Thursday, April 26, 2012

W is for...


Wordsworth. I'm not much on poetry. Not that I don't like it, mind, but oftentimes I end up scratching my head, wondering, "What in the world is this supposed to mean?"

Guess I just wasn't born to interpret that sort of art.

In any event, I do adore William Wordsworth. A major contributor to the Romantic Age in English literature, Mr. Wordsworth made his writerly debut in 1787, when he published a sonnet in The European Magazine (1782-1826). Unfortunately, he did not live to see his most famous work published. The Prelude was released shortly after his death by his wife, Mary.


Some interesting facts? Other than to breathe, his nose was virtually useless. Seriously. He suffered from anosmia, which is the inability to smell. He was also an orphan, and considered Samuel Taylor Coleridge, another famous English poet, to be his best friend.

Here's one of my favorites:

She dwelt among the untrodeen ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
A Maid whom there were none to praise
And very few to love;

A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye!
--Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.

She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
The difference to me.

Do you have a favorite poet? If so, who?
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2 comments

Andrew Leon said...

Wordsworth is, actually, my favorite poet also. Followed in no particular order by Tennyson, cummings, and a few others.

Your problem might not be one of interpretation but one of not knowing how to read it correctly. They don't really ever teach anyone to read poetry (including Shakespeare's plays) correctly. This might help you out:
Take the poem and re-write it as if it is prose. Follow the internal punctuation and ignore the lines. Once you have the poem rearranged as sentences, re-read it. That usually helps people to understand what is being said.
One of the issues with modern poetry is that it tends to go line to line with each thought and ignores internal punctuation. It makes it much more difficult to read classical poetry, because we tend to want to project this backwards onto them, and they didn't write that way. One thought may cover 3 or 4 lines, but you can't get that if you're reading it one line at a time.

Michelle said...

I don't have a favorite poet...and I just tried to narrow it down to a favorite poem...and I can't. I did spend a lovely 37 minutes perusing my stack of poetry books, so thank you!!

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