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Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox (November 5, 1850– October 30, 1919) was an American author and poet. Her best-known work was Poems of Passion. Her most enduring work was “Solitude”, which contains the lines, “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone”. Her autobiography, The Worlds and I, was published in 1918, a year before her death. Biography Ella Wheeler was born in 1850 on a farm in Johnstown, Wisconsin, east of Janesville, the youngest of four children. The family soon moved north of Madison. She started writing poetry at a very early age, and was well known as a poet in her own state by the time she graduated from high school. Her most famous poem, “Solitude”, was first published in the February 25, 1883 issue of The New York Sun. The inspiration for the poem came as she was travelling to attend the Governor’s inaugural ball in Madison, Wisconsin. On her way to the celebration, there was a young woman dressed in black sitting across the aisle from her. The woman was crying. Miss Wheeler sat next to her and sought to comfort her for the rest of the journey. When they arrived, the poet was so depressed that she could barely attend the scheduled festivities. As she looked at her own radiant face in the mirror, she suddenly recalled the sorrowful widow. It was at that moment that she wrote the opening lines of “Solitude”: Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone. For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth But has trouble enough of its own She sent the poem to the Sun and received $5 for her effort. It was collected in the book Poems of Passion shortly after in May 1883. In 1884, she married Robert Wilcox of Meriden, Connecticut, where the couple lived before moving to New York City and then to Granite Bay in the Short Beach section of Branford, Connecticut. The two homes they built on Long Island Sound, along with several cottages, became known as Bungalow Court, and they would hold gatherings there of literary and artistic friends. They had one child, a son, who died shortly after birth. Not long after their marriage, they both became interested in theosophy, new thought, and spiritualism. Early in their married life, Robert and Ella Wheeler Wilcox promised each other that whoever went first through death would return and communicate with the other. Robert Wilcox died in 1916, after over thirty years of marriage. She was overcome with grief, which became ever more intense as week after week went without any message from him. It was at this time that she went to California to see the Rosicrucian astrologer, Max Heindel, still seeking help in her sorrow, still unable to understand why she had no word from her Robert. She wrote of this meeting: In talking with Max Heindel, the leader of the Rosicrucian Philosophy in California, he made very clear to me the effect of intense grief. Mr. Heindel assured me that I would come in touch with the spirit of my husband when I learned to control my sorrow. I replied that it seemed strange to me that an omnipotent God could not send a flash of his light into a suffering soul to bring its conviction when most needed. Did you ever stand beside a clear pool of water, asked Mr. Heindel, and see the trees and skies repeated therein? And did you ever cast a stone into that pool and see it clouded and turmoiled, so it gave no reflection? Yet the skies and trees were waiting above to be reflected when the waters grew calm. So God and your husband’s spirit wait to show themselves to you when the turbulence of sorrow is quieted. Several months later, she composed a little mantra or affirmative prayer which she said over and over “I am the living witness: The dead live: And they speak through us and to us: And I am the voice that gives this glorious truth to the suffering world: I am ready, God: I am ready, Christ: I am ready, Robert.”. Wilcox made efforts to teach occult things to the world. Her works, filled with positive thinking, were popular in the New Thought Movement and by 1915 her booklet, What I Know About New Thought had a distribution of 50,000 copies, according to its publisher, Elizabeth Towne. The following statement expresses Wilcox’s unique blending of New Thought, Spiritualism, and a Theosophical belief in reincarnation: “As we think, act, and live here today, we built the structures of our homes in spirit realms after we leave earth, and we build karma for future lives, thousands of years to come, on this earth or other planets. Life will assume new dignity, and labor new interest for us, when we come to the knowledge that death is but a continuation of life and labor, in higher planes”. Her final words in her autobiography The Worlds and I: “From this mighty storehouse (of God, and the hierarchies of Spiritual Beings ) we may gather wisdom and knowledge, and receive light and power, as we pass through this preparatory room of earth, which is only one of the innumerable mansions in our Father’s house. Think on these things”. Ella Wheeler Wilcox died of cancer on October 30, 1919 in Short Beach. Poetry A popular poet rather than a literary poet, in her poems she expresses sentiments of cheer and optimism in plainly written, rhyming verse. Her world view is expressed in the title of her poem “Whatever Is—Is Best”, suggesting an echo of Alexander Pope’s “Whatever is, is right,” a concept formally articulated by Gottfried Leibniz and parodied by Voltaire’s character Doctor Pangloss in Candide. None of Wilcox’s works were included by F. O. Matthiessen in The Oxford Book of American Verse, but Hazel Felleman chose no fewer than fourteen of her poems for Best Loved Poems of the American People, while Martin Gardner selected “The Way Of The World” and “The Winds of Fate” for Best Remembered Poems. She is frequently cited in anthologies of bad poetry, such as The Stuffed Owl: An Anthology of Bad Verse and Very Bad Poetry. Sinclair Lewis indicates Babbitt’s lack of literary sophistication by having him refer to a piece of verse as “one of the classic poems, like 'If’ by Kipling, or Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s ‘The Man Worth While.’” The latter opens: It is easy enough to be pleasant, When life flows by like a song, But the man worth while is one who will smile, When everything goes dead wrong. Her most famous lines open her poem “Solitude”: Laugh and the world laughs with you, Weep, and you weep alone; The good old earth must borrow its mirth, But has trouble enough of its own. “The Winds of Fate” is a marvel of economy, far too short to summarize. In full: One ship drives east and another drives west With the selfsame winds that blow. ’Tis the set of the sails, And Not the gales, That tell us the way to go. Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate; As we voyage along through life, ’Tis the set of a soul That decides its goal, And not the calm or the strife. Ella Wheeler Wilcox cared about alleviating animal suffering, as can be seen from her poem, “Voice of the Voiceless”. It begins as follows: So many gods, so many creeds, So many paths that wind and wind, While just the art of being kind Is all the sad world needs. I am the voice of the voiceless; Through me the dumb shall speak, Till the deaf world’s ear be made to hear The wrongs of the wordless weak. From street, from cage, and from kennel, From stable and zoo, the wail Of my tortured kin proclaims the sin Of the mighty against the frail. She made a very popular appearance during World War I in France, reciting her poem, The Stevedores ("Here’s to the Army stevedores, lusty and virile and strong...") while visiting a camp of 9,000 US Army stevedores. Works Book (autobiography) * The Heart of New Thought, Chicago: The Psychic Research Company, 1902. 92 pages. * A Woman of the World: Her Counsel to Other People’s Son and Daughters; L.C. Page and Company, Boston, 1905. 310 pages. * The Worlds and I, New York: George II Doran Company, c1918 www Poetry * The Invisible Helpers in Cosmopolitan 57 (October 1914): 578-579 www * The Voice of the Voiceless www * Disarmament www * Roads to God www * To An Astrologer www * Secret Thoughts www * An Ambitious Man www * An Englishman and Other Poems www * Hello, Boys! www * The Kingdom of Love www * Maurine and other Poems www * New Thought Pastels www * Poems of Cheer www * Poems of Experience www * Poems of Optimism www * Poems of Passion www * Poems of Power www * Poems of Progress www * Poems of Purpose www * Poems of Sentiment www * A Woman of the World www * Yesterdays www * Poems of Reflection, 1905 copyright, M. A. Donahue & Co. (publisher) References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ella_Wheeler_Wilcox

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth (7 April 1770 – 23 April 1850) was a major English Romantic poet who, with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, helped to launch the Romantic Age in English literature with the 1798 joint publication Lyrical Ballads. Wordsworth's magnum opus is generally considered to be The Prelude, a semiautobiographical poem of his early years which he revised and expanded a number of times. It was posthumously titled and published, prior to which it was generally known as the poem "to Coleridge". Wordsworth was Britain's Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850. Early life The second of five children born to John Wordsworth and Ann Cookson, William Wordsworth was born on 7 April 1770 in Wordsworth House in Cockermouth, Cumberland—part of the scenic region in northwest England, the Lake District. His sister, the poet and diarist Dorothy Wordsworth, to whom he was close all his life, was born the following year, and the two were baptised together. They had three other siblings: Richard, the eldest, who became a lawyer; John, born after Dorothy, who went to sea and died in 1805 when the ship of which he was Master, the Earl of Abergavenny, was wrecked off the south coast of England; and Christopher, the youngest, who entered the Church and rose to be Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. Their father was a legal representative of James Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale and, through his connections, lived in a large mansion in the small town. Wordsworth, as with his siblings, had little involvement with their father, and they would be distant from him until his death in 1783. Wordsworth's father, although rarely present, did teach him poetry, including that of Milton, Shakespeare and Spenser, in addition to allowing his son to rely on his own father's library. Along with spending time reading in Cockermouth, Wordsworth would also stay at his mother's parents house in Penrith, Cumberland. At Penrith, Wordsworth was exposed to the moors. Wordsworth could not get along with his grandparents and his uncle, and his hostile interactions with them distressed him to the point of contemplating suicide. After the death of their mother, in 1778, John Wordsworth sent William to Hawkshead Grammar School in Lancashire and Dorothy to live with relatives in Yorkshire; she and William would not meet again for another nine years. Although Hawkshead was Wordsworth's first serious experience with education, he had been taught to read by his mother and had attended a tiny school of low quality in Cockermouth. After the Cockermouth school, he was sent to a school in Penrith for the children of upper-class families and taught by Ann Birkett, a woman who insisted on instilling in her students traditions that included pursuing both scholarly and local activities, especially the festivals around Easter, May Day, and Shrove Tuesday. Wordsworth was taught both the Bible and the Spectator, but little else. It was at the school that Wordsworth was to meet the Hutchinsons, including Mary, who would be his future wife. Wordsworth made his debut as a writer in 1787 when he published a sonnet in The European Magazine. That same year he began attending St John's College, Cambridge, and received his B.A. degree in 1791. He returned to Hawkshead for his first two summer holidays, and often spent later holidays on walking tours, visiting places famous for the beauty of their landscape. In 1790, he took a walking tour of Europe, during which he toured the Alps extensively, and visited nearby areas of France, Switzerland, and Italy. Relationship with Annette Vallon In November 1791, Wordsworth visited Revolutionary France and became enthralled with the Republican movement. He fell in love with a French woman, Annette Vallon, who in 1792 gave birth to their child, Caroline. Because of lack of money and Britain's tensions with France, he returned alone to England the next year. The circumstances of his return and his subsequent behaviour raise doubts as to his declared wish to marry Annette, but he supported her and his daughter as best he could in later life. The Reign of Terror estranged him from the Republican movement, and war between France and Britain prevented him from seeing Annette and Caroline again for several years. There are strong suggestions that Wordsworth may have been depressed and emotionally unsettled in the mid-1790s. With the Peace of Amiens again allowing travel to France, in 1802 Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy, visited Annette and Caroline in Calais. The purpose of the visit was to pave the way for his forthcoming marriage to Mary Hutchinson, and a mutually agreeable settlement was reached regarding Wordsworth's obligations. Afterwards he wrote the poem "It is a beauteous evening, calm and free," recalling his seaside walk with his daughter, whom he had not seen for ten years. At the conception of this poem, he had never seen his daughter before. The occurring lines reveal his deep love for both child and mother. First publication and Lyrical Ballads In his "Preface to Lyrical Ballads", which is called the "manifesto" of English Romantic criticism, Wordsworth calls his poems "experimental." The year 1793 saw Wordsworth's first published poetry with the collections An Evening Walk and Descriptive Sketches. He received a legacy of £900 from Raisley Calvert in 1795 so that he could pursue writing poetry. That year, he met Samuel Taylor Coleridge in Somerset. The two poets quickly developed a close friendship. In 1797, Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy moved to Alfoxton House, Somerset, just a few miles away from Coleridge's home in Nether Stowey. Together, Wordsworth and Coleridge (with insights from Dorothy) produced Lyrical Ballads (1798), an important work in the English Romantic movement. The volume gave neither Wordsworth's nor Coleridge's name as author. One of Wordsworth's most famous poems, "Tintern Abbey", was published in the work, along with Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner". The second edition, published in 1800, had only Wordsworth listed as the author, and included a preface to the poems, which was augmented significantly in the 1802 edition. This Preface to Lyrical Ballads is considered a central work of Romantic literary theory. In it, Wordsworth discusses what he sees as the elements of a new type of poetry, one based on the "real language of men" and which avoids the poetic diction of much 18th-century poetry. Here, Wordsworth gives his famous definition of poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions recollected in tranquility: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility." A fourth and final edition of Lyrical Ballads was published in 1805. The Borderers From 1795 to 1797, he wrote his only play, The Borderers, a verse tragedy set during the reign of King Henry III of England when Englishmen of the north country were in conflict with Scottish rovers. Wordsworth attempted to get the play staged in November 1797, but it was rejected by Thomas Harris, theatre manager of Covent Garden, who proclaimed it "impossible that the play should succeed in the representation". The rebuff was not received lightly by Wordsworth, and the play was not published until 1842, after substantial revision. Germany and move to the Lake District Wordsworth, Dorothy and Coleridge travelled to Germany in the autumn of 1798. While Coleridge was intellectually stimulated by the trip, its main effect on Wordsworth was to produce homesickness. During the harsh winter of 1798–99, Wordsworth lived with Dorothy in Goslar, and, despite extreme stress and loneliness, he began work on an autobiographical piece later titled The Prelude. He wrote a number of famous poems, including "The Lucy poems". He and his sister moved back to England, now to Dove Cottage in Grasmere in the Lake District, and this time with fellow poet Robert Southey nearby. Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey came to be known as the "Lake Poets". Through this period, many of his poems revolve around themes of death, endurance, separation and grief. Marriage and children In 1802, after Wordsworth's return from his trip to France with Dorothy to visit Annette and Caroline, Lowther's heir, William Lowther, 1st Earl of Lonsdale, paid the ₤4, debt owed to Wordsworth's father incurred through Lowther's failure to pay his aide. Later that year, on October 4, Wordsworth married a childhood friend, Mary Hutchinson. Dorothy continued to live with the couple and grew close to Mary. The following year, Mary gave birth to the first of five children, three of whom predeceased William and Mary: * John Wordsworth (18 June 1803 – 1875). * Dora Wordsworth (16 August 1804 – 9 July 1847). * Thomas Wordsworth (15 June 1806 – 1 December 1812). * Catherine Wordsworth (6 September 1808 – 4 June 1812). * William "Willy" Wordsworth (12 May 1810 – 1883). Autobiographical work and Poems in Two Volumes Wordsworth had for years been making plans to write a long philosophical poem in three parts, which he intended to call The Recluse. He had in 1798–99 started an autobiographical poem, which he never named but called the "poem to Coleridge", which would serve as an appendix to The Recluse. In 1804, he began expanding this autobiographical work, having decided to make it a prologue rather than an appendix to the larger work he planned. By 1805, he had completed it, but refused to publish such a personal work until he had completed the whole of The Recluse. The death of his brother, John, in 1805 affected him strongly. The source of Wordsworth's philosophical allegiances as articulated in The Prelude and in such shorter works as "Lines composed a few miles above Tintern Abbey" has been the source of much critical debate. While it had long been supposed that Wordsworth relied chiefly on Coleridge for philosophical guidance, more recent scholarship has suggested that Wordsworth's ideas may have been formed years before he and Coleridge became friends in the mid 1790s. While in Revolutionary Paris in 1792, the 22-year-old Wordsworth made the acquaintance of the mysterious traveller John "Walking" Stewart (1747–1822), who was nearing the end of a thirty-years' peregrination from Madras, India, through Persia and Arabia, across Africa and all of Europe, and up through the fledgling United States. By the time of their association, Stewart had published an ambitious work of original materialist philosophy entitled The Apocalypse of Nature (London, 1791), to which many of Wordsworth's philosophical sentiments are likely indebted. In 1807, his Poems in Two Volumes were published, including "Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood". Up to this point Wordsworth was known publicly only for Lyrical Ballads, and he hoped this collection would cement his reputation. Its reception was lukewarm, however. For a time (starting in 1810), Wordsworth and Coleridge were estranged over the latter's opium addiction. Two of his children, Thomas and Catherine, died in 1812. The following year, he received an appointment as Distributor of Stamps for Westmorland, and the £400 per year income from the post made him financially secure. His family, including Dorothy, moved to Rydal Mount, Ambleside (between Grasmere and Rydal Water) in 1813, where he spent the rest of his life. The Prospectus In 1814 he published The Excursion as the second part of the three-part The Recluse. He had not completed the first and third parts, and never would. He did, however, write a poetic Prospectus to "The Recluse" in which he lays out the structure and intent of the poem. The Prospectus contains some of Wordsworth's most famous lines on the relation between the human mind and nature: My voice proclaims How exquisitely the individual Mind (And the progressive powers perhaps no less Of the whole species) to the external World Is fitted:--and how exquisitely, too, Theme this but little heard of among Men, The external World is fitted to the Mind. Some modern critics[who?] recognise a decline in his works beginning around the mid-1810s. But this decline was perhaps more a change in his lifestyle and beliefs, since most of the issues that characterise his early poetry (loss, death, endurance, separation and abandonment) were resolved in his writings. But, by 1820, he enjoyed the success accompanying a reversal in the contemporary critical opinion of his earlier works. Following the death of his friend the painter William Green in 1823, Wordsworth mended relations with Coleridge. The two were fully reconciled by 1828, when they toured the Rhineland together. Dorothy suffered from a severe illness in 1829 that rendered her an invalid for the remainder of her life. In 1835, Wordsworth gave Annette and Caroline the money they needed for support. The Poet Laureate and other honours Wordsworth received an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree in 1838 from Durham University, and the same honour from Oxford University the next year. In 1842 the government awarded him a civil list pension amounting to £300 a year. With the death in 1843 of Robert Southey, Wordsworth became the Poet Laureate. He initially refused the honour, saying he was too old, but accepted when Prime Minister Robert Peel assured him "you shall have nothing required of you" (he became the only laureate to write no official poetry). When his daughter, Dora, died in 1847, his production of poetry came to a standstill. Death William Wordsworth died by re-aggravating a case of pleurisy on 23 April 1850, and was buried at St. Oswald's church in Grasmere. His widow Mary published his lengthy autobiographical "poem to Coleridge" as The Prelude several months after his death. Though this failed to arouse great interest in 1850, it has since come to be recognised as his masterpiece. Major works Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems (1798) * "Simon Lee" * "We are Seven" * "Lines Written in Early Spring" * "Expostulation and Reply" * "The Tables Turned" * "The Thorn" * "Lines Composed A Few Miles above Tintern Abbey" Lyrical Ballads, with Other Poems (1800) * Preface to the Lyrical Ballads * "Strange fits of passion have I known"[14] * "She Dwelt among the Untrodden Ways"[14] * "Three years she grew"[14] * "A Slumber Did my Spirit Seal"[14] * "I travelled among unknown men"[14] * "Lucy Gray" * "The Two April Mornings" * "Nutting" * "The Ruined Cottage" * "Michael" * "The Kitten At Play" Poems, in Two Volumes (1807) * "Resolution and Independence" * "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" Also known as "Daffodils" * "My Heart Leaps Up" * "Ode: Intimations of Immortality" * "Ode to Duty" * "The Solitary Reaper" * "Elegiac Stanzas" * "Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802" * "London, 1802" * "The World Is Too Much with Us" * Guide to the Lakes (1810) * The Excursion (1814) * Laodamia (1815, 1845) * The Prelude (1850) References Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Wordsworth

