage to the Duke of Anjou. The Spanish ambassador, Mendoza, was also of the view that Leicester was behind de Vere’s informing on his fellow Catholics in an attempt to prevent the French marriage. Peck concurs, stating that Leicester was “intent upon rendering Sussex’s allies politically useless”. The Privy Council ordered the arrest of both Howard and Arundell; de Vere immediately met secretly with Arundell to convince him to support his allegations against Howard and Southwell, offering him money and a pardon from the Queen. Arundell refused de Vere’s offer, and he and Howard initially sought asylum with Mendoza. Only after being assured they would be placed under house arrest in the home of a Privy Council member, did the pair give themselves up. During the first weeks after their arrest they pursued a threefold strategy: they would admit to minor crimes, prove de Vere a liar by his offers of money to testify to his accusations, and demonstrate that their accuser posed the real danger to the Crown. The extensive list to discredit de Vere included atheism, lying, heresy, disobedience to the crown, treason, murder for hire, sexual perversion, and pederasty with his English and Italian servants ("buggering a boy that is his cook and many other boys"), habitual drunkenness, vowing to murder various courtiers, and declaring that Elizabeth had a bad singing voice. Arundell and Howard cleared themselves of de Vere’s accusations, although Howard remained under house arrest into August, while Arundell was not freed until October or November. None of the three was ever indicted or tried. In the meantime de Vere was at liberty, and won a tournament at Westminster on 22 January. His page’s speech at the tournament, describing de Vere’s appearance as the Knight of the Tree of the Sun, was published in 1592 in a pamphlet entitled Plato, Axiochus. On 14 April 1589 de Vere was among the peers who found Philip Howard, Earl of Arundel, the eldest son and heir of de Vere’s cousin, Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, guilty of treason; Arundel later died in prison. De Vere later insisted that “the Howards were the most treacherous race under heaven” and that "my Lord Howard [was] the worst villain that lived in this earth.” During the early 1580s it is likely that the Earl lived mainly at one of his Essex country houses, Wivenhoe, which was sold in 1584. In June 1580 he purchased a tenement and seven acres of land near Aldgate in London from the Italian merchant Benedict Spinola for £2,500. The property, located in the parish of St Botolphs, was known as the Great Garden of Christchurch and had formerly belonged to Magdalene College, Cambridge. He also purchased a London residence, a mansion in Bishopsgate known as Fisher’s Folly. According to Henry Howard, de Vere paid a large sum for the property and renovations to it. De Vere’s triumph was short-lived. On 23 March 1581 Sir Francis Walsingham advised the Earl of Huntingdon that two days earlier Anne Vavasour, one of the Queen’s maids of honour, had given birth to a son, and that “the Earl of Oxford is avowed to be the father, who hath withdrawn himself with intent, as it is thought, to pass the seas”. De Vere was captured and imprisoned in the Tower, as was Anne and her infant, who would later be known as Sir Edward Vere. Burghley interceded for him, and he was released from the Tower on 8 June, but he remained under house arrest until sometime in July. While de Vere was under house arrest in May, Thomas Stocker dedicated to him his Divers Sermons of Master John Calvin, stating in the dedication that he had been “brought up in your Lordship’s father’s house”. De Vere was still under house arrest in mid-July, but took part in an Accession Day tournament at Whitehall on 17 November 1581. De Vere was banished from court until June 1583. He appealed to Burghley to intervene with the Queen on his behalf, but his father-in-law repeatedly put the matter in the hands of Sir Christopher Hatton. At Christmas 1581 de Vere reconciled with his wife, Anne, but his affair with Anne Vavasour continued to have repercussions. In March 1582 there was a skirmish in the streets of London between de Vere and Anne’s uncle, Sir Thomas Knyvet. De Vere was wounded and his servant killed; reports conflict as to whether Kynvet was also injured. There was another fray between Knyvet’s and de Vere’s retinues on 18 June, and a third six days later, where it was reported that Knyvet had “slain a man of the Earl of Oxford’s in fight”. In a letter to Burghley three years later de Vere offered to attend his father-in-law at his house “as well as a lame man might”; it is possible his lameness was a result of injuries from that encounter. On 19 January 1585 Anne Vavasour’s brother Thomas sent de Vere a written challenge; it appears to have been ignored. Meanwhile, the street-brawling between factions continued. Another of de Vere’s men was slain that month, and in March Burghley wrote to Sir Christopher Hatton about the death of one of Knyvet’s men, thanking Hatton for his efforts “to bring some good end to these troublesome matters betwixt my Lord and Oxford and Mr Thomas Knyvet”. On 6 May 1583, eighteen months after their reconciliation, Edward and Anne’s only son was born, and died the same day. The infant was buried at Castle Hedingham three days later. After intervention by Burghley and Sir Walter Raleigh, de Vere was reconciled to the Queen and his two-year exile from court ended at the end of May on condition of his guarantee of good behaviour. However, he never regained his position as a courtier of the first magnitude. Theatrical enterprises De Vere’s father maintained a company of players known as Oxford’s Men, which was discontinued by the 17th Earl two years after his father’s death. Beginning in 1580, de Vere patronised both adult and boy companies, a company of musicians, and sponsored performances by tumblers, acrobats, and performing animals. Oxford’s Men toured the provinces during 1580–1587. Sometime after November 1583, de Vere bought a sublease of the premises used by the boy companies in the Blackfriars, and then gave it to his secretary, the writer John Lyly. Lyly installed Henry Evans, a Welsh scrivener and theatrical affectionado, as the manager of the new company of Oxford’s Boys, composed of the Children of the Chapel and the Children of Paul’s, and turned his talents to play writing until the end of June 1584, when the original playhouse lease was voided by its owner. In 1584–1585, “the Earl of Oxford’s musicians” received payments for performances in the cities of Oxford and Barnstaple. Oxford’s Men (also known as Oxford’s Players) stayed active until 1602. Royal annuity On 6 April 1584, de Vere’s daughter, Bridget, was born, and two works were dedicated to him, Robert Greene’s Gwydonius; The Card of Fancy, and John Southern’s Pandora. Verses in the latter work mention de Vere’s knowledge of astronomy, history, languages, and music. De Vere’s financial situation was steadily deteriorating. At this point he had sold almost all his inherited lands, which cut him off from his principal source of income. Moreover, because the properties were security for his unpaid debt to the Queen in the Court of Wards, he had had to enter into a bond with the purchaser, guaranteeing that he would indemnify them if the Queen were to make a claim against the lands to collect on the debt. To avoid this eventuality, the purchasers of his estates agreed to repay de Vere’s debt to the Court of Wards in instalments. In 1585 negotiations were underway for King James to come to England to discuss the release of his mother, Mary, Queen of Scots, and in March de Vere was to be sent to Scotland as one of the hostages for James’s safety. In 1586, de Vere petitioned the Queen for an annuity to relieve his distressed financial situation. His father-in-law made him several large loans, and Elizabeth granted de Vere a £1,000 annuity, to be continued at her pleasure or until he could be provided for otherwise. This annuity was continued by James I. De Vere’s widow, Elizabeth, petitioned James I for an annuity of £250 on behalf of her 11 year-old son, Henry, to continue the £1,000 annuity granted to de Vere. Henry ultimately was awarded a £200 annuity for life. James would continue the grant after her death. Another daughter, Susan, was born on 26 May 1587. On 12 September, another daughter, Frances, is recorded to be buried at Edmonton. Her birthdate is unknown; presumably she was between one and three years of age. In July Elizabeth granted the Earl property which been seized from Edward Jones, who had been executed for his role in the Babington Plot. In order to protect the land from his creditors, the grant was made in the name of two trustees. At the end of November it was agreed that the purchasers of de Vere’s lands would pay his entire debt of some £3,306 due to Court of Wards over a five-year period, finishing in 1592. In July and August 1588 England was threatened by the Spanish Armada. On 28 July Leicester, who was in overall command of the English land troops, asked for instructions regarding de Vere, stating that “he seems most willing to hazard his life in this quarrel”. The Earl was offered government of the port of Harwich, but he thought it was unworthy and declined the post; Leicester was glad to be rid of him. In December 1588 de Vere had secretly sold his London mansion Fisher’s Folly to Sir William Cornwallis; by January 1591 the author Thomas Churchyard was dealing with rent owing for rooms he had taken in a house on behalf of his patron. De Vere wrote to Burghley outlining a plan to purchase the manoral lands of Denbigh, in Wales, if the Queen would consent, offering to pay for them by commuting his £1,000 annuity and agreeing to abandon his suit to regain the Forest of Essex (Waltham Forest), and to deed over his interests in Hedingham and Brets for the use of his children, who were living under Burghley’s guardianship in his home. In the spring of 1591 the plan for the purchasers of his land to discharge his debt to the Court of Wards was disrupted by the