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Maya Angelou

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

Robert W. Service

Robert William Service (January 16, 1874 – September 11, 1958) was a poet and writer who has often been called "the Bard of the Yukon". Service is best known for his poems "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" and "The Cremation of Sam McGee", from his first book, Songs of a Sourdough (1907; also published as The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses). "These humorous tales in verse were considered doggerel by the literary set, yet remain extremely popular to this day.” Early life Robert W. Service was born in Preston, Lancashire, England, the first of ten children. His father, also Robert Service, was a banker from Kilwinning, Scotland who had been transferred to England. At five years old Robert W. Service went to live in Kilwinning with his three maiden aunts and his paternal grandfather, who was the town's postmaster. There he is said to have composed his first verse, a grace, on his sixth birthday: God bless the cakes and bless the jam; Bless the cheese and the cold boiled ham: Bless the scones Aunt Jeannie makes, And save us all from bellyaches. Amen At nine Service rejoined his parents who had moved to Glasgow. He attended Glasgow's Hillhead High School. After leaving school Service joined the Commercial Bank of Scotland which would later become the Royal Bank of Scotland. He was writing at this time and reportedly already "selling his verses". He was also reading poetry: Browning, Keats, Tennyson, and Thackeray. Service moved to Canada at the age of 21 and travelled to Vancouver Island, British Columbia with his Buffalo Bill outfit and dreams of becoming a cowboy. He drifted around western North America, "wandering from California to British Columbia," taking and quitting a series of jobs: "Starving in Mexico, residing in a California bordello, farming on Vancouver Island and pursuing unrequited love in Vancouver." This sometimes required him to leech off his parent's Scottish neighbors and friends who had previously immigrated to Canada. In 1899 Service was a store clerk in Cowichan Bay, British Columbia. He mentioned to a customer (Charles H. Gibbons, editor of the Victoria Daily Colonist) that he wrote verses, with the result that six poems by "R.S." on the Boer Wars had appeared in the Colonist by July 1900 – including "The March of the Dead" that would later appear in his first book. (Service's brother Alick was a prisoner of the Boers at the time, having been captured on November 15, 1899, alongside Winston Churchill.) The Colonist also published Service's "Music in the Bush" on September 18, 1901, and "The Little Old Log Cabin" on March 16, 1902. In her 2006 biography, Under the Spell of the Yukon, Enid Mallory revealed that Service had fallen in love during this period. He was working as a "farm labourer and store clerk when he first met Constance MacLean at a dance in Duncan B.C, where she was visiting her uncle." MacLean lived in Vancouver, on the mainland, so he courted her by mail. Though he was smitten, "MacLean was looking for a man of education and means to support her" so was not that interested. To please her, he took courses at McGill University's Victoria College, but failed. Down on his luck in 1903, Service was hired by a Canadian Bank of Commerce branch in Victoria, British Columbia, using his Commercial Bank letter of reference. The bank "watched him, gave him a raise, and sent him to Kamloops in the middle of British Columbia. In Victoria he lived over the bank with a hired piano, and dressed for dinner. In Kamloops, horse country, he played polo. In the fall of 1904 the bank sent him to their Whitehorse branch in the Yukon. With the expense money he bought himself a raccoon coat." Throughout this period, Service continued writing and saving his verses: "more than a third of the poems in his first volume had been written before he moved north in 1904.” Yukon period Whitehorse was a frontier town, less than ten years old. Located on the Yukon River at the White Horse Rapids, it had begun in 1897 as a campground for prospectors on their way to Dawson City to join the Klondike Gold Rush. The railroad that Service rode in on, the White Pass and Yukon Route, had reached Whitehorse only in 1900. Settling in, "Service dreamed and listened to the stories of the great gold rush." He also "took part in the extremely active Whitehorse social life. As was popular at the time he recited at concerts – things like 'Casey at the Bat' and 'Gunga Din', but they were getting stale." One day (Service later wrote), while pondering what to recite at an upcoming church concert he met E.J. “Stroller” White, editor of the Whitehorse Star. White suggested: "Why don’t you write a poem for it? Give us something about our own bit of earth. We sure would appreciate it. There’s a rich paystreak waiting for someone to work. Why don’t you go in and stake it?” Returning from a walk one Saturday night, Service heard the sounds of revelry from a saloon, and the phrase "A bunch of the boys were whooping it up" popped into his head. Inspired, he ran to the bank to write it down (almost being shot as a burglar), and by the next morning "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" was complete. "A month or so later he heard a gold rush yarn from a Dawson mining man about a fellow who cremated his pal." He spent the night walking in the woods composing "The Cremation of Sam McGee", and wrote it down from memory the next day. Other verses quickly followed. "In the early spring he stood above the heights of Miles Canyon ... the line 'I have gazed on naked grandeur where there’s nothing else to gaze on' came into his mind and again he hammered out a complete poem, "The Call of the Wild". Conversations with locals led Service to write about things he had not seen (some of which had not actually happened) as well. He did not set foot in Dawson City until 1908, arriving in the Klondike ten years after the Gold Rush when his renown as a writer was already established. After having collected enough poems for a book, Service "sent the poems to his father, who had emigrated to Toronto, and asked him to find a printing house so they could make it into a booklet. He enclosed a cheque to cover the costs and intended to give these booklets away to his friends in Whitehorse" for Christmas. His father took the manuscript to William Briggs in Toronto, whose employees loved the book. "The foreman and printers recited the ballads while they worked. A salesman read the proofs out loud as they came off the typesetting machines." An "enterprising salesman sold 1700 copies in advance orders from galley proofs." The publisher "sent Robert's cheque back to him and offered a ten percent royalty contract for the book." Service's book, Songs of a Sourdough, was "an immediate success." It went through seven printings even before its official release date. Ultimately, Briggs "sold fifteen impressions in 1907. That same year there was an edition in New York, Philadelphia, and London. The London publisher, T. Fisher Unwin, struck a twenty-third printing in 1910, and thirteen more by 1917." "Service eventually earned in excess of $100, for Songs of a Sourdough alone (Mackay 14, 408n19)." (In the United States, the book would be given the more Jack London-ish title, The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses). "When copies of the book reached Whitehorse, Robert's own minister took him aside to let him know how wicked were his stories. Service hung his head in shame.... But, that summer, tourists from the south arrived in Whitehorse looking for the famous poet; and he autographed many of his books." "In 1908, after working for the bank for three years in Whitehorse, he was sent outside on mandatory paid leave for three months, a standard practice for bank employees serving in the Yukon." According to Enid Mallory, he went to Vancouver and looked up Constance MacLean. Now that he was a successful author, she agreed to become engaged to him. Following his leave, in 1908 the bank transferred Service to Dawson, where he met and talked to veterans of the Gold Rush, now ten years in the past: "they loved to reminisce, and Robert listened carefully and remembered." He used their tales to write a second book of verse, Ballads of a Cheechako, in 1908. "It too was an overwhelming success." In 1909, when the bank wanted Service to return to Whitehorse as manager, he decided to resign. "After quitting his job, he rented a small two-room cabin on Eighth Avenue in Dawson City from Mrs. Edna Clarke and began his career as a full-time author." He immediately "went to work on his novel.... He went for walks that lasted all night, slept till mid-afternoon, and sometimes didn't come out of the cabin for days. In five months the novel, called The Trail of '98, was complete and he took it to a publisher in New York." Service's first novel also "immediately became a best-seller." Newly wealthy, Service was able to travel to Paris, the French Riviera, Hollywood, and beyond. He returned to Dawson City in 1912 to write his third book of poetry, Ballads of a Rolling Stone (1912). During that time he became a freemason, being initiated into Yukon Lodge No. 45 in Dawson. It is not known what happened between Service and Constance MacLean. There are no known letters between then from after the time Service went to Dawson City. In 1912 she "married Leroy Grant, a surveyor and railroad engineer based in Prince Rupert.” Later life Service left Dawson City for good in 1912. From 1912 to 1913 he was a correspondent for the Toronto Star during the Balkan Wars. In 1913 Service arrived in Paris, where he would live for the next 15 years. He settled in the Latin Quarter, posing as a painter. In June 1913 he married Parisienne Germaine Bougeoin, daughter of a distillery owner, and they purchased a summer home at Lancieux, Côtes-d'Armor, in the Brittany region of France. Thirteen years younger than her husband, Germaine Service lived 31 years following his death, dying at age 102 in 1989. Robert Service was 41 when World War I broke out; he enlisted, but was turned down "due to varicose veins." He briefly covered the war for the Toronto Star (from December 11, 1915 through January 29, 1916), but "was arrested and nearly executed in an outbreak of spy hysteria in Dunkirk." – then "worked as a stretcher bearer and ambulance driver with the Ambulance Corps of the American Red Cross, until his health broke." Convalescing in Paris, he wrote a new book of mainly war poetry, Rhymes of a Red Cross Man, in 1916. The book was dedicated to the memory of Service's "brother, Lieutenant Albert Service, Canadian Infantry, Killed in Action, France, August 1916." With the end of the war, Service "settled down to being a rich man in Paris.... During the day he would promenade in the best suits, with a monocle. At night he went out in old clothes with the company of his doorman, a retired policeman, to visit the lowest dives of the city.". During his time in Paris he was reputedly the wealthiest author living in the city, yet was known to dress as a working man and walk the streets, blending in and observing everything around him. Those experiences would be used in his next book of poetry, Ballads of a Bohemian (1921), "The poems are given in the persona of an American poet in Paris who serves as an ambulance driver and an infantryman in the war. The verses are separated by diary entries over a period of four years." In the 1920s Service began writing thriller novels. The Poisoned Paradise, A Romance of Monte Carlo (New York, 1922) and The Roughneck. A Tale of Tahiti (New York, 1923) would both be made into silent movies. In 1930 Service returned to Kilwinning, to erect a memorial to his family in the town cemetery. He also visited the USSR in the 1930s and later wrote a satirical "Ballad of Lenin's Tomb". For this reason his poetry has never been translated into Russian in the USSR and he was never mentioned in Soviet encyclopedias. Service's second trip to the Soviet Union "was interrupted by news of the Hitler-Stalin pact. Service fled across Poland, Latvia, Estonia and the Baltic to Stockholm. He wintered in Nice with his family, then fled France for Canada." Not long after, the Nazi's invaded France, and "arrived at his home in Lancieux ... looking specifically for the poet who had mocked Hitler in newspaper verse." During World War II Service lived in California, "and Hollywood had him join with other celebrities in helping the morale of troops – visiting US Army camps to recite his poems. He was also asked to play himself in the movie The Spoilers (1942), working alongside Marlene Dietrich, John Wayne and Randolph Scott." "He was thrilled to play a scene with Marlene Dietrich." After the war Service and his wife returned to his home in Brittany, to find it destroyed. They rebuilt, and he lived there until his death in 1958, though he wintered in Monte Carlo on the French Riviera. Service's wife and daughter, Iris, travelled to the Yukon in 1946 "and visited Whitehorse and Dawson City, which by then was becoming a ghost town. Service could not bring himself to go back. He preferred to remember the town as it had been." Service wrote prolifically during his last years, publishing six books of verse from 1949 to 1955 (with one more appearing posthumously the following year). It was at Service's flat in Monte Carlo that Canadian broadcaster Pierre Berton recorded, over a period of three days, many hours of autobiographical television interview, for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, in the spring of 1958, not long before Service died. Service wrote two volumes of autobiography - Ploughman of the Moon and Harper of Heaven. He died in Lancieux and is buried there in the local cemetery. Writing Robert Service wrote the most commercially successful poetry of the century.[says who?] Yet his most popular works "were considered doggerel by the literary set." During his lifetime, he was nicknamed "the Canadian Kipling." – yet that may have been a double-edged compliment. As T. S. Eliot has said, "we have to defend Kipling against the charge of excessive lucidity," "the charge of being a 'journalist' appealing only to the commonest collective emotion," and "the charge of writing jingles." All those charges, and more, could be levelled against Service's best known and best loved works. Certainly Service's verse was derivative of Kipling's. In "The Cremation of Sam McGee", for instance, he uses the form of Kipling's "The Ballad of East and West". In his E. J. Pratt lecture "Silence In the Sea," critic Northrop Frye argued that Service's verse was not "serious poetry," but something else he called "popular poetry": "the idioms of popular and serious poetry remain inexorably distinct." Popular poems, he thought, "preserve a surface of explicit statement" – either being "proverbial, like Kipling's 'If' or Longfellow's 'Song of Life' or Burns's 'For A' That'," or dealing in "conventionally poetic themes, like the pastoral themes of James Whitcomb Riley, or the adventurous themes of Robert Service." Service himself did not call his work poetry. "“Verse, not poetry, is what I was after ... something the man in the street would take notice of and the sweet old lady would paste in her album; something the schoolboy would spout and the fellow in the pub would quote. Yet I never wrote to please anyone but myself; it just happened. I belonged to the simple folks whom I liked to please.” In his autobiography, Service described his method of writing at his Dawson City cabin. "I used to write on the coarse rolls of paper used by paper–hangers, pinning them on the wall and printing my verses in big charcoal letters. Then I would pace back and forth before them, repeating them, trying to make them perfect. I wanted to make them appeal to the eye as well as to the ear. I tried to avoid any literal quality." One remarkable thing about both of Service's best-known ballads is how easily he wrote them. When writing about composing "The Shooting of Dan McGrew", 'easy' was exactly the word he used: "For it came so easy to me in my excited state that I was amazed at my facility. It was as if someone was whispering in my ear." And this was just after someone had tried to shoot him. He continued: "As I wrote stanza after stanza, the story seemed to evolve itself. It was a marvelous experience. Before I crawled into my bed at five in the morning, my ballad was in the bag." Similarly, when he wrote "The Cremation of Sam McGee", the verses just flowed: "“I took the woodland trail, my mind seething with excitement and a strange ecstasy.... As I started in: There are strange things done in the midnight sun, verse after verse developed with scarce a check ... and when I rolled happily into bed, my ballad was cinched. Next day, with scarcely any effort of memory I put it on paper." In 1926, Archibald MacMechan, Professor of English at Canada's Dalhousie University, pronounced on Service's Yukon books in his Headwaters of Canadian Literature: The sordid, the gross, the bestial, may sometimes be redeemed by the touch of genius; but that Promethean touch is not in Mr. Service. In manner he is frankly imitative of Kipling's barrack-room balladry; and imitation is an admission of inferiority. 'Sourdough' is Yukon slang for the provident old-timer ... It is a convenient term for this wilfully violent kind of verse without the power to redeem the squalid themes it treats. The Ballads of a Cheechako is a second installment of sourdoughs, while his novel The Trail of '98 is simply sourdough prose. MacMechan did give grudging respect to Service's World War I poetry, conceding that his style went well with that subject, and that "his Rhymes of a Red Cross Man are an advance on his previous volumes. He has come into touch with the grimmest of realities; and while his radical faults have not been cured, his rude lines drive home the truth that he has seen." Reviewing Service's Rhymes of a Rebel in 1952, Frye remarked that the book "interests me chiefly because ... I have noticed so much verse in exactly the same idiom, and I wonder how far Mr. Service's books may have influenced it. There was a time, fifty years ago," he added," when Robert W.Service represented, with some accuracy, the general level of poetic experience in Canada, as far as the popular reader was concerned.... there has been a prodigious, and, I should think, a permanent, change in public taste." Service has also been noted for his use of ethnonyms that would normally be considered offensive "slurs", but with no insult apparently intended. Words used in Service's poetry include jerries (Germans), dago (Italian), pickaninny (in reference to a Mozambican infant), cheechako (newcomer to the Yukon and Alaska gold fields, usually from the U.S.), nigger (black person), squaw (Aboriginal woman), and Jap (Japanese). Recognition Robert W. Service has been honoured with schools named for him including Service High School in Anchorage, Alaska, Robert Service Senior Public School (Middle/ Jr. High) in Toronto, Ontario and Robert Service School in Dawson City. He was also honoured on a Canadian postage stamp in 1976. The Robert Service Way, a main road in Whitehorse, is named after him. Additionally, the Bard & Banker public house in Victoria is dedicated to him, the building having at one time been a Canadian Bank of Commerce branch where Service was employed while residing in the city. In 2010 Phillips Brewery in Victoria released the Service 1904 Scottish Stone Fired Ale, available only on tap in three Victoria locations: The Bard & Banker, Irish Times, and Penny Farthing public houses. Service's first novel, The Trail of '98, was made into a movie by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, directed by Clarence Brown. "Trail of '98 starring Dolores del Río, Ralph Forbes and Karl Dane in 1929 ... was the first talking picture dealing with the Klondike gold rush and was acclaimed at the time by critics for depicting the Klondike as it really was." Folksinger Country Joe McDonald set some of Service's World War I poetry (plus "The March of the Dead" from his first book), to music for his 1971 studio album, War War War. Dawson City cabin Robert Service lived from 1909 to 1912 in a small two-room cabin on 8th Avenue which he rented from Edna Clarke in Dawson City. His prosperity allowed him the luxury of a telephone. Service eventually decided he could not return to Dawson, as it would not be as he remembered it. He wrote in his autobiography: "Only yesterday an air-line offered to fly me up there in two days, and I refused. It would have saddened me to see dust and rust where once hummed a rousing town; hundreds where were thousands; tumbledown cabins, mouldering warehouses." After Service left for Europe, the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (I.O.D.E.) took care of the cabin until 1971, preserving it. In 1971 it was taken over by Parks Canada, which maintains it, including its sod roof, as a tourist attraction. Irish-born actor Tom Byrne created The Robert Service Show which was presented in the front yard of the cabin, starting in 1976. This was very popular for summer visitors and set the standard for Robert Service recitations. A resurgence in sales of Service's works followed the institution of these performances. Byrne discontinued the show at the cabin in 1995, moving it to a Front Street storefront. Since 2004 the show has been held at the Westmark Hotel in Dawson City at 3:00 p.m. every day during the summer months. Byrne collects Robert Service first editions, and corresponded with Service's widow for years. At the Service Cabin, local Dawson entertainers dressed in period costumes and employed by Parks Canada offer biographical information and recite Service's poetry for visitors sitting on benches on the front lawn. Johnny Nunan performed this role through 2006. The present performer shares his first name (Fred). Following the presentation, visitors can view Service's home through the windows and front door. The fragility of the house, and the rarity of the artifacts, precludes any possibility of allowing visitors to enter the house itself. Publications Poetry * Songs of a Sourdough (Toronto: William Briggs, 1907) [U.S. as The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses (New York: Barse & Hopkins, 1907)]. * Ballads of a Cheechako (Toronto: William Briggs, 1909) * Rhymes of a Rolling Stone (Toronto: William Briggs, 1912) * Rhymes of a Red Cross Man (Toronto: William Briggs, 1916) * Ballads of a Bohemian (Toronto: G.J. McLeod, 1921) * Twenty Bath-Tub Ballads (London: Francis, Day and Hunter, 1939) * Bar-Room Ballads (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1940) * Songs of a Sun-Lover. A Book of Light Verse (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1949.) * Rhymes of a Roughneck. A Book of Verse (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1950). * Lyrics of a Lowbrow. A Book of Verse (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1951.). * Rhymes of a Rebel. A Book of Verse (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1952). * Songs for my Supper (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1953). * Carols of an Old Codger (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1955). * Rhymes for My Rags (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1956). Collections * The Collected Verse of Robert W. Service (London : E. Benn, 1930, 43, 48, 51, 53, 60, 73) * The Complete Poems of Robert W. Service (New York : Dodd Mead, 1933) * Rhyme and Romance: a Robert Service anthology (London : E. Benn, 1949) * Later Collected Verse (New York : Dodd Mead, 1954, 55, 65) * More Collected Verse (New York : Dodd Mead, 1955) * Songs of the High North (London : E. Benn, 1958) * The Song of the Campfire, illustrated by Richard Galaburr (New York : Dodd Mead, 1912, 39, 78) * The Shooting of Dan McGrew and Other Favorite Poems, jacket drawing by Eric Watts ( Dodd Mead, 1980) * Servicewise and Otherwise: a selection of extracts in prose and verse from the works of Robert W. Service, which may serve as an introduction to the virile writings of that celebrated author ; collected and arranged by Arthur H. Stewart Fiction * The Trail of Ninety-Eight, A Northland Romance (Toronto: William Briggs, 1909) * The Pretender. A story of the Latin quarter (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1914). * The Poisoned Paradise: A Romance of Monte Carlo (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1922) * The Roughneck, A Tale of Tahiti (New York: Barse and Hopkins, 1923) * The Master of the Microbe: A Fantastic Romance (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1926) * The House of Fear, A Novel (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1927) Non-fiction * Why Not Grow Young? or Living for Longevity (London: Ernest Benn, 1928) * Ploughman of the Moon, An Adventure Into Memory (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1945) - autobiography * Harper of Heaven. A Record of Radiant Living (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1948) - autobiography References Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_W._Service