William Carlos Williams

William Carlos Williams (September 17, 1883 – March 4, 1963) was an American poet closely associated with modernism and Imagism. He was also a pediatrician and general practitioner of medicine with a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Williams "worked harder at being a writer than he did at being a physician" but excelled at both. Life and career Williams was born in Rutherford, New Jersey. His grandmother, an Englishwoman deserted by her husband, had come to the United States with her son, remarried, and moved to Puerto Rico. Her son, Williams' father, married a Puerto Rican woman of French Basque and Dutch Jewish descent. He received his primary and secondary education in Rutherford until 1897, when he was sent for two years to a school near Geneva and to the Lycée Condorcet in Paris. He attended the Horace Mann School upon his return to New York City and after having passed a special examination, he was admitted in 1902 to the medical school of the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated in 1906.[2][3] He published his first book, Poems, in 1909. Williams married Florence Herman (1891–1976) in 1912, after his first proposal to her older sister was refused.[4] They moved into a house in Rutherford, New Jersey, which was their home for many years. Shortly afterward, his second book of poems, The Tempers, was published by a London press through the help of his friend, Ezra Pound whom he met while studying at the University of Pennsylvania. Although his primary occupation was as a family doctor, Williams had a successful literary career as a poet. In addition to poetry (his main literary focus), he occasionally wrote short stories, plays, novels, essays, and translations. He practiced medicine by day and wrote at night. Early in his career, he briefly became involved in the Imagist movement through his friendships with Ezra Pound and H.D. (also known as Hilda Doolittle, another well-known poet whom he befriended while attending the University of Pennsylvania), but soon he began to develop opinions that differed from those of his poet/friends. In 1915 Williams also began to associate with a group of New York artists and writers known as "The Others."[5] Founded by the poet Alfred Kreymborg and the artist Man Ray, this group included Walter Conrad Arensberg, Wallace Stevens, Mina Loy, Marianne Moore and Marcel Duchamp. In 1920, Williams was sharply criticized by many of his peers (like H.D., Pound, and Wallace Stevens) when he published one of his most experimental books, Kora in Hell: Improvisations. Pound called the work "incoherent" and H.D. thought the book was "flippant."[6] A few years later, Williams published one of his seminal books of poetry, Spring and All, which contained classic Williams poems like "By the road to the contagious hospital," "The Red Wheelbarrow," and "To Elsie." However, in 1922, the year before Williams published Spring and All, T.S. Eliot published The Waste Land which became a literary sensation and overshadowed Williams' very different brand of poetic Modernism. In his Autobiography, Williams would later write, "I felt at once that [The Waste Land] had set me back twenty years and I'm sure it did. Critically, Eliot returned us to the classroom just at the moment when I felt we were on a point to escape to matters much closer to the essence of a new art form itself—rooted in the locality which should give it fruit." And although he respected the work of Eliot, Williams became openly critical of Eliot's highly intellectual style with its frequent use of foreign languages and allusions to classical and European literature.[7]. Instead, Williams preferred colloquial American English.[8] In his modernist epic collage of place, Paterson (published between 1946 and 1958), an account of the history, people, and essence of Paterson, New Jersey, he tried to write his own Modernist epic poem, focusing on "the local" on a wider scale than he had previously attempted. He also examined the role of the poet in American society and famously summarized his poetic method in the phrase "No ideas but in things" (found in his poem "A Sort of a Song" and repeated again and again in Paterson). In his later years, Williams took on the role of elder statesman and mentored and influenced younger poets. He had an especially significant influence on many of the American literary movements of the 1950s, including the Beat movement, the San Francisco Renaissance, the Black Mountain school, and the New York School.[9] One of Williams's most dynamic relationships as a mentor was with fellow New Jerseyite Allen Ginsberg. Williams included several of Ginsberg's letters in Paterson, stating that one of them helped inspire the fifth section of that work. Williams also wrote the introduction to Ginsberg's important first book, Howl and Other Poems in 1956. After Williams suffered a heart attack in 1948, his health began to decline, and after 1949 a series of strokes followed. Williams died on March 4, 1963 at the age of seventy-nine at his home in Rutherford.[10][11] He was buried in Hillside Cemetery in Lyndhurst, New Jersey. Poetry The poet/critic Randall Jarrell said of his poetry, "William Carlos Williams is as magically observant and mimetic as a good novelist. He reproduces the details of what he sees with surprising freshness, clarity, and economy; and he sees just as extraordinarily, sometimes, the forms of this earth, the spirit moving behind the letters. His quick transparent lines have the nervous and contracted strength, move as jerkily and intently as a bird."[13] Williams' major collections are Spring and All (1923), Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems (1962), and Paterson (1963, repr. 1992). His most anthologized poem is "The Red Wheelbarrow", an example of the Imagist movement's style and principles (see also "This Is Just To Say"). However, Williams, like his peer and friend Ezra Pound, had already rejected the Imagist movement by the time this poem was published as part of Spring and All in 1923. Williams is strongly associated with the American Modernist movement in literature and saw his poetic project as a distinctly American one; he sought to renew language through the fresh, raw idiom that grew out of America's cultural and social heterogeneity, at the same time freeing it from what he saw as the worn-out language of British and European culture. Williams tried to invent an entirely fresh and uniquely American form of poetry whose subject matter was centered on everyday circumstances of life and the lives of common people. He came up with the concept of the "variable foot" which Williams never clearly defined, although the concept vaguely referred to Williams' method of determining line breaks. Williams commented that the 'variable foot' was a metrical device to resolve the conflict between form and freedom in verse.[14] One of Williams' aims, in experimenting with his "variable foot", was to show the American (opposed to European) rhythm that he claimed to be present in everyday American language. Stylistically, Williams also worked with variations on a line-break pattern that he labeled " triadic-line poetry," in which he broke a long line into the three, free-verse segments. A well-known example of the "triadic line [break]' can be found in Williams' love-poem Asphodel, That Greeny Flower.[15] In a review of William Carlos Williams' biography, "Something Urgent I Have to Say to You": The Life and Works of William Carlos Williams, by Herbert Leibowitz, book critic Christopher Benfey wrote of Williams's poetry, "Early and late, Williams held the conviction that poetry was in his friend Kenneth Burke's phrase, 'equipment for living, a necessary guide amid the bewilderments of life.' The American ground was wild and new, a place where a blooming foreigner needed all the help he could get. Poems were as essential to a full life as physical health or the love of men and women.” Legacy, awards and honors The U.S. National Book Award was reestablished in 1950 with awards by the book industry to authors of 1949 books in three categories. Williams won the first National Book Award for Poetry, evidently recognizing both the third volume of Paterson and Selected Poems.[17] In May 1963, he was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems (1962) and the Gold Medal for Poetry of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. The Poetry Society of America continues to honor William Carlos Williams by presenting an annual award in his name for the best book of poetry published by a small, non-profit or university press. Williams' house in Rutherford is now on the National Register of Historic Places. He was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2009. Poetry collections Poems (1909) The Tempers (1913) Al Que Quiere! (1917) Sour Grapes (1921) Spring and All (1923) Go Go (1923) The Cod Head (1932) Collected Poems, 1921-1931 (1934) An Early Martyr and Other Poems (1935) Adam & Eve & The City (1936) The Complete Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, 1906-1938 (1938) The Broken Span (1941) The Wedge (1944) Paterson Book I (1946); Book II (1948); Book III (1949); Book IV (1951); Book V (1958) Clouds, Aigeltinger, Russia (1948) The Collected Later Poems (1950; rev. ed.1963) Collected Earlier Poems (1951; rev. ed., 1966) The Desert Music and Other Poems (1954) Journey to Love (1955) Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems (1962) Paterson (Books I-V in one volume, (1963) Imaginations (1970) Collected Poems: Volume 1, 1909-1939 (1988) Collected Poems: Volume 2, 1939-1962 (1989) Early Poems (1997) By Word of Mouth: Poems from the Spanish, 1916-1959 New Directions Publishing (Sept. 2011) Books, prose Kora in Hell: Improvisations (1920) - Prose-poem improvisations. The Great American Novel (1923) - A novel. Spring and All (1923) - A hybrid of prose and verse. In the American Grain (1925), 1967, repr. New Directions 2004 - Prose on historical figures and events. A Voyage to Pagany (1928) - An autobiographical travelogue in the form of a novel. Novelette and Other Prose (1932) The Knife of the Times, and Other Stories (1932) White Mule (1937) - A novel. Life along the Passaic River (1938) - Short stories. In the Money (1940) - Sequel to White Mule. Make Light of It: Collected Stories (1950) Autobiography (1951) W. W. Norton & Co. (1 February 1967) The Build-Up (1952) - Completes the "Stecher trilogy" begun with White Mule. Selected Essays (1954) The Selected Letters of William Carlos Williams (1957) I Wanted to Write a Poem: The Autobiography of the Works of a Poet (1958) Yes, Mrs. Williams: A Personal Record of My Mother (1959) The Farmers' Daughters: Collected Stories (1961) Imaginations (1970) - A collection of five previously published early works. The Embodiment of Knowledge (1974) - Philosophical and critical notes and essays. Interviews With William Carlos Williams: "Speaking Straight Ahead" (1976) A Recognizable Image: William Carlos Williams on Art and Artists (1978) Pound/Williams: Selected Letters of Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams (1996) The Collected Stories of William Carlos Williams (1996) The Letters of Denise Levertov and William Carlos Williams (1998) William Carlos Williams and Charles Tomlinson: A Transatlantic Connection (1998) The Humane Particulars: The Collected Letters of William Carlos Williams and Kenneth Burke (2004) Drama Many Loves and Other Plays: The Collected Plays of William Carlos Williams (1962) References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Carlos_Williams

John Greenleaf Whittier

John Greenleaf Whittier (December 17, 1807 – September 7, 1892) was an American Quaker poet and advocate of the abolition of slavery in the United States. Frequently listed as one of the Fireside Poets, he was influenced by the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Whittier is remembered particularly for his anti-slavery writings as well as his book Snow-Bound. Early life and work John Greenleaf Whittier was born to John and Abigail (Hussey) at their rural homestead in Haverhill, Massachusetts, on December 17, 1807. His middle name is thought to mean 'feuillevert' after his Huguenot forbears. He grew up on the farm in a household with his parents, a brother and two sisters, a maternal aunt and paternal uncle, and a constant flow of visitors and hired hands for the farm. As a boy, it was discovered that Whittier was color-blind when he was unable to see a difference between ripe and unripe strawberries. Their farm was not very profitable and there was only enough money to get by. Whittier himself was not cut out for hard farm labor and suffered from bad health and physical frailty his whole life. Although he received little formal education, he was an avid reader who studied his father's six books on Quakerism until their teachings became the foundation of his ideology. Whittier was heavily influenced by the doctrines of his religion, particularly its stress on humanitarianism, compassion, and social responsibility. Whittier was first introduced to poetry by a teacher. His sister sent his first poem, "The Exile's Departure", to the Newburyport Free Press without his permission and its editor, William Lloyd Garrison, published it on June 8, 1826. Garrison as well as another local editor encouraged Whittier to attend the recently opened Haverhill Academy. To raise money to attend the school, Whittier became a shoemaker for a time, and a deal was made to pay part of his tuition with food from the family farm. Before his second term, he earned money to cover tuition by serving as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in what is now Merrimac, Massachusetts. He attended Haverhill Academy from 1827 to 1828 and completed a high school education in only two terms. Garrison gave Whittier the job of editor of the National Philanthropist, a Boston-based temperance weekly. Shortly after a change in management, Garrison reassigned him as editor of the weekly American Manufacturer in Boston. Whittier became an out-spoken critic of President Andrew Jackson, and by 1830 was editor of the prominent New England Weekly Review in Hartford, Connecticut, the most influential Whig journal in New England. In 1833 he published The Song of the Vermonters, 1779, which he had anonymously inserted in The New England Magazine. The poem was erroneously attributed to Ethan Allen for nearly sixty years. Abolitionist activity During the 1830s, Whittier became interested in politics but, after losing a Congressional election at age twenty-five, he suffered a nervous breakdown and returned home. The year 1833 was a turning point for Whittier; he resurrected his correspondence with Garrison, and the passionate abolitionist began to encourage the young Quaker to join his cause. In 1833, Whittier published the antislavery pamphlet Justice and Expediency, and from there dedicated the next twenty years of his life to the abolitionist cause. The controversial pamphlet destroyed all of his political hopes — as his demand for immediate emancipation alienated both northern businessmen and southern slaveholders — but it also sealed his commitment to a cause that he deemed morally correct and socially necessary. He was a founding member of the American Anti-Slavery Society and signed the Anti-Slavery Declaration of 1833, which he often considered the most significant action of his life. Whittier's political skill made him useful as a lobbyist, and his willingness to badger anti-slavery congressional leaders into joining the abolitionist cause was invaluable. From 1835 to 1838, he traveled widely in the North, attending conventions, securing votes, speaking to the public, and lobbying politicians. As he did so, Whittier received his fair share of violent responses, being several times mobbed, stoned, and run out of town. From 1838 to 1840, he was editor of The Pennsylvania Freeman in Philadelphia, one of the leading antislavery papers in the North, formerly known as the National Enquirer. In May 1838, the publication moved its offices to the newly opened Pennsylvania Hall on North Sixth Street, which was shortly after burned by a pro-slavery mob. Whittier also continued to write poetry and nearly all of his poems in this period dealt with the problem of slavery. By the end of the 1830s, the unity of the abolitionist movement had begun to fracture. Whittier stuck to his belief that moral action apart from political effort was futile. He knew that success required legislative change, not merely moral suasion. This opinion alone engendered a bitter split from Garrison,[citation needed] and Whittier went on to become a founding member of the Liberty Party in 1839. In 1840 he attended the World Anti-Slavery Convention in London. By 1843, he was announcing the triumph of the fledgling party: "Liberty party is no longer an experiment. It is vigorous reality, exerting... a powerful influence". Whittier also unsuccessfully encouraged Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow to join the party. He took editing jobs with the Middlesex Standard in Lowell, Massachusetts and the Essex Transcript in Amesbury until 1844. While in Lowell, he met Lucy Larcom, who became a lifelong friend. In 1845, he began writing his essay "The Black Man" which included an anecdote about John Fountain, a free black who was jailed in Virginia for helping slaves escape. After his release, Fountain went on a speaking tour and thanked Whittier for writing his story. Around this time, the stresses of editorial duties, worsening health, and dangerous mob violence caused him to have a physical breakdown. Whittier went home to Amesbury, and remained there for the rest of his life, ending his active participation in abolition. Even so, he continued to believe that the best way to gain abolitionist support was to broaden the Liberty Party's political appeal, and Whittier persisted in advocating the addition of other issues to their platform. He eventually participated in the evolution of the Liberty Party into the Free Soil Party, and some say his greatest political feat was convincing Charles Sumner to run on the Free-Soil ticket for the U.S. Senate in 1850. Beginning in 1847, Whittier was editor of Gamaliel Bailey's The National Era, one of the most influential abolitionist newspapers in the North. For the next ten years it featured the best of his writing, both as prose and poetry. Being confined to his home and away from the action offered Whittier a chance to write better abolitionist poetry; he was even poet laureate for his party. Whittier's poems often used slavery to represent all kinds of oppression (physical, spiritual, economic), and his poems stirred up popular response because they appealed to feelings rather than logic. Whittier produced two collections of antislavery poetry: Poems Written during the Progress of the Abolition Question in the United States, between 1830 and 1838 and Voices of Freedom (1846). He was an elector in the presidential election of 1860 and of 1864, voting for Abraham Lincoln both times. The passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865 ended both slavery and his public cause, so Whittier turned to other forms of poetry for the remainder of his life. Criticism Nathaniel Hawthorne dismissed Whittier's Literary Recreations and Miscellanies (1854): "Whittier's book is poor stuff! I like the man, but have no high opinion either of his poetry or his prose." Editor George Ripley, however, found Whittier's poetry refreshing and said it had a "stately movement of versification, grandeur of imagery, a vein of tender and solemn pathos, cheerful trust" and a "pure and ennobling character". Boston critic Edwin Percy Whipple noted Whittier's moral and ethical tone mingled with sincere emotion. He wrote, "In reading this last volume, I feel as if my soul had taken a bath in holy water." Later scholars and critics questioned the depth of Whittier's poetry. One was Karl Keller, who noted, "Whittier has been a writer to love, not to belabor." Influence and legacy Whittier was particularly supportive of women writers, including Alice Cary, Phoebe Cary, Sarah Orne Jewett, Lucy Larcom, and Celia Thaxter. He was especially influential in prose writings by Jewett, with whom he shared a belief in the moral quality of literature and an interest New England folklore. Jewett dedicated one of her books to him and modeled several of her characters after people in Whittier's life. Whittier's family farm, known as the John Greenleaf Whittier Homestead or simply "Whittier's Birthplace", is now a historic site open to the public. His later residence in Amesbury, where he lived for 56 years, is also open to the public, and is now known as the John Greenleaf Whittier Home. Whittier's hometown of Haverhill has named many buildings and landmarks in his honor including J.G. Whittier Middle School, Greenleaf Elementary, and Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School. Numerous other schools around the country also bear his name. A bridge named for Whittier, built in the style of the Sagamore and Bourne Bridges, carries Interstate 95 from Amesbury to Newburyport over the Merrimack River. A covered bridge spanning the Bearcamp River in Ossipee, New Hampshire is also named for Whittier, as is a nearby mountain. The city of Whittier, California is named after the poet, as are the communities of Whittier, Alaska, and Whittier, Iowa, the Minneapolis neighborhood of Whittier, the Denver, Colorado, neighborhood of Whittier, and the town of Greenleaf, Idaho. Both Whittier College and Whittier Law School are also named after him. A park in the Saint Boniface area of Winnipeg is named after the poet in recognition of his poem "The Red River Voyageur". Whittier Education Campus in Washington, DC is named in his honor. The alternate history story P.'s Correspondence (1846) by Nathaniel Hawthorne, considered the first such story ever published in English, includes the notice "Whittier, a fiery Quaker youth, to whom the muse had perversely assigned a battle-trumpet, got himself lynched, in South Carolina". The date of that event in Hawthorne's invented timeline was 1835. Whittier was one of thirteen writers in the 1897 card game Authors and referenced his writings "Laus Deo", "Among the Hills", Snow-bound, and "The Eternal Goodness". He was removed from the card game when it was reissued in 1987. LIST OF WORKS Poetry collections Poems written during the Progress of the Abolition Question in the United States (1837) Lays of My Home (1843) Voices of Freedom (1846) Songs of Labor (1850) The Chapel of the Hermits (1853) Le Marais du Cygne (September 1858 Atlantic Monthly) Home Ballads (1860) The Furnace Blast (1862) Maud Muller (1856) In War Time (1864) Snow-Bound (1866) The Tent on the Beach (1867) Among the Hills (1869) Whittier's Poems Complete (1874)[citation needed] *The Pennsylvania Pilgrim (1872) The Vision of Echard (1878) The King's Missive (1881) Saint Gregory's Guest (1886) At Sundown (1890) Prose The Stranger in Lowell (1845) The Supernaturalism of New England (1847) Leaves from Margaret Smith's Journal (1849) Old Portraits and Modern Sketches (1850) Literary Recreations and Miscellanies (1854) References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Greenleaf_Whittier