Queen’s taking extents, or writs allowing a creditor to temporarily seize a debtor’s property. De Vere complained that his servant Thomas Hampton had taken advantage of these writs by taking money from the tenants to his own use, and had also conspired with another of de Vere’s servants to pass a fraudulent document under the Great Seal of England. The Lord Mayor, Thomas Skinner, was also involved. In June de Vere wrote to Burghley reminding him that he made an agreement with Elizabeth to relinquish his claim to the Forest of Essex for three reasons, one of which was the Queen’s reluctance to punish Skinner’s felony, which had caused de Vere to forfeit £20,000 in bonds and statutes. In 1586 Angel Day dedicated The English Secretary, the first epistolary manual for writing model letters in English, to de Vere, and William Webbe praised him as “most excellent among the rest” of our poets in his Discourse of English Poetry. In 1588 Anthony Munday dedicated to de Vere the two parts of his Palmerin d’Oliva. The following year The Arte of English Poesie, attributed to George Puttenham, placed de Vere among a “crew” of courtier poets; he also considered de Vere among the best comic playwrights of the day. In 1590 Edmund Spenser addressed to de Vere the third of seventeen dedicatory sonnets which preface The Faerie Queene, celebrating his patronage of poets. The composer John Farmer, who was in de Vere’s service at the time, dedicated The First Set of Divers & Sundry Ways of Two Parts in One to him in 1591, noting in the dedication his patron’s love of music. Remarriage and later life On 5 June 1588 Anne Cecil died at court of a fever; she was 31. On 4 July 1591 de Vere sold the Great Garden property at Aldgate to John Wolley and Francis Trentham. The arrangement was stated to be for the benefit of Francis’ sister, Elizabeth Trentham, one of the Queen’s Maids of Honour, whom de Vere married later that year. On 24 February 1593 she gave birth to de Vere’s only surviving son and heir, Henry de Vere, at Stoke Newington. Between 1591 and 1592 de Vere disposed of the last of his large estates; Castle Hedingham, the seat of his earldom, went to Lord Burghley, it was held in trust for de Vere’s three daughters by his first marriage. he commissioned his servant, Roger Harlakenden, to sell Colne Priory. Harlekenden contrived to undervalue the land, then purchase it (as well as other parcels that were not meant to be sold) under his son’s name; the suits de Vere brought against Harlakenden for fraud dragged out for decades and were never settled in his lifetime. Protracted negotiations to arrange a match between his daughter Elizabeth and Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, did not result in marriage; on 19 November 1594, six weeks after Southampton turned 21, 'the young Earl of Southampton, refusing the Lady Vere, payeth £5000 of present money’. In January Elizabeth married William Stanley, 6th Earl of Derby. Derby had promised de Vere his new bride would have £1,000 a year, but the financial provision for her was slow in materializing. His father-in-law, Lord Burghley, died on 4 August 1598 at the age of 78, leaving substantial bequests to de Vere’s two unmarried daughters, Bridget and Susan. The bequests were structured to prevent de Vere from gaining control of his daughters’ inheritance by assuming custody of them. Earlier negotiations for a marriage to William Herbert having fallen through, in May or June 1599 de Vere’s 15 year-old daughter Bridget married Francis Norris. Susan married Philip Herbert, 4th Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery. From March to August 1595 de Vere actively importuned the Queen, in competition with Lord Buckhurst, to farm the tin mines in Cornwall. He wrote to Burghley, enumerating years of fruitless attempts to amend his financial situation and complained: 'This last year past I have been a suitor to her Majesty that I might farm her tins, giving £3000 a year more than she had made.' De Vere’s letters and memoranda indicate that he pursued his suit into 1596, and renewed it again three years later, but was ultimately unsuccessful in obtaining the tin monopoly. In October 1595 de Vere wrote to his brother in law, Sir Robert Cecil, of friction between himself and the ill-fated Earl of Essex, partly over his claim to the property, terming him 'the only person that I dare rely upon in the court’. Cecil seems to have done little to further de Vere’s interests in the suit. In March he was unable to go to court due to illness, in August he wrote to Burghley from Byfleet, where he had gone for his health: ‘I find comfort in this air, but no fortune in the court.’ In September de Vere again wrote of ill health, regretting he had not been able to pay attendance to the Queen. Two months later Rowland Whyte wrote to Sir Robert Sidney that 'Some say my Lord of Oxford is dead’. Whether the rumour of de Vere’s death was related to the illness mentioned in his letters earlier in the year is unknown. De Vere attended his last Parliament in December, perhaps another indication of failing health. On 28 April 1599 de Vere was sued by the widow of his tailor for a debt of £500 for services rendered some two decades earlier. De Vere claimed that not only had he paid the debt, but that the tailor had absconded with 'cloth of gold and silver and other stuff’ belonging to him, worth £800. The outcome of the suit is unknown. In July 1600 de Vere wrote requesting Sir Robert Cecil’s help in securing an appointment as Governor of the Isle of Jersey, once again citing the Queen’s unfulfilled promises to him. In February he again wrote for his support, this time for the office of President of Wales. As with his former suits, de Vere was again unsuccessful; during this time he was listed on the Pipe Rolls as owing £20 for the subsidy. After the abortive Essex rebellion in February 1601, de Vere was 'the senior of the twenty-five noblemen’ who rendered verdicts at the trials of Essex and Southampton for treason. After Essex’s co-conspirator Sir Charles Danvers was executed on in March, de Vere became involved in a complicated suit regarding lands which had reverted to the Crown by escheat at Danvers’ attainder, a suit opposed by Danvers’ kinsmen. De Vere continued to suffer from ill health, which kept him from court. On 4 December he was shocked that Cecil, who had encouraged him to undertake the Danvers suit on the Crown’s behalf, had now withdrawn his support for it. As with all his other suits aimed at improving his financial situation, this last of de Vere’s suits to the Queen ended in disappointment. Last years In the early morning of 24 March 1603 Queen Elizabeth died without naming a successor. A few days beforehand de Vere at his house at Hackney had entertained the Earl of Lincoln, a nobleman known for erratic and violent behaviour similar to his host’s. Lincoln reported that after dinner de Vere spoke of the Queen’s impending death, claiming that the peers of England should decide the succession, and suggested that since Lincoln had 'a nephew of the blood royal... Lord Hastings’, he should be sent to France to find allies to support this claim. Lincoln relayed this conversation to Sir John Peyton, Lieutenant of the Tower, who, knowing how physically and financially infirm de Vere was, refused to take Lincoln’s report as a serious threat to King James’ accession. De Vere expressed his grief at the late Queen’s death, and his apprehension for the future. These fears were unfounded; in letters to Cecil in May and June 1603 he again pressed his decades-long claim to have Waltham Forest (Forest of Essex) and the house and park of Havering restored to him, and on 18 July the new King granted his suit. On 25 July de Vere was among those who officiated at the King’s coronation, a month later James confirmed de Vere’s annuity of £1,000. On 18 June 1604 de Vere granted the custody of the Forest of Essex to his son-in-law Lord Norris and his cousin, Sir Francis Vere. He died six days later, of unknown causes, at King’s Place, Hackney, and was buried on 6 July in the parish church of St. Augustine. In spite of his bouts of ill health, he left no will. Elizabeth’s will requested that she be buried with her husband at Hackney. Although this document and the parish registers confirm de Vere’s burial there, his cousin Percival Golding later claimed that his body was interred at Westminster. Literary reputation De Vere’s manuscript verses circulated widely in courtly circles. Three of his poems, “When wert thou born desire”, “My mind to me a kingdom is”, and “Sitting alone upon my thought”, are among the texts that repeatedly appear in the surviving 16th century manuscript miscellanies and poetical anthologies. His earliest published poem was “The labouring man that tills the fertile soil” in Thomas Bedingfield’s translation of Cardano’s Comforte (1573). Bedingfield’s dedication to de Vere is dated 1 January 1572. In addition to his poem, de Vere also contributed a commendatory letter setting forth the reasons why Bedingfield should publish. In 1576 eight of his poems were published in the poetry miscellany The Paradise of Dainty Devises. According to the introduction, all the poems in the collection were meant to be sung, but de Vere’s were almost the only genuine love songs in the collection. Oxford’s “What cunning can express” was published in The Phoenix Nest (1593) and republished in England’s Helicon (1600). “Who taught thee first to sigh alas my heart” appeared in The Teares of Fancie (1593). Brittons Bowre of Delight (1597) published “If women could be fair and yet not fond” under Oxford’s name, but the attribution today is not considered certain. Contemporary critics praised de Vere as a poet and a playwright. William Webbe names de Vere as “the most excellent” of Elizabeth’s courtier poets. Puttenham’s The Arte of English Poesie (1589), places de Vere first on a list of courtier poets and included an excerpt of “When wert thou born desire” as an example of “his excellance and wit”. Puttenham also says that “highest praise” should be given to de Vere and Richard Edwardes