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

Ted Hughes

Edward James (Ted) Hughes was born in Mytholmroyd, in the West Riding district of Yorkshire, on August 17, 1930. His childhood was quiet and dominately rural. When he was seven years old his family moved to the small town of Mexborough in South Yorkshire, and the landscape of the moors of that area informed his poetry throughout his life. After high school, Hughes entered the Royal Air Force and served for two years as a ground wireless mechanic. He then moved to Cambridge to attend Pembroke College on an academic scholarship. While in college he published a few poems, majored in Anthropolgy and Archaeology, and studied mythologies extensively. Hughes graduated from Cambridge in 1954. A few years later, in 1956, he co-founded the literary magazine St. Botolph’s Review with a handful of other editors. At the launch party for the magazine, he met Sylvia Plath. A few short months later, on June 16, 1956, they were married. Plath encouraged Hughes to submit his first manuscript, The Hawk in the Rain, to The Poetry Center's First Publication book contest. The judges, Marianne Moore, W. H. Auden, and Stephen Spender, awarded the manuscript first prize, and it was published in England and America in 1957, to much critical praise. Hughes lived in Massachusetts with Plath and taught at University of Massachusetts Amherst. They returned to England in 1959, and their first child, Freida was born the following year. Their second child, Nicholas, was born two years later. In 1962, Hughes left Plath for Assia Gutmann Wevill. Less than a year later, Plath committed suicide. Hughes did not write again for years, as he focused all of his energy on editing and promoting Plath’s poems. He was also roundly lambasted by the public, who saw him as responsible for his wife’s suicide. Controversy surrounded his editorial choices regarding Plath’s poems and journals. In 1965, Wevill gave birth to their only child, Shura. Four years later, like Plath, she also commited suicide, killing Shura as well. The following year, in 1970, Hughes married Carol Orchard, with whom he remained married until his death. Hughes’s lengthy career included over a dozen books of poetry, translations, non-fiction and children’s books, such as the famous The Iron Man (1968). His books of poems include: Wolfwatching (1990), Flowers and Insects (1986), Selected Poems 1957-1981 (1982), Moortown (1980), Cave Birds (1979), Crow (1971), and Lupercal (1960). His final collection, The Birthday Letters (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1998), published the year of his death, documented his relationship with Plath. Hughes's work is marked by a mythical framework, using the lyric and dramatic monologue to illustrate intense subject matter. Animals appear frequently throughout his work as deity, metaphor, persona, and icon. Perhaps the most famous of his subjects is "Crow," an amalgam of god, bird and man, whose existence seems pivotal to the knowledge of good and evil. Hughes won many of Europe’s highest literary honors, and was appointed Poet Laureate of England in 1984, a post he held until his death. He passed away in October 28, 1998 in Devonshire, England, from cancer. Poetry The Hawk in the Rain (1957) Pike (1959) Lupercal (1960) Crow (1971) Cave Birds (1979) Moortown (1980) Selected Poems 1957-1981 (1982) Flowers and Insects (1986) Wolfwatching (1990) The Birthday Letters (1998) References Poets.org - poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/113

itisinmyblood

I started dabbling at age 13, and after a while, I was writing full poems, however, I only have poetry from when I was 16 and up. I am now 28, and I have found that it is so much easier to say things through poetry than it is to verbalize them. I draw inspiration for my poetry from writers, musicians, movies, daily interactions, my faith, and much more. As far as writers go, when I was younger I got introduced to Langston Hughes, and I have learned to take from his style of writing. I also enjoy some good old Shakespeare every once in a while. Most of my influence, however, comes from music; I draw my influence from genres that include but are not limited to, hip-hop, folk, rock, and country. Another thing that really impacts my poetry are events that have taken place in my life. Movie characters and themes also have a chance to have their fair share of influence in my poetry. I am a Christ-follower first and foremost, so, beneath most of my poems stories, there is a spiritual undertone. My plainly faith-based poems, however, are a written (hard) memory of the headspace that I was in at that time in my life. People can create all sorts of art without having to fabricate who they are, and without compromising who they are as a person; it's being able to take from other peoples experiences and write about them, based on the writer's interpretation, that can set a writer apart from others. I write mainly Free Verse poetry, because to me poetry is a lot of self-expression, and if I were to follow the set guidelines of a certain type of poetry, I would then be forfeiting my creative license. Sometimes, however, I like to take from certain styles of poetry, especially when I am trying to convey a particular emotion, for example, I not only write Free Verse but, I also have learned to take from styles, such as Blank Verse & Limericks. I have a friend who said this, "If there is one thing I have learned about writing over the years it is that the best work comes from writing without the audience in mind." I find this quote to be accurate for not only my writing but for writing in general. Love y'all!