Isaac Watts

Isaac Watts (17 July 1674– 25 November 1748) was an English Christian minister, hymnwriter, theologian and logician. A prolific and popular hymn writer, his work was part of evangelization. He was recognized as the “Father of English Hymnody”, credited with some 750 hymns. Many of his hymns remain in use today and have been translated into numerous languages. Life Born in Southampton, England, in 1674, Watts was brought up in the home of a committed religious Nonconformist; his father, also Isaac Watts, had been incarcerated twice for his views. At King Edward VI School, Watts had a classical education, learning Latin, Greek and Hebrew. From an early age, Watts displayed a propensity for rhyme. Once, he responded when asked why he had his eyes open during prayers: Receiving corporal punishment for this, he cried: Because he was a Nonconformist, Watts could not attend Oxford or Cambridge, which were each restricted to Anglicans, as were government positions at the time. He went to the Dissenting Academy at Stoke Newington in 1690. Much of the remainder of his life centred around that village, which is now part of Inner London. Following his education, Watts was called as pastor of a large independent chapel in London, where he helped train preachers, despite his poor health. Isaac Watts held religious opinions that were more non-denominational or ecumenical than was at that time common for a Nonconformist; he had a greater interest in promoting education and scholarship than preaching for any particular sect. Taking work as a private tutor, Watts lived with the Nonconformist Hartopp family at Fleetwood House, on Church Street in Stoke Newington. Through them he became acquainted with their immediate neighbours, Sir Thomas Abney and Lady Mary. Invited for a week to Hertfordshire, Watts eventually lived for a total of 36 years in the Abney household, most of the time at Abney House, their second residence. (Lady Mary had inherited the Manor of Stoke Newington in 1701 from her late brother, Thomas Gunston.) On the death of Sir Thomas Abney in 1722, the widow Lady Mary and her last unmarried daughter, Elizabeth, moved all her household to Abney Hall from Hertfordshire. She invited Watts to continue with their household. He lived at Abney Hall until his death in 1748. Watts particularly enjoyed the grounds at Abney Park, which Lady Mary planted with two elm walks leading down to an island heronry in the Hackney Brook. Watts often sought inspiration there for the many books and hymns he wrote. Watts died in Stoke Newington in 1748, and was buried in Bunhill Fields. He left an extensive legacy of hymns, treatises, educational works and essays. His work was influential amongst Nonconformist independents and religious revivalists of the 18th century, such as Philip Doddridge, who dedicated his best-known work to Watts. Watts and hymnody Sacred music scholar Stephen Marini (2003) describes the ways in which Watts contributed to English hymnody. Notably, Watts led by including new poetry for “original songs of Christian experience” to be used in worship. The older tradition was based on the poetry of the Bible, notably the Psalms. This had developed from the teachings of the 16th-century Reformation leader John Calvin, who initiated the practice of creating verse translations of the Psalms in the vernacular for congregational singing. Watts’ introduction of extra-Biblical poetry opened up a new era of Protestant hymnody as other poets followed in his path. Watts also introduced a new way of rendering the Psalms in verse for church services. The Psalms were originally written in Biblical Hebrew within Judaism. In early Christendom, they were affirmed in the Biblical canon as part of the Old Testament. Watts proposed that the metrical translations of the Psalms as sung by Protestant Christians should give them a specifically Christian perspective. While he granted that David [to whom authorship of many of the Psalms is traditionally ascribed] was unquestionably a chosen instrument of God, Watts claimed that his religious understanding could not have fully apprehended the truths later revealed through Jesus Christ. The Psalms should therefore be “renovated” as if David had been a Christian, or as Watts put it in the title of his 1719 metrical Psalter, they should be “imitated in the language of the New Testament.” Marini discerns two particular trends in Watts’ verses, which he calls “emotional subjectivity” and “doctrinal objectivity”. By the former he means that “Watts’ voice broke down the distance between poet and singer and invested the text with personal spirituality.” As an example of this, he cites “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”. By “doctrinal objectivity,” Marini means that Watts verse achieved an “axiomatic quality” that “presented Christian doctrinal content with the explicit confidence that befits affirmations of faith.” As examples, Marini cites the hymns “Joy to the World” as well as “From All That Dwell Below the Skies”: Besides writing hymns, Isaac Watts was also a theologian and logician, writing books and essays on these subjects. Logic Watts wrote a text book on logic which was particularly popular; its full title was, Logic, or The Right Use of Reason in the Enquiry After Truth With a Variety of Rules to Guard Against Error in the Affairs of Religion and Human Life, as well as in the Sciences. This was first published in 1724, and it was printed in twenty editions. Watts wrote this work for beginners of logic, and arranged the book methodically. He divided the content of his elementary treatment of logic into four parts: perception, judgement, reasoning, and method, which he treated in this order. Each of these parts is divided into chapters, and some of these chapters are divided into sections. The content of the chapters and sections is subdivided by the following devices: divisions, distributions, notes, observations, directions, rules, illustrations, and remarks. Every contentum of the book comes under one or more of these headings, and this methodical arrangement serves to make the exposition clear. In Watts’ Logic, there are notable departures from other works of the time, and some notable innovations. The influence of British empiricism may be seen, especially that of contemporary philosopher and empiricist John Locke. Logic includes several references to Locke and his Essay Concerning Human Understanding, in which he espoused his empiricist views. Watts was careful to distinguish between judgements and propositions, unlike some other logic authors. According to Watts, judgement is “to compare... ideas together, and to join them by affirmation, or disjoin then by negation, according as we find them to agree or disagree”. He continues, “when mere ideas are joined in the mind without words, it is rather called a judgement; but when clothed with words it is called a proposition”. Watts’ Logic follows the scholastic tradition and divides propositions into universal affirmative, universal negative, particular affirmative, and particular negative. In the third part, Watts discusses reasoning and argumentation, with particular emphasis on the theory of syllogism. This was considered a centrally important part of classical logic. According to Watts, and in keeping with logicians of his day, Watts defined logic as an art (see liberal arts), as opposed to a science. Throughout Logic, Watts revealed his high conception of logic by stressing the practical side of logic, rather than the speculative side. According to Watts, as a practical art, logic can be really useful in any inquiry, whether it is an inquiry in the arts, or inquiry in the sciences, or inquiry of an ethical kind. Watts’ emphasis on logic as a practical art distinguishes his book from others. By stressing a practical and non-formal part of logic, Watts gave rules and directions for any kind of inquiry, including the inquiries of science and the inquiries of philosophy. These rules of inquiry were given in addition to the formal content of classical logic common to text books on logic from that time. Watts’ conception of logic as being divided into its practical part and its speculative part marks a departure from the conception of logic of most other authors. His conception of logic is more akin to that of the later, nineteenth-century logician, C.S. Peirce. Isaac Watts’ Logic became the standard text on logic at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Yale, being used at Oxford for well over 100 years. C.S. Peirce, the great nineteenth-century logician, wrote favorably of Watts’ Logic. When preparing his own text book, entitled A Critick of Arguments: How to Reason (also known as the Grand Logic), Peirce wrote, 'I shall suppose the reader to be acquainted with what is contained in Dr Watts’ Logick, a book... far superior to the treatises now used in colleges, being the production of a man distinguished for good sense.' Watts followed the Logic in 1741 by a supplement, The Improvement of the Mind. This also went through numerous editions and later inspired Michael Faraday. It was also widely used as a moral textbook in schools. Legacy, honours and memorials On his death, Isaac Watts’ papers were given to Yale University in the Colony of Connecticut, which Nonconformists had established. King Edward VI School, which he attended, named one of its houses “Watts” in his honour. The Church of England and Lutheran Church remember Watts (and his ministerial service) annually in the Calendar of Saints on November 25, and the Episcopal Church on the following day. The earliest surviving built memorial to Isaac Watts is at Westminster Abbey; this was completed shortly after his death. His much-visited chest tomb at Bunhill Fields, dates from 1808, replacing the original that had been paid for and erected by Lady Mary Abney and the Hartopp family. A stone bust of Watts is installed at the Nonconformist Dr Williams’s Library, in central London. The earliest public statue, erected in 1845, stands at Abney Park, where Watts had lived for more than 30 years at the manor house, where he also died. The park was later devoted to uses as a cemetery and public arboretum. A later, rather similar statue was funded by public subscription and erected in a new Victorian public park named for Watts in Southampton, the city of his birth. In the mid-nineteenth century, the Congregational Dr Watts Memorial Hall was built in Southampton and named for him. After World War II, it was lost to redevelopment. The Isaac Watts Memorial United Reformed Church was built on the site and named for him. One of the earliest built memorials may also now be lost: a bust to Watts that was commissioned on his death for the London chapel with which he was associated. The chapel was demolished in the late 18th century; remaining parts of the memorial were rescued at the last minute by a wealthy landowner for installation in his chapel near Liverpool. It is unclear whether the bust survives. The stone statue in front of the Abney Park Chapel at Dr Watts’ Walk, Abney Park Cemetery, was erected in 1845 by public subscription. It was designed by the leading British sculptor, Edward Hodges Baily RA FRS. A scheme for a commemorative statue on this spot had first been promoted in the late 1830s by George Collison, who in 1840 published an engraving as the frontispiece of his book about cemetery design in Europe and America; and at Abney Park Cemetery in particular. This first cenotaph proposal was never commissioned, and Baily’s later design was adopted in 1845. In 1974, the City of Southampton (Watts’ home city) commemorated the 300 year anniversary of his birth by commissioning the biography Isaac Watts Remembered, written by David G. Fountain, who like Watts, was also a non-conformist minister from Southampton. Cultural or contemporary influences One of Watts’ best-known poems was an exhortation “Against Idleness and Mischief” in Divine Songs for Children. This was parodied by Lewis Carroll in the poem “How Doth the Little Crocodile”, included in his book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. His parody is better known than the original Watts’ poem. In his novel, David Copperfield (1850), Charles Dickens has school master Dr. Strong quote from Watts’ “Against Idleness and Mischief”. The 1884 comic opera Princess Ida includes a punning reference to Watts in Act I. At Princess Ida’s women’s university, no males are allowed. Her father King Gama says that “She’ll scarcely suffer Dr. Watts’ 'hymns’”. Works Books * The Improvement of the Mind - first three chapters as text from Wikisource - 1815 Edition s:The Improvement of the MindThis book inspired Michael Faraday, to get his self-education by going to lectures * The Improvement of the Mind Vol 1 Vol 2 at The Internet Archive * The Knowledge of the Heavens and the Earth Made Easy ..., first edition, 1726; 1760 edition at Google Books * Logic, or The Right Use of Reason in the Enquiry After Truth With a Variety of Rules to Guard Against Error in the Affairs of Religion and Human Life, as well as in the Sciences[1] * A Short View of the Whole Scripture History: With a Continuation of the Jewish Affairs From the Old Testament Till the Time of Christ; and an Account of the Chief Prophesies that Relate to Him[2] * Watts is thought to be the author of the tract: An Essay on the Freedom of Will in God and Creatures (copy on The Internet Archive). * Divine Songs Attempted in Easy Language for the Use of Children (1715). Hymns Watts’ hymns include: * Joy to the world (based on Psalm 98, arranged in the 19th century by American Lowell Mason to an older melody of Handel) * Come ye that love the Lord (often sung with the chorus [and titled] “We’re marching to Zion”) * Come Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove * Jesus shall reign where’er the sun (based on Psalm 72) * O God, Our Help in Ages Past (based on Psalm 90) * When I survey the wondrous cross * Alas! and did my Saviour bleed * This is the day the Lord has made * ’Tis by Thy strength the mountains stand * I sing the mighty power of God (originally entitled “Praise for Creation and Providence” from Divine Songs Attempted in Easy Language for the Use of Children) * My shepherd will supply my need (based on Psalm 23) * Bless, O my soul! the living God (based on Psalm 103) * Many of Watts’ hymns are included in the Christadelphian hymnal, the Evangelical Lutheran Worship Hymnal, the Baptist Hymnal, the Presbyterian Trinity Hymnal, and the Methodist Hymns and Psalms. Many of his texts are also used in the American hymnal, The Sacred Harp, using what is known as the shape note notation used for teaching non-musicians. Several of his hymns are used in the hymnals of the Church of Christ, Scientist and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Watts

