A summary of a fine Blake poem
‘Spring’ is not one of William Blake’s most famous poems. The poem was first published in Blake’s 1789 collection Songs of Innocence. It’s a glorious celebration of the arrival of spring, exploring the harmony of man with the natural world and some of Blake’s more popular themes: childhood, innocence, and nature being three of the most prominent.
Sound the flute!
Now it’s mute!
Day and night,
In the dale,
Lark in sky,—
Merrily merrily, to welcome in the year. Read the rest of this entry
The best poems about the act of writing
Writing poetry can be intensely rewarding, but unfortunately, the words don’t always come. And at some point or another, most poets have found themselves in the grip of writer’s block (something we’ve termed colygraphia, because let’s face it, it’s never going to be taken seriously until it has a Greek name). The following five poems are all about the struggle to write a poem; they are among the best poems about the actual act of writing poetry.
Sir Philip Sidney, ‘Loving in Truth’. This poem, which opens Sidney’s 1580s sonnet sequence Astrophil and Stella – the first substantial sonnet sequence written in English – sets up the cycle of poems which follows. Read the rest of this entry
A reading of a classic poem
‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’ is probably the best-known villanelle in English poetry. If you’re not sure what a villanelle is, don’t worry – it’s not important right now. But it’s one reason why the poem is worth reading. The other is that ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’ is one of Dylan Thomas’s most famous, and finest, poems. You can read it here. What follows constitutes our analysis of this poem of brave defiance in the face of certain death.
A number of Dylan Thomas’s poems offer a sinewy, unsentimental approach to death: in another poem, he offers his reasons for refusing to mourn the death of a child in the London Blitz. In ‘Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night’, the death he concerns himself with is somewhat closer to home: his own father’s. But Thomas’s own demise would follow not long after he composed these defiant words for his father, so the poem might also, oddly, be read as autobiographical, in a quasi-prophetic sort of way. Read the rest of this entry