It’s a common trope that poets often die young, although for every poet who didn’t live to see their thirtieth year, we could name many more who lived to a ripe old age: William Wordsworth, Alfred Tennyson, Robert Frost. Nevertheless, the idea of the poet is frequently bound up in the popular consciousness with an early death. Below, we introduce ten of the youngest poets to die before their time. All of the following poets died in their twenties or early thirties, and one died even before reaching the age of 18.
The best epitaphs of famous writers
Writers love to have the final word, and many great poets have composed their final lines, the lines that will crown their lifetime’s achievement and adorn the stones marking their final resting place. Some of the most memorable literary epitaphs are also the briefest, and remain witty, moving, or memorable – or all three – thanks to this brevity. Here, then, are ten of the finest short literary epitaphs that commemorate the lives, and deaths, of ten great writers.
William Shakespeare. We may as well begin with the greatest poet in the English language. Surely Shakespeare penned one of the greatest literary epitaphs that the world can boast? Well, it’s certainly memorable, threatening to bring down a curse upon anyone who disturbs his tomb.
Facts about the life of Elizabethan poet and courtier Sir Philip Sidney
1. Philip Sidney invented the name Pamela. Sidney (1554-1586) was a true ‘Renaissance man’: soldier, statesman, poet, diplomat, and – it would appear – coiner of popular girls’ names. Or at least this one name. Pamela appears in Sidney’s long prose work Arcadia (of which more below). The name means ‘all sweetness’ (from pan meaning all, and mela from the Latin for ‘sweet’ or ‘honey’, whence ‘mellifluous’).
Fun facts about the poet John Donne and his colourful life
1. John Donne coined several well-known phrases. Both ‘no man is an island’ and ‘for whom the bell tolls’ (the latter of which Ernest Hemingway used as the title for one of his novels) originate in one of John Donne’s meditations, Meditation XVII. In fact, despite his rather dissolute youth and early life, Donne (1572-1631) eventually became a priest in 1615 and in 1621 was appointed Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)
We’ve compiled several cat-related posts in the past, including our favourite facts about writers and cats, so thought it was about time we selected some of our favourite poems about cats. What are the best cat-themed poems?
There are plenty to choose from, so we’ve tried to make the ensuing list a mix of the serious and comic, the moving the amusing. Below, then, is our choice of the greatest cat poems we think everyone should read, along with a little about the poem and a link to where it can be read.