A Short Analysis of Robert Herrick’s ‘To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time’

‘Gather ye rosebuds while ye may’: Herrick’s classic carpe diem poem

‘Gather ye rosebuds while ye may’ has become synonymous with the Latin sentiment expressed by Horace: carpe diem, ‘seize the day’. Don’t tarry or waste time: you get just one life, so grasp the nettle and make the most of it. In his poem ‘To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time’ – often known by that ‘Gather ye rosebuds’ first line – Robert Herrick brilliantly captures the ‘seize the day’ sentiment. Here is the poem, with a short analysis of it:

Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying. Read the rest of this entry

Five Fascinating Facts about Joe Orton

The life, work, and death of Joe Orton, told through five interesting facts

1. Joe Orton and his lover Kenneth Halliwell were both sent to prison in 1962 for defacing library books. They served six-month prison sentences in different prisons for vandalising the books. One of Orton’s illustrations (which adorned a volume of John Betjeman’s poems) depicted an elderly man with tattoos, wearing swimming trunks. The defaced library books are now a part of the Islington Local History Centre collection – which just goes to show, it’s vandalism when you do it and you’re an unknown, but become a groundbreaking writer and give it fifty years, and it becomes art! Read the rest of this entry

A Short Analysis of Emily Dickinson’s ‘Hope is the thing with feathers’

An introduction to one of Dickinson’s finest poems

Only Emily Dickinson could open a poem with a line like ‘“Hope” is the thing with feathers’. Poets before her had compared hope to a bird, but ‘thing with feathers’ was a peculiarly Dickinsonian touch. Here is this great little poem by Dickinson, along with a short analysis of it. Read the rest of this entry

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