for “Comedy and Enterlude”. Francis Meres’ Palladis Tamia (1598) names de Vere first of 17 playwrights listed by rank who are “the best for comedy amongst us”, and de Vere appears first on a list of seven Elizabethan courtly poets “who honoured Poesie with their pens and practice” in Henry Peacham’s 1622 The Compleat Gentleman. Steven W. May writes that de Vere was Elizabeth’s "first truly prestigious courtier poet... [whose] precedent did at least confer genuine respectability upon the later efforts of such poets as Sidney, Greville, and Raleigh." He describes de Vere as a “competent, fairly experimental poet working in the established modes of mid-century lyric verse” and his poetry as “examples of the standard varieties of mid-Elizabethan amorous lyric”. May says that de Vere’s youthful love lyrics, which have been described as experimental and innovative, “create a dramatic break with everything known to have been written at the Elizabethan court up to that time” by virtue of being lighter in tone and metre and more imaginative and free from the moralizing tone of the courtier poetry of the “drab” age, which tended to be occasional and instructive. and describes one poem, in which the author cries out against “this loss of my good name”, as a “defiant lyric without precedent in English Renaissance verse”. May says that Oxford’s poetry was “one man’s contribution to the rhetorical mainstream of an evolving Elizabethan poetic” indistinguishable from “the output of his mediocre mid-century contemporaries”. C. S. Lewis said that de Vere’s poetry shows “a faint talent”, but is “for the most part undistinguished and verbose.” Nelson says that “contemporary observers such as Harvey, Webbe, Puttenham, and Meres clearly exaggerated de Vere’s talent in deference to his rank. By any measure, his poems pale in comparison with those of Sidney, Lyly, Spenser, Shakespeare, Donne, and Jonson.” He says that his known poems are “astonishingly uneven” in quality, ranging from the “fine” to the “execrable”. De Vere was sought for his literary and theatrical patronage; 28 works were dedicated to him by such authors as Arthur Golding, John Lyly, Robert Greene, and Anthony Munday, between 1564 and 1599. Of his 33 dedications, 13 appeared in original or translated works of literature, a higher percentage of literary works than other patrons of similar means. His lifelong patronage of writers, musicians, and actors prompted May to term de Vere “a nobleman with extraordinary intellectual interests and commitments”, whose biography exhibits a “lifelong devotion to learning”. He goes on to say that "Oxford’s genuine commitment to learning throughout his career lends a necessary qualification to Stone’s conclusion that de Vere simply squandered the more than 70,000 pounds he derived from selling off his patrimony... for which some part of this amount de Vere acquired a splendid reputation for nurture of the arts and sciences". Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship The Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship proposes that de Vere wrote the plays and poems traditionally attributed to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon. Though the attribution has been rejected by nearly all academic Shakespeareans, popular interest in the Oxfordian theory persists, and his candidacy was featured in the 2011 Hollywood film Anonymous (directed by Roland Emmerich), in which he was played by Rhys Ifans. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_de_Vere,_17th_Earl_of_Oxford

Gregory Orr

Gregory Orr (born 1947 in Albany, New York, United States) is an American poet. He received a B.A. degree from Antioch College and an M.F.A. from Columbia University. He is a professor of English at the University of Virginia where he founded the MFA Program in Writing in 1975, and served from 1978 to 2003 as Poetry Editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review. He is also a columnist and editor of the magazine, Sacred Bearings: A Journal for Survivors. He lives with his wife, the painter Trisha Orr, and their two daughters in Charlottesville, Virginia. Featured on National Public Radio’s This I Believe, Orr has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and of an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Orr is the author of eleven collections of poetry, including City of Salt (1995) which was a finalist for the LA Times Poetry Prize. He is also the author of a memoir, The Blessing (2002), which was chosen by Publishers Weekly as one of the fifty best non-fiction books of the year, and three books of essays. In reviewing Concerning the Book That Is the Body of the Beloved (Copper Canyon Press, 2005), Ted Genoways writes in the Virginia Quarterly Review: “Sure, the trappings of modern life appear at the edges of these poems, but their focus is so unwaveringly aimed toward the transcendent—not God, but the beloved—that we seem to slip into a less cluttered time. It’s an experience usually reserved for reading the ancients, and clearly that was partly Orr’s