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. Today he is remembered for his epigrams, plays and the circumstances of his imprisonment, followed by his early death. Wilde's parents were successful Dublin intellectuals. Their son became fluent in French and German early in life. At university Wilde read Greats; he proved himself to be an outstanding classicist, first at Dublin, then at Oxford. He became known for his involvement in the rising philosophy of aestheticism, led by two of his tutors, Walter Pater and John Ruskin. After university, Wilde moved to London into fashionable cultural and social circles. As a spokesman for aestheticism, he tried his hand at various literary activities: he published a book of poems, lectured in the United States of America and Canada on the new "English Renaissance in Art", and then returned to London where he worked prolifically as a journalist. Known for his biting wit, flamboyant dress, and glittering conversation, Wilde had become one of the most well-known personalities of his day. At the turn of the 1890s, he refined his ideas about the supremacy of art in a series of dialogues and essays, and incorporated themes of decadence, duplicity, and beauty into his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890). The opportunity to construct aesthetic details precisely, and combine them with larger social themes, drew Wilde to write drama. He wrote Salome (1891) in French in Paris but it was refused a licence. Unperturbed, Wilde produced four society comedies in the early 1890s, which made him one of the most successful playwrights of late Victorian London. At the height of his fame and success, while his masterpiece, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895), was still on stage in London, Wilde had the Marquess of Queensberry, the father of his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas, prosecuted for libel, a charge carrying a penalty of up to two years in prison. (Libel Act of 1843) The trial unearthed evidence that caused Wilde to drop his charges and led to his own arrest and trial for gross indecency with other men. After two more trials he was convicted and imprisoned for two years' hard labour. In prison he wrote De Profundis (written in 1897 & published in 1905), a long letter which discusses his spiritual journey through his trials, forming a dark counterpoint to his earlier philosophy of pleasure. Upon his release he left immediately for France, never to return to Ireland or Britain. There he wrote his last work, The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898), a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life. He died destitute in Paris at the age of forty-six. Early life Oscar Wilde was born at 21 Westland Row, Dublin (now home of the Oscar Wilde Centre, Trinity College, Dublin) the second of three children born to Sir William Wilde and Jane Francesca Wilde, two years behind William ("Willie"). Jane Wilde, under the pseudonym "Speranza" (the Italian word for 'Hope'), wrote poetry for the revolutionary Young Irelanders in 1848 and was a life-long Irish nationalist. She read the Young Irelanders' poetry to Oscar and Willie, inculcating a love of these poets in her sons. Lady Wilde's interest in the neo-classical revival showed in the paintings and busts of ancient Greece and Rome in her home. William Wilde was Ireland's leading oto-ophthalmologic (ear and eye) surgeon and was knighted in 1864 for his services as medical adviser and assistant commissioner to the censuses of Ireland. He also wrote books about Irish archaeology and peasant folklore. A renowned philanthropist, his dispensary for the care of the city's poor at the rear of Trinity College, Dublin, was the forerunner of the Dublin Eye and Ear Hospital, now located at Adelaide Road. Wilde was baptised as an infant in St. Mark's Church, Dublin the local Church of Ireland (Anglican) church. When the church was closed, the records were moved to the nearby St. Ann's Church, Dawson Street. In addition to his children with his wife, Sir William Wilde was the father of three children born out of wedlock before his marriage: Henry Wilson, born in 1838, and Emily and Mary Wilde, born in 1847 and 1849, respectively, of different parentage to Henry. Sir William acknowledged paternity of his illegitimate children and provided for their education, but they were reared by his relatives rather than with his wife and legitimate children. In 1855, the family moved to No. 1 Merrion Square, where Wilde's sister, Isola, was born in 1857. The Wildes' new home was larger and, with both his parents' sociality and success soon became a "unique medical and cultural milieu"; guests at their salon included Sheridan le Fanu, Charles Lever, George Petrie, Isaac Butt, William Rowan Hamilton and Samuel Ferguson. Until he was nine, Oscar Wilde was educated at home, where a French bonne and a German governess taught him their languages. He then attended Portora Royal School in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. Until his early twenties, Wilde summered at the villa his father built in Moytura, County Mayo. There the young Wilde and his brother Willie played with George Moore. Isola died aged nine of meningitis. Wilde's poem "Requiescat" is dedicated to her memory: "Tread lightly, she is near Under the snow Speak gently, she can hear the daisies grow” University education: 1870s Trinity College, Dublin Wilde left Portora with a royal scholarship to read classics at Trinity College, Dublin, from 1871 to 1874, sharing rooms with his older brother Willie Wilde. Trinity, one of the leading classical schools, set him with scholars such as R.Y. Tyrell, Arthur Palmer, Edward Dowden and his tutor, J.P. Mahaffy who inspired his interest in Greek literature. As a student Wilde worked with Mahaffy on the latter's book Social Life in Greece. Wilde, despite later reservations, called Mahaffy "my first and best teacher" and "the scholar who showed me how to love Greek things". For his part Mahaffy boasted of having created Wilde; later, he would name him "the only blot on my tutorship". The University Philosophical Society also provided an education, discussing intellectual and artistic subjects such as Rosetti and Swinburne weekly. Wilde quickly became an established member – the members' suggestion book for 1874 contains two pages of banter (sportingly) mocking Wilde's emergent aestheticism. He presented a paper entitled "Aesthetic Morality". At Trinity, Wilde established himself as an outstanding student: he came first in his class in his first year, won a scholarship by competitive examination in his second, and then, in his finals, won the Berkeley Gold Medal, the University's highest academic award in Greek. He was encouraged to compete for a demyship to Magdalen College, Oxford – which he won easily, having already studied Greek for over nine years. Magdalen College, Oxford At Magdalen he read Greats from 1874 to 1878, and from there he applied to join the Oxford Union, but failed to be elected. Attracted by its dress, secrecy, and ritual, Wilde petitioned the Apollo Masonic Lodge at Oxford, and was soon raised to the "Sublime Degree of Master Mason". During a resurgent interest in Freemasonry in his third year, he commented he "would be awfully sorry to give it up if I secede from the Protestant Heresy". He was deeply considering converting to Catholicism, discussing the possibility with clergy several times. In 1877, Wilde was left speechless after an audience with Pope Pius IX in Rome. He eagerly read Cardinal Newman's books, and became more serious in 1878, when he met the Reverend Sebastian Bowden, a priest in the Brompton Oratory who had received some high profile converts. Neither his father, who threatened to cut off his funds, nor Mahaffy thought much of the plan; but mostly Wilde, the supreme individualist, balked at the last minute from pledging himself to any formal creed. On the appointed day of his baptism, Father Bowden received a bunch of altar lilies instead. Wilde retained a lifelong interest in Catholic theology and liturgy. While at Magdalen College, Wilde became particularly well known for his role in the aesthetic and decadent movements. He wore his hair long, openly scorned "manly" sports though he occasionally boxed, and decorated his rooms with peacock feathers, lilies, sunflowers, blue china and other objets d'art, once remarking to friends whom he entertained lavishly, "I find it harder and harder every day to live up to my blue china." The line quickly became famous, accepted as a slogan by aesthetes but used against them by critics who sensed in it a terrible vacuousness. Some elements disdained the aesthetes, but their languishing attitudes and showy costumes became a recognised pose. Wilde was once physically attacked by a group of four fellow students, and dealt with them single-handedly, surprising critics. By his third year Wilde had truly begun to create himself and his myth, and saw his learning developing in much larger ways than merely the prescribed texts. This attitude resulted in him being rusticated for one term, when he nonchalantly returned to college late from a trip to Greece with Prof. Mahaffy. Wilde did not meet Walter Pater until his third year, but had been enthralled by his Studies in the History of the Renaissance, published during Wilde's final year in Trinity. Pater argued that man's sensibility to beauty should be refined above all else, and that each moment should be felt to its fullest extent. Years later in De Profundis, Wilde called Pater's Studies... "that book that has had such a strange influence over my life". He learned tracts of the book by heart, and carried it with him on travels in later years. Pater gave Wilde his sense of almost flippant devotion to art, though it was John Ruskin who gave him a purpose for it. Ruskin despaired at the self-validating aestheticism of Pater, arguing that the importance of art lies in its potential for the betterment of society. Ruskin admired beauty, but believed it must be allied with, and applied to, moral good. When Wilde eagerly attended Ruskin's lecture series The Aesthetic and Mathematic Schools of Art in Florence, he learned about aesthetics as simply the non-mathematical elements of painting. Despite being given to neither early rising nor manual labour, Wilde volunteered for Ruskin's project to convert a swampy country lane into a smart road neatly edged with flowers. Wilde won the 1878 Newdigate Prize for his poem "Ravenna", which reflected on his visit there the year before, and he duly read it at Encaenia. In November 1878, he graduated with a rare double first in his B.A. of Classical Moderations and Literae Humaniores (Greats). Wilde wrote to a friend, "The dons are 'astonied' beyond words – the Bad Boy doing so well in the end!" Apprenticeship of an aesthete: 1880s Debut in society After graduation from Oxford, Wilde returned to Dublin, where he met again Florence Balcombe, a childhood sweetheart. She, however, became engaged to Bram Stoker and they married in 1878. Wilde was disappointed but stoic: he wrote to her, remembering "the two sweet years – the sweetest years of all my youth" they had spent together. He also stated his intention to "return to England, probably for good". This he did in 1878, only briefly visiting Ireland twice. Unsure of his next step, he wrote to various acquaintances enquiring about Classics positions at Oxford or Cambridge. The Rise of Historical Criticism was his submission for the Chancellor's Essay prize of 1879, which, though no longer a student, he was still eligible to enter. Its subject, "Historical Criticism among the Ancients" seemed ready-made for Wilde – with both his skill in composition and ancient learning – but he struggled to find his voice with the long, flat, scholarly style. Unusually, no prize was awarded that year.[Notes 1] With the last of his inheritance from the sale of his father's houses, he set himself up as a bachelor in London. The 1881 British Census listed Wilde as a boarder at 1 Tite Street, Chelsea, where Frank Miles, a society painter, was the head of the household. Wilde would spend the next six years in London and Paris, and in the United States where he travelled to deliver lectures. He had been publishing lyrics and poems in magazines since his entering Trinity College, especially in Kottabos and the Dublin University Magazine. In mid-1881, at 27 years old, Poems collected, revised and expanded his poetic efforts. The book was generally well received, and sold out its first print run of 750 copies, prompting further printings in 1882. Bound in a rich, enamel, parchment cover (embossed with gilt blossom) and printed on hand-made Dutch paper, Wilde would present many copies to the dignitaries and writers who received him over the next few years. The Oxford Union condemned the book for alleged plagiarism in a tight vote. The librarian, who had requested the book for the library, returned the presentation copy to Wilde with a note of apology. Richard Ellmann argues that Wilde's poem "Hélas!" was a sincere, though flamboyant, attempt to explain the dichotomies he saw in himself: To drift with every passion till my soul Is a stringed lute on which all winds can play America: 1882 Aestheticism was sufficiently in vogue to be caricatured by Gilbert and Sullivan in Patience (1881). Richard D'Oyly Carte, an English Impressario, invited Wilde on a lecture tour of North America, simultaneously priming the pump for the U.S. tour of Patience and selling this most charming aesthete to the American public. Wilde arrived on 3 January 1882 aboard the SS Arizona and criss-crossed the country on a gruelling schedule, lecturing in a new town every few days.[Notes 2] Originally planned to last four months, it was continued for over a year due to the commercial success. Wilde sought to juxtapose the beauty he saw in art onto daily life. This was a practical as well as philosophical project: in Oxford he had surrounded himself with blue china and lilies, now one of his lectures was on interior design. When asked to explain reports that he had paraded down Piccadilly in London carrying a lily, long hair flowing, Wilde replied, "It's not whether I did it or not that's important, but whether people believed I did it". Wilde believed that the artist should hold forth higher ideals, and that pleasure and beauty would replace utilitarian ethics. Wilde and aestheticism were both mercilessly caricatured and criticised in the press, Springfield Republican, for instance, commented on Wilde's behaviour during his visit to Boston to lecture on aestheticism, suggesting that Wilde's conduct was more of a bid for notoriety rather than a devotion to beauty and the aesthetic. T.W. Higginson, a cleric and abolitionist, wrote in "Unmanly Manhood" of his general concern that Wilde, "whose only distinction is that he has written a thin volume of very mediocre verse", would improperly influence the behaviour of men and women. Though his press reception was hostile, Wilde was well received in diverse settings across America; he drank whiskey with miners in Leadville, Colorado and was fêted at the most fashionable salons in every city he visited. London life and marriage His earnings, plus expected income from The Duchess of Padua, allowed him to move to Paris between February and mid-May 1883. Whilst there he met Robert Sherard, whom he entertained constantly. "We are dining on the Duchess tonight", Wilde would declare before taking him to a fancy restaurant. In August he briefly returned to New York for the production of Vera, his first play, after it was turned down in London. He reportedly entertained the other passengers with "Ave Imperatrix!, A Poem On England", about the rise and fall of empires. E.C. Stedman, in Victorian Poets describes this "lyric to England" as "manly verse – a poetic and eloquent invocation".[Notes 3] Wilde's presence was again notable, the play was initially well received by the audience, but when the critics returned lukewarm reviews attendance fell sharply and the play closed a week after it had opened. He was left to return to England and lecturing: Personal Impressions of America, The Value of Art in Modern Life, and Dress were among his topics. In London, he had been introduced to Constance Lloyd in 1881, daughter of Horace Lloyd, a wealthy Queen's Counsel. She happened to be visiting Dublin in 1884, when Wilde was lecturing at the Gaiety Theatre. He proposed to her, and they married on the 29 May 1884 at the Anglican St. James Church in Paddington in London. Constance's annual allowance of £250 was generous for a young woman (it would be equivalent to about £19, in current value), but the Wildes' tastes were relatively luxurious and, after preaching to others for so long, their home was expected to set new standards of design. No. 16, Tite Street was duly renovated in seven months at considerable expense. The couple had two sons, Cyril (1885) and Vyvyan (1886). Wilde was the sole literary signatory of George Bernard Shaw's petition for a pardon of the anarchists arrested (and later executed) after the Haymarket massacre in Chicago in 1886. Robert Ross had read Wilde's poems before they met, and he was unrestrained by the Victorian prohibition against homosexuality, even to the extent of estranging himself from his family. A precocious seventeen year old, by Richard Ellmann's account, he was "...so young and yet so knowing, was determined to seduce Wilde". Wilde, who had long alluded to Greek love, and – though an adoring father – was put off by the carnality of his wife's second pregnancy, succumbed to Ross in Oxford in 1886. Prose writing: 1886–91 Journalism and editorship: 1886–89 Criticism over artistic matters in the Pall Mall Gazette provoked a letter in self-defence, and soon Wilde was a contributor to that and other journals during the years 1885–87. He enjoyed reviewing and journalism; the form suited his style. He could organise and share his views on art, literature and life, yet in a format less tedious than lecturing. Buoyed up, his reviews were largely chatty and positive. Wilde, like his parents before him, also supported the cause of Irish Nationalism. When Charles Stewart Parnell was falsely accused of inciting murder Wilde wrote a series of astute columns defending him in the Daily Chronicle. His flair, having previously only been put into socialising, suited journalism and did not go unnoticed. With his youth nearly over, and a family to support, in mid-1887 Wilde became the editor of The Lady's World magazine, his name prominently appearing on the cover. He promptly renamed it The Woman's World and raised its tone, adding serious articles on parenting, culture, and politics, keeping discussions of fashion and arts. Two pieces of fiction were usually included, one to be read to children, the other for the ladies themselves. Wilde worked hard to solicit good contributions from his wide artistic acquaintance, including those of Lady Wilde and his wife Constance, while his own "Literary and Other Notes" were themselves popular and amusing. The initial vigour and excitement he brought to the job began to fade as administration, commuting and office life became tedious. At the same time as Wilde's interest lagged, the publishers became concerned anew about circulation: sales, at the relatively high price of one shilling, remained low. Increasingly sending instructions by letter, he began a new period of creative work and his own column appeared less regularly. In October 1889, Wilde had finally found his voice in prose and, at the end of the second volume, Wilde left The Woman's World. The magazine outlasted him by one volume. Shorter fiction Wilde published The Happy Prince and Other Tales in 1888, and had been regularly writing fairy stories for magazines. In 1891 published two more collections, Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories, and in September The House of Pomegranates was dedicated "To Constance Mary Wilde". "The Portrait of Mr. W. H.", which Wilde had begun in 1887, was first published in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine in July 1889. It is a short story, which reports a conversation, in which the theory that Shakespeare's sonnets were written out of the poet's love of the boy actor "Willie Hughes", is advanced, retracted, and then propounded again. The only evidence for this is two supposed puns within the sonnets themselves. The anonymous narrator is at first sceptical, then believing, finally flirtatious with the reader: he concludes that "there is really a great deal to be said of the Willie Hughes theory of Shakespeare's sonnets. By the end fact and fiction have melded together. "You must believe in Willie Hughes," Wilde told an acquaintance. "I almost do, myself”. Essays and dialogues Wilde, having tired of journalism, had been busy setting out his aesthetic ideas more fully in a series of longer prose pieces which were published in the major literary-intellectual journals of the day. In January 1889, The Decay of Lying: A Dialogue appeared in The Nineteenth Century, and Pen, Pencil and Poison, a satirical biography of Thomas Griffiths Wainewright, in the Fortnightly Review, edited by Wilde's friend Frank Harris. Two of Wilde's four writings on aesthetics are dialogues, though Wilde had evolved professionally from lecturer to writer, he remained with an oral tradition of sorts. Having always excelled as a wit and raconteur, he often composed by assembling phrases, bons mots and witticisms into a longer, cohesive work. Wilde was concerned about the effect of moralising on art, he believed in its redemptive, developmental powers: "Art is individualism, and individualism is a disturbing and disintegrating force. There lies its immense value. For what it seeks is to disturb monotony of type, slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine." In his only political text, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, he argued political conditions should establish this primacy, and concluded that the government most amenable to artists was none at all. Wilde envisions a society where mechanisation has freed human effort from the burden of necessity, effort which can instead be expended on artistic creation. George Orwell summarised, "In effect, the world will be populated by artists, each striving after perfection in the way that seems best to him." This point of view did not align him with the Fabians, intellectual socialists who advocated using state apparatus to change social conditions, nor did it endear him to the monied classes whom he had previously entertained. Hesketh Pearson, introducing a collection of Wilde's essays in 1950, remarked how The Soul of Man Under Socialism had been an inspirational text for Tsarist revolutionaries in Russia but laments that in in the Stalinist era "it is doubtful whether there are any uninspected places in which it could now be hidden". Wilde considered including this pamphlet and The Portrait of Mr. W.H., his essay-story on Shakespeare's sonnets, in a new anthology in 1891, but eventually decided to limit it to purely aesthetic subjects. Intentions packaged revisions of four essays: The Decay of Lying, Pen, Pencil and Poison, The Truth of Masks (first published 1885), and The Critic as Artist in two parts. For Pearson the biographer, the essays and dialogues exhibit every aspect of Wilde's genius and character: wit, romancer, talker, lecturer, humanist and scholar and concludes that"no other productions of his have as varied an appeal". 1891 turned out to be Wilde's annus mirabilis, apart from his three collections he also produced his only novel. The Picture of Dorian Gray The first version of The Picture of Dorian Gray was published as the lead story in the July 1890 edition of Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, along with five others. The story begins with a man painting a picture of Gray. When Gray, who has a "face like ivory and rose leaves" sees his finished portrait he breaks down, distraught that his beauty will fade, but the portrait stay beautiful, inadvertently making a Faustian bargain. For Wilde, the purpose of art would guide life if beauty alone were its object. Thus Gray's portrait allows him to escape the corporeal ravages of his hedonism, Wilde sought to juxtapose the beauty he saw in art onto daily life. Reviewers immediately criticised the novel's decadence and homosexual allusion, one in the The Daily Chronicle for example, called it “unclean,” “poisonous,” and “heavy with the mephitic odours of moral and spiritual putrefaction.” Wilde vigorously responded, writing to the Editor of the Scots Observer, he clarified his stance on ethics and aesthetics in art "If a work of art is rich and vital and complete, those who have artistic instincts will see its beauty and those to whom ethics appeal more strongly will see its moral lesson." He nevertheless revised it extensively for book publication in 1891: six new chapters were added, some overt decadence passages and homo-eroticism excised, and a preface consisting of twenty two epigrams, such as "Books are well written, or badly written. That is all. " was included. Contemporary reviewers and modern critics have postulated numerous possible sources of the story, a search Jershua McCormack argues is futile because Wilde "has tapped a root of Western folklore so deep and ubiquitous that the story has escaped its origins and returned to the oral tradition." Wilde claimed the plot was "an idea that is as old as the history of literature but to which I have given a new form". Modern critic Robin McKie considered the novel to be technically mediocre, saying that the conceit of the plot had guaranteed its fame, but the device is never pushed to its full. Theatrical career: 1892–95 Salomé The 1891 census records the Wildes' residence at 16 Tite Street, where he lived with his wife Constance and sons. Wilde though, not content with being more well-known than ever in London, returned to Paris in October 1891, this time as a respected writer. He was received at the salons littéraires, including the famous mardis of Stéphane Mallarmé, a renowned symbolist poet of the time. Wilde's two plays during the 1880s, Vera; or, The Nihilists and The Duchess of Padua, had not met with much success. He had continued his interest in the theatre and now, after finding his voice in prose, his thoughts turned again to the dramatic form as the biblical iconography of Salome filled his head. One evening, after discussing depictions of Salome throughout history, he returned to his hotel to notice a blank copybook lying on the desk, and it occurred to him to write down what he had been saying. He wrote a new play, Salomé, rapidly and in French. A tragedy, it tells the story of Salome, the stepdaughter of the tetrarch Herod Antipas, who, to her stepfather's dismay but mother's delight, requests the head of Jokanaan (John the Baptist) on a silver platter as a reward for dancing the Dance of the Seven Veils. When Wilde returned to London just before Christmas the Paris Echo, a newspaper, referred to him as "le great event" of the season. Rehearsals of the play, including Sarah Bernhardt, began but the play was refused a licence by the Lord Chamberlain, since it depicted biblical characters. Salome was published jointly in Paris and London in 1893, but was not performed until 1896 in Paris, during Wilde's later incarceration. Comedies of society Wilde, who had first set out to irritate Victorian society with his dress and talking points, then outrage it with Dorian Gray, his novel of vice hidden beneath art, finally found a way to critique society on its own terms. Lady Windermere's Fan was first performed on 20 February 1892 at St James Theatre, packed with the cream of society. On the surface a witty comedy, there is subtle subversion underneath: "it concludes with collusive concealment rather than collective disclosure". The audience, like Lady Windermere, are forced to soften harsh social codes in favour of a more nuanced view. The play was enormously popular, touring the country for months, but largely thrashed by conservative critics. It was followed by A Woman of No Importance in 1893, another Victorian comedy: revolving around the spectre of illegitimate births, mistaken identities and late revelations. Wilde was commissioned to write two more plays and An Ideal Husband, written in 1894, followed in January 1895. Peter Raby said these essentially English plays were well-pitched, "Wilde, with one eye on the dramatic genius of Ibsen, and the other on the commercial competition in London's West End, targeted his audience with adroit precision”. Queensberry family In mid-1891 Lionel Johnson introduced Wilde to Alfred Douglas, an undergraduate at Oxford at the time. Known to his family and friends as "Bosie", he was a handsome and spoilt young man. An intimate friendship sprang up between Wilde and Douglas and by 1893 Wilde was infatuated with Douglas and they consorted together regularly in a tempestuous affair. If Wilde was relatively indiscreet, even flamboyant, in the way he acted, Douglas was reckless in public. Wilde, who was earning up to £100 a week from his plays (his salary at The Woman's World had been £6), indulged Douglas's every whim: material, artistic or sexual. Douglas soon dragged Wilde into the Victorian underground of gay prostitution and Wilde was introduced to a series of young, working class, male prostitutes from 1892 onwards by Alfred Taylor. These infrequent rendez-vous usually took the same form: Wilde would meet the boy, offer him gifts, dine him privately and then take him to a hotel room. Unlike Wilde's idealised, pederastic relations with John Gray, Ross, and Douglas, all of whom remained part of his aesthetic circle, these consorts were uneducated and knew nothing of literature. Soon his public and private lives had become sharply divided; in De Profundis he wrote to Douglas that "It was like feasting with panthers; the danger was half the excitement… I did not know that when they were to strike at me it was to be at another's piping and at another's pay." Douglas and some Oxford friends founded an Oxford journal, The Chameleon, to which Wilde "sent a page of paradoxes originally destined for the Saturday Review". "Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young" was to come under attack six months later at Wilde's trial, where he was forced to defend the magazine to which he had sent his work. In any case, it became unique: The Chameleon was not published again. Lord Alfred's father, the Marquess of Queensberry, was known for his outspoken atheism, brutish manner and creation of the modern rules of boxing.