O. Henry

William Sydney Porter (September 11, 1862– June 5, 1910), known by his pen name O. Henry, was an American short story writer. His stories are known for their surprise endings. Biography Early life William Sidney Porter was born on September 11, 1862, in Greensboro, North Carolina. He changed the spelling of his middle name to Sydney in 1898. His parents were Dr. Algernon Sidney Porter (1825–88), a physician, and Mary Jane Virginia Swaim Porter (1833–65). William’s parents had married on April 20, 1858. When William was three, his mother died from tuberculosis, and he and his father moved into the home of his paternal grandmother. As a child, Porter was always reading, everything from classics to dime novels; his favorite works were Lane’s translation of One Thousand and One Nights and Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy. Porter graduated from his aunt Evelina Maria Porter’s elementary school in 1876. He then enrolled at the Lindsey Street High School. His aunt continued to tutor him until he was fifteen. In 1879, he started working in his uncle’s drugstore in Greensboro, and on August 30, 1881, at the age of nineteen, Porter was licensed as a pharmacist. At the drugstore, he also showed off his natural artistic talents by sketching the townsfolk. Move to Texas Porter traveled with Dr. James K. Hall to Texas in March 1882, hoping that a change of air would help alleviate a persistent cough he had developed. He took up residence on the sheep ranch of Richard Hall, James’ son, in La Salle County and helped out as a shepherd, ranch hand, cook, and baby-sitter. While on the ranch, he learned bits of Spanish and German from the mix of immigrant ranch hands. He also spent time reading classic literature. Porter’s health did improve. He traveled with Richard to Austin in 1884, where he decided to remain and was welcomed into the home of Richard’s friends, Joseph Harrell and his wife. Porter resided with the Harrells for three years. He went to work briefly for the Morley Brothers Drug Company as a pharmacist. Porter then moved on to work for the Harrell Cigar Store located in the Driskill Hotel. He also began writing as a sideline and wrote many of his early stories in the Harrell house. As a young bachelor, Porter led an active social life in Austin. He was known for his wit, story-telling and musical talents. He played both the guitar and mandolin. He sang in the choir at St. David’s Episcopal Church and became a member of the “Hill City Quartette”, a group of young men who sang at gatherings and serenaded young women of the town. Porter met and began courting Athol Estes, then seventeen years old and from a wealthy family. Historians believe Porter met Athol at the laying of the cornerstone of the Texas State Capitol on March 2, 1885. Her mother objected to the match because Athol was ill, suffering from tuberculosis. On July 1, 1887, Porter eloped with Athol and were married in the parlor of the home of Reverend R. K. Smoot, pastor of the Central Presbyterian Church, where the Estes family attended church. The couple continued to participate in musical and theater groups, and Athol encouraged her husband to pursue his writing. Athol gave birth to a son in 1888, who died hours after birth, and then a daughter, Margaret Worth Porter, in September 1889. Porter’s friend Richard Hall became Texas Land Commissioner and offered Porter a job. Porter started as a draftsman at the Texas General Land Office (GLO) on January 12, 1887 at a salary of $100 a month, drawing maps from surveys and fieldnotes. The salary was enough to support his family, but he continued his contributions to magazines and newspapers. In the GLO building, he began developing characters and plots for such stories as “Georgia’s Ruling” (1900), and “Buried Treasure” (1908). The castle-like building he worked in was even woven into some of his tales such as "Bexar Scrip No. 2692" (1894). His job at the GLO was a political appointment by Hall. Hall ran for governor in the election of 1890 but lost. Porter resigned on January 21, 1891, the day after the new governor, Jim Hogg, was sworn in. The same year, Porter began working at the First National Bank of Austin as a teller and bookkeeper at the same salary he had made at the GLO. The bank was operated informally, and Porter was apparently careless in keeping his books and may have embezzled funds. In 1894, he was accused by the bank of embezzlement and lost his job but was not indicted at the time. He then worked full-time on his humorous weekly called The Rolling Stone, which he started while working at the bank. The Rolling Stone featured satire on life, people and politics and included Porter’s short stories and sketches. Although eventually reaching a top circulation of 1500, The Rolling Stone failed in April 1895, since the paper never provided an adequate income. However, his writing and drawings had caught the attention of the editor at the Houston Post. Porter and his family moved to Houston in 1895, where he started writing for the Post. His salary was only $25 a month, but it rose steadily as his popularity increased. Porter gathered ideas for his column by loitering in hotel lobbies and observing and talking to people there. This was a technique he used throughout his writing career. While he was in Houston, federal auditors audited the First National Bank of Austin and found the embezzlement shortages that led to his firing. A federal indictment followed, and he was arrested on charges of embezzlement. Flight and return Porter’s father-in-law posted bail to keep him out of jail. He was due to stand trial on July 7, 1896, but the day before, as he was changing trains to get to the courthouse, an impulse hit him. He fled, first to New Orleans and later to Honduras, with which the United States had no extradition treaty at that time. William lived in Honduras for only six months, until January 1897. There he became friends with Al Jennings, a notorious train robber, who later wrote a book about their friendship. He holed up in a Trujillo hotel, where he wrote Cabbages and Kings, in which he coined the term “banana republic” to qualify the country, a phrase subsequently used widely to describe a small, unstable tropical nation in Latin America with a narrowly focused, agrarian economy. Porter had sent Athol and Margaret back to Austin to live with Athol’s parents. Unfortunately, Athol became too ill to meet Porter in Honduras as he had planned. When he learned that his wife was dying, Porter returned to Austin in February 1897 and surrendered to the court, pending trial. Athol Estes Porter died from tuberculosis (then known as consumption) on July 25, 1897. Porter had little to say in his own defense at his trial and was found guilty on February 17, 1898 of embezzling $854.08. He was sentenced to five years in prison and imprisoned on March 25, 1898, at the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus, Ohio. Porter was a licensed pharmacist and was able to work in the prison hospital as the night druggist. He was given his own room in the hospital wing, and there is no record that he actually spent time in the cell block of the prison. He had fourteen stories published under various pseudonyms while he was in prison but was becoming best known as “O. Henry”, a pseudonym that first appeared over the story “Whistling Dick’s Christmas Stocking” in the December 1899 issue of McClure’s Magazine. A friend of his in New Orleans would forward his stories to publishers so that they had no idea that the writer was imprisoned. Porter was released on July 24, 1901, for good behavior after serving three years. He reunited with his daughter Margaret, now age 11, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where Athol’s parents had moved after Porter’s conviction. Margaret was never told that her father had been in prison—just that he had been away on business. Later life and death Porter’s most prolific writing period started in 1902, when he moved to New York City to be near his publishers. While there, he wrote 381 short stories. He wrote a story a week for over a year for the New York World Sunday Magazine. His wit, characterization, and plot twists were adored by his readers but often panned by critics. Porter married again in 1907 to childhood sweetheart Sarah (Sallie) Lindsey Coleman, whom he met again after revisiting his native state of North Carolina. Sarah Lindsey Coleman was herself a writer and wrote a romanticized and fictionalized version of their correspondence and courtship in her novella Wind of Destiny. Porter was a heavy drinker, and by 1908, his markedly deteriorating health affected his writing. In 1909, Sarah left him, and he died on June 5, 1910, of cirrhosis of the liver, complications of diabetes, and an enlarged heart. After funeral services in New York City, he was buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Asheville, North Carolina. His daughter, Margaret Worth Porter, had a short writing career from 1913 to 1916. She married cartoonist Oscar Cesare of New York in 1916; they were divorced four years later. She died of tuberculosis in 1927 and is buried next to her father. Stories O. Henry’s stories frequently have surprise endings. In his day he was called the American answer to Guy de Maupassant. While both authors wrote plot twist endings, O. Henry’s stories were considerably more playful. His stories are also known for witty narration. Most of O. Henry’s stories are set in his own time, the early 20th century. Many take place in New York City and deal for the most part with ordinary people: policemen, waitresses, etc. O. Henry’s work is wide-ranging, and his characters can be found roaming the cattle-lands of Texas, exploring the art of the con-man, or investigating the tensions of class and wealth in turn-of-the-century New York. O. Henry had an inimitable hand for isolating some element of society and describing it with an incredible economy and grace of language. Some of his best and least-known work is contained in Cabbages and Kings, a series of stories each of which explores some individual aspect of life in a paralytically sleepy Central American town, while advancing some aspect of the larger plot and relating back one to another. Cabbages and Kings was his first collection of stories, followed by The Four Million. The second collection opens with a reference to Ward McAllister’s “assertion that there were only 'Four Hundred’ people in New York City who were really worth noticing. But a wiser man has arisen—the census taker—and his larger estimate of human interest has been preferred in marking out the field of these little stories of the ‘Four Million.’” To O. Henry, everyone in New York counted. He had an obvious affection for the city, which he called “Bagdad-on-the-Subway”, and many of his stories are set there—while others are set in small towns or in other cities. His final work was “Dream”, a short story intended for the magazine The Cosmopolitan but left incomplete at the time of his death. Among his most famous stories are: “The Gift of the Magi” about a young couple, Jim and Della, who are short of money but desperately want to buy each other Christmas gifts. Unbeknownst to Jim, Della sells her most valuable possession, her beautiful hair, in order to buy a platinum fob chain for Jim’s watch; while unbeknownst to Della, Jim sells his own most valuable possession, his watch, to buy jeweled combs for Della’s hair. The essential premise of this story has been copied, re-worked, parodied, and otherwise re-told countless times in the century since it was written. “The Ransom of Red Chief”, in which two men kidnap a boy of ten. The boy turns out to be so bratty and obnoxious that the desperate men ultimately pay the boy’s father $250 to take him back. “The Cop and the Anthem” about a New York City hobo named Soapy, who sets out to get arrested so that he can be a guest of the city jail instead of sleeping out in the cold winter. Despite efforts at petty theft, vandalism, disorderly conduct, and “mashing” with a young prostitute, Soapy fails to draw the attention of the police. Disconsolate, he pauses in front of a church, where an organ anthem inspires him to clean up his life—and is ironically charged for loitering and sentenced to three months in prison. “A Retrieved Reformation”, which tells the tale of safecracker Jimmy Valentine, recently freed from prison. He goes to a town bank to case it before he robs it. As he walks to the door, he catches the eye of the banker’s beautiful daughter. They immediately fall in love and Valentine decides to give up his criminal career. He moves into the town, taking up the identity of Ralph Spencer, a shoemaker. Just as he is about to leave to deliver his specialized tools to an old associate, a lawman who recognizes him arrives at the bank. Jimmy and his fiancée and her family are at the bank, inspecting a new safe when a child accidentally gets locked inside the airtight vault. Knowing it will seal his fate, Valentine opens the safe to rescue the child. However, much to Valentine’s surprise, the lawman denies recognizing him and lets him go. “The Duplicity of Hargraves”. A short story about a nearly destitute father and daughter’s trip to Washington, D.C. “The Caballero’s Way”, in which Porter’s most famous character, the Cisco Kid, is introduced. It was first published in 1907 in the July issue of Everybody’s Magazine and collected in the book Heart of the West that same year. In later film and TV depictions, the Kid would be portrayed as a dashing adventurer, perhaps skirting the edges of the law, but primarily on the side of the angels. In the original short story, the only story by Porter to feature the character, the Kid is a murderous, ruthless border desperado, whose trail is dogged by a heroic Texas Ranger. The twist ending is, unusually for Porter, tragic. Pen name Porter used a number of pen names (including “O. Henry” or “Olivier Henry”) in the early part of his writing career; other names included S.H. Peters, James L. Bliss, T.B. Dowd, and Howard Clark. Nevertheless, the name “O. Henry” seemed to garner the most attention from editors and the public, and was used exclusively by Porter for his writing by about 1902. He gave various explanations for the origin of his pen name. In 1909 he gave an interview to The New York Times, in which he gave an account of it: It was during these New Orleans days that I adopted my pen name of O. Henry. I said to a friend: “I’m going to send out some stuff. I don’t know if it amounts to much, so I want to get a literary alias. Help me pick out a good one.” He suggested that we get a newspaper and pick a name from the first list of notables that we found in it. In the society columns we found the account of a fashionable ball. “Here we have our notables,” said he. We looked down the list and my eye lighted on the name Henry, “That’ll do for a last name,” said I. “Now for a first name. I want something short. None of your three-syllable names for me.” “Why don’t you use a plain initial letter, then?” asked my friend. “Good,” said I, “O is about the easiest letter written, and O it is.” A newspaper once wrote and asked me what the O stands for. I replied, “O stands for Olivier, the French for Oliver.” And several of my stories accordingly appeared in that paper under the name Olivier Henry. William Trevor writes in the introduction to The World of O. Henry: Roads of Destiny and Other Stories (Hodder & Stoughton, 1973) that “there was a prison guard named Orrin Henry” in the Ohio State Penitentiary “whom William Sydney Porter... immortalised as O. Henry”. According to J. F. Clarke, it is from the name of the French pharmacist Etienne Ossian Henry, whose name is in the U. S. Dispensary which Porter used working in the prison pharmacy. Writer and scholar Guy Davenport offers his own hypothesis: “The pseudonym that he began to write under in prison is constructed from the first two letters of Ohio and the second and last two of penitentiary.” Legacy The O. Henry Award is a prestigious annual prize named after Porter and given to outstanding short stories. A film was made in 1952 featuring five stories, called O. Henry’s Full House. The episode garnering the most critical acclaim was “The Cop and the Anthem” starring Charles Laughton and Marilyn Monroe. The other stories are “The Clarion Call”, “The Last Leaf”, “The Ransom of Red Chief” (starring Fred Allen and Oscar Levant), and “The Gift of the Magi”. The O. Henry House and O. Henry Hall, both in Austin, Texas, are named for him. O. Henry Hall, now owned by the Texas State University System, previously served as the federal courthouse in which O. Henry was convicted of embezzlement. Porter has elementary schools named for him in Greensboro, North Carolina (William Sydney Porter Elementary) and Garland, Texas (O. Henry Elementary), as well as a middle school in Austin, Texas (O. Henry Middle School). The O. Henry Hotel in Greensboro is also named for Porter, as is US 29 which is O. Henry Boulevard. In 1962, the Soviet Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating O. Henry’s 100th birthday. On September 11, 2012, the U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp commemorating the 150th anniversary of O. Henry’s birth. On November 23, 2011, Barack Obama quoted O. Henry while granting pardons to two turkeys named “Liberty” and “Peace”. In response, political science professor P. S. Ruckman, Jr., and Texas attorney Scott Henson filed a formal application for a posthumous pardon in September 2012, the same month that the U.S. Postal Service issued its O. Henry stamp. Previous attempts were made to obtain such a pardon for Porter in the administrations of Woodrow Wilson, Dwight Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan, but no one had ever bothered to file a formal application. Ruckman and Henson argued that Porter deserved a pardon because (1) he was a law-abiding citizen prior to his conviction; (2) his offense was minor; (3) he had an exemplary prison record; (4) his post-prison life clearly indicated rehabilitation; (5) he would have been an excellent candidate for clemency in his time, had he but applied for pardon; (6) by today’s standards, he remains an excellent candidate for clemency; and (7) his pardon would be a well-deserved symbolic gesture and more. O. Henry’s love of language inspired the O. Henry Pun-Off, an annual spoken word competition began in 1978 that takes place at the O. Henry House. Bibliography * Cabbages and Kings (1904) * The Four Million (1906), short stories * The Trimmed Lamp (1907), short stories: “The Trimmed Lamp”, “A Madison Square Arabian Night”, “The Rubaiyat of a Scotch Highball”, “The Pendulum”, “Two Thanksgiving Day Gentlemen”, “The Assessor of Success”, “The Buyer from Cactus City”, “The Badge of Policeman O’Roon”, “Brickdust Row”, “The Making of a New Yorker”, “Vanity and Some Sables”, “The Social Triangle”, “The Purple Dress”, "The Foreign Policy of Company 99", “The Lost Blend”, “A Harlem Tragedy”, “'The Guilty Party’”, “According to Their Lights”, “A Midsummer Knight’s Dream”, “The Last Leaf”, “The Count and the Wedding Guest”, “The Country of Elusion”, “The Ferry of Unfulfilment”, “The Tale of a Tainted Tenner”, “Elsie in New York” * Heart of the West (1907), short stories: “Hearts and Crosses”, “The Ransom of Mack”, “Telemachus, Friend”, “The Handbook of Hymen”, “The Pimienta Pancakes”, “Seats of the Haughty”, “Hygeia at the Solito”, “An Afternoon Miracle”, “The Higher Abdication”, "Cupid à la Carte", “The Caballero’s Way”, “The Sphinx Apple”, “The Missing Chord”, “A Call Loan”, “The Princess and the Puma”, “The Indian Summer of Dry Valley Johnson”, “Christmas by Injunction”, “A Chaparral Prince”, “The Reformation of Calliope” * The Voice of the City (1908), short stories: “The Voice of the City”, “The Complete Life of John Hopkins”, “A Lickpenny Lover”, “Dougherty’s Eye-opener”, “'Little Speck in Garnered Fruit’”, “The Harbinger”, “While the Auto Waits”, “A Comedy in Rubber”, “One Thousand Dollars”, “The Defeat of the City”, “The Shocks of Doom”, “The Plutonian Fire”, “Nemesis and the Candy Man”, “Squaring the Circle”, “Roses, Ruses and Romance”, “The City of Dreadful Night”, “The Easter of the Soul”, “The Fool-killer”, “Transients in Arcadia”, “The Rathskeller and the Rose”, “The Clarion Call”, “Extradited from Bohemia”, “A Philistine in Bohemia”, “From Each According to His Ability”, “The Memento” * The Gentle Grafter (1908), short stories: “The Octopus Marooned”, “Jeff Peters as a Personal Magnet”, “Modern Rural Sports”, “The Chair of Philanthromathematics”, “The Hand That Riles the World”, “The Exact Science of Matrimony”, “A Midsummer Masquerade”, “Shearing the Wolf”, “Innocents of Broadway”, “Conscience in Art”, “The Man Higher Up”, “Tempered Wind”, “Hostages to Momus”, “The Ethics of Pig” * Roads of Destiny (1909), short stories: “Roads of Destiny”, “The Guardian of the Accolade”, “The Discounters of Money”, “The Enchanted Profile”, “Next to Reading Matter”, “Art and the Bronco”, "Phœbe", “A Double-dyed Deceiver”, “The Passing of Black Eagle”, “A Retrieved Reformation”, “Cherchez la Femme”, “Friends in San Rosario”, “The Fourth in Salvador”, “The Emancipation of Billy”, “The Enchanted Kiss”, “A Departmental Case”, “The Renaissance at Charleroi”, “On Behalf of the Management”, “Whistling Dick’s Christmas Stocking”, “The Halberdier of the Little Rheinschloss”, “Two Renegades”, “The Lonesome Road” * Options (1909), short stories: “'The Rose of Dixie’”, “The Third Ingredient”, “The Hiding of Black Bill”, “Schools and Schools”, “Thimble, Thimble”, “Supply and Demand”, “Buried Treasure”, “To Him Who Waits”, “He Also Serves”, “The Moment of Victory”, “The Head-hunter”, “No Story”, “The Higher Pragmatism”, “Best-seller”, “Rus in Urbe”, “A Poor Rule” * Strictly Business (1910), short stories: “Strictly Business”, “The Gold That Glittered”, “Babes in the Jungle”, “The Day Resurgent”, “The Fifth Wheel”, “The Poet and the Peasant”, “The Robe of Peace”, “The Girl and the Graft”, “The Call of the Tame”, “The Unknown Quantity”, “The Thing’s the Play”, “A Ramble in Aphasia”, “A Municipal Report”, “Psyche and the Pskyscraper”, “A Bird of Bagdad”, “Compliments of the Season”, “A Night in New Arabia”, “The Girl and the Habit”, “Proof of the Pudding”, “Past One at Rooney’s”, “The Venturers”, “The Duel”, “'What You Want’” * Whirligigs (1910), short stories: “The World and the Door”, “The Theory and the Hound”, “The Hypotheses of Failure”, “Calloway’s Code”, “A Matter of Mean Elevation”, “Girl”, “Sociology in Serge and Straw”, “The Ransom of Red Chief”, “The Marry Month of May”, “A Technical Error”, “Suite Homes and Their Romance”, “The Whirligig of Life”, “A Sacrifice Hit”, “The Roads We Take”, “A Blackjack Bargainer, ”The Song and the Sergeant", “One Dollar’s Worth”, “A Newspaper Story”, “Tommy’s Burglar”, “A Chaparral Christmas Gift”, “A Little Local Colour”, “Georgia’s Ruling”, “Blind Man’s Holiday”, “Madame Bo-Peep of the Ranches” * Sixes and Sevens (1911), short stories: “The Last of the Troubadours”, “The Sleuths”, “Witches’ Loaves”, “The Pride of the Cities”, “Holding Up a Train”, “Ulysses and the Dogman”, “The Champion of the Weather”, “Makes the Whole World Kin”, “At Arms with Morpheus”, “A Ghost of a Chance”, “Jimmy Hayes and Muriel”, “The Door of Unrest”, “The Duplicity of Hargraves”, “Let Me Feel Your Pulse”, “October and June”, “The Church with an Overshot-Wheel”, “New York by Camp Fire Light”, “The Adventures of Shamrock Jolnes”, “The Lady Higher Up”, “The Greater Coney”, “Law and Order”, “Transformation of Martin Burney”, “The Caliph and the Cad”, “The Diamond of Kali”, “The Day We Celebrate” * Rolling Stones (1912), short stories: “The Dream”, “A Ruler of Men”, “The Atavism of John Tom Little Bear”, “Helping the Other Fellow”, “The Marionettes”, “The Marquis and Miss Sally”, “A Fog in Santone”, “The Friendly Call”, “A Dinner at———”, “Sound and Fury”, “Tictocq”, “Tracked to Doom”, “A Snapshot at the President”, “An Unfinished Christmas Story”, “The Unprofitable Servant”, “Aristocracy Versus Hash”, “The Prisoner of Zembla”, “A Strange Story”, “Fickle Fortune, or How Gladys Hustled”, “An Apology”, “Lord Oakhurst’s Curse”, "Bexar Scrip No. 2692” * Waifs and Strays (1917), short stories References Wikipedia—https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O._Henry