inspiration.” In reviewing How Beautiful the Beloved (Copper Canyon Press, 2009) in Bookslut, Sean Patrick Hill writes that Orr’s “poems themselves are as Frost said they must be: momentary stays against confusion.” Gregory Orr wrote an opinion piece in the Sunday Magazine of the New York Times on August 29, 2014 about accidentally killing his brother in a hunting accident in response to the fatal shooting with an Uzi machine gun of a gun instructor by a 9 year old in Arizona. Selected works Poetry * “Burning the Empty Nests’’ (Harper & Row, 1973) * “Gathering the Bones Together” (Harper & Row, 1975) * “The Red House” (Harper & Row, 1980) * “We Must Make a Kingdom of It’’ (Wesleyan University Press, 1986) * “New and Selected Poems’’ (Wesleyan University Press, 1988) * “City of Salt’’ (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1995) * “Orpheus & Eurydice’’ (Copper Canyon Press, 2001) * “The Caged Owl: New and Selected Poems’’ (Copper Canyon Press, 2002) * “Concerning the Book That Is the Body of the Beloved’’ (Copper Canyon Press, 2005) * “How Beautiful the Beloved’’ (Copper Canyon Press, 2009) * “River Inside the River” (W.W. Norton & Company, 2013) Criticism * “Stanley Kunitz: An Introduction to Poetry’’ (Columbia University Press, 1985) * “Richer Entanglements: Essays and Notes on Poetry and Poems’’ (University of Michigan Press, 1993) * “Poets Teaching Poets: Self and the World’’ (University of Michigan Press, 1996) (edited by Voigt and Orr) * “Poetry as Survival’’ (University of Georgia Press, 2002) Memoir * “The Blessing’’ (Council Oak Books, 2002) References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_Orr_(poet)

Bernard O'Dowd

Bernard Patrick O’Dowd (11 April 1866– 1 September 1953) was an Australian activist, educator, poet, journalist, and author of several law books and poetry books. O’Dowd worked as an assistant-librarian and later Chief Parliamentary Draughtsman in the Supreme Court at Melbourne for 48 years; he was also a co-publisher and writer for the radical paper Tocsin. Bernard O’Dowd lived to age 87. Life and work Bernard O’Dowd was born in 1866 at Beaufort, Victoria, as the eldest son of Irish migrants, Bernard O’Dowd and Ann Dowell. O’Dowd had been a child prodigy who read Milton’s “Paradise Lost” at age 8. He had been employed as a head teacher at a Catholic School in Ballarat, but he was dismissed for heresy. He then opened up his own school in Beaufort. In the year 1886, at age 20, he moved to Melbourne, where in 1887, he gained employment as an assistant-librarian in the Supreme Court Library, working with the Victorian colonial and State government until 1935, and retiring as Chief Parliamentary Draughtsman. In 1886, Bernard O’Dowd joined the Melbourne Lyceum, which was the educational and social branch of the Australian Secular Society (A.S.A.). In 1888, several anarchists associated with the A.S.A, who were also members of the Melbourne Anarchist club (Australia’s first anarchist society, formed in 1886) were expelled from the A.S.A. O’Dowd then joined the progressive Lyceum, which was composed of the anarchists Monty Miller, Upham, Brookhouse and Nicholls, plus other radical members who had been expelled from the Melbourne Lyceum. Bernard O’Dowd had become the editor of the Tetor publication during 1888, just before the split. Over the years, Bernard O’Dowd’s official career had remained distinct from his poetic and political activities. As an activist, he had joined the Theosophical Society, plus Dr. Charles Strong’s Australian Church and, later, Frederick Sinclaire’s Free Religious Fellowship. Active as a lecturer with the Victorian Socialist League circa 1900, O’Dowd was a founding member of the Victorian Socialist Party (V.S.P.) in year 1905. In 1907, he then founded the Essendon Socialist Group and, in the years 1912-13, O’Dowd assisted with editing the The Socialist. One of his colleagues in the V.S.P. was John Curtin. In 1912, he had denounced the White Australia policy as being “unbrotherly, undemocratic and unscientific.” In 1913, O’Dowd became president of the Victorian Rationalist Association. In his official work, he had been appointed, 'on loan’, assistant librarian in the Supreme Court, Melbourne, in 1887. From the mid-1890s, O’Dowd had written and edited (sometimes ghost-written) several law books. In 1913, he also became first assistant parliamentary draughtsman. O’Dowd was a co-publisher of the first issues of the radical paper Tocsin, from 2 October 1897. O’Dowd wrote a regular column in the Tocsin, as the writer 'Gavah the Blacksmith’. Bernard O’Dowd’s partner Marie Pitt was also a notable poet and socialist. O’Dowd’s books of poetry include: Dawnward (1903), The Silent Land (1906), Dominion of the Boundary (1907), The Seven Deadly Sins (1909), The Bush (1912), and Alma Venus (1921). Bernard O’Dowd’s lecture calling for “the poetry of purpose” was also published as Poetry Militant (1909). The words “Mammon or millennial Eden”, taken from one of O’Dowd’s poems, are inscribed around the Federation Pavilion, in Centennial Park, Sydney, a structure designed in 1988, the bicentennial year of European settlement in Australia, as a permanent monument to Federation. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_O’Dowd