[Notes 4] Queensberry, who feuded regularly with his son, confronted Wilde and Lord Alfred about the nature of their relationship several times, but Wilde was able to mollify him. In June 1894, he called on Wilde at 16 Tite Street, without an appointment, and clarified his stance: "I do not say that you are it, but you look it, and pose at it, which is just as bad. And if I catch you and my son again in any public restaurant I will thrash you" to which Wilde responded: "I don't know what the Queensberry rules are, but the Oscar Wilde rule is to shoot on sight". His account in De Profundis was less triumphant: "It was when, in my library at Tite Street, waving his small hands in the air in epileptic fury, your father… stood uttering every foul word his foul mind could think of, and screaming the loathsome threats he afterwords with such cunning carried out". Queensberry only described the scene once, saying Wilde had "shown him the white feather", meaning he had acted in a cowardly way. Though trying to remain calm, Wilde saw that he was becoming ensnared in a brutal family quarrel. He did not wish to bear Queensberry's insults, but he knew to confront him could lead to disaster were his liaisons disclosed publicly. The Importance of Being Earnest Wilde's final play again returns to the theme of switched identities: the play's two protagonists engage in "bunburying" (the maintenance of alternate personas in the town and country) which allows them to escape Victorian social mores. Earnest is even lighter in tone than Wilde's earlier comedies. While their characters often rose to serious themes in moments of crisis, Earnest lacks the by-now stock Wildean characters: there is no "woman with a past", the protagonists are neither villainous nor cunning, simply idle cultivés, and the idealistic young women are not that innocent. Although mostly set in drawing rooms and almost completely lacking in action or violence, Earnest lacks the self-conscious decadence found in The Picture of Dorian Gray and Salome. The play, now considered Wilde's masterpiece, was rapidly written in Wilde's artistic maturity in late 1894. It was first performed on 14 February 1895, at St James's Theatre in London, Wilde's second collaboration with George Alexander, the actor-manager. Both author and producer assiduously revised, prepared and rehearsed every line, scene and setting in the months before the premiere, creating a carefully constructed representation of late-Victorian society, yet simultaneously mocking it. During rehearsal Alexander requested that Wilde shorten the play from four acts to three, which the author did. Premieres at St. James's seemed like "brilliant parties", and the opening of The Importance of Being Earnest was no exception. Allan Aynesworth (who played Algy) recalled to Hesketh Pearson, "In my fifty-three years of acting, I never remember a greater triumph than [that] first night." Earnest's immediate reception as Wilde's best work to-date finally crystallised his fame into a solid artistic reputation. The Importance of Being Earnest remains his most popular play. Wilde's professional success was mirrored by an escalation in his feud with Queensberry. Queensberry had planned to publicly insult Wilde by throwing a bouquet of rotting vegetables onto the stage; Wilde was tipped off and had Queensberry barred from entering the theatre. Fifteen weeks later Wilde would be in prison. Trials Wilde v Queensberry On 18 February 1895, the Marquess left his calling card at Wilde's club, the Albemarle, inscribed: "For Oscar Wilde, posing somdomite" [sic].[Notes 5] Wilde, egged on by Douglas and against the advice of his friends, initiated a private prosecution against Queensberry, who was arrested on a charge of criminal libel, a charge carrying a possible sentence of up to two years in prison (Libel Act of 1843): as sodomy was then a crime, Queensberry's note amounted to a public accusation that Wilde had committed a felony. Under the Libel Act 1843, Queensberry could avoid conviction for libel only by demonstrating that his accusation was in fact true, and furthermore that there was some "public benefit" to having made the accusation openly. Queensberry's lawyers thus hired private detectives to find evidence of Wilde's homosexual liaisons to prove the fact of the accusation. They decided on a strategy of portraying Wilde as a depraved older man who habitually enticed naive youths into a life of vicious homosexuality in order to demonstrate that there was some public interest in making the accusation openly, ostensibly to warn off other youths who might otherwise have become entrapped by Wilde. The libel trial became a cause célèbre as salacious details of Wilde's private life with Taylor and Douglas began to appear in the press. A team of private detectives had directed Queensberry's lawyers, led by Edward Carson QC, to the world of the Victorian underground. Wilde's association with blackmailers and male prostitutes, cross-dressers and homosexual brothels was recorded, and various persons involved were interviewed, some being coerced to appear as witnesses since they too were accomplices of the crimes to which Wilde was accused. The trial opened on 3 April 1895 amongst scenes of near hysteria both in the press and the public galleries. The extent of the evidence massed against Wilde forced him to declare meekly, "I am the prosecutor in this case". Wilde's lawyer, Sir Edward George Clarke, opened the case by pre-emptively asking Wilde about two suggestive letters Wilde had written to Douglas, which the defence had in its possession. He characterised the first as a "prose sonnet" and admitted that the "poetical language" might seem strange to the court but claimed its intent was innocent. Wilde stated that the letters had been obtained by blackmailers who had attempted to extort money from him, but he had refused, suggesting they should take the £60 (equal to £5, today) offered, "unusual for a prose piece of that length". He claimed to regard the letters as works of art rather than something to be ashamed of. Carson cross-examined Wilde on how he perceived the moral content of his works. Wilde replied with characteristic wit and flippancy, claiming that works of art are not capable of being moral or immoral but only well or poorly made, and that only "brutes and illiterates," whose views on art "are incalculably stupid", would make such judgements about art. Carson, a leading barrister, diverged from the normal practice of asking closed questions. Carson pressed Wilde on each topic from every angle, squeezing out nuances of meaning from Wilde's answers, removing them from their aesthetic context and portraying Wilde as evasive and decadent. While Wilde won the most laughs from the court, Carson scored the most legal points. To undermine Wilde's credibility, and to justify Queensberry's description of Wilde as a "posing…somdomite", Carson drew from the witness an admission of his capacity for "posing", by demonstrating that he had lied about his age on oath. Playing on this, he returned to the topic throughout his cross-examination. Carson then moved to the factual evidence and questioned Wilde about his acquaintances with younger, lower-class men. Wilde admitted being on a first-name basis and lavishing gifts upon them, but insisted that nothing untoward had occurred and that the men were merely good friends of his. Carson repeatedly pointed out the unusual nature of these relationships and insinuated that the men were prostitutes. Wilde replied that he did not believe in social barriers, and simply enjoyed the society of young men. Then Carson asked Wilde directly whether he had ever kissed a certain servant boy, Wilde responded, "Oh, dear no. He was a particularly plain boy – unfortunately ugly – I pitied him for it." Carson pressed him on the answer, repeatedly asking why the boy's ugliness was relevant. Wilde hesitated, then for the first time became flustered: "You sting me and insult me and try to unnerve me; and at times one says things flippantly when one ought to speak more seriously." In his opening speech for the defence, Carson announced that he had located several male prostitutes who were to testify that they had had sex with Wilde. On the advice of his lawyers, Wilde dropped the prosecution. Queensberry was found not guilty, as the court declared that his accusation that Wilde was "posing as a Somdomite" [sic] was justified, "true in substance and in fact." Under the Libel Act 1843, Queensberry's acquittal rendered Wilde legally liable for the considerable expenses Queensberry had incurred in his defence, which left Wilde bankrupt. Regina v. Wilde After Wilde left the court, a warrant for his arrest was applied for on charges of sodomy and gross indecency. Robbie Ross found Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel, Knightsbridge with Reginald Turner; both men advised Wilde to go at once to Dover and try to get a boat to France; his mother advised him to stay and fight like a man. Wilde, lapsing into inaction, could only say, "The train has gone. It's too late." Wilde was arrested for "gross indecency" under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885, a term meaning homosexual acts not amounting to buggery (an offence under a separate statute). At Wilde's instruction, Ross and Wilde's butler forced their way into the bedroom and library of 16 Tite Street, packing some personal effects, manuscripts, and letters. Wilde was then imprisoned on remand at Holloway where he received daily visits from Douglas. Events moved quickly and his prosecution opened on 26 April 1895. Wilde pleaded not guilty. He had already begged Douglas to leave London for Paris, but Douglas complained bitterly, even wanting to take the stand; however he was pressed to go and soon fled to the Hotel du Monde. Fearing persecution, Ross and many other gentlemen also left the United Kingdom during this time. Under cross examination Wilde was at first hesitant, then spoke eloquently: Charles Gill (prosecuting): What is "the love that dare not speak its name"? Wilde: "The love that dare not speak its name" in this century is such a great affection of an elder for a younger man as there was between David and Jonathan, such as Plato made the very basis of his philosophy, and such as you find in the sonnets of Michelangelo and Shakespeare. It is that deep spiritual affection that is as pure as it is perfect. It dictates and pervades great works of art, like those of Shakespeare and Michelangelo, and those two letters of mine, such as they are. It is in this century misunderstood, so much misunderstood that it may be described as "the love that dare not speak its name," and on that account of it I am placed where I am now. It is beautiful, it is fine, it is the noblest form of affection. There is nothing unnatural about it. It is intellectual, and it repeatedly exists between an older and a younger man, when the older man has intellect, and the younger man has all the joy, hope and glamour of life before him. That it should be so, the world does not understand. The world mocks at it, and sometimes puts one in the pillory for it. This response was, however, counter-productive in a legal sense as it only served to reinforce the charges of homosexual behaviour. The trial ended with the jury unable to reach a verdict. Wilde's counsel, Sir Edward Clarke, was finally able to agree bail. The Reverend Stewart Headlam put up most of the £5, bail, having disagreed with Wilde's treatment by the press and the courts. Wilde was freed from Holloway and, shunning attention, went into hiding at the house of Ernest and Ada Leverson, two of his firm friends. Edward Carson approached Frank Lockwood QC, the Solicitor General and asked "Can we not let up on the fellow now?" Lockwood answered that he would like to do so, but feared that the case had become too politicised to be dropped. The final trial was presided over by Mr Justice Wills. On 25 May 1895 Wilde and Alfred Taylor were convicted of gross indecency and sentenced to two years' hard labour. The judge described the sentence, the maximum allowed, as "totally inadequate for a case such as this," and that the case was "the worst case I have ever tried". Wilde's response "And I? May I say nothing, my Lord?" was drowned out in cries of "Shame" in the courtroom. Imprisonment Wilde was imprisoned first in Pentonville and then Wandsworth Prison in London. Inmates followed a regimen of "hard labour, hard fare and a hard bed", which wore very harshly on Wilde, accustomed as he was to many creature comforts. His health declined sharply, and in November he collapsed during chapel from illness and hunger. His right ear drum was ruptured in the fall, an injury that would later contribute to his death. He spent two months in the infirmary. Richard B. Haldane, the Liberal MP and reformer, visited him and had him transferred in November to HM's Prison, Reading, 30 miles (48 km) west of London. The transfer itself was the lowest point of his incarceration, as a crowd jeered and spat at him on the platform. Now known as prisoner C. 3. he was not, at first, even allowed paper and pen but Haldane eventually succeeded in allowing access to books and writing materials. Wilde requested, among others: the Bible in French, Italian and German grammars, some Ancient Greek texts, Dante's Divine Comedy, En Route, Joris-Karl Huysmans's new French novel about Christian redemption; and essays by St Augustine, Cardinal Newman and Walter Pater. Between January and March 1897 Wilde wrote a 50,-word letter to Douglas, which he was not allowed to send, but was permitted to take with him upon release. In reflective mode, Wilde coldly examines his career to date, how he had been a colourful agent provocateur in Victorian society, his art, like his paradoxes, seeking to subvert as well as sparkle. His own estimation of himself was of one who "stood in symbolic relations to the art and culture of my age". It was from these heights that his life with Douglas began, and Wilde examines that particularly closely, repudiating him for what Wilde finally sees as his arrogance and vanity: he had not forgotten Douglas's remark, when he was ill, "When you are not on your pedestal you are not interesting." Wilde blamed himself, though, for the ethical degradation of character that he allowed Douglas to bring about on him and took responsibility for his own fall, "I am here for having tried to put your father in prison." The first half concludes with Wilde's forgiving Douglas, for his own sake as much as Douglas'. The second half of the letter traces Wilde's spiritual journey of redemption and fulfilment through his prison reading. He realised that his ordeal had filled the soul with the fruit of experience, however bitter it tasted at the time. ...I wanted to eat of the fruit of all the trees in the garden of the world... And so, indeed, I went out, and so I lived. My only mistake was that I confined myself so exclusively to the trees of what seemed to me the sun-lit side of the garden, and shunned the other side for its shadow and its gloom. On his release, he gave the manuscript to Ross, who may or may not have carried out Wilde's instructions to send a copy to Douglas (who later denied having received it). De Profundis was partially published in 1905, its complete and correct publication first occurred in 1962 in The Letters of Oscar Wilde. Decline: 1897–1900 Exile Wilde was released on 19 May 1897, and though his health had suffered greatly, he had a feeling of spiritual renewal. He immediately wrote to the Society of Jesus requesting a six-month Catholic retreat; when the request was denied, Wilde wept. "I intend to be received before long", Wilde told a journalist who asked about his religious intentions. He left England the next day for the continent, to spend his last three years in penniless exile. He took the name "Sebastian Melmoth", after Saint Sebastian, and the titular character of Melmoth the Wanderer; a gothic novel by Charles Maturin, Wilde's great-uncle. Wilde wrote two long letters to the editor of the Daily Chronicle, describing the brutal conditions of English prisons and advocating penal reform. His discussion of the dismissal of Warder Martin, for giving biscuits to an anaemic child prisoner, repeated the themes of the corruption and degeneration of punishment that he had earlier outlined in The Soul of Man Under Socialism. Wilde spent mid-1897 with Robert Ross in Berneval-le-Grand, where he wrote The Ballad of Reading Gaol. The poem narrates the execution of a man who murdered his wife for her infidelity; it moves from an objective story-telling to symbolic identification with the prisoners as a whole. No attempt is made to assess the justice of the laws which convicted them, but rather the poem highlights the brutalisation of the punishment that all convicts share. Wilde juxtaposes the executed man and himself with the line "Yet each man kills the thing he loves". Wilde too was separated from his wife and sons. He adopted the proletarian ballad form, and the author was credited as "C..." He suggested it be published in Reynold's Magazine, "because it circulates widely among the criminal classes – to which I now belong – for once I will be read by my peers – a new experience for me". It was a commercial success, going through seven editions in less than two years, only after which "[Oscar Wilde]" was added to the title page, though many in literary circles had known Wilde to be the author. It brought him a little money. Although Douglas had been the cause of his misfortunes, he and Wilde were reunited in August 1897 at Rouen. This meeting was disapproved of by the friends and families of both men. Constance Wilde was already refusing to meet Wilde or allow him to see their sons, though she kept him supplied with money. During the latter part of 1897, Wilde and Douglas lived together near Naples for a few months until they were separated by their respective families under the threat of a cutting-off of funds. Wilde's final address was at the dingy Hôtel d'Alsace (now known as L'Hôtel), in Paris; "This poverty really breaks one's heart: it is so sale, so utterly depressing, so hopeless. Pray do what you can" he wrote to his publisher. He corrected and published An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, the proofs of which Ellmann argues show a man "very much in command of himself and of the play" but he refused to write anything else "I can write, but have lost the joy of writing". He spent much time wandering the Boulevards alone, and spent what little money he had on alcohol. A series of embarrassing encounters with English visitors, or Frenchmen he had known in better days, further damaged his spirit. Soon Wilde was sufficiently confined to his hotel to remark, on one of his final trips outside, "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One of us has got to go." On 12 October 1900 he sent a telegram to Ross: "Terribly weak. Please come." His moods fluctuated; Max Beerbohm relates how their mutual friend Reginald 'Reggie' Turner had found Wilde very depressed after a nightmare. "I dreamt that I had died, and was supping with the dead!" "I am sure", Turner replied, "that you must have been the life and soul of the party." Turner was one of the very few of the old circle who remained with Wilde right to the end, and was at his bedside when he died. Death By 25 November Wilde had developed cerebral meningitis. Robbie Ross arrived on 29 November and sent for a priest, and Wilde was conditionally baptised into the Catholic Church by Fr Cuthbert Dunne, a Passionist priest from Dublin (the sacrament being conditional because of the doctrine that one may only be baptised once – Wilde having a recollection of Catholic baptism as child, a fact later attested to by the minister of the sacrament, Fr Lawrence Fox). Fr Dunne recorded the baptism: As the voiture rolled through the dark streets that wintry night, the sad story of Oscar Wilde was in part repeated to me....Robert Ross knelt by the bedside, assisting me as best he could while I administered conditional baptism, and afterwards answering the responses while I gave Extreme Unction to the prostrate man and recited the prayers for the dying. As the man was in a semi-comatose condition, I did not venture to administer the Holy Viaticum; still I must add that he could be roused and was roused from this state in my presence. When roused, he gave signs of being inwardly conscious… Indeed I was fully satisfied that he understood me when told that I was about to receive him into the Catholic Church and gave him the Last Sacraments… And when I repeated close to his ear the Holy Names, the Acts of Contrition, Faith, Hope and Charity, with acts of humble resignation to the Will of God, he tried all through to say the words after me. Wilde died of cerebral meningitis on 30 November 1900. Different opinions are given as to the cause of the meningitis: Richard Ellmann claimed it was syphilitic; Merlin Holland, Wilde's grandson, thought this to be a misconception, noting that Wilde's meningitis followed a surgical intervention, perhaps a mastoidectomy; Wilde's physicians, Dr. Paul Cleiss and A'Court Tucker, reported that the condition stemmed from an old suppuration of the right ear (une ancienne suppuration de l'oreille droite d'ailleurs en traitement depuis plusieurs années) and did not allude to syphilis. Wilde was initially buried in the Cimetière de Bagneux outside Paris; in 1909 his remains were disinterred to Père Lachaise Cemetery, inside the city. His tomb was designed by Sir Jacob Epstein,[Notes 8] commissioned by Robert Ross, who asked for a small compartment to be made for his own ashes which were duly transferred in 1950. The modernist angel depicted as a relief on the tomb was originally complete with male genitalia which have since been vandalised; their current whereabouts are unknown. In 2000, Leon Johnson, a multimedia artist, installed a silver prosthesis to replace them. The epitaph is a verse from The Ballad of Reading Gaol: And alien tears will fill for him Pity's long-broken urn, For his mourners will be outcast men, And outcasts always mourn. Biographies Wilde's life continues to fascinate and he has been the subject of numerous biographies since his death. The earliest were memoirs by those known to him: often they are personal or impressionistic accounts which can be good character sketches, but factually unreliable. Frank Harris, his friend and editor, wrote a biography, Oscar Wilde: His Life and Confessions (1916), though prone to exaggeration and sometimes factually inaccurate, it offers a good literary portrait of Wilde. Lord Alfred Douglas wrote two books about his relationship with Wilde: Oscar Wilde and Myself (1914), largely ghost-written by T.W.H. Crosland, vindictively reacted to Douglas's discovery that De Profundis was addressed to him and defensively tried to distance him from Wilde's scandalous reputation. Both authors later regretted their work. Later, in Oscar Wilde: A Summing Up (1939) and his Autobiography he was more sympathetic to Wilde. Of Wilde's other close friends, Robert Sherard, Robert Ross, his literary executor; and Charles Ricketts variously published biographies, reminiscences or correspondence. The first more or less objective biography of Wilde came about when Hesketh Pearson wrote Oscar Wilde: His Life and Wit (1946). In 1954 Vyvyan Holland published his memoir Son of Oscar Wilde, which recounts the difficulties Wilde's wife and children faced after his imprisonment. It was revised and updated by Merlin Holland in 1989. Wilde's life was still waiting for independent, true scholarship when Richard Ellmann began researching his 1987 biography Oscar Wilde, for which he posthumously won a National (USA) Book Critics Circle Award in 1988 and a Pulitzer Prize in 1989. The book was the basis for the 1997 film Wilde, directed by Brian Gilbert and starring Stephen Fry as the title character. Neil McKenna's 2003 biography, The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde, offers an exploration of Wilde's sexuality. Often speculative in nature, it was widely criticised for its lack of scholarly rigour and pure conjecture. Thomas Wright's Oscar's Books (2008) explores Wilde's reading from his childhood in Dublin to his death in Paris. After tracking down many books that once belonged to Wilde's Tite Street library (dispersed at the time of his trials), Wright was the first to examine Wilde's marginalia. Wilde's charm also had a lasting effect on the Parisian literati, who have produced a number of original biographies and monographs on him. André Gide, on whom Wilde had such a strange effect, wrote, In Memoriam, Oscar Wilde; Wilde also features in his journals. Thomas Louis, who had earlier translated books on Wilde into French, produced his own L’esprit d’Oscar Wilde in 1920. Modern books include Philippe Jullian's Oscar Wilde, and L'affaire Oscar Wilde ou Du danger de laisser la justice mettre le nez dans nos draps (The Oscar Wilde Affair, or, On the Danger of Allowing Justice to put its Nose in our Sheets) by Odon Vallet, a French religious historian. Selected works * Poems (1881) * The Happy Prince and Other Stories (1888, fairy stories) * Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories (1891, stories) * House of Pomegranates (1891, fairy stories) * Intentions (1891, essays and dialogues on aesthetics) * The Picture of Dorian Gray (first published in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine July 1890, in book form in 1891; novel) * The Soul of Man under Socialism (1891, political essay) * Lady Windermere's Fan (1892, play) * A Woman of No Importance (1893, play) * An Ideal Husband (performed 1895, published 1898; play) * The Importance of Being Earnest (performed 1895, published 1898; play) * De Profundis (written 1897, published variously 1905, 1908, 1949, 1962; epistle) * The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898, poem) References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Wilde