Ezra Pound

Ezra Weston Loomis Pound (30 October 1885 – 1 November 1972) was an American expatriate poet, critic and a major figure of the early modernist movement. His contribution to poetry began with his promotion of Imagism, a movement that derived its technique from classical Chinese and Japanese poetry, stressing clarity, precision and economy of language. His best-known works include Ripostes (1912), Hugh Selwyn Mauberley (1920), and his unfinished 120-section epic, The Cantos (1917–1969). Working in London in the early 20th century as foreign editor of several American literary magazines, Pound helped to discover and shape the work of contemporaries such as T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Robert Frost, and Ernest Hemingway. He was responsible for the publication in 1915 of Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," and for the serialization from 1918 of Joyce's Ulysses. Hemingway wrote of him in 1925: "He defends [his friends] when they are attacked, he gets them into magazines and out of jail. ... He writes articles about them. He introduces them to wealthy women. He gets publishers to take their books. He sits up all night with them when they claim to be dying ... he advances them hospital expenses and dissuades them from suicide." Outraged by the loss of life during the First World War, he lost faith in England, blaming the war on usury and international capitalism. He moved to Italy in 1924 where throughout the 1930s and 1940s, to his friends' dismay, he embraced Benito Mussolini's fascism, expressed support for Adolf Hitler, and wrote for publications owned by the British fascist Oswald Mosley. The Italian government paid him during the Second World War to make hundreds of radio broadcasts criticizing the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and in particular Jews, broadcasts that were monitored by the U.S. government, as a result of which he was arrested for treason by American forces in Italy in 1945. He spent months in detention in a U.S. military camp in Pisa, including 25 days in a six-by-six-foot outdoor steel cage that he said triggered a mental breakdown: "when the raft broke and the waters went over me." Deemed unfit to stand trial, a decision disputed for decades after his death, he was incarcerated in St. Elizabeths psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C., for over 12 years. While in custody in Italy he had begun work on sections of The Cantos that became known as The Pisan Cantos (1948), for which he was awarded the Bollingen Prize in 1949 by the Library of Congress. The award triggered enormous controversy, mostly because of his antisemitism and the charge of treason, and in part because it raised literary questions about whether a supposedly "mad" poet who held such contentious views could produce work of any value. He was released from St. Elizabeths in 1958, thanks to a protracted campaign by his fellow writers, and returned to live in Italy until his death. His political views ensure that his work remains controversial; in 1933 Time magazine called him "a cat that walks by himself, tenaciously unhousebroken and very unsafe for children." Hemingway nevertheless wrote: "The best of Pound's writing – and it is in the Cantos – will last as long as there is any literature.” Background Pound was born in Hailey, Idaho Territory, the only child of Homer Loomis Pound (1858–1942) and Isabel Weston (1860–1948). Both parents' ancestors had emigrated from England in the 17th century. On his father's side, John Pound, a Quaker, sailed from England around 1650. His grandfather, Thaddeus Coleman Pound (1832–1914), was a retired Republican Congressman for north-west Wisconsin who had made and lost a fortune in the lumber business. His son Homer, Pound's father, had worked for Thaddeus until Thaddeus secured him an appointment as Register of the Government Land Office in Hailey. On his mother's side Pound was descended from William Wadsworth, a Puritan who emigrated from England to Boston on the Lyon in 1632. The Wadsworths married into the Westons of New York, and Harding Weston and Mary Parker produced Isabel Weston, Pound's mother. Harding apparently spent most of his life without work, so his brother, Ezra Weston and his wife, Frances, looked after Mary and Isabel's needs. Isabel was unhappy living in Hailey, and when her son was 18 months old she left with him to go back East. Homer followed them, and in 1889 Homer took a job as an assayer at the Philadelphia Mint. The family moved to 417 Walnut Street in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, then in July 1893 bought a six-bedroom house at 166 Fernbrook Avenue in the town of Wyncote, Pennsylvania. Education Pound's early education took place in a series of so-called dame schools, some of them run by Quakers: Miss Elliott's school in Jenkintown in 1892; the Misses Heacock's Chelten Hills school in Wyncote in 1893; and the Florence Ridpath school from 1894, which became the Wyncote Public School a year later. From 1898 until 1900 he attended the Cheltenham Military Academy, where the boys wore Civil War-style uniforms and were taught military drilling, how to shoot, and the importance of submitting to authority. Pound was clever, independent-minded, conceited, and unpopular. He knew early on that he wanted to be a poet. His first publication was on 7 November 1896 in the Jenkintown Times-Chronicle, a limerick about American politician William Jennings Bryan, who had just lost the presidential election: By E.L. Pound, Wyncote, Aged 11 years: "There was a young man from the West, / He did what he could for what he thought best." Pound's first trip overseas came two years later when he was 13, a three-month tour of Europe with his mother and Aunt Frances, who took him to England, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. He was admitted to the University of Pennsylvania's College of Liberal Arts in 1901 at the age of 15: I resolved that at 30 I would know more about poetry than any man living, that I would know what was accounted poetry everywhere, what part of poetry was "indestructible," what part could not be lost by translation and – scarcely less important – what effects were obtainable in one language only and were utterly incapable of being translated. In this search I learned more or less of nine foreign languages, I read Oriental stuff in translations, I fought every University regulation and every professor who tried to make me learn anything except this, or who bothered me with "requirements for degrees.” He met Hilda Doolittle at the University of Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of the professor of astronomy, and later became known as the poet H.D. Doolittle wrote that she felt her life was irrevocably intertwined with Pound's; she followed him to Europe in 1908, leaving her family, friends, and country for little benefit to herself, and became involved with Pound in developing the "Imagisme" movement in London. He asked her to marry him in the summer of 1907, though her father refused permission, and wrote several poems for her between 1905 and 1907, 25 of which he hand-bound and called "Hilda's Book". He was seeing two other women at the same time – Viola Baxter and Mary Moore – later dedicating a book of poetry, Personae (1909), to the latter. He asked Mary to marry him that summer too, but she turned him down. With his parents and Frances Weston, Pound took another three-month European tour in 1902, after which he transferred to Hamilton College in Clinton, New York – possibly because of poor grades – where he studied the Provençal dialect with William Pierce Shephard, and Old English with Joseph D. Ibbotson. David Moody writes that it was at Hamilton with Shephard that he read Dante, and out of the discussions emerged the idea for a long poem in three parts – dealing with emotion, instruction, and contemplation – which planted the seed for The Cantos. He graduated with a BPhil in 1905, then studied Romance languages under Hugo A. Rennert at the University of Pennsylvania, obtaining his MA in the spring of 1906. He registered as a PhD student to write a thesis on the jesters in Lope de Vega's plays, and was awarded a Harrison fellowship and a travel grant of $500, which he used to visit Europe again. He spent three weeks in Madrid in various libraries, including one in the royal palace; he was actually standing outside the palace during the attempted assassination on 31 May 1906 by anarchists of King Alfonso, and left the country for fear he would be identified with them. He moved on to Paris, spending two weeks in lectures at the Sorbonne, followed by a week in London. He returned to the U.S. in July, and his first essay, Raphaelite Latin, was published in Book News Monthly in September. In 1907 at the university, he apparently annoyed Felix Schelling, the head of English, with silly remarks during lectures – which included insisting that George Bernard Shaw was better than Shakespeare, and taking out an enormous tin watch and winding it with slow precision – and his fellowship was not renewed at the end of the year. Moreover Schelling told Pound he was wasting his own time and that of the institution; Pound abandoned his dissertation and left without finishing his doctorate. Teaching In the fall of 1907 he took a job as a teacher of Romance languages at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, a conservative town that he called the sixth circle of hell, with an equally conservative college from which he was dismissed after deliberately provoking the college authorities. Smoking was forbidden, so he would smoke cigarillos in his office down the corridor from the President's. He annoyed his landlords by entertaining friends, including women, and was forced to move from one house after "[t]wo stewdents found me sharing my meagre repast with a lady gent impersonator in my privut apartments," as he told a friend. He was eventually caught in flagrante, although the details remain unclear and he denied any wrongdoing. The incident involved a stranded chorus girl to whom he offered tea and his bed for the night when she was caught in a snowstorm; when she was discovered the next morning by the landladies, Misses Ida and Belle Hall, his insistence that he had slept on the floor was met with disbelief, and he was asked to leave the college. Glad to be free of the place he left for Europe soon after. London (1908–20) Introduction to literary scene Pound returned to Europe in the spring, arriving in Gibraltar in April with $80 in his pocket, but during the next few months earned money as a guide to American tourists. He sent poems to Harper's Magazine and began writing fiction that he hoped he could sell, and by the summer was in Venice, living over a bakery near the San Vio bridge. In July he self-published his first book of poetry, the 72-page A Lume Spento (With Tapers Spent), which sold 100 copies at six cents each. The London Evening Standard called it "wild and haunting stuff, absolutely poetic, original, imaginative." The title was from the third canto of Dante's Purgatorio, alluding to both the excommunicate Manfred's death, and to that of his friend, the Philadelphia artist William Brooke Smith, who died of consumption in his 20s. In August he moved to London, where he ended up staying almost continuously for 12 years. He wanted to meet W.B. Yeats, the greatest living poet in Pound's view, and they became close friends, although Yeats was older by 20 years. He had sent Yeats a copy of A Lume Spento, and Yeats had replied that he found it charming. Pound told William Carlos Williams, a friend from university: "London, deah old Lundon, is the place for poesy." English poets such as Maurice Hewlett, Rudyard Kipling, and Alfred Lord Tennyson had made a particular kind of Victorian verse – stirring, pompous, and propagandistic – popular with the public. James Knapp writes that Pound wanted to focus on the individual experience, the particular, the concrete, and rejected the idea of poetry as versified moral essay. Arriving in the city with ₤3, he first rented a room at 8 Duchess Street in the West End, then later at 48 Langham Street, near Great Titchfield Street, just a penny bus-ride from the British Museum. The house (see right) sat across an alley from the Yorkshire Grey pub, which made an appearance decades later in the Pisan Cantos, "concerning the landlady's doings / with a lodger unnamed / az waz near Gt Titchfield St. next door to the pub". Pound persuaded the bookseller Elkin Mathews – publisher of Yeats's Wind Among the Reeds and the Book of the Rhymer's Club – to display A Lume Spento, and by October 1908 he was being discussed around town. In December he published a second collection, A Quinzaine for This Yule, and after the death of a lecturer at the Regent Street Polytechnic he managed to acquire a position lecturing in the evenings from January to February 1909 on "The Development of Literature in Southern Europe". He would spend his mornings in the British Museum Reading Room, followed by lunch at the Vienna Café on Oxford Street. Ford Madox Ford described him, apparently tongue-in-cheek, as "approach[ing] with the step of a dancer, making passes with a cane at an imaginary opponent. He would wear trousers made of green billiard cloth, a pink coat, a blue shirt, a tie hand-painted by a Japanese friend, an immense sombrero, a flaming beard cut to a point, and a single, large blue earring.” Meeting Dorothy Shakespear, Personae n January 1909, Pound met the novelist Olivia Shakespear – Yeats's former lover and the subject of his The Lover Mourns for the Loss of Love – at a literary salon, and was invited to attend her Tuesday salons where he was introduced to Dorothy, Olivia's daughter, who became his wife in 1914. Through Olivia Shakespear he was introduced to Yeats, the artist Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Wyndham Lewis, and the rest of London's literary circle. Another patron was the American heiress Margaret Lanier Cravens (1881–1912), who after knowing him a short time offered him a large annual sum to allow him to focus on his work. Cravens killed herself in 1912, probably because the pianist Walter Rummel, long the object of her affection, married someone else, but possibly also because she learned of Pound's engagement to Dorothy. In June 1909 another collection, Personae, was published by Mathews, Pound's first publication to have any commercial success. It was reviewed by The Daily Telegraph and the Times Literary Supplement among others; they said it was full of passion and magic. Rupert Brooke gave a negative review in The Cambridge Review, complaining that Pound had fallen under the influence of Walt Whitman by writing in "unmetrical sprawling lengths". In September another 27 poems appeared as Exultations, dedicated to Carlos Tracey Chester who had published his essay in Book News Monthly in 1906. Around the same time he moved into new rooms at Church Walk, off Kensington High Street, where he lived most of the time until 1914. His first book of literary criticism, The Spirit of Romance, was published in 1910, based on his lectures at the polytechnic; others included Instigations (1920), Indiscretions (1923), "How to Read" (1931), The ABC of Reading (1934), Make It New (1934), Polite Essays (1937), and Guide to Kulchur (1938). In June 1910 Pound returned to the United States for eight months, in part to persuade the New York Public Library, then being built, to change its design. The New York Times wrote that he almost daily visited the architects' offices to shout at them. His essays on America were written during this period, and were compiled as Patria Mia, published in 1950. He loved New York but no longer felt at home there. He felt the city was threatened by commercialism and vulgarity. He suffered jaundice but nevertheless persuaded his parents to finance his passage back to Europe. It was nearly 30 years before he visited the United States again. On 22 February 1911 he sailed from New York on the R.M.S. Mauretania, arriving in Southampton six days later. After a few days in London, he visited Paris again, where he worked on a new collection of poetry, Canzoni (1911), panned by the Westminster Gazette as a "medley of pretension", and spent time with Margaret Cravens. When he returned to London in August 1911, A.R. Orage, editor of the socialist journal The New Age, hired him to write a weekly column, giving him a steadier income. Imagism Hilda Doolittle arrived in London from Philadelphia in May 1911 with the poet Frances Gregg and Gregg's mother, and when they returned in September she decided to stay on. Pound introduced her to his friends, including the poet Richard Aldington, whom she married in 1913. Before then, the three of them lived in Church Walk – Pound at no. 10, Doolittle at no. 6, and Aldington at no. 8 – and worked daily in the British Museum Reading Room. At the museum he also met regularly with the curator and poet Laurence Binyon, who introduced him to the East Asian artistic and literary concepts that would become so vital to the imagery and technique of his later poetry. The museum's visitors' books show that Pound was often to be found during 1912 and 1913 in the Print Room examining Japanese Nishiki-e inscribed with traditional Japanese waka verse, a 10th century genre of poetry whose economy and strict conventions undoubtedly contributed to Imagist techniques of composition. Pound was at that time working on the poems that became Ripostes (1912), trying to move away from his earlier work, which he wrote later had reduced Ford Madox Ford in 1911 to rolling on the floor laughing at Pound's stilted language. He realized with his translation work that the problem lay not in his knowledge of the other languages, but in his use of English: What obfuscated me was not the Italian but the crust of dead English, the sediment present in my own available vocabulary ... You can't go round this sort of thing. It takes six or eight years to get educated in one's art, and another ten to get rid of that education. Neither can anyone learn English, one can only learn a series of Englishes. Rossetti made his own language. I hadn't in 1910 made a language, I don't mean a language to use, but even a language to think in. He understood that to change the structure of your language is to change the way you think and see the world. While living at Church Walk in 1912, Pound, Aldington, and Doolittle started working on ideas about language that became the Imagism movement. The aim was clarity: a fight against abstraction, romanticism, rhetoric, inversion of word order, and over-use of adjectives. Pound later said they agreed in the spring or early summer of 1912 on three principles: 1. Direct treatment of the "thing" whether subjective or objective. 