George Oppen

George Oppen (April 24, 1908 – July 7, 1984) was an American poet, best known as one of the members of the Objectivist group of poets. He abandoned poetry in the 1930s for political activism and later moved to Mexico to avoid the attentions of the House Un-American Activities Committee. He returned to poetry—and to the United States—in 1958, and received the Pulitzer Prize in 1969. Early life Oppen was born in New Rochelle, New York, into a Jewish family. His father, a successful diamond merchant, was George August Oppenheimer (b. Apr. 13, 1881), his mother Elsie Rothfeld. His father changed the family name to Oppen in 1927. Oppen’s childhood was one of considerable affluence; the family was well-tended to by servants and maids and Oppen enjoyed all the benefits of a wealthy upbringing: horse riding, expensive automobiles, frequent trips to Europe. But his mother committed suicide when he was four, his father remarried three years later and the boy and his stepmother, Seville Shainwald, apparently could not get along. Oppen developed a skill for sailing at a young age and the seascapes around his childhood home left a mark on his later poetry. He was taught carpentry by the family butler; Oppen, as an adult, found work as a carpenter and cabinetmaker. In 1917, the family moved to San Francisco where Oppen attended Warren Military Academy. It is speculated that during this time Oppen’s early traumas led to fighting and drinking, so that, while reaching maturity, Oppen was also experiencing a personal crisis. By 1925, this period of personal and psychic transition culminated in a serious car wreck in which George was driver and a young passenger was killed. Ultimately, Oppen was expelled from high school just before he graduated. After this period, he traveled to England and Scotland by himself, visiting his stepmother’s relative, and attending lectures by C.A. Mace, professor in philosophy at St. Andrews. In 1926, Oppen started attending Oregon State Agricultural College (what is now Oregon State University). Here he met Mary Colby, a fiercely independent young woman from Grants Pass, Oregon. On their first date, the couple stayed out all night with the result that she was expelled and he suspended. They left Oregon, married, and started hitch-hiking across the country working at odd jobs along the way. Mary documents these events in her memoir, Meaning A Life: An Autobiography (1978). Early writing While living on the road, Oppen began writing poems and publishing in local magazines. In 1929 and 1930 he and Mary spent some time in New York, where they met Louis Zukofsky, Charles Reznikoff, musician Tibor Serly, and designer Russel Wright, among others. In 1929, George came into a small inheritance and relative financial independence. In 1930 George and Mary moved to California and then to France, where, thanks to their financial input, they were able to establish To Publishers and act as printer/publishers with Zukofsky as editor. The short-lived publishing venture managed to launch works by William Carlos Williams and Ezra Pound. Oppen had begun working on poems for what was to be his first book, Discrete Series, a seminal work in early Objectivist history. Some of these appeared in the February 1931 Objectivist issue of Poetry and the subsequent An “Objectivist’s” Anthology published in 1932. Oppen the Objectivist In 1933, the Oppens returned to New York. George Oppen, William Carlos Williams, Louis Zukofsky and Charles Reznikoff set up the Objectivist Press. The press published books by Reznikoff and Williams, as well as Oppen’s first book Discrete Series, which included a preface by Ezra Pound. Politics and war Faced with the effects of the depression and the rise of fascism, the Oppens were becoming increasingly involved in political action. Unable to bring himself to write verse propaganda, Oppen abandoned poetry and joined the Communist Party USA, serving as election campaign manager for Brooklyn in 1936, and helping organize the Utica New York Milk Strike. He and Mary were engaged and active in the cause of worker’s rights, and Oppen was tried and acquitted on a charge of felonious assault on the police. By 1942, Oppen was deferred from military service while working in the defense industry. Disillusioned by the CPUSA and willing to assist in the fight against fascism, Oppen quit his job, making himself eligible for the draft. Effectively volunteering for duty, Oppen saw active service on the Maginot Line and the Ardennes; he was seriously wounded south of the Battle of the Bulge. Shortly after Oppen was wounded, Oppen’s division helped liberate the concentration camp at Landsberg am Lech. He was awarded the Purple Heart and returned to New York in 1945. Mexico After the war, Oppen worked as a carpenter and cabinet maker. Although now less politically active, the Oppens were aware that their