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Four Short Poems by Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell (1879-1944) was an Irish poet who wrote in both English and Gaelic (publishing his latter work under the name Seosamh Mac Cathmhaoil or Seosamh MacCathmhaoil). Like pioneering modernist poet T. E. Hulme, who was four years younger than him, Campbell wrote a small number of short poems in free verse and utilising a pared back and understated style. There is no rhetoric here, no outpouring of emotion (perhaps too little for some readers); but what these poems show is the emergence of a distinctly modern style of poetry that rejects the gushing excesses of the worst Victorian verse. Written towards the end of the first decade of the twentieth century, they are among the first poems written in English which can be confidently labelled ‘modern’. Read the rest of this entry

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The Poems of Digby Mackworth Dolben

The life and poems of the Victorian era’s adolescent poet

Who is being described? Born in the 1840s, he died young, and his poetry was only published after his death. When it appeared – in the early twentieth century – it was thanks to Robert Bridges, who became UK Poet Laureate in 1913. This poet, who was a friend of Bridges’, was drawn to the religion of Roman Catholicism. Indeed, much of his poetry is deeply religious. He was also known for his attachments to other young men, though nobody knows precisely how far these went. Read the rest of this entry

8 Short Poems by Emily Brontë Everyone Should Read

The best Emily Brontë poems

Although she is best-known for her one novel, Wuthering Heights (1847), Emily Brontë started out as a poet and left behind some widely anthologised pieces of verse. Below are eight of the shortest and sweetest of the poems she wrote before her untimely death, from tuberculosis, at just 30 years of age.  The two great poems we haven’t included are ‘No Coward Soul Is Mine’ and ‘Remembrance’, because they’re slightly longer; but you can read ‘Remembrance’ here and ‘No Coward Soul Is Mine’ here.

1. ‘All hushed and still within the house’. This is a short piece, almost a fragment. The powerful two-word phrase ‘Never again’ and its near-synonyms (consider Edgar Allan Poe’s use of ‘Nevermore’ in ‘The Raven’) is put to effective use in this seven-line verse:

All hushed and still within the house;
Without – all wind and driving rain;
But something whispers to my mind,
Through rain and through the wailing wind,
Never again. Read the rest of this entry