2. To use absolutely no word that does not contribute to the presentation. 3. As regarding rhythm: to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome. Superfluous words, particularly adjectives, were to be avoided, as were expressions like "dim lands of peace," which he said dulled the image by mixing the abstract with the concrete. He wrote that the natural object was always the "adequate symbol." Poets should "go in fear of abstractions," and should not re-tell in mediocre verse what has already been told in good prose. A classic example of the style is Pound's "In a Station of the Metro" (1913), inspired by an experience on the Paris Underground. "I got out of a train at, I think, La Concorde, and in the jostle I saw a beautiful face, and then, turning suddenly, another and another, and then a beautiful child's face, and then another beautiful face. All that day I tried to find words for what this made me feel." He worked on the poem for a year, reducing it to its essence in the style of a Japanese haiku. It reads in its entirety: The apparition of these faces in the crowd; Petals on a wet, black bough. Ripostes, translation work It was in Ripostes, submitted to Swift & Co in February 1912 and published by them that October, that Pound moved toward more minimalist language, though Knapp writes that it is an uncertain volume, published when Pound had only begun his move toward Imagism; his first use of the word "Imagiste" was in Ripostes. Michael Alexander writes that the poems show a greater concentration of meaning and economy of rhythm than his earlier work. The collection includes five poems by the British poet T.E. Hulme, killed in Flanders in 1917 during the First World War to Pound's great distress. It also includes his translation of the 8th century Old English poem "The Seafarer", not a literal translation, but a personal interpretation and a poem in its own right. It upset scholars, as did his other translations from Latin, Italian, French, and Chinese, either because of errors or because he lacked familiarity with the cultural context. Alexander writes that in some circles his translations made him more unpopular than the treason charge, and the reaction to The Seafarer was a rehearsal for the response to Homage to Sextus Propertius in 1919. His translation from the Italian of Sonnets and ballate of Guido Cavalcanti was also published in 1912. Of great importance too was his work on the papers of Ernest Fenollosa (1853–1908), an American professor who had taught in Japan, and who had started translations of Japanese poetry and Noh plays, with which Pound became fascinated. Pound used Fenollosa's work as a starting point for what he called the ideogrammic method. Fenollosa had studied Chinese poetry under a Japanese scholar, and in 1913 his widow, Mary McNeil Fenollosa, decided to give his unpublished notes to Pound after seeing his work; she said she was looking for someone who cared about the poetry, rather than the philology. Pound knew no Chinese himself, and was working from the posthumous notes of an American who had studied Chinese under a Japanese teacher. Nevertheless, Michael Alexander writes that there are competent judges of Chinese and English poetry who see Pound's work as the best translations of Chinese to English poetry ever made, though scholars have complained that it contains many mistakes, even more than The Seafarer. The result, the collection Cathay (1915), is in Alexander's view the most attractive volume of Pound's work. Wai-lim Yip of the Chinese University of Hong Kong writes: "One can easily excommunicate Pound from the Forbidden City of Chinese studies, but it seems clear that in his dealings with Cathay, even when he is given only the barest details, he is able to get into the central concerns of the original author by what we may perhaps call a kind of clairvoyance.” Marriage, BLAST In August 1912 Harriet Monroe hired Pound as a regular contributor to Poetry, and started submitting poems by himself, James Joyce, Robert Frost, D. H. Lawrence, Yeats, H.D., and Aldington, as well as collecting material for a 64-page anthology, Des Imagistes (1914), which included Joyce's "I Hear an Army Charging". The Imagist movement began to attract attention from critics. In November 1913 Yeats took Pound to stay with him in rooms he rented in Stone Cottage in Coleman's Hatch, Sussex, to act as his secretary – Yeats's eyesight was failing – and they stayed there for 10 weeks, reading and writing, walking in the woods, and fencing for exercise. It was the first of three winters they spent there together, including two with Dorothy after she and Pound were married on 20 April 1914. The marriage proceeded despite initial opposition from her parents, who were concerned about Pound's lack of income. He had only his earnings from literary magazines, particularly Poetry, The New Freewoman, and The Egoist, and was probably earning considerably less than £300 a year. Dorothy's income was £50 of her own and £150 from her family. Her parents eventually consented, perhaps out of fear that she was getting older and no other suitor was in sight. Pound's concession to marry in church helped. Afterwards he and Dorothy moved into a large—famously triangular—room with no bathroom at 5 Holland Place Chambers, near Church Walk, with the newly wed Hilda and Richard Aldington living next door. Pound began writing for Wyndham Lewis's literary magazine BLAST; only two issues ever appeared, the first in June 1914 and the second a year later. An advertisement in The Egoist said it would discuss "Cubism, Futurism, Imagisme and all Vital Forms of Modern Art." Pound took the opportunity to extend the definition of Imagisme to art, naming it Vorticism: "The image is a radiant node or cluster; it is ... a VORTEX, from which, and through which, and into which, ideas are constantly rushing." When in reaction to the magazine, Lascelles Abercrombie called for the rejection of Imagism and a return to the traditionalism of William Wordsworth, Pound challenged him to a duel on the basis that, "Stupidity carried beyond a certain point becomes a public menace." Abercrombie suggested as their choice of weapon unsold copies of their own books. The publication of BLAST was celebrated at a dinner attended by New England poet Amy Lowell, who came to London to meet the Imagists, but Hilda and Richard were already moving away from Pound's understanding of the movement, as he moved closer to Wyndham Lewis's ideas. When Lowell agreed to finance an anthology of Imagist poets, Pound's work was not included. He began to call Imagisme "Amygism," and in July 1914 declared it dead, asking only that the term be preserved, although Lowell eventually Anglicized it. First World War, disillusionment Between 1914 and 1916 he helped to have James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man serialized in The Egoist then published in book form, and he persuaded Poetry to publish T. S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" in June 1915. Conrad Aiken writes that he had shown "Prufrock" to every conceivable editor in England, but it was dismissed as crazy. He eventually sent it to Pound who, Aiken writes, instantly saw that it was a work of genius and sent it to Poetry. "[Eliot] has actually trained himself AND modernized himself ON HIS OWN," Pound wrote to Monroe in October 1914. "The rest of the promising young have done one or the other but never both. Most of the swine have done neither." After the publication in 1915 of Cathay, Pound began to speak of working on his long poem. He told a friend in August: "It is a huge, I was going to say, gamble, but shan't," and in September told another that it was a "cryselephantine poem of immeasurable length which will occupy me for the next four decades unless it becomes a bore." About a year later, he had the form of the first three attempts at Canto I, published in Poetry in January 1917. He was now a regular contributor to three literary magazines. From 1917 he wrote music reviews for The New Age under the pen name William Atheling, and weekly pieces for The Little Review and The Egoist. The volume of writing exhausted him, and he began to believe he was wasting his time with prose. In 1919 he collected and published his essays for The Little Review into a volume called Instigations, and published "Homage to Sextus Propertius" in Poetry. "Homage" is not a strict translation; Moody describes it as "the refraction of an ancient poet through a modern intelligence". Harriet Monroe, editor of Poetry, published a letter from a professor of Latin, W.G. Hale, saying that Pound was "incredibly ignorant" of the language, and alluded to "about three-score errors" in Homage. Harriet did not publish Pound's response, which began "Cat-piss and porcupines!!" and continued, "The thing is no more a translation than my 'Altaforte' is a translation, or than Fitzgerald's Omar is a translation ..." But she interpreted his silence after that as his resignation as foreign editor. Hugh Selwyn Mauberley Hugh Selwyn Mauberley – about a poet whose life, like Pound's, has become sterile and meaningless – was published in June 1920, marking his farewell to London. He was disgusted by the lives lost during the war and could not reconcile himself with it. Stephen Adams writes that, just as T. S. Eliot denied he was Prufrock, so Pound denied he was Mauberley, but the poem, made up of 18 short poems, is nevertheless read as autobiographical. It begins with a satirical analysis of the London literary scene, then turns to social criticism and economics, and an attack on the causes of the war, the word "usury" appearing in his work for the first time. The critic F. R. Leavis saw it as Pound's major achievement. The war had shattered Pound's belief in modern western civilization. He saw the Vorticist movement as finished and doubted his own future as a poet. He had only the New Age to write for, with other magazines ignoring his submissions or not reviewing his work. Toward the end of 1920 he and Dorothy decided their time in London was over, and resolved to move to Paris. A. R. Orage wrote in the January 1921 issue of The New Age: Mr. Pound has shaken the dust of London from his feet with not too emphatic a gesture of disgust, but, at least, without gratitude to this country .... Mr. Pound has been an exhilarating influence for culture in England ... however, Mr. Pound ... has made more enemies than friends. Much of the Press has been deliberately closed by cabal to him; his books have for some time been ignored or written down; and he himself has been compelled to live on much less than would support a navvy. Paris (1921–24) The Pounds settled in Paris in January 1921 in an inexpensive apartment at 70 bis, rue Notre Dame des Champs. He became friendly with Marcel Duchamp, Tristan Tzara, Fernand Léger and others of the Dada and Surrealist movements, as well as Basil Bunting, Ernest Hemingway, and his wife Hadley. He spent most of his time building furniture for his apartment and bookshelves for the bookstore Shakespeare and Company, and in 1921 his Poems 1918–1921 was published. In 1922 Eliot sent him the manuscript of "The Waste Land", he had arrived in Paris to edit it with Pound who blue-inked the manuscript with comments like "make up yr. mind ..." and "georgian." Eliot wrote: "I should like to think that the manuscript, with the suppressed passages, had disappeared irrecoverably; yet, on the other hand, I should wish the blue pencilling on it to be preserved as irrefutable evidence of Pound's critical genius.” In 1924 Pound secured funding for Ford Madox Ford's transatlantic review from American attorney John Quinn. The review published works by Pound, Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, as well as extracts from Joyce's Finnegans Wake, before the money ran out in 1925. The review published a number of Pound music reviews, later collected into Antheil and the Treatise on Harmony. Hemingway asked Pound, who had gained a reputation as "an unofficial minister of culture who acted as mid-wife for new literary talent", to blue-ink his short stories. Although Hemingway was 14 years younger, the two forged a relationship of mutual respect and friendship, living on the same street for a time, and touring Italy together in 1923; as Hemingway biographer Jeffrey Meyers writes, "They liked each other personally, shared the same aesthetic aims, and admired each other's work", with Hemingway assuming the status of pupil to Pound's teaching. Pound introduced Hemingway to Lewis, Ford, and Joyce, while Hemingway in turn tried to teach Pound to box, but as he told Sherwood Anderson, "[Ezra] habitually leads with his chin and has the general grace of a crayfish of crawfish". Pound was 36 when he met the American violinist Olga Rudge in Paris in the fall of 1922, beginning a love affair that lasted 50 years. John Tytell writes that Pound had always felt there was a link between his creativity and his ability to seduce women, something Dorothy had turned a blind eye to over the years. He complained shortly after arriving in Paris that he had been there for three months without having managed to find a mistress. He was introduced to Olga, then 26, at a musical salon hosted by American heiress Natalie Barney in her home at 20 rue Jacob, near the Boulevard Saint-Germain. The two moved in different social circles: she was the daughter of a wealthy Youngstown, Ohio steel family, living in her mother's Parisian apartment on the Right Bank, socializing with aristocrats, while his friends were mostly impoverished writers of the Left Bank. They spent the following summer in the south of France, where he worked with George Antheil to apply the concept of Vorticism to music, and managed to write two operas, including Le Testament de Villon. He also wrote pieces for solo violin, which Olga performed. Italy (1924–45) Birth of the children The Pounds were unhappy in Paris. Dorothy was complaining about the winters, and Pound's health was poor. At a dinner someone had randomly tried to stab him and it underlined that their time in France was over. Hemingway wrote that Pound "indulged in a small nervous breakdown necessitating spending two days in the Am. Hospital (American Hospital)." They decided to move to a quieter place, and chose Rapallo, Italy, a town with a population of 15,. "Italy is my place for starting things," he told a friend. Olga Rudge followed them there, carrying Pound's child. She apparently had no interest in raising a child, but Tytell writes that she felt having one would keep her connected to him. She gave birth to a daughter, Mary, on 9 July 1925 in Brixen, and the baby was handed over to a German-speaking peasant woman whose own child had died, and who agreed to raise Mary (later de Rachewiltz) for 200 lire a month. When Pound told Dorothy about the birth she separated from him for much of that year and the next, and in March 1926 – after returning from a three-month visit to Egypt – she announced that she too was pregnant. She and Pound left Rapallo for Paris for the premiere of Le Testament de Villon, without mentioning the pregnancy to Pound's friends or parents, and on 10 September 1926 Hemingway drove her to the American Hospital of Paris for the birth of a son, Omar. In a letter to his parents in October Pound wrote, "next generation (male) arrived. Both D & it appear to be doing well." Dorothy handed the baby over to her mother, Olivia, who raised him in London until he was old enough to go to boarding