pasts were certain to attract the attention of Joseph McCarthy’s Senate committee and decided to move to Mexico. During these admittedly bitter years in Mexico, George ran a small furniture making business and was involved in an expatriate intellectual community. They were also kept under surveillance by the Mexican authorities in association with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They were able to re-enter the United States in 1958 when the United States government again allowed them to obtain passports which had been revoked since 1950. Return to poetry In 1958, the Oppens considered becoming involved in Mexican real estate if their expatriate status was to continue. But they were contemplating a move back to the United States, which caused both of them considerable anxiety, prompting Mary to see a therapist. During one of her visits, George told the therapist about a dream he was having (the Oppens later referred to this incident as the “rust in copper” dream). The therapist persuaded George that the dream had a hidden meaning that would convince Oppen to begin writing poetry again. But Oppen also suggested other factors led to his return to the US and to poetry, including his daughter’s well-being, because she was beginning college at Sarah Lawrence. After a brief trip in 1958 to visit their daughter at university, the Oppens moved to Brooklyn, New York, in early 1960 (although for awhile, returning to Mexico regularly for visits). Back in Brooklyn, Oppen renewed old ties with Louis Zukofksy and Charles Reznikoff and also befriended many younger poets. The poems came in a flurry; within two years Oppen had assembled enough poems for a book and began publishing the poems in Poetry, where he had first published, and in his half-sister June Oppen Degnan’s San Francisco Review. The poems of Oppen’s first book following his return to poetry, The Materials, were poems that, as he told his sister June, should have been written ten years earlier. Oppen published two more collections of poetry during the 1960s, This In Which (1965) and Of Being Numerous (1968), the latter of which garnered him the Pulitzer Prize in 1969. Last years In 1975, Oppen was able to complete and see into publication his Collected Poems, together with a new section “Myth of the Blaze.” In 1977, Mary provided the secretarial help George needed to complete his final volume of poetry Primitive. During this time, George’s final illness, Alzheimer’s disease, began to manifest itself with confusion, failing memory, and other losses. The disease was eventually to make it impossible for him to continue writing. George Oppen, age 76, died of pneumonia with complications from Alzheimer’s disease in a convalescent home in California on July 7, 1984. Selected bibliography * Discrete Series (1934), with a “Preface” by Ezra Pound * The Materials (1962) * This in Which (1965) * Of Being Numerous (1968) * Alpine (1969) * Seascape: Needle’s Eye (1972) * The Collected Poems (1975) includes Myth of the Blaze * Primitive (1978) * Poems of George Oppen (1990); selected and introduced by Charles Tomlinson * The Selected Letters of George Oppen (2000); edited with an introduction and notes by Rachel Blau DuPlessis * New Collected Poems (2001, revised edition 2008); edited with an introduction and notes by Michael Davidson, w/ a preface by Eliot Weinberger * Selected Poems (2002), edited, with an introduction by Robert Creeley * Selected Prose, Daybooks, and Papers (2008); edited with an introduction by Stephen Cope * Speaking with George Oppen: Interviews with the Poet and Mary Oppen, 1968-1987 (2012), edited with an introduction by Richard Swigg * 21 Poems (2017) Posthumous publications * For more information on Oppen’s posthumous publications, such as his Selected Letters and New Collected Poems, see Wikipedia articles on Rachel Blau DuPlessis and Michael Davidson. Further reading * Oppen, Mary, Meaning A Life: An Autobiography, Santa Barbara, Calif: Black Sparrow Press, 1978. * Hatlen, Burton, ed., George Oppen: Man and Poet (Man/Woman and Poet Series) (Man and Poet Series), National Poetry Foundation, 1981. ISBN 0-915032-53-8 * DuPlessis, Rachel Blau, ed., The Selected Letters of George Oppen, Duke University Press, 1990. * Oppen, George. Selected Prose, Daybooks, and Papers, edited and with an introduction by Stephen Cope. University of California Press, 2007; ISBN 978-0-520-23579-3, paperback: ISBN 978-0-520-25232-5'. * Heller, Michael, Speaking the Estranged: Essays on the Work of George Oppen, Cambridge UK: Salt Publishing, 2008. * Shoemaker, Steven, ed., Thinking Poetics: Essays on George Oppen, Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 2009. * Swigg, Richard, ed.,Speaking with George Oppen: Interviews with the Poet and Mary Oppen, 1968-1987, Jefferson, North Carolina and London, McFarland & Company, 2012. ISBN 978-0-786-46-7884 * Swigg, Richard, George Oppen: The Words in Action, Lewisburg, Bucknell University Press, 2016. ISBN 978-1-61148-749-7 References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Oppen