Alice Walker

Alice Walker Poet, essayist, and novelist Alice Walker was born February 9, 1944, in Eatonton, Georgia, the eighth and last child of sharecroppers Willie Lee and Minnie Lou Grant Walker. She attended Spelman College and received a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. Her books of poetry include A Poem Traveled Down My Arm: Poems And Drawings (Random House, 2003); Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth (2003); Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems, 1965-1990 Complete (Harcourt, 1991); Horses Make the Landscape More Beautiful (1984); Goodnight, Willie Lee, I'll See You in the Morning (1979); Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems (1973); and Once: Poems (1968). She is also a well-known fiction writer. Among her novels and short story collections are Possessing the Secret of Joy: A Novel (New Press, 2008); The Way Forward is with a Broken Heart (Random House, 2000); By the Light of My Father's Smile (1998); Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992); The Temple of My Familiar (1989); To Hell With Dying (1988); The Color Purple (1982), which won the Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award; and You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down (1981). Her collections of essays include Dreads: Sacred Rites of the Natural Hair Revolution (Artisan, 1999. With Francesco Mastalia and Alfonse Pagano); Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer's Activism (1997); The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult; Living by the Word: Selected Writings, 1973-87 (1988); and In Search of Our Mother's Gardens: Womanist Prose (1983). Walker has won numerous awards and honors, including the Lillian Smith Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rosenthal Award from the National Institute of Arts & Letters, and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute, a Merrill Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in Mendocino, California. Her books have been translated into more than two dozen languages. Poetry Once (1968) Revolutionary Petunias & Other Poems (1973) Good Night, Willie Lee, I'll See You in the Morning (1979) Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful (1985) Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems (1991) Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth (2003) A Poem Traveled Down My Arm: Poems And Drawings (2003) Prose The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970) Everyday Use (1973) Meridian (1976) The Color Purple (1982) You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down: Stories (1982) Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992) Now Is The Time to Open Your Heart (2005) References Poets.org - http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/486

Lady Mary Wroth

Lady Mary Wroth (18 October 1587– 1651/3) was an English poet of the Renaissance. A member of a distinguished literary family, Lady Wroth was among the first female British writers to have achieved an enduring reputation. She is perhaps best known for having written The Countess of Montgomery’s Urania, the first extant prose romance by an English woman, and for Pamphilia to Amphilanthus, the second known sonnet sequence by an English woman. Wroth’s works also include Love’s Victory, a pastoral closet drama. History Mary Sidney was born on 18 October 1587 to the former Barbara Gamage (1563–1621), a wealthy Welsh heiress and first cousin to Sir Walter Raleigh, and Robert Sidney, 1st Earl of Leicester. Her father, Robert Sidney, 1st Earl of Leicester and Viscount Lisle of Penshurst Place, was a poet and governor of Flushing, Netherlands. Mary Wroth was niece to Mary Herbert née Sidney (Countess of Pembroke and one of the most distinguished women writers and patrons of the 16th century), and to Sir Philip Sidney, a famous Elizabethan poet-courtier. Because her father, Robert Sidney, was governor of Flushing, Wroth spent much of her childhood at the home of Mary Sidney, and Penshurst Place, Baynard’s Castle in London. Penshurst Place was one of the great country houses in the Elizabethan and Jacobean period. It was a center of literary and cultural activity and its gracious hospitality is praised in Ben Jonson’s famous poem To Penshurst. During a time when most women were illiterate, Wroth had the privilege of a formal education, which was obtained from household tutors under the guidance of her mother. With her family connections, a career at court was all but inevitable. Wroth danced before Queen Elizabeth on a visit to Penshurst and again in court in 1602. At this time a likeness of her as a girl in a group portrait of Lady Sidney and her children was painted by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger in 1596, and is now on display at Penshurst. As a young woman, Lady Mary belonged to Queen Anne’s intimate circle of friends and actively participated in masques and entertainments. On 27 September 1604, King James I married Mary to Sir Robert Wroth of Loughton Hall. The marriage was not happy; there were issues between the two beginning with difficulties over her father’s payment of her dowry. In a letter written to his wife, Sir Robert Sidney described different meetings with Robert Wroth, who was often distressed by the behavior of Mary shortly after their marriage. Robert Wroth appeared to have been a gambler, philanderer and a drunkard. More evidence of the unhappy union comes from poet and friend Ben Jonson, who noted that ‘my Lady Wroth is unworthily married on a Jealous husband’. Various letters from Lady Mary to Queen Anne also refer to the financial losses her husband had sustained during their time together. During her marriage, Mary became known for her literary endeavours and also for her performances in several masques. In 1605 she danced at the Whitehall Banqueting House in the The Masque of Blackness, which was designed by Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones. Mary Wroth joined the Queen and her friends in the production; all of whom painted their skin black to portray Ethiopian nymphs who called themselves the 'twelve daughters of Niger’. The masque was very successful and was the first in a long series of similar court entertainments. The ‘twelve daughters of Niger’ also appeared in The Masque of Beauty in 1608, also designed by Jonson and Jones. However, despite the success there were some less than favorable reviews, some referring to the women’s portrayal of the daughters of Niger as ugly and unconvincing. In February 1614 Mary gave birth to a son James: a month after this her husband Robert Wroth died of gangrene leaving Mary deeply in debt. Two years later Wroth’s son died causing Mary to lose the Wroth estate to John Wroth, the next male heir to the entail. There is no evidence to suggest that Wroth was unfaithful to her husband, but after his death she entered a relationship with her cousin William Herbert, 3rd Earl of Pembroke. Mary and William shared interests in arts and literature and had been childhood friends. They had at least two illegitimate children, a daughter Catherine and son William. In “Herbertorum Prosapia”, a seventeenth-century manuscript compilation of the history of the Herbert family (held at the Cardiff Library), Sir Thomas Herbert– a cousin of the earl of Pembroke– recorded William Herbert’s paternity of Wroth’s two children. Mary Wroth’s alleged relationship with William Herbert and her children born from that union are referenced in her work, The Countess of Montgomery’s Urania. It is also claimed that William Herbert was a favorite of Queen Anne and that she is the reason he gained the position of the King’s Lord Chamberlain in 1615. In Urania, Wroth repeatedly returns to references to a powerful and jealous Queen who exiles her weaker rival from the court in order to obtain her lover, causing many critics to believe this referenced tension between Queen Anne and Wroth over the love of Herbert. The publication of the book in 1621 was a succès de scandale, as it was widely (and with some justification) viewed as a roman à clef. The diffuse plot is organized around relations between Pamphilia and her wandering lover, Amphilanthus, and most critics consider it to contain significant autobiographical elements. Although Wroth claimed that she never had any intention of publishing the book, she was heavily criticized by powerful noblemen for depicting their private lives under the guise of fiction. However, her period of notoriety was brief after the scandal aroused by these allusions in her romance; Urania was withdrawn from sale by December 1621. Two of the few authors to acknowledge this work were Ben Jonson and Edward Denny. Jonson, a friend and colleague of Mary Wroth praised both Wroth and her works in “Sonnet to the noble Lady, the Lady Mary Wroth.” Jonson claims that copying Wroth’s works he not only became a better poet, but a better lover. Denny on the other hand provides a very negative critique of Wroth’s work; he accused her of slander in a satiric poem, calling her a “hermaphrodite” and a “monster”. While Wroth returned fire in a poem of her own, the notoriety of the episode may have contributed to her low profile in the last decades of her life. There was also a second half of Urania, which was published for the first time in 1999 and now resides in the Newberry Library in Chicago. According to Shelia T. Cavanaugh, the second portion of the work was never prepared by Wroth for actual publication and the narrative contains many inconsistencies and is somewhat difficult to read. After the publication issues surrounding Urania, Wroth left King James’s court and was later abandoned by William Herbert. There is little known about Wroth’s later years but it is known that she continued to face major financial difficulties for the remainder of her life. Wroth died in either 1651 or 1653. References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Mary_Wroth

Phillis Wheatley

Phillis Wheatley was the first black poet in America to publish a book. She was born around 1753 in West Africa and brought to New England in 1761, where John Wheatley of Boston purchased her as a gift for his wife. Although they brought her into the household as a slave, the Wheatleys took a great interest in Phillis's education. Many biographers have pointed to her precocity; Wheatley learned to read and write English by the age of nine, and she became familiar with Latin, Greek, the Bible, and selected classics at an early age. She began writing poetry at thirteen, modeling her work on the English poets of the time, particularly John Milton, Thomas Gray, and Alexander Pope. Her poem "On the Death of the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield" was published as a broadside in cities such as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia and garnered Wheatley national acclaim. This poem was also printed in London. Over the next few years, she would print a number of broadsides elegizing prominent English and colonial leaders. Wheatley's doctor suggested that a sea voyage might improve her delicate health, so in 1771 she accompanied Nathaniel Wheatley on a trip to London. She was well received in London and wrote to a friend of the "unexpected and unmerited civility and complaisance with which I was treated by all." In 1773, thirty-nine of her poems were published in London as Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral. The book includes many elegies as well as poems on Christian themes; it also includes poems dealing with race, such as the often-anthologized "On Being Brought from Africa to America." She returned to America in 1773. After Mr. and Mrs. Wheatley died, Phillis was left to support herself as a seamstress and poet. It is unclear precisely when Wheatley was freed from slavery, although scholars suggest it occurred between 1774 and 1778. In 1776, Wheatley wrote a letter and poem in support of George Washington; he replied with an invitation to visit him in Cambridge, stating that he would be "happy to see a person so favored by the muses." In 1778, she married John Peters, who kept a grocery store. They had three children together, all of whom died young. Because of the war and the poor economy, Wheatley experienced difficulty publishing her poems. She solicited subscribers for a new volume that would include thirty-three new poems and thirteen letters, but was unable to raise the funds. Phillis Wheatley, who had once been internationally celebrated, died alone in a boarding house in 1784. She was thirty-one years old. Many of the poems for her proposed second volume disappeared and have never been recovered. References Poets.org - poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/431