school. When Dorothy went to England each summer to see Omar, Pound would spend the time with Olga, whose father had bought her a house in Venice. The arrangement meant his children were raised very differently. Mary had one pair of shoes and books about Jesus and the saints, while Omar was raised as an English gentleman in Kensington by his sophisticated grandmother. In 1925 the literary magazine This Quarter dedicated its first issue to Pound, including tributes from Hemingway and Joyce. Pound published Cantos 17–19 in the winter editions. In March 1927 he launched his own literary magazine, The Exile, but only four issues were published. It did well in the first year, with contributions from Hemingway, E. E. Cummings, Basil Bunting, Yeats, William Carlos Williams and Robert McAlmon. J.J. Wilhelm argues that some of the worst work came from Pound himself in the form of rambling editorials about Confucianism and praise of Lenin. He continued to work on Fenollosa's manuscripts, and in 1928 won The Dial's poetry award for his translation of the Confucian classic Great Learning (Dà Xué, which pound transliterated as Ta Hio). That year Homer and Isabel visited him in Rapallo. They had not seen him since 1914, and by then Homer had retired so they decided to move to Rapallo themselves, taking a small house, Villa Raggio, on a hill above the town. The Cantos The bulk of Pound's work on The Cantos began after his move to Italy. Like all the other great epics, it is the story of good and evil, a descent into hell and progress to paradise. Its hundreds of characters fall into three groups: those who enjoy hell and stay there; those who experience a metamorphosis and want to leave; and a few who lead the rest to paradiso terrestre. He began work on it in 1915, but there were several false starts and he abandoned most of his earlier drafts, beginning again in 1922. The subject matter ranges from Odysseus, Troy, Dionysus, Malatesta, Confucius, and Napoleon, to Jefferson and Mussolini, Chinese history, Pisa, and usury, relying on memories, diaries, jokes, hymns, anecdotes, ideogrammic translation, and up to 15 different languages. Allen Tate, who supported Pound for the Bollingen Prize for the sections of The Cantos known as the Pisan Cantos, writes that the poem is not about anything, and has no beginning, middle, or end. He argues that Pound was incapable of sustained thought and was "at the mercy of random flights of 'angelic insight,' Icarian self-indulgences of prejudices." The first three cantos, now known as the ur-Cantos, appeared in Poetry in June–August 1917. The Malatesta Cantos (Cantos VIII, IX, X, and XI of a Long Poem) appeared in The Criterion in July 1923, and two further cantos were published in the transatlantic review in January 1924. Pound published 90 copies in Paris in 1925 A Draft of XVI. Cantos of Ezra Pound for the Beginning of a Poem of some Length now first made into a Book. It was followed by A Draft of XXX Cantos (1930), Eleven New Cantos XXI–XLI (1934), The Fifth Decade of Cantos (1937), Cantos LII–LXXI (1940), The Pisan Cantos (1948), written while in custody in Pisa, and Seventy Cantos (1950). The first complete edition was published in 1964 as The Cantos (1–109), followed by Drafts and Fragments: Cantos CX-CXVII (1968). Turn to fascism, Second World War Pound came to believe during the 1920s that the cause of the First World War was finance capitalism, which he called "usury," and that the solution was C.H. Douglas's idea of social credit, with fascism as the vehicle for reform; he had met Douglas in The New Age offices and had been impressed by his ideas. He presented a series of lectures on economics, and made contact with politicians in the United States about education, interstate commerce and international affairs. Although Hemingway advised against it, on 30 January 1933 Pound met Mussolini himself. Olga Rudge had played for Mussolini and had told him about Pound; Pound had already sent him a copy of Cantos XXX. During the meeting he tried to present Mussolini with a digest of his economic ideas, but Tytell writes that Mussolini brushed them aside, though he called the Cantos "divertente" (entertaining). The meeting was recorded in Canto 41: "'Ma questo' / said the boss, 'è divertente.'". Pound told Douglas that he had "never met anyone who seemed to GET my ideas so quickly as the boss." A number of Pound's books were published in the 1930s, including ABC of Economics (1933), ABC of Reading (1934), Social Credit: An Impact (1935), Jefferson and/or Mussolini (1936), and A Guide to Kulchur (1938). In 1936 James Laughlin – who had visited him in Rapallo in 1933 as a 20-year-old student – set up New Directions Publishing, and acted as Pound's agent, finding publications to accept his work and writing reviews. When Dorothy's mother died in October 1938 in London, Dorothy asked Pound to organize the funeral, where he met their 12-year-old son Omar for the first time in eight years. He visited T. S. Eliot and Wyndham Lewis, who produced a now-famous portrait of Pound reclining. In April 1939 he sailed for New York, believing he could stop America from involvement in the Second World War, happy to answer reporters' questions about Mussolini while he lounged on the deck of the ship in a tweed jacket. He traveled to Washington, D.C. where he met senators and congressmen. Mary said he did it out of a sense of responsibility, rather than megalomania; he was offered no encouragement, and left depressed and frustrated. While in America, Pound received an honorary doctorate from Hamilton College on 12 June 1939, and a week later he returned to Italy, where he began writing antisemitic material for Italian newspapers, including one entitled "The Jews, Disease Incarnate." He wrote to James Laughlin that Roosevelt represented Jewry, and signed the letter "Heil Hitler." He started writing for Action, a newspaper owned by the British fascist, Sir Oswald Mosley, arguing that the Third Reich was the "natural civilizer of Russia." After war broke out in September that year, he began a furious letter-writing campaign to the politicians he had petitioned six months earlier, arguing that the war was the result of an international banking conspiracy, and that the United States should keep out of it. Radio broadcasts Tytell writes that by the 1940s no American or English poet had been so active politically since William Blake. Pound had written over a thousand letters a year during the previous decade, and had presented his ideas in hundreds of articles, as well as in The Cantos. According to Tytell, Pound's fear was an economic structure that depended on the armaments industry, where the profit motive alone would govern war and peace. He started reading George Santayana, and The Law of Civilization and Decay by Brooks Adams, finding confirmation of the danger of the capitalist and usurer becoming dominant. He wrote in The Japan Times that "Democracy is now currently defined in Europe as a 'country run by Jews,'" and told Oswald Mosley's newspaper the English were a slave race governed by the Rothschilds since Waterloo. Pound broadcast over Rome Radio, though the Italian government was at first reluctant, concerned he might be a double agent. He told a friend: "It took me, I think it was, TWO years, insistence and wrangling etc., to GET HOLD of their microphone." He recorded just over a hundred broadcasts, and traveled to Rome one week a month to pre-record the 10-minute broadcasts, for which he was paid around $17. The broadcasts required the Italian government's approval in advance, though he often changed the text in the studio. The politics apart, he needed the money. Tytell writes that his voice had assumed a "rasping, buzzing quality like the sound of a hornet stuck in a jar." He continued to occasionally broadcast, and writing under pseudonyms until about April 1945, shortly before his arrest. Arrest for treason A few weeks later he returned south via Milan to Olga and Dorothy. They had been living in Isabel's apartment, but it was small so they decided to move in with Olga at Sant' Ambrogio. His daughter Mary, then 19, was sent to Gais in Switzerland, leaving Pound, as she wrote, "pent up with two women who loved him, whom he loved, and who coldly hated each other." He was in Rome when the Allies landed in Sicily in July 1943. Pound borrowed a pair of hiking boots and a knapsack and left the city, having finally decided to tell Mary about his wife and son. He traveled 450 miles north, spending a night in an air raid shelter in Bologna, and taking a train part of the way to Verona. She almost failed to recognize him when he arrived, he was so dirty and tired. He told her everything about his other family; she later said she felt more pity than anger. He returned to Rapallo, where on 2 May 1945, four days after Mussolini was shot, armed partisans arrived at the house while Pound was there alone. He stuffed a copy of Confucius and a Chinese dictionary in his pocket, and was taken to their HQ in Chiavari, although he was released shortly afterwards. He and Olga then gave themselves up to an American military post in the nearby town of Lavagna. It was decided that Pound should be transported to U.S. Counter Intelligence Corps headquarters in Genoa, where he was interrogated by Frank L. Amprin, the FBI agent assigned by J. Edgar Hoover to gather evidence following the 1943 indictment. Pound asked permission to send a cable to President Truman to offer to help negotiate peace with Japan. He also asked to deliver a final broadcast from a script called "Ashes of Europe Calling," in which he recommended peace with Japan, American management of Italy, the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine, and leniency toward Germany. His requests were denied and the script forwarded to Hoover. On 8 May, the day Germany surrendered, he told a reporter from the Philadelphia Record who had managed to get into the compound for an interview that Hitler was "a Jeanne d'Arc, a saint," and that Mussolini was an "imperfect character who lost his head." On 24 May he was transferred to the United States Army Disciplinary Training Center north of Pisa, used to house military personnel awaiting court martial. The temporary commander placed him in one of the camp's "death cells," a series of six-by-six-foot outdoor steel cages lit up all night by floodlights. He was left for three weeks in isolation in the heat, denied exercise, eyes inflamed by dust, no bed, no belt, no shoelaces, and no communication with the guards, except for the chaplain. After two and a half weeks he began to break down under the strain. Richard Sieburth writes that he recorded it in Canto 80, where Odysseus is saved from drowning by Leucothea: "hast'ou swum in a sea of air strip / through an aeon of nothingness, / when the raft broke and the waters went over me." Medical staff moved him out of the cage the following week. On 14 and 15 June he was examined by psychiatrists, one of whom found symptoms of a mental breakdown, and he was transferred to his own officer's tent and allowed reading material. He began to write, and drafted what became known as The Pisan Cantos; the existence of a few sheets of toilet paper showing the beginning of Canto LXXXIV suggests he started it while in the cage. United States (1945–58) St Elizabeths On 15 November, 1945, Pound was transferred to the United States. An escorting officer's impression was that "he is an intellectual 'crackpot' who imagined that he could correct all the economic ills of the world and who resented the fact that ordinary mortals were not sufficiently intelligent to understand his aims and motives." On 25 November he was arraigned in Washington D.C. on charges of treason. The charges included broadcasting for the enemy, attempting to persuade American citizens to undermine government support of the war, and strengthening morale in Italy against the United States. He was admitted to St. Elizabeths Hospital – where in June 1946 Dorothy was declared his legal guardian – and held for a time in the hospital's prison ward, Howard's Hall, known as the "hell-hole," a building without windows in a room with a thick steel door and nine peepholes, which allowed the psychiatrists to observe him while they tried to agree on a diagnosis. Visitors were allowed only for 15 minutes at a time, while other patients wandered around outside the room screaming and frothing at the mouth, according to T. S. Eliot. Pound's lawyer, Julien Cornell, whose efforts to have him declared insane are credited with having saved him from life imprisonment, requested his release at a bail hearing in January 1947. The hospital's superintendent, Winfred Overholser, agreed instead to move him to the more pleasant surroundings of Chestnut Ward, close to Overholser's private quarters, which is where he spent the next 12 years. The historian Stanley Kutler was given access in the 1980s to military intelligence and other government documents about Pound, including his hospital records, and wrote that the psychiatrists believed Pound had a narcissistic personality, but they considered him sane. Kutler said that Overholser protected Pound from the criminal justice system because he was fascinated by him. Tytell argues that Pound was in his element in Chestnut Ward. He was at last provided for, and was allowed to read, write, and receive visitors, including Dorothy for several hours a day. He took over a small alcove with wicker chairs just outside his room, and turned it into his private living room, where he entertained his friends and important literary figures. He began work on his translation of Sophocles's Women of Trachis and Electra, and continued work on The Cantos. It reached the point where he refused to discuss any attempt to have him released. Olga Rudge visited him twice, once in 1952 and again in 1955, and was unable to convince him to be more assertive about his release. She wrote to a friend: "E.P. has ... bats in the belfry but it strikes me that he has fewer not more than before his incarceration.” The Pisan Cantos, Bollingen Prize James Laughlin had Cantos 74–84 ready for publication in 1946 under the title The Pisan Cantos, and even gave Pound an advance copy, but he had held it back, waiting for an appropriate time to publish. Tytell writes that in June 1948 a group of Pound's friends – Eliot, Cummings, W. H. Auden, Allen Tate, and Julien Cornell – met Laughlin to discuss how to get him released. According to the poet Archibald MacLeish, the men conceived a plan to have Pound awarded the first Bollingen Prize, a new national poetry award just announced by the Library of Congress, with $1, prize money donated by the Mellon family. The awards committee consisted of 15 fellows of the Library of Congress, including several of Pound's supporters, such as Eliot, Tate, Conrad Aiken, Amy Lowell, Katherine Anne Porter, and Theodore Spencer. The idea was that the Justice Department would be placed in an untenable position if Pound won a major award and was not released. Laughlin published The Pisan Cantos on 30 July 1948, and the following year the prize went to Pound. There were two dissenting voices, Katherine Garrison Chapin, the wife of Francis Biddle, the Attorney General who had indicted Pound for treason, and Karl Shapiro, who said that he could not vote for an antisemite because he was Jewish himself. Pound's response to the news of the award was, "No comment from the bughouse." There was uproar. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted critics who said "poetry [cannot] convert words into maggots that eat at human dignity and still be good poetry." Robert Hillyer, a Pulitzer Prize winner and president of the Poetry Society of America, attacked the committee in The Saturday Review of Literature, telling journalists that he "never saw anything to admire in Pound, not one line." Congressman Jacob K. Javits demanded an investigation into the awards committee, and as a result it was the last time the prize was administered by the Library of Congress. Controversial friendships, release Although Pound repudiated his antisemitism in public, Tytell writes that in private it continued. He often refused to talk to psychiatrists with Jewish-sounding names, would refer to people he disliked as Jews, and urged his visitors to read the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (1903), a fabrication claiming to represent a Jewish plan for world domination. He struck up a friendship during the 1950s with the writer Eustace Mullins, believed to be associated with the Aryan League of America, who wrote a biography of Pound, This Difficult Individual, Ezra Pound (1961). Even more damaging was his friendship with a far-right activist and member of the Ku Klux Klan, John Kasper. Kasper had come to admire Pound during some literature classes at university, and after he wrote to Pound in 1950 the two became friends. Kasper opened a bookstore in Greenwich Village in 1953 called "Make it New," reflecting his commitment to Pound's ideas; it specialized in far-right material, including Nazi literature, and Pound's poetry and translations were displayed in the window. Kasper and another follower of Pound's, David Horton, set up a publishing imprint, Square Dollar Series, which Pound used as a vehicle for his tracts about economic reform. Kasper was eventually jailed for the 1957 bombing of the Hattie Cotton School in Nashville, targeted because a black girl had registered as a student. Wilhelm writes that there were a lot of perfectly respectable people visiting Pound too, such as the classicist J.P. Sullivan and the writer Guy Davenport, but it was the association with Mullins and Kasper that stood out. The relationships delayed his release from St Elizabeths. Eliot's friends continued to try to get him out. Shortly after Hemingway won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954, he told Time magazine that "this would be a good year to release poets." MacLeish asked him in June 1957 to write a letter on Pound's behalf; Hemingway believed Pound was unable to abstain from awkward political statements or from friendships with people like Kasper, but he signed a letter of support anyway, and pledged $1, to be given to Pound when he was released. In 1957 several publications began campaigning for his release. Le Figaro published an appeal entitled "The Lunatic at St Elizabeths." The New Republic, Esquire and The Nation followed suit; The Nation argued that Pound was a sick and vicious old man, but that he had rights too. In 1958 MacLeish hired Thurman Arnold, a prestigious lawyer who ended up charging no fee, to file a motion to dismiss the 1945 indictment. Overholser, the hospital's superintendent, supported the application with an affidavit saying Pound was permanently and incurably insane, and that confinement served no therapeutic purpose. The motion was heard on 18 April that year by the same judge who had committed him to St Elizabeths. The Department of Justice did not oppose the motion, and Pound was free. Italy (1958–72) Pound arrived in Naples in July, where he was photographed giving a fascist salute by the waiting press. When asked by the press when he had been released from the mental hospital, he replied: "I never was. When I left the hospital I was still in America, and all America is an insane asylum." He and Dorothy went to live with Mary at Castle Brunnenburg near Merano in the Province of South Tyrol – where he met his grandson, Walter, and his granddaughter, Patrizia, for the first time – then returned to Rapallo, where Olga Rudge was waiting to join them. They were accompanied by a teacher Pound had met in hospital, Marcella Spann, 40 years younger than him, who was ostensibly acting as his secretary, collecting poems for an anthology. The four women soon fell out, vying for control over him; Canto 113 alluded to it: "Pride, jealousy and possessiveness / 3 pains of hell." Pound was in love with Marcella, seeing in her his last chance for love and youth. He wrote about her in Canto CXIII: "The long flank, the firm breast / and to know beauty and death and despair / And to think that what has been shall be, / flowing, ever unstill." Dorothy had usually ignored his affairs, but she used her legal power over his royalties to make sure Marcella was seen off, sent back to America. Pound wrote to Hemingway: "Old man him tired." By December 1959 he had fallen into a depression, insisting his work was worthless and The Cantos were botched. In a 1960 interview given in Rome to Donald Hall for Paris Review, he said: "You—find me—in fragments." Hall wrote that he seemed in an "abject despair, accidie, meaninglessness, abulia, waste." He paced up and down during the three days it took to complete the interview, never finishing a sentence, bursting with energy one minute, then suddenly sagging, and at one point seemed about to collapse. Hall said it was clear that he "doubted the value of everything he had done in his life." Those close to him thought he was suffering from dementia, and in the summer of 1960 Mary placed him in a clinic near Merano when his weight dropped. He picked up again, but by the spring of 1961 he had a urinary infection. Dorothy felt unable to look after him, so he went that summer to live with Olga in Rapallo, then Venice; Dorothy mostly stayed in London after that with Omar. He attended a neo-Fascist May Day parade in 1962, but his health continued to decline. The next year he told an interviewer, Grazia Levi, "I spoil everything I touch. I have always blundered .... All my life I believed I knew nothing, yes, knew nothing. And so words became devoid of meaning.” William Carlos Williams died in 1963, followed two years later by T. S. Eliot. Pound attended Eliot's funeral in London and traveled to Dublin to visit Yeats's widow. Allen Ginsberg visited him in Rapallo in October 1967. He described his work to Ginsberg as: "A mess ... my writing, stupidity and ignorance all the way through," and in the Pensione Alle Salute da Cici restaurant in Venice, he told Ginsberg, Peter Russell, and Michael Reck: "... but my worst mistake was the stupid suburban anti-Semitic prejudice, all along that spoiled everything ... I found after seventy years that I was not a lunatic but a moron ... I should have been able to do better ..." Two years later Pound went to New York for the opening of an exhibition that featured his blue-inked version of Eliot's The Waste Land, and received a standing ovation at Hamilton College when he accompanied Laughlin who was receiving an honorary doctorate. Shortly before his death in 1972 it was proposed he be awarded the Emerson-Thoreau Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, but after a storm of protest the academy's council opposed it by 13 to 9. The sociologist Daniel Bell, who was on the committee, argued that it was important to distinguish between those who explore hate and those who approve it. Two weeks before his 87th birthday he read for a gathering of friends at a café: "re USURY / I was out of focus, taking a symptom for a cause. / The cause is AVARICE." On his birthday he was too weak to leave his bedroom at his home on the Piazza San Marco, and the following night he was admitted to the Civil Hospital of Venice, where he died in his sleep of an intestinal blockage on 1 November, aged 87, with Olga at his side. Dorothy was unable to travel to the funeral. Four gondoliers dressed in black rowed the body to the island cemetery, Isola di San Michele, where he was buried near Diaghilev and Stravinsky. Dorothy died in England the following year. Olga died in 1996 and was buried next to Pound. Reception Opinion varies about the nature of Pound's writing style. Critics generally agree that he was a strong lyricist, particularly in his early work. Scholars such as Ira Nadel see evidence of modernism in his poetry before he began the Cantos, and Witmeyer argues that, as early as Ripostes, a modern style is evident. His style drew on literature from a variety of disciplines. Nadel writes that he wanted his poetry to represent an "objective presentation of material which he believed could stand on its own," without use of symbolism or romanticism. The Chinese writing system most closely met his ideals. He used Chinese ideograms to represent "the thing in pictures," and from Noh theater learned that plot could be replaced by a single image. Nadel argues that imagism was to change Pound's poetry. He explains, "Imagism evolved as a reaction against abstraction ... replacing Victorian generalities with the clarity in Japanese haiku and ancient Greek lyrics." Pound scholar Daniel Albright writes that Pound tried to condense and eliminate "all but the hardest kernel" from a poem such as the two-line poem "In a Station of the Metro". This, however, was a technique that did not lend itself well to the writing of an epic such as the Cantos, and so Pound turned to the more dynamic structure of what he considered Vorticism for the Cantos. Translations In Pound's Fenollosa translations, unlike previous American translators of Chinese poetry, who tended to work with strict metrical and stanzaic patterns, Pound created free verse translations. Whether the poems are valuable as translations continues to be a source of controversy. Pound scholar Ming Xie explains that the use of language in Pound's translation of the Old English poem "The Seafarer" is deliberate, avoiding merely "trying to assimilate the original into contemporary language". After his work with The Seafarer, it was in the Japanese Noh plays that he found an answer to his search for anti-naturalist minimalism which occurred just prior to his initial work with Fenellosa's papers, leading to the translation of 14 Chinese poems in Cathay, published in 1915. Neither Pound nor Fenollosa spoke or read Chinese proficiently, and Pound has been criticized for omitting or adding sections to his poems which have no basis in the original texts, though critics argue that the fidelity of Cathay to the original Chinese is beside the point. Hugh Kenner, in a chapter "The Invention of China" from The Pound Era, contends that Cathay should be read primarily as a work about World War I, not as an attempt at accurately translating ancient Eastern poems. The real achievement of the book, Kenner argues, is in how it combines meditations on violence and friendship with an effort to "rethink the nature of an English poem". These ostensible translations of ancient Eastern texts, Kenner argues, are actually experiments in English poetics and compelling elegies for a warring West. Michael Alexander writes that, as a translator, Pound was a pioneer with a great gift of language and an incisive intelligence. He helped popularize major poets such as Guido Cavalcanti and Du Fu and brought Provençal and Chinese poetry to English-speaking audiences. He revived interest in the Confucian classics and introduced the west to classical Japanese poetry and drama. He translated and championed Greek, Latin and Anglo-Saxon classics, and helped keep them alive at a time when classical education was in decline, and poets no longer considered translations central to their craft. Legacy His own work apart, Pound was responsible for advancing the careers of some of the best-known modernist writers of the early 20th century. In addition to Eliot, Joyce, Lewis, Frost, Williams, and Hemingway, he befriended and helped Marianne Moore, Louis Zukofsky, Jacob Epstein, Basil Bunting, E.E. Cummings, Margaret Anderson, George Oppen, and Charles Olson. Hugh Witemeyer argues that the Imagist movement was the most important in 20th-century English language poetry because hardly any prominent poet of Pound's generation and the two generations after him was untouched by it. As early as 1917 Carl Sandburg wrote in Poetry: "All talk on modern poetry, by people who know, ends with dragging in Ezra Pound somewhere. He may be named only to be cursed as wanton and mocker, poseur, trifler and vagrant. Or he may be classed as filling a niche today like that of Keats in a preceding epoch. The point is, he will be mentioned." Beyond this, Pound's legacy is mixed. Hugh Kenner wrote in 1951 that there was no great contemporary writer less read than Pound, though he added that there was also no one who could appeal through "sheer beauty of language" to people who would rather read poets than talk about them. The British poet Philip Larkin criticized him, "for being literary, which to me is the foundation of his feebleness, thinking that poetry is made out of poetry and not out of being alive." His antisemitism became central to an evaluation of his poetry, including whether it was read at all. Wendy Stallard Flory argues that the best approach to The Cantos – separating the poetry from the antisemitism – is perceived as apologetic. Her view is that the establishment of Pound as "National Monster" and "designated fascist intellectual" made him a stand-in for the silent majority in Germany, occupied France and Belgium, as well as Britain and the United States who, she argues, made the Holocaust possible by aiding or standing quietly by. The outrage after the treason charge was so deep that the imagined method of his execution dominated the discussion. Arthur Miller considered him worse than Hitler: "In his wildest moments of human vilification Hitler never approached our Ezra ... he knew all America's weaknesses and he played them as expertly as Goebbels ever did." The response went so far as to denounce all modernists as fascists, and it was only in the 1980s that critics began a re-evaluation. The critic Macha Rosenthal wrote that it was "as if all the beautiful vitality and all the brilliant rottenness of our heritage in its luxuriant variety were both at once made manifest" in Ezra Pound. Works Books published in his lifetime * 1908 A Lume Spento. Privately printed by A. Antonini, Venice, (poems). * 1908 A Quinzaine for This Yule. Pollock, London; and Elkin Mathews, London, (poems). * 1909 Personae. Elkin Mathews, London, (poems). * 1909 Exultations. Elkin Mathews, London, (poems). * 1910 The Spirit of Romance. Dent, London, (prose). * 1910 Provenca. Small, Maynard, Boston, (poems). * 1911 Canzoni. Elkin Mathews, London, (poems) * 1912 The Sonnets and Ballate of Guido Cavalcanti Small, Maynard, Boston, (cheaper edition destroyed by fire, Swift & Co, London; translations) * 1912 Ripostes. S. Swift, London, (poems; first announcement of Imagism) * 1915 Cathay. Elkin Mathews, (poems; translations) * 1916 Gaudier-Brzeska. A Memoir. John Lane, London, (prose). * 1916 Certain Noble Plays of Japan: From the Manuscripts of Ernest Fenollosa, chosen and finished by Ezra Pound, with an introduction by William Butler Yeats. * 1916 Ernest Fenollosa, Ezra Pound: "Noh", or, Accomplishment: A Study of the Classical Stage of Japan. Macmillan, London, * 1916 Lustra. Elkin Mathews, London, (poems). * 1917 Twelve Dialogues of Fontenelle, (translations) * 1917 Lustra Knopf, New York. (poems). With a version of the first Three Cantos (Poetry, vol. 10, nos. 3, June 1917, 4, July 1917, 5, August 1917). * 1918: Pavannes and Divisions. Knopf, New York. prose * 1918 Quia Pauper Amavi. Egoist Press, London. poems * 1919 The Fourth Canto. Ovid Press, London * 1920 Hugh Selwyn Mauberley. Ovid Press, London. * 1920 Umbra. Elkin Mathews, London, (poems and translations) * 1920 Instigations of Ezra Pound: Together with an Essay on the Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry, by Ernest Fenollosa. Boni & Liveright, (prose). * 1921 Poems, 1918–1921. Boni & Liveright, New York * 1922 Remy de Gourmount: The Natural Philosophy of Love. Boni & Liveright, New York, (translation) * 1923 Indiscretions, or, Und Revue des deux mondes. Three Mountains Press, Paris. * 1924 Antheil and the Treatise on Harmony. Paris, (essays). As: William Atheling. * 1925 A Draft of XVI Cantos. Three Mountains Press, Paris. The first collection of The Cantos. * 1926 Personae: The Collected Poems of Ezra Pound. Boni & Liveright, New York * 1928 A Draft of the Cantos 17–27. John Rodker, London. * 1928 Selected Poems, edited and with an introduction by T. S. Eliot. Faber & Gwyer, London * 1928 Confucius: Ta Hio: The Great Learning, newly rendered into the American language. University of Washington Bookstore (Glenn Hughes), (translation) * 1930 A Draft of XXX Cantos. Nancy Cunard's Hours Press, Paris. * 1930 Imaginary Letters. Black Sun Press, Paris. Eight essays from the Little Review, 1917–18. * 1931 How to Read. Harmsworth, (essays) * 1933 ABC of Economics. Faber, London, (essays) * 1934 Eleven New Cantos: XXXI-XLI. Farrer & Rinehart, New York, (poems) * 1934 Homage to Sextus Propertius. Faber, London (poems) * 1934 ABC of Reading. Yale University Press, (essays) * 1935 Alfred Venison's Poems: Social Credit Themes by the Poet of Titchfield Street. Stanley Nott, Pamphlets on the New Economics, No. 9, London, (essays) * 1935 Jefferson and/or Mussolini. Stanley Nott, London, Liveright, 1936 (essays) * 1935 Make It New. London, (essays) * 1935 Social Credit. An Impact. London, (essays). Repr.: Peter Russell, Money Pamphlets by Pound, no. 5, London 1951. * 1936 Ernest Fenollosa: The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry. Stanley Nott, London 1936. An Ars Poetica With Foreword and Notes by Ezra Pound. * 1937 The Fifth Decade of Cantos. Farrer & Rinehart, New York, poems * 1937 Polite Essays. Faber, London, (essays) * 1937 Confucius: Digest of the Analects, edited and published by Giovanni Scheiwiller, (translations) * 1938 Culture. New Directions. New edition: Guide to Kulchur, New Directions, 1952 * 1939 What Is Money For?. Greater Britain Publications, (essays). Money Pamphlets by Pound, no. 3, Peter Russell, London * 1940 Cantos LXII-LXXI. New Directions, New York, (John Adams Cantos 62–71). * 1942 Carta da Visita di Ezra Pound. Edizioni di lettere d'oggi. Rome. English translation, by John Drummond: A Visiting Card, Money Pamphlets by Pound, no. 4, Peter Russell, London 1952, (essays). * 1944 L'America, Roosevelt e le cause della guerra presente. Casa editrice della edizioni popolari, Venice. English translation, by John Drummond: America, Roosevelt and the Causes of the Present War, Money Pamphlets by Pound, no. 6, Peter Russell, London 1951 References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezra_Pound

