A visionary of eighteen-century English society, William Blake produced a huge collection of poetry, mythology, satires, political pieces, and prophetic works, in addition to his famous etchings and engravings. Although rejected as a madman during his lifetime for claims of hearing voices and later having visions, Blake has achieved notoriety as an innovative and extraordinarily imaginative artist. His poetry varies greatly in style and substance, reflecting the writer's literary development and radical shifts in religious belief. This complete collection of Blake's poetry includes his famous «Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience,» which exemplify the author's fondness for thematic dichotomies in poems like «The Lamb» and «The Tyger». Also included are «The Four Zoas,» «Milton» and «Jerusalem,» all of which display an extensive use of symbolism derived from Christianity and an elaborate view of Blake's theories on reality and knowledge.
Sara Teasdale (1884-1933) became one of the most praised lyric poets of the early twentieth century. In «The Collected Poems,» five of Teasdale's books of poems are brought together, demonstrating her varied output. Teasdale examines love, loss, and death, all with a beautiful lyricism. Her poems range from the traditional to the experimental as she locates and transforms her poetic voice. Born and raised in St. Louis, Teasdale had fragile health until early adulthood. Upon publishing her first book of poems «Sonnets to Duse and Other Poems» (included in this edition), Teasdale experienced critical and commercial success. She moved to New York City in 1916 where she situated herself with the literary and intellectual communities of the day. Her poetic output continued with regularity though Teasdale experienced bouts of depression with increasing frequency. She would later commit suicide at the age of 48.
Arthur Rimbaud's «A Season in Hell» is a prose poem loosely divided into nine parts. In one part of the poem the poet portrays quite transparently his own relationship with French symbolist poet Paul Verlaine. The two had a brief alcohol and drug fueled affair which finally came to end when Verlaine shot Rimbaud in the wrist in a drunken rage. «A Season in Hell,» which has been referred to as a pioneering example of modern symbolism, is included in this collection along with «The Drunken Boat,» a fragmented first-person narrative which vividly describes the drifting and sinking of a boat lost at sea. It is probably the best known work from the representative selection of early poems by the writer presented here in this volume. Also included in this edition is a selection of poems from Rimbaud's masterpiece «Illuminations.» What is most remarkable about Rimbaud's poetry is that it was produced almost entirely between the ages of seventeen and twenty, when Rimbaud would abruptly give up writing entirely in favor of a more steady working life. His writing he contended was a product of his reckless lifestyle to which he was resolved to abandon.
Roman poet, satirist and dramatist Horace was born in southern Italy in 65 b.c.e. Uncommonly for one born to poor parents, Horace studied literature and philosophy in Athens until he became a staff officer in Brutus' army, where he served as a military tribune until the army was defeated in 42 b.c.e. He soon returned to Rome, purchased the post of scribe, and it was here that he began writing verse and struck up a friendship with the poet Virgil. Horace was praised for his reinterpretations of earlier Greek and Latin literary works, and his immeasurable influence on modern poetry cannot be overlooked. This collection contains Horace's «Odes»: sentimental reflections on life and commonplace themes; «Epodes»: in which he describes his personal dislikes; «Satires»: in which Horace good-humoredly reflects on flaws of humanity; «Epistles»: informal moral essays that display the genius of Horace; and finally «The Art of Poetry»: a dictum on literary composition.
James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) was an American author whose work extended into politics, poetry, journalism, teaching, music and civil rights activism. He is most famous for his book «The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man», which he published anonymously in 1912. Johnson's works deal with issues of race, particularly slavery, lynching, black rights and interracial relationships. His first collection of poetry, «Fifty Years and Other Poems», was published in 1913 to mark the fifty-year anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The work was comprised of traditional and dialect poetry, and introduced arguments that would later be influential in the Civil Rights movement. The collection includes «Fifty Years,» an homage to Abraham Lincoln, the protest poems «To America» and «Brothers,» and a section entitled «Jingles and Croons» that touch on somewhat more temporal and humorous subjects, but continue to portray Johnson's serious, fervent beliefs.
Between the years of 1797-1798 Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote what are considered his most important poetic works. Among them are the famous «The Rime of the Ancient Mariner», «Kubla Khan», and «Christabel». Also during this period he wrote his much-heralded 'conversation poems' of which includes «This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison», «Frost at Midnight», and «The Nightingale». These great poems can all be found in this volume along with many others. Forty-one poems in all written between 1794 and 1833 make up this representative selection of Coleridge's best poetic works.
First published posthumously in 1869, «Paris Spleen» is a collection of 51 short prose poems by Charles Baudelaire. Inspired by Aloysius Bertrand's «Gaspard de la Nuit – Fantaisies à la manière de Rembrandt et de Callot» or «Gaspard of the Night – Fantasies in the Manner of Rembrandt and Callot», Baudelaire remarked that he had read Bertrand's work at least twenty times for starting «Paris Spleen». A commentary on Parisian contemporary life, Baudelaire remarked on his work that «These are the flowers of evil again, but with more freedom, much more detail, and much more mockery.» The themes present in «Paris Spleen» are wide-ranging. In a stream of consciousness style Baudelaire discusses pleasure, intoxication, artistry, women, poverty and social status, city life, religion, and morality. These little snapshots of daily life in the city of Paris capture the tumultuous time in which they were written, the middle of the 19th century, and establish «Paris Spleen» as a classic of the modernist literary movement.
Alfred Edward Housman (1859-1936) was an English poet and classical scholar whose work became a major force in turn-of-the-century English poetry. Unlike his contemporaries, Houseman's poetry does not qualify as Romantic, Victorian or Modernist, and is not overly sentimental or optimistic; instead, his deeply pessimistic and ironic poetry, written clearly and succinctly, earned Housman notoriety as one of the foremost classicists of his time. His best-known work, «A Shropshire Lad», is a cycle of 63 poems set in a half-imaginative Shropshire, and explores themes of death, the fleetingness of love, and the passing of youth. The poems became increasingly popular at the time of World War I because of their depiction of brave English soldiers. In the early 1920s, Houseman's closest friend and old Oxford roommate, Moses Jackson, was dying, prompting Housman to compile his «Last Poems» for Jackson to read. The forty-one previously unpublished poems were so titled because Housman felt his inspiration had been exhausted. Indeed, these proved to be his last published works.
Relatively unknown in his own lifetime, Gerard Manley Hopkins is the now accredited as the author of some of the finest and most complex poems in the English language. As a Victorian poet, Roman Catholic convert, and Jesuit priest, Hopkins pioneered a revolutionary form of meter he termed «sprung rhythm» in his first major work, «The Wreck of the Deutschland.» This poem, like most of Hopkins' work, reflects both his belief in the doctrine that human beings were created to praise God as well as his commitment to the Jesuit practices of meditation and spiritual self-examination. Hopkins' poetry is unconventional in its sensitivity to alliteration, assonance and consonance, as well as its characteristic diction and phrasing. This edition includes some of his most famous works: «Spring,» «Pied Beauty,» «God's Grandeur,» «The Starlight Night,» «Spelt from Sibyl's Leaves,» and his most famous sonnet, «The Windhover.»
"Goblin Market and Other Poems" is a collection of poetic tales