Friday, February 18, 2011

l(a - Poem by E. E. Cummings

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E. E. Cummings Biography

  • tags: eecummings poets

    • born October 14, 1894 in the town of Cambridge Massachusetts.
    • His father, and most constant source of awe, Edward Cummings, was a professor of Sociology and Political Science at Harvard
    • left Harvard to become the ordained minister
    • E.E. loved his childhood in Cambridge
    • Attending Harvard, Cummings studied Greek and other languages
    • Cummings volunteered for the Norton-Haries Ambulance Corps
    • Cummings met another recruit, William Slater Brown.
    • Brown was arrested for writing incriminating letters home, Cummings refused to separate from his friend and the two were sent to the La Ferte Mace concentration camp
    • The Enormous Room is Cummings' autobiographical account of his time in the internment camp
    • Cummings and Brown returned back to the states in January only to see Cummings drafted back to the war that summer
    • Cummings and Elaine's marriage ended
    • had no concept of how to treat his new wife correctly, so she found herself love in the arms of another man
    • Cummings' father was abruptly killed and his mother was injured seriously in a car accident
    • a locomotive cut the car in half
    • Cummings also successfully married and divorced Anne Barton in the five ye
    • 1932 is an important year for Cummings because it is the year that he met the woman that he would ultimately spent his remaining life with. Marion Morehouse was twelve years younger
    • Tunisia, Russia, Mexico, and France
    • traveled the world
    • wrote many anti-war poems in protesting America's involvement in Europe and the Pacific
    • collapsed from a cerebral hemorrhage
    • death, three more volumes of his verse were published (p. 484). Counting these works, Cummings died leaving behind over twenty-five books of prose, poetry, charcoal and pencil drawings, plays and stories. He did all this in his sixty-eight years of life.

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Langston Hughes- - Poetry, Poems, Bios & More

  • tags: LangstonHughes poets

    • February 1, 1902
    • Missouri
    • parents divorced when he was a small child
    • raised by his grandmother until he was thirteen
    • travelled to Africa and Europe working as a seaman
    • known for his insightful, colorful portrayals of black life in America from the twenties through the sixties
    • known for his engagement with the world of jazz and the influence it had on his writing
    • enormously important in shaping the artistic contributions of the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s
    • Hughes refused to differentiate between his personal experience and the common experience of black America
    • wanted to tell the stories of his people in ways that reflected their actual culture, including both their suffering and their love of music, laughter, and language itself
    • died of complications from prostate cancer in May 22, 1967, in New York

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Dream Poems by Langston Hughes


  • Dreams
    by Langston Hughes 

    Hold fast to dreams
    For if dreams die
    Life is a broken-winged bird
    That cannot fly.
    Hold fast to dreams
    For when dreams go
    Life is a barren field
    Frozen with snow. 

    Dream Deferred
    by Langston Hughes

    What happens to a dream deferred?
    Does it dry up
    Like a raisin in the sun?
    Or fester like a sore--
    And then run?
    Does it stink like rotten meat?
    Or crust and sugar over--
    like a syrupy sweet?
    Maybe it just sags
    like a heavy load.
    Or does it explode?

    Dream Variations
    by Langston Hughes

    To fling my arms wide
    In some place of the sun,
    To whirl and to dance
    Till the white day is done.
    Then rest at cool evening
    Beneath a tall tree
    While night comes on gently,
    Dark like me-
    That is my dream!

    To fling my arms wide
    In the face of the sun,
    Dance! Whirl! Whirl!
    Till the quick day is done.
    Rest at pale evening...
    A tall, slim tree...
    Night coming tenderly
    Black like me.



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Langston Hughes: Gale - Free Resources - Black History - Biographies -

    • Langston Hughes

      Writer, editor, lecturer

    • novelist, columnist, playwright, and essayist
    • world travels influenced his writing
    • His long and distinguished career produced volumes of diverse genres and inspired the work of countless other African American writers.
    • "a Harlem Renaissance poet"
    • search for employment led his mother and stepfather, Homer Clark, to move several times.
    • households of his grandmother, his mother, and other surrogate parents
    • Hughes often transformed his own agonies into the sufferings endured by the collective race and sometimes all of humankind.
    • After graduating from Central High School in Cleveland in 1920, he moved to Mexico City to live with his father for one year.
    • race, class, and ethnicity
    • poverty
    • world travels
    • Paris
    • Africa
    • Washington, D.C.
    • first volume of poetry, The Weary Blues, appeared in 1926
    • soaking up theater and music in nearby New York City
    • A second volume of poetry, Fine Clothes to the Jew, was published in 1927
    • first novel, Not Without Laughter, published in 1930
    • He expressed disappointment with the completed novel
    • In 1930, however, Hughes separated from the control and the financial support of Mason.
    • integrity meant more to him than any luxuries her wealth could provide
    • began to tour the South with his poetry
    • Hughes created poetic and dramatic responses to the men's plight and the mixed reactions of the American public.
    • Russia
    • explore the Soviet Union
    • saw many reasons to appreciate communism
    • openly praised practices he had observed in the Soviet Union: no "Jim Crow," no anti-Semitism, and education and medical care for everyone
    • World War II Efforts
    • Hughes escaped military service
    • put his pen to work on behalf of political involvement and nationalism
    • encouraged readers to support the Allies
    • During the 1940s Hughes's poetry also continued to be published: Shakespeare in Harlem (1942), Fields of Wonder (1947), and One-Way Ticket (1949)
    • Cold War
    • Hughes endured several years of attacks and boycotts
    • insisting that the pro-Communist works he had published no longer represented his thinking
    • Hughes chose self-preservation and sustained his career as a writer
    • Frenzied Work Pace
    • accept multiple book contracts simultaneously
    • frantic pace of writing, editing, revising, and publishing from the 1950s to the end of his life
    • The last ten years of Hughes's life were marked by an astonishing proliferation of books: juvenile histories, poetry volumes, single genres anthologies
    • Hughes was inducted into the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1961
    • Hughes's death on May 22, 1967, apparently resulted from infection following prostate surgery and two weeks of treatment

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

What is poetry - The definition of poetry.

  • tags: Poetry define

    • Wordsworth defined poetry as "the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings;"
    • Dickinson said, "If I read a book and it makes my body so cold no fire ever can warm me, I know that is poetry;"
    • Thomas defined poetry this way: "Poetry is what makes me laugh or cry or yawn, what makes my toenails twinkle, what makes me want to do this or that or nothing."
    • unwillingness to be defined, labeled, or nailed down.
    • Poetry is the chiseled marble of language; it's a paint-spattered canvas - but the poet uses words instead of paint, and the canvas is you.
    • economy of language
    • considering a word's emotive qualities, its musical value, its spacing, and yes, even its spacial relationship to the page.
    • Poetry is evocative.
    • evokes in the reader an intense emotion: joy, sorrow, anger, catharsis, love...
    • surprise
    • Poetry is artistically rendering words in such a way as to evoke intense emotion or an Ah Ha! experience from the reader.
    • It doesn't like your definitions and will shirk them at every turn. If you really want to know what poetry is, read it. Read it carefully. Pay attention. Read it out loud. Now read it again.
    • defining poetry is like grasping at the wind - once you catch it, it's no longer wind.

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