R. S. Thomas

Ronald Stuart Thomas (29 March 1913 – 25 September 2000), published as R. S. Thomas, was a Welsh poet and Anglican priest who was noted for his nationalism, spirituality and deep dislike of the anglicisation of Wales. In 1955, John Betjeman, in his introduction to the first collection of Thomas’s poetry to be produced by a major publisher, Song at the Year's Turning, predicted that Thomas would be remembered long after Betjeman himself was forgotten. M. Wynn Thomas said: "He was the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn of Wales because he was such a troubler of the Welsh conscience. He was one of the major English language and European poets of the 20th century." R. S. Thomas was born in Cardiff, the only child of Thomas Hubert and Margaret (née Davis). The family moved to Holyhead in 1918 because of his father's work in the merchant navy. He was awarded a bursary in 1932 to study at Bangor University, where he read Classics. In 1936, having completed his theological training at St. Michael's College, Llandaff, he was ordained as a priest in the Church in Wales. From 1936 to 1940 he was the curate of Chirk, Denbighshire, where he met his future wife, Mildred (Elsi) Eldridge, an English artist. He subsequently became curate at Tallarn Green, Flintshire. Thomas and Mildred were married in 1940 and remained together until her death in 1991. Their son, Gwydion, was born 29 August 1945. The Thomas family lived on a tiny income and lacked the comforts of modern life, largely by the Thomas's choice. One of the few household amenities the family ever owned, a vacuum cleaner, was rejected because Thomas decided it was too noisy. For twelve years, from 1942 to 1954, Thomas was rector at Manafon, near Welshpool in rural Montgomeryshire. It was during his time at Manafon that he first began to study Welsh and that he published his first three volumes of poetry, The Stones of the Field, An Acre of Land and The Minister. Thomas' poetry achieved a breakthrough with the publication of his fourth book Song at the Year's Turning, in effect a collected edition of his first three volumes, which was critically very well received and opened with Betjeman's famous introduction. His position was also helped by winning the Royal Society of Literature's Heinemann Award. Thomas learnt the Welsh language at age 30, too late in life, he said, to be able to write poetry in it. The 1960s saw him working in a predominantly Welsh speaking community and he later wrote two prose works in Welsh, Neb (English: Nobody), an ironic and revealing autobiography written in the third person, and Blwyddyn yn Llŷn (English: A Year in Llŷn). In 1964 he won the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. From 1967 to 1978 he was vicar at St Hywyn's Church (built 1137) in Aberdaron at the western tip of the Llŷn Peninsula. Thomas retired from church ministry in 1978 and he and his wife relocated to Y Rhiw, in "a tiny, unheated cottage in one of the most beautiful parts of Wales, where, however, the temperature sometimes dipped below freezing", according to Theodore Dalrymple. Free from the constraints of the church he was able to become more political and active in the campaigns that were important to him. He became a fierce advocate of Welsh nationalism, although he never supported Plaid Cymru because he believed they did not go far enough in their opposition to England. In 1996 Thomas was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature (the winner that year was Seamus Heaney). Thomas died on 25 September 2000, aged 87, at his home at Pentrefelin near Criccieth. He had been ill with heart trouble and had been treated at Gwynnedd hospital until two weeks before he died. After his death an event celebrating his life and poetry was held in Westminster Abbey with readings from Heaney, Andrew Motion, Gillian Clarke and John Burnside. Thomas's ashes are buried close to the door of St. John's Church, Porthmadog, Gwynedd. Beliefs Thomas believed in what he called "the true Wales of my imagination", a Welsh-speaking, aboriginal community that was in tune with the natural world. He viewed western (specifically English) materialism and greed, represented in the poetry by his mythical "Machine", as the destroyers of community. He could tolerate neither the English who bought up Wales and, in his view, stripped it of its wild and essential nature, nor the Welsh whom he saw as all too eager to kowtow to English money and influence. This may help explain why Thomas was an ardent supporter of CND and described himself as a pacifist but also why he supported the Meibion Glyndŵr fire-bombings of English-owned holiday cottages in rural Wales. On this subject he said in 1998, "what is one death against the death of the whole Welsh nation?" He was also active in wildlife preservation and worked with the RSPB and Welsh volunteer organisations for the preservation of the Red Kite. He resigned his RSPB membership over their plans to introduce non-native kites to Wales. Thomas's son, Gwydion, a resident of Thailand, recalls his father's sermons, in which he would "drone on" to absurd lengths about the evil of refrigerators, washing machines, televisions and other modern devices. Thomas preached that they were all part of the temptation of scrambling after gadgets rather than attending to more spiritual needs. "It was the Machine, you see", Gwydion Thomas explained to a biographer. "This to a congregation that didn’t have any of these things and were longing for them." Although he may have taken some ideas to extreme lengths, Theodore Dalrymple wrote, Thomas "was raising a deep and unanswered question: What is life for? Is it simply to consume more and more, and divert ourselves with ever more elaborate entertainments and gadgetry? What will this do to our souls?" Although he was a cleric, he was not always charitable and was known for being awkward and taciturn. Some critics have interpreted photographs of him as indicating he was "formidable, bad-tempered, and apparently humorless." Works Almost all of Thomas's work concerns the Welsh landscape and the Welsh people, themes with both political and spiritual subtext. His views on the position of the Welsh people, as a conquered people are never far below the surface. As a cleric, his religious views are also present in his works. His earlier works focus on the personal stories of his parishioners, the farm labourers and working men and their wives, challenging the cosy view of the traditional pastoral poem with harsh and vivid descriptions of rural lives. The beauty of the landscape, although ever-present, is never suggested as a compensation for the low pay or monotonous conditions of farm work. This direct view of "country life" comes as a challenge to many English writers writing on similar subjects and challenging the more pastoral works of such as contemporary poets as Dylan Thomas. Thomas's later works were of a more metaphysical nature, more experimental in their style and focusing more overtly on his spirituality. Laboratories of the Spirit (1975) gives, in its title, a hint at this development and also reveals Thomas's increasing experiments with scientific metaphor. He described this shift as an investigation into the "adult geometry of the mind".} Fearing that poetry was becoming a dying art, inaccessible to those who most needed it, "he attempted to make spiritually minded poems relevant within, and relevant to, a science-minded, post-industrial world", to represent that world both in form and in content even as he rejected its machinations. Despite his nationalism Thomas could be hard on his fellow countrymen. Often his works read as more of a criticism of Welshness than a celebration. He himself said there is a "lack of love for human beings" in his poetry. Other critics have not been so harsh. Al Alvarez said: "He was wonderful, very pure, very bitter but the bitterness was beautifully and very sparely rendered. He was completely authoritative, a very, very fine poet, completely off on his own, out of the loop but a real individual. It's not about being a major or minor poet. It's about getting a work absolutely right by your own standards and he did that wonderfully well." Thomas's final works commonly sold 20,000 copies in Britain alone. Books * The Stones of the Field (1946) * An Acre of Land (1952) * The Minister (1953) * Song at the Year's Turning (1955) * Poetry for Supper (1958) * Tares, [Corn-weed] (1961) * The Bread of Truth (1963) * Words and the Poet (1964, lecture) * Pietà (1966) * Not That He Brought Flowers (1968) * H'm (1972) * What is a Welshman? (1974) * Laboratories of the Spirit (1975) * Abercuawg (1976, lecture) * The Way of It (1977) * Frequencies (1978) * Between Here and Now (1981) * Ingrowing Thoughts (1985) * Neb (1985) in Welsh, autobiography, written in the third person * Experimenting with an Amen (1986) * Welsh Airs (1987) * The Echoes Return Slow (1988) * Counterpoint (1990) * Blwyddyn yn Llŷn (1990) in Welsh * Pe Medrwn Yr Iaith : ac ysgrifau eraill ed. Tony Brown & Bedwyr L. Jones, essays in Welsh (1990) * Mass for Hard Times (1992) * No Truce with the Furies (1995) * Autobiographies (1997, collection of prose writings) * Residues (2002, posthumously) References Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._S._Thomas




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