Derek Walcott

Sir Derek Alton Walcott, KCSL OBE OCC (born 23 January 1930) is a Saint Lucian–Trinidadian poet and playwright. He received the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature. He is currently Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex. His works include the Homeric epic poem Omeros (1990), which many critics view “as Walcott’s major achievement.” In addition to having won the Nobel, Walcott has won many literary awards over the course of his career, including an Obie Award in 1971 for his play Dream on Monkey Mountain, a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award, a Royal Society of Literature Award, the Queen’s Medal for Poetry, the inaugural OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, the 2011 T. S. Eliot Prize for his book of poetry White Egrets and the Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry Lifetime Recognition Award in 2015. Early life and education Walcott was born and raised in Castries, Saint Lucia, in the West Indies with a twin brother, the future playwright Roderick Walcott, and a sister, Pamela Walcott. His family is of African and European descent, reflecting the complex colonial history of the island which he explores in his poetry. His mother, a teacher, loved the arts and often recited poetry around the house. His father, who painted and wrote poetry, died at age 31 from mastoiditis while his wife was pregnant with the twins Derek and Roderick, who were born after his death. Walcott’s family was part of a minority Methodist community, who felt overshadowed by the dominant Catholic culture of the island established during French colonial rule. As a young man Walcott trained as a painter, mentored by Harold Simmons, whose life as a professional artist provided an inspiring example for him. Walcott greatly admired Cézanne and Giorgione and sought to learn from them. Walcott’s painting was later exhibited at the Anita Shapolsky Gallery in New York City, along with the art of other writers, in a 2007 exhibition named “The Writer’s Brush: Paintings and Drawing by Writers”. He studied as a writer, becoming “an elated, exuberant poet madly in love with English” and strongly influenced by modernist poets such as T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Walcott had an early sense of a vocation as a writer. In the poem “Midsummer” (1984), he wrote: At 14, Walcott published his first poem, a Miltonic, religious poem in the newspaper, The Voice of St Lucia. An English Catholic priest condemned the Methodist-inspired poem as blasphemous in a response printed in the newspaper. By 19, Walcott had self-published his two first collections with the aid of his mother, who paid for the printing: 25 Poems (1948) and Epitaph for the Young: XII Cantos (1949). He sold copies to his friends and covered the costs. He later commented, I went to my mother and said, 'I’d like to publish a book of poems, and I think it’s going to cost me two hundred dollars.' She was just a seamstress and a schoolteacher, and I remember her being very upset because she wanted to do it. Somehow she got it—a lot of money for a woman to have found on her salary. She gave it to me, and I sent off to Trinidad and had the book printed. When the books came back I would sell them to friends. I made the money back. The influential Bajan poet Frank Collymore critically supported Walcott’s early work. With a scholarship, he studied at the University College of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. Personal life Derek Walcott married Fay Moston, a secretary, but the marriage lasted only a few years and ended in divorce. Walcott married a second time to Margaret Maillard, who worked as an almoner in a hospital, but that also ended in divorce. In 1976, Walcott then married Norline Metivier, but this marriage also did not last. He has children named Elizabeth, Peter and Anna. Walcott is also known for his passion for traveling to different countries around the world. He splits his time between New York, Boston, and St. Lucia, where he incorporates the influences of different areas into his pieces of work. Career After graduation, Walcott moved to Trinidad in 1953, where he became a critic, teacher and journalist. Walcott founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop in 1959 and remains active with its Board of Directors. Exploring the Caribbean and its history in a colonialist and post-colonialist context, his collection In a Green Night: Poems 1948–1960 (1962) attracted international attention. His play Dream on Monkey Mountain (1970) was produced on NBC-TV in the United States the year it was published. In 1971 it was produced by the Negro Ensemble Company off-Broadway in New York City; it won an Obie Award that year for “Best Foreign Play”. The following year, Walcott won an OBE from the British government for his work. He was hired as a teacher by Boston University in the United States, where he founded the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre in 1981. That year he also received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in the United States. Walcott taught literature and writing at Boston University for more than two decades, publishing new books of poetry and plays on a regular basis and retiring in 2007. He became friends with other poets, including the Russian Joseph Brodsky, who lived and worked in the US after being exiled in the 1970s, and the Irish Seamus Heaney, who also taught in Boston. His epic poem, Omeros (1990), which loosely echoes and refers to characters from The Iliad, has been critically praised “as Walcott’s major achievement.” The book received praise from publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times Book Review, which chose the book as one of its "Best Books of 1990". Walcott was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992, the second Caribbean writer to receive the honor after Saint-John Perse, who was born in Guadeloupe, received the award in 1960. The Nobel committee described Walcott’s work as “a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment.” He won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2004. His later poetry collections include Tiepolo’s Hound (2000), illustrated with copies of his watercolors; The Prodigal (2004), and White Egrets (2010), which received the T.S. Eliot Prize. In 2009, Walcott began a three-year distinguished scholar-in-residence position at the University of Alberta. In 2010, he became Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex. As a part of St Lucia’s Independence Day celebrations, in February 2016, he became one of the first knights of the Order of Saint Lucia, granting him the title of 'Sir’. Oxford Professor of Poetry candidacy In 2009, Walcott was a leading candidate for the position of Oxford Professor of Poetry. He withdrew his candidacy after reports of documented accusations against him of sexual harassment from 1981 and 1996. (The latter case was settled by Boston University out of court.) When the media learned that pages from an American book on the topic were sent anonymously to a number of Oxford academics, this aroused their interest in the university decisions. Ruth Padel, also a leading candidate, was elected to the post. Within days, The Daily Telegraph reported that she had alerted journalists to the harassment cases. Under severe media and academic pressure, Padel resigned. Padel was the first woman to be elected to the Oxford post, and journalists including Libby Purves, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, the American Macy Halford and the Canadian Suzanne Gardner attributed the criticism of her to misogyny and a gender war at Oxford. They said that a male poet would not have been so criticized, as she had reported published information, not rumour. Numerous respected poets, including Seamus Heaney and Al Alvarez, published a letter of support for Walcott in The Times Literary Supplement, and criticized the press furore. Other commentators suggested that both poets were casualties of the media interest in an internal university affair, because the story “had everything, from sex claims to allegations of character assassination”. Simon Armitage and other poets expressed regret at Padel’s resignation. Writing Themes Methodism and spirituality have played a significant role from the beginning in Walcott’s work. He commented, “I have never separated the writing of poetry from prayer. I have grown up believing it is a vocation, a religious vocation.” Describing his writing process, he wrote, "the body feels it is melting into what it has seen… the 'I’ not being important. That is the ecstasy... Ultimately, it’s what Yeats says: ‘Such a sweetness flows into the breast that we laugh at everything and everything we look upon is blessed.’ That’s always there. It’s a benediction, a transference. It’s gratitude, really. The more of that a poet keeps, the more genuine his nature." He also notes, “if one thinks a poem is coming on... you do make a retreat, a withdrawal into some kind of silence that cuts out everything around you. What you’re taking on is really not a renewal of your identity but actually a renewal of your anonymity.” Influences Walcott has said his writing was influenced by the work of the American poets, Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop, who were also friends. Playwriting He has published more than twenty plays, the majority of which have been produced by the Trinidad Theatre Workshop and have also been widely staged elsewhere. Many of them address, either directly or indirectly, the liminal status of the West Indies in the post-colonial period. Through poetry he also explores the paradoxes and complexities of this legacy. Essays In his 1970 essay “What the Twilight Says: An Overture”, discussing art and theatre in his native region (from Dream on Monkey Mountain and Other Plays), Walcott reflects on the West Indies as colonized space. He discusses the problems for an artist of a region with little in the way of truly indigenous forms, and with little national or nationalist identity. He states: “We are all strangers here... Our bodies think in one language and move in another". The epistemological effects of colonization inform plays such as Ti-Jean and his Brothers. Mi-Jean, one of the eponymous brothers, is shown to have much information, but to truly know nothing. Every line Mi-Jean recites is rote knowledge gained from the coloniser; he is unable to synthesize it or apply it to his life as a colonised person. Walcott notes of growing up in West Indian culture: “What we were deprived of was also our privilege. There was a great joy in making a world that so far, up to then, had been undefined... My generation of West Indian writers has felt such a powerful elation at having the privilege of writing about places and people for the first time and, simultaneously, having behind them the tradition of knowing how well it can be done—by a Defoe, a Dickens, a Richardson.” Walcott identifies as “absolutely a Caribbean writer”, a pioneer, helping to make sense of the legacy of deep colonial damage. In such poems as “The Castaway” (1965) and in the play Pantomime (1978), he uses the metaphors of shipwreck and Crusoe to describe the culture and what is required of artists after colonialism and slavery: both the freedom and the challenge to begin again, salvage the best of other cultures and make something new. These images recur in later work as well. He writes, “If we continue to sulk and say, Look at what the slave-owner did, and so forth, we will never mature. While we sit moping or writing morose poems and novels that glorify a non-existent past, then time passes us by.” Omeros Walcott’s epic book-length poem Omeros was published in 1990 to critical acclaim. The poem very loosely echoes and references Homer and some of his major characters from The Iliad. Some of the poem’s major characters include the island fishermen Achille and Hector, the retired English officer Major Plunkett and his wife Maud, the housemaid Helen, the blind man Seven Seas (who symbolically represents Homer), and the author himself. Although the main narrative of the poem takes place on the island of St. Lucia, where Walcott was born and raised, Walcott also includes scenes from Brookline, Massachusetts (where Walcott was living and teaching at the time of the poem’s composition), and the character Achille imagines a voyage from Africa onto a slave ship that is headed for the Americas; also, in Book Five of the poem, Walcott narrates some of his travel experiences in a variety of cities around the world, including Lisbon, London, Dublin, Rome, and Toronto. Composed in a variation on terza rima, the work explores the themes that run throughout Walcott’s oeuvre: the beauty of the islands, the colonial burden, the fragmentation of Caribbean identity, and the role of the poet in a post-colonial world. Criticism and praise Walcott’s work has received praise from major poets including Robert Graves, who wrote that Walcott “handles English with a closer understanding of its inner magic than most, if not any, of his contemporaries”, and Joseph Brodsky, who praised Walcott’s work, writing: “For almost forty years his throbbing and relentless lines kept arriving in the English language like tidal waves, coagulating into an archipelago of poems without which the map of modern literature would effectively match wallpaper. He gives us more than himself or 'a world’; he gives us a sense of infinity embodied in the language.” Walcott noted that he, Brodsky, and the Irish poet Seamus Heaney, who all taught in the United States, were a band of poets “outside the American experience”. The poetry critic William Logan critiqued Walcott’s work in a New York Times book review of Walcott’s Selected Poems. While he praised Walcott’s writing in Sea Grapes and The Arkansas Testament, he had mostly negative things to say about Walcott’s poetry, calling Omeros “clumsy” and Another Life “pretentious.”. Finally, he concluded with the faint praise that “No living poet has written verse more delicately rendered or distinguished than Walcott, though few individual poems seem destined to be remembered.” Most reviews of Walcott’s work are more positive. For instance, in The New Yorker review of The Poetry of Derek Walcott, Adam Kirsch had high praise for Walcott’s oeuvre, describing his style in the following manner: By combining the grammar of vision with the freedom of metaphor, Walcott produces a beautiful style that is also a philosophical style. People perceive the world on dual channels, Walcott’s verse suggests, through the senses and through the mind, and each is constantly seeping into the other. The result is a state of perpetual magical thinking, a kind of Alice in Wonderland world where concepts have bodies and landscapes are always liable to get up and start talking. He calls Another Life Walcott’s “first major peak” and analyzes the painterly qualities of Walcott’s imagery from his earliest work through to later books like Tiepolo’s Hound. He also explores the post-colonial politics in Walcott’s work, calling him “the postcolonial writer par excellence.” He calls the early poem “A Far Cry from Africa” a turning point in Walcott’s development as a poet. Like Logan, Kirsch is critical of Omeros which he believes Walcott fails to successfully sustain over its entirety. Although Omeros is the volume of Walcott’s that usual receives the most critical praise, Kirsch, instead believes that Midsummer is his best book. Awards and honours 1969 Cholmondeley Award 1971 Obie Award for Best Foreign Play (for Dream on Monkey Mountain) 1972 Officer of the Order of the British Empire 1981 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship ("genius award") 1988 Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry 1990 Arts Council of Wales International Writers Prize 1990 W. H. Smith Literary Award (for poetry Omeros) 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature 2004 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Lifetime Achievement 2008 Honorary doctorate from the University of Essex 2011 T. S. Eliot Prize (for poetry collection White Egrets) 2011 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature (for White Egrets) 2015 Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry Lifetime Recognition Award 2016 Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Lucia List of works * Works about Derek Walcott in libraries (WorldCat catalog) * Works by Derek Walcott at Open Library Further reading * Baer, William, ed. Conversations with Derek Walcott. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996. * Baugh, Edward, Derek Walcott: Memory as Vision: Another Life. London: Longman, 1978. * Baugh, Edward, Derek Walcott. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. * Breslin, Paul, Nobody’s Nation: Reading Derek Walcott. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001. ISBN 0-226-07426-9 * Brown, Stewart, ed., The Art of Derek Walcott. Chester Springs, PA.: Dufour, 1991; Bridgend: Seren Books, 1992. * Burnett, Paula, Derek Walcott: Politics and Poetics. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2001. * Fumagalli, Maria Cristina, The Flight of the Vernacular: Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott and the Impress of Dante. Amsterdam-New York: Rodopi, 2001. * Fumagalli, Maria Cristina, Agenda 39:1–3 (2002–03), Special Issue on Derek Walcott. Includes Derek Walcott’s Epitaph for the Young (1949) republished here in its entirety. * Fumagalli, Maria Cristina and Patrick, Peter, “Two Healing Narratives: Suffering, Reintegration, and the Struggle of Language”, Small Axe 20 10:2 (2006), pp. 61–79. * Fumagalli, Maria Cristina, “Brushing History Against the Grain: Derek Walcott’s Tiepolo’s Hound”, in Caribbean Perspectives on Modernity: Returning Medusa’s Gaze. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009. * Gazzoni, Andrea, Epica dell’arcipelago. Il racconto della tribù, Derek Walcott, “Omeros”. Firenze: Le Lettere, 2009. ISBN 88-6087-288-X * Hamner, Robert D., ed. Critical Perspectives on Derek Walcott. Washington, D.C.: Three Continents, 1993. ISBN 0-89410-142-0 * Hamner, Robert D., Derek Walcott. Updated Edition. Twayne’s World Authors Series. TWAS 600. New York: Twayne, 1993. * Heaney, Seamus, “The Murmur of Malvern”, in The Government of the Tongue: The 1986 T. S. Eliot Memorial Lectures and Other Critical Writings. London: Faber and Faber, 1988, pp. 23–29. * King, Bruce, Derek Walcott and West Indian Drama: “Not Only a Playwright But a Company”: The Trinidad Theatre Workshop 1959–1993. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995. * King, Bruce, Derek Walcott, A Caribbean Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. * Lennard, John, “Derek Walcott”, in Jay Parini, ed., World Writers in English. 2 vols, New York & London: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2004, II.721–46. * Morris, Mervyn, “Derek Walcott”, in Bruce King, ed., West Indian Literature, Macmillan, 1979, pp. 144–60. * Parker, Michael and Roger Starkey, eds. New Casebooks: Postcolonial Literatures: Achebe, Ngugi, Desai, Walcott. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Macmillan, 1995. ISBN 0-333-60801-1 * Sinnewe, Dirk, Divided to the Vein? Derek Walcott’s Drama and the Formation of Cultural Identities. Saarbrücken: Königshausen und Neumann, 2001 [Reihe Saarbrücker Beiträge 17]. ISBN 3-8260-2073-1 * Terada, Rei, Derek Walcott’s Poetry: American Mimicry. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1992. * Thieme, John, Derek Walcott. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 1999. * Walcott, Derek, Dream on Monkey Mountain and Other Plays. New York: Farrar, 1970. ISBN 0-374-50860-7 References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Walcott

Judith Wright

Judith Arundell Wright (31 May 1915– 25 June 2000) was an Australian poet, environmentalist and campaigner for Aboriginal land rights. Biography Judith Wright was born in Armidale, New South Wales. The eldest child of Phillip Wright and his first wife, Ethel, she spent most of her formative years in Brisbane and Sydney. Wright was of Cornish ancestry. After the early death of her mother, she lived with her aunt and then boarded at New England Girls’ School after her father’s remarriage in 1929. After graduating, Wright studied Philosophy, English, Psychology and History at the University of Sydney. At the beginning of World War II, she returned to her father’s station to help during the shortage of labour caused by the war. Wright’s first book of poetry, The Moving Image, was published in 1946 while she was working at the University of Queensland as a research officer. Then, she also worked with Clem Christesen on the literary magazine Meanjin. In 1950 she moved to Mount Tamborine, Queensland, with the novelist and abstract philosopher Jack McKinney. Their daughter Meredith was born in the same year. They married in 1962, but Jack was to live only until 1966. In 1966, she published The Nature of Love, her first collection of short stories, through Sun Press, Melbourne. Set mainly in Queensland, they include 'The Vineyard Woman’, 'Eighty Acres’, 'The Dugong’, 'The Weeping Fig’ and 'The Nature of Love’, all first published in The Bulletin. With David Fleay, Kathleen McArthur and Brian Clouston, Wright was a founding member and, from 1964 to 1976, President, of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland. She was the second Australian to receive the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, in 1991. For the last three decades of her life, she lived near the New South Wales town of Braidwood. Allegedly, she had moved to the Braidwood area to be closer to H. C. Coombs, who was based in Canberra. She started to lose her hearing in her mid-20s, and she became completely deaf by 1992. Judith Wright died in Canberra on 25 June 2000, aged 85. Poet and critic Judith Wright was the author of several collections of poetry, including The Moving Image, Woman to Man, The Gateway, The Two Fires, Birds, The Other Half, Magpies, Shadow, Hunting Snake, among others. Her work is noted for a keen focus on the Australian environment, which began to gain prominence in Australian art in the years following World War II. She deals with the relationship between settlers, Indigenous Australians and the bush, among other themes. Wright’s aesthetic centres on the relationship between mankind and the environment, which she views as the catalyst for poetic creation. Her images characteristically draw from the Australian flora and fauna, yet contain a mythic substrata that probes at the poetic process, limitations of language, and the correspondence between inner existence and objective reality. Her poems have been translated into several languages, including Italian, Japanese and Russian. Birds In 2003, the National Library of Australia published an expanded edition of Wright’s collection titled Birds. Most of these poems were written in the 1950s when she was living on Tamborine Mountain in southeast Queensland. Meredith McKinney, Wright’s daughter, writes that they were written at “a precious and dearly-won time of warmth and bounty to counterbalance at last what felt, in contrast, the chilly dearth and difficulty of her earlier years”. McKinney goes on to say that “many of these poems have a newly relaxed, almost conversational tone and rhythm, an often humorous ease and an intimacy of voice that surely reflects the new intimacies and joys of her life”. Despite the joy reflected in the poems, however, they also acknowledge "the experiences of cruelty, pain and death that are inseparable from the lives of birds as of humans... and [turn] a sorrowing a clear-sighted gaze on the terrible damage we have done and continue to do to our world, even as we love it". Environmentalist and social activist Wright was well known for her campaigning in support of the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef and Fraser Island. With some friends, she helped found one of the earliest nature conservation movements. Wright was also an impassioned advocate for the Aboriginal land rights movement. Tom Shapcott, reviewing With Love and Fury, her posthumous collection of selected letters published in 2007, comments that her letter on this topic to the Australian Prime Minister John Howard was “almost brutal in its scorn”. Shortly before her death, she attended a march in Canberra for reconciliation between non-indigenous Australians and the Aboriginal people. Awards * 1976 - Christopher Brennan Award * 1991 - Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry * 1994 - Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Poetry Award for Collected Poems Recognition * In June 2006 the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) announced that the new federal electorate in Queensland, which was to be created at the 2007 federal election, would be named Wright in honor of her accomplishments as a “poet and in the areas of arts, conservation and indigenous affairs in Queensland and Australia”. However, in September 2006 the AEC announced it would name the seat after John Flynn, the founder of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, due to numerous objections from people fearing the name Wright may be linked to disgraced former Queensland Labor MP Keith Wright. Under the 2009 redistribution of Queensland, a new seat in southeast Queensland was created and named in Wright’s honour; it was first contested in 2010. * The Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane is named after her. * On 2 January 2008, it was announced that a future suburb in the district of Molonglo Valley, Canberra would be named “Wright”. There is a street in the Canberra suburb of Franklin named after her, as well. Another of the Molonglo Valley suburbs is to be named after Wright’s lover, “Nugget” Coombs. Bibliography Poetry * Collections * * Wright, Judith (1946). The moving image. Melbourne: Meanjin Press. * Woman to Man (1949) * Woman to Child (1949) *—(1953). The moving image (2nd ed.). Melbourne: Meanjin Press. * The Gateway (1953) * Hunting Snake (1964) * Bora Ring (1946) * The Two Fires (1955) * Australian Bird Poems (1961) * Birds: Poems, Angus and Robertson, 1962; Birds: Poems. National Library Australia. 2003. ISBN 978-0-642-10774-9. * Five Senses: Selected Poems (1963) * Selected Poems (1963) * Tentacles: A tribute to those lovely things (1964) * Sportsfield * City Sunrise (1964) * The Other Half (1966) * Alive: Poems 1971-72 (1973) * Fourth Quarter and Other Poems (1976) * Train Journey (1978) * The Double Tree: Selected Poems 1942-76 (1978) * Phantom Dwelling (1985) * A Human Pattern: Selected Poems (1990) ISBN 1-875892-17-6 * The Flame Tree (1993) * Bullocky * Collected poems, 1942-1985, Angus & Robertson, 1994, ISBN 978-0-207-18135-1 List of poems * Literary criticism * * William Baylebridge and the modern problem (Canberra University College, 1955) * Charles Harpur (1963) * Preoccupations in Australian Poetry (1965) * Wright, Judith (1967). Henry Lawson. Great Australians. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. * Collected Poems (1971) * Because I was Invited (1975) * Going on Talking (1991) ISBN 0-947333-43-6 Other works * * Kings of the Dingoes (1958) Oxford University Press, Melbourne * The Generations of Men (1959) ISBN 1-875892-16-8 * Range the Mountains High (1962) * The Nature of Love (1966) Sun Books, Melbourne * The Battle of the Biosphere ('Outlook’ Magazine article 1970) http://bushwalk.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=11053&sid=d938c6b9001459eaa87fa60fb5bc7fc4 * The Coral Battleground (1977) * The Cry for the Dead (1981) * We Call for a Treaty (1985) * Born of the Conquerors: Selected Essays. Aboriginal Studies Press. 1991. ISBN 978-0-85575-217-0. * Half a Lifetime (Text, 2001) ISBN 1-876485-78-7 Review Letters * * The Equal Heart and Mind: Letters between Judith Wright and Jack McKinney. Edited by Patricia Clarke and Meredith McKinney (UQP, 2004) ISBN 0-7022-3441-9 * With Love and Fury: Selected letters of Judith Wright, edited by Patricia Clarke and Meredith McKinney (National Library of Australia, 2006) ISBN 978-0-642-27625-4 * Portrait of a friendship: the letters of Barbara Blackman and Judith Wright, 1950-2000, edited by Bryony Cosgrove (Miegunyah Press, 2007) ISBN 978-0-522-85355-1, ISBN 0-522-85355-2Review Further reading * * Brady, Veronica (1998) South of My Days: A Biography of Judith Wright, Angus & Robertson ISBN 0-207-18857-2 References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Wright

David Whyte

David Whyte (born 2 November 1955) is an English poet. He is quoted as saying that all of his poetry and philosophy is based on "the conversational nature of reality". Life and Work Whyte's mother was from Waterford, Ireland, and his father was a Yorkshireman. He attributes his poetic interest to both the songs and poetry of his mother's Irish heritage and to the landscape of West Yorkshire. He grew up in West Yorkshire and has commented that he had "a Wordsworthian childhood", in the fields, woods and on the moors. Whyte has a degree in Marine zoology from Bangor University. During his twenties Whyte worked as a naturalist and lived in the Galapagos Islands, where he experienced a near drowning on the southern shore of Hood Island. He led anthropological and natural history expeditions in the Andes the Amazon and the Himalayas. Whyte moved to the US in 1981 and began a career as a poet and speaker in 1986. From 1987 he began taking his poetry and philosophy to larger audiences including consulting and lecturing on organisational leadership models in the US and UK exploring the role of creativity in business. He has worked with companies such as Boeing, AT&T, NASA, Toyota, The Royal Air Force and the Arthur Andersen accountancy group. Work and vocation and "Conversational Leadership" is the subject of several of Whyte's prose books, including Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as Pilgrimage of Identity, The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship and The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of The Soul in Corporate America (top of business best seller list). Whyte has written seven volumes of poetry and four books of prose. Pilgrim is based on the human need to travel, "From here to there". The House of Belonging looks at the same human need for home. He describes his collection Everything Is Waiting For You (2003) as arising from the grief at the loss of his mother. His latest book is Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words, an attempt to "rehabilitate" many everyday words we often use only in pejorative or unimaginative ways. He has also written for newspapers including The Huffington Post and The Observer. He leads group poetry and walking journeys regularly in Ireland, England and Italy. He has an honorary degree from Neumann College, Pennsylvania, and is Associate Fellow of both Templeton College, Oxford, and the Saïd Business School, Oxford. Whyte runs the Many Rivers organisation and Invitas: The Institute for conversational leadership, which he founded in 2014. He has lived in Seattle and on Whidbey Island and currently lives in Langley, in the US Pacific North West and holds dual US-British citizenship. He has one daughter, Charlotte, from his second marriage to Dr. Leslie Cotter, from whom he divorced in November 2014, and a son, Brendan from his first marriage to Autumn Preble. Whyte has practised Zen and was a regular rock climber. He was a close friend of the Irish poet John O'Donohue. Poetry Collections * Pilgrim (2012) * River Flow: New & Selected Poems Revised Edition (Many Rivers Press 2012) * River Flow: New & Selected Poems 1984–2007 (Many Rivers Press 2007) * Everything is Waiting for You (Many Rivers Press 2003) * The House of Belonging (Many Rivers Press 1996) * Fire in the Earth (Many Rivers Press 1992) * Where Many Rivers Meet (Many Rivers Press 1990) * Songs for Coming Home (Many Rivers Press 1984) Prose * The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self & Relationship (Riverhead 2009) * Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as A Pilgrimage of Identity (Riverhead 2001) * The Heart Aroused: Poetry & the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America (Doubleday/Currency 1994) * Consolations: The Solace Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words" (Many Rivers Press 2015) References Wikipedia—http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Whyte_(poet)

Thomas Wyatt

Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503 – 11 October 1542) was a 16th-century English lyrical poet credited with introducing the sonnet into English. He was born at Allington Castle, near Maidstone in Kent – though his family was originally from Yorkshire. His mother was Anne Skinner and his father, Henry Wyatt, had been one of Henry VII's Privy Councillors, and remained a trusted adviser when Henry VIII came to the throne in 1509. In his turn, Thomas Wyatt followed his father to court after his education at St John's College, Cambridge. None of Wyatt's poems were published during his lifetime—the first book to feature his verse was printed a full fifteen years after his death. Education and diplomatic career Wyatt was over six feet tall, reportedly both handsome and physically strong. Wyatt was not only a poet, but also an ambassador in the service of Henry VIII. He first entered Henry's service in 1515 as 'Sewer Extraordinary', and the same year he began studying at St John's College of the University of Cambridge. He married Elizabeth Brooke (1503–1550), the sister of George Brooke, 9th Baron Cobham, in 1522, and a year later she gave birth to a son, Thomas Wyatt, the younger, who led Wyatt's rebellion many years after his father's death. In 1524 Henry VIII assigned Wyatt to be an Ambassador at home and abroad, and some time soon after he separated from his wife on the grounds of adultery. He accompanied Sir John Russell, 1st Earl of Bedford to Rome to help petition Pope Clement VII to annul the marriage of Henry VIII to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, an embassy whose goal was to make Henry free to marry Anne Boleyn. According to some, Wyatt was captured by the armies of Emperor Charles V when they captured Rome and imprisoned the Pope in 1527 but managed to escape and then made it back to England. In 1535 Wyatt was knighted and appointed High Sheriff of Kent for 1536. In December 1541 he was elected knight of the shire (M.P.) for Kent. Wyatt's poetry and influence Wyatt's professed object was to experiment with the English tongue, to civilise it, to raise its powers to those of its neighbours. Although a significant amount of his literary output consists of translations of sonnets by the Italian poet Petrarch, he wrote sonnets of his own. Wyatt's sonnets first appeared in Tottle's Miscellany, now on exhibit in the British Library in London. In addition to imitations of works by the classical writers Seneca and Horace, he experimented in stanza forms including the rondeau, epigrams, terza rima, ottava rima songs, satires and also with monorime, triplets with refrains, quatrains with different length of line and rhyme schemes, quatrains with codas, and the French forms of douzaine and treizaine in addition to introducing contemporaries to his poulter's measure form (Alexandrine couplets of twelve syllable iambic lines alternating with a fourteener, fourteen syllable line). and is acknowledged a master in the iambic tetrameter. While Wyatt's poetry reflects classical and Italian models, he also admired the work of Chaucer and his vocabulary reflects Chaucer’s (for example, his use of Chaucer’s word newfangleness, meaning fickle, in They flee from me that sometime did me seek). His best-known poems are those that deal with the trials of romantic love. Others of his poems were scathing, satirical indictments of the hypocrisies and flat-out pandering required of courtiers ambitious to advance at the Tudor court. Wyatt was one of the earliest poets of the Renaissance. He was responsible for many innovations in English poetry. He, along with Surrey, introduced the sonnet from Italy into England. His lyrics show great tenderness of feeling and purity of diction. He is one of the originators of the convention in love poetry according to which the mistress is painted as hard-hearted and cruel. Attribution The Egerton Manuscript, originally an album containing Wyatt's personal selection of his poems and translations, preserves 123 texts, partly in the poet's hand. Tottel's Miscellany (1557), the Elizabethan anthology which created Wyatt's posthumous reputation, ascribes 96 poems to him, (33 not extant in the Egerton Manuscript). These 156 poems can be ascribed to Wyatt with certainty, on the basis of objective evidence. Another 129 poems have been ascribed to Wyatt purely on the basis of subjective editorial judgment. They derive mostly from two Tudor manuscript anthologies, the Devonshire and Blage manuscripts. R A Rebholz in his preface to Sir Thomas Wyatt, The Complete Poems, comments, 'the problem of determining which poems Wyatt wrote is as yet unsolved'. However, as Richard Harrier's The Canon of Sir Thomas Wyatt's Poetry (1975) shows, the problem of determining which poems aren't Wyatt's is much simpler. Harrier examines the documentary evidence of the manuscripts (handwritings, organization, etc.) and establishes that there is insufficient textual warrant for assigning any of these poems to Wyatt. The only basis for ascribing these poems to Wyatt resides in editorial evaluation of their style and poetic merits. Compared with the indubitable standard presented in Wyatt's 156 unquestionably ascribable poems, fewer than 30 of these 129 poems survive scrutiny. Most can be dismissed at once. The best edition of Wyatt thus far is Joost Daalder's (1975). It presents 199 poems, including 25 misascriptions (mostly segregated as "Unascribed") and is missing a dozen poems likely to be Wyatt's. A new edition of this major poet, the inventor of lyric poetry in Modern English, is urgently needed. Assessment Critical opinions of his work have varied widely. Thomas Warton, the eighteenth century critic, considered Wyatt 'confessedly an inferior' to his contemporary Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey and that Wyatt's 'genius was of the moral and didactic species and be deemed the first polished English satirist'. The 20th century saw an awakening in his popularity and a surge in critical attention. C. S. Lewis called him ‘the father of the Drab Age’ (i.e. the unornate), from what Lewis calls the 'golden' age of the 16th century, while others see his love poetry, with its complex use of literary conceits, as anticipating that of the metaphysical poets in the next century. More recently, the critic Patricia Thomson, describes Wyatt as "the Father of English Poetry” Rumored affair with Anne Boleyn Many legends and conjectures have grown up around the notion that the young, unhappily married Wyatt fell in love with the young Anne Boleyn in the early-to-mid 1520s. The exact nature of their relationship remains uncertain today. Their acquaintance is certain. However, whether or not the two shared a romantic relationship is unknown to this day. Nineteenth-century critic Rev. George Gilfillan implies that Wyatt and Boleyn were romantically connected. To quote a modern historian "that they did look into each others eyes, and felt that to each other they were all too lovely.." is a quite possible scenario. In his poetry, Thomas calls his mistress Anna, and often embeds pieces of information that correspond with her life into his poetry. "And now I follow the coals that be quent, From Dover to Calais against my mind..." These lines could refer to Anne's trip to France in 1532 right before her marriage to Henry VIII. This could imply that Thomas followed her to France to try and persuade her otherwise or merely to be with her. Later in his life, Thomas writes, while referring to a woman, "Graven in diamonds with letters plain, There is written her fair neck round about, Noli me tangere, Caesar's, I am;" This shows Wyatt's obvious attraction to a royal lady. According to his grandson George Wyatt, who wrote a biography of Anne Boleyn many years after her death, the moment Thomas Wyatt had seen "this new beauty" on her return from France in winter 1522 he had fallen in love with her. When she attracted King Henry VIII's attentions sometime around 1525, Wyatt was the last of Anne's other suitors to be ousted by the king. According to Wyatt's grandson, after an argument over her during a game of bowls with the King, Wyatt was sent on, or himself requested, a diplomatic mission to Italy. Imprisonment on charges of adultery In May 1536 Wyatt was imprisoned in the Tower of London for allegedly committing adultery with Anne Boleyn. He was released from the Tower later that year, thanks to his friendship or his father's friendship with Thomas Cromwell, and he returned to his duties. During his stay in the Tower he may have witnessed not only the execution of Anne Boleyn (May 19, 1536) from his cell window but also the prior executions of the five men with whom she was accused of adultery. Wyatt is known to have written a poem inspired by the experience, which, though it stays clear of declaring the executions groundless, expresses grief and shock. In the 1530s, he wrote poetry in the Devonshire MS declaring his love for a woman; employing the basic acrostic formula, the first letter of each line spells out SHELTUN. A reply is written underneath it, signed by Mary Shelton, rejecting him. Mary, Anne Boleyn's first cousin, had been the mistress of Henry VIII between February and August 1535. In 1540 he was again in favor, as evident by the fact that he was granted the site and many of the manorial estates of the dissolved Boxley Abbey. However, in 1541 he was charged again with treason and the charges were again lifted—though only thanks to the intervention of Henry's fifth wife, then-Queen Catherine Howard, and upon the condition of reconciling with his adulterous wife. He was granted a full pardon and restored once again to his duties as ambassador. After the execution of Catherine Howard, there were rumours that Wyatt's wife, Elizabeth, was a possibility for wife number six, despite the fact that she was still married to Wyatt. He became ill not long after, and died on 11 October 1542 around the age of 39, while staying with his friend Sir John Horsey at Clifton Maybank House in Dorset. He is buried in nearby Sherborne Abbey. Descendants and relatives Long after Thomas Wyatt's death, his only son, Thomas Wyatt the younger, led a thwarted rebellion against Henry's daughter, Queen Mary I, for which he was executed. The rebellion's aim was to set the Protestant-minded Elizabeth, the daughter of Anne Boleyn, on the throne. His sister Margaret Wyatt was the mother of Henry Lee of Ditchley, from whom descend the Lees of Virginia, including Robert E. Lee. Thomas Wyatt's great grandson was Virginia Governor Francis Wyatt. References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Wyatt_(poet)

Richard Wilbur

Richard Purdy Wilbur (born March 1, 1921) is an American poet and literary translator. He was appointed the second Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1987, and twice received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, in 1957 and again in 1989. Biography Early years Wilbur was born in New York City March 1, 1921 and grew up in North Caldwell, New Jersey. He graduated from Montclair High School in 1938, having worked on the school newspaper as a student there. He graduated from Amherst College in 1942 and then served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1945 during World War II. After the Army and graduate school at Harvard University, Wilbur taught at Wellesley College, then Wesleyan University for two decades and at Smith College for another decade. At Wesleyan, he was instrumental in founding the award-winning poetry series of the University Press. He received two Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry and, as of 2009, teaches at Amherst College. He is also on the editorial board of the literary magazine The Common, based at Amherst College. Career When only 8 years old, Wilbur published his first poem in John Martin’s Magazine. His first book, The Beautiful Changes and Other Poems, appeared in 1947. Since then he has published several volumes of poetry, including New and Collected Poems (Faber, 1989). Wilbur is also a translator, specializing in the 17th century French comedies of Molière and the dramas of Jean Racine. His translation of Tartuffe has become the standard English version of the play, and has been presented on television twice (a 1978 production is available on DVD.) In addition to publishing poetry and translations, he has also published several children’s books including Opposites, More Opposites, and The Disappearing Alphabet. Continuing the tradition of Robert Frost and W. H. Auden, Wilbur’s poetry finds illumination in everyday experiences. Less well-known is Wilbur’s foray into lyric writing. He provided lyrics to several songs in Leonard Bernstein’s 1956 musical, Candide, including the famous “Glitter and Be Gay” and “Make Our Garden Grow.” He has also produced several unpublished works including “The Wing” and “To Beatrice”. His honors include the 1983 Drama Desk Special Award and the PEN Translation Prize for his translation of The Misanthrope, both the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the National Book Award for Things of This World (1956), the Edna St Vincent Millay award, the Bollingen Prize, and the Chevalier, Ordre des Palmes Académiques. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1959. In 1987 Wilbur became the second poet, after Robert Penn Warren, to be named U.S. Poet Laureate after the position’s title was changed from Poetry Consultant. In 1988, he won the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry and then in 1989 he won a second Pulitzer, this one for his New and Collected Poems. On October 14, 1994, he received the National Medal of Arts from President Bill Clinton. He also received the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation in 1994. In 2003, Wilbur was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. In 2006, Wilbur won the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. In 2010 he won the National Translation Award for the translation of The Theatre of Illusion by Pierre Corneille. In 2012, Yale conferred an honorary degree, Doctor of Letters, on Wilbur. Bibliography Poetry collections * 1947: The Beautiful Changes, and Other Poems * 1950: Ceremony, and Other Poems * 1955: A Bestiary * 1956: Things of This World - won Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and National Book Award, both in 1957 * 1961: Advice to a Prophet, and Other Poems * 1969: Walking to Sleep: New Poems and Translations * 1976: The Mind-Reader: New Poems * 1988: New and Collected Poems - won Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1989 * 2000: Mayflies: New Poems and Translations * 2004: Collected Poems, 1943–2004 * 2010: Anterooms * 2012: The Nutcracker Selected poems available online Prose collections * 1976: Responses: Prose Pieces, 1953–1976 * 1997: The Catbird’s Song: Prose Pieces, 1963–1995 Translated plays from other authors Translated from Molière * The Misanthrope (1955/1666) * Tartuffe (1963/1669) * The School for Wives (1971/1662) * The Learned Ladies (1978/1672) * School for Husbands (1992/1661) * The Imaginary Cuckold, or Sganarelle (1993/1660) * Amphitryon (1995/1668) * The Bungler (2000/1655) * Don Juan (2001/1665) * Lovers’ Quarrels (2009/1656) From Jean Racine * Andromache (1982/1667) * Phaedra (1986/1677) * The Suitors (2001/1668) From Pierre Corneille * The Theatre of Illusion (2007/1636) * Le Cid (2009/1636) * The Liar (2009/1643) Sources * President and first Lady honor Artists and Scholars, Clinton, The White House– Office of the Press Secretary, 1994-10-13 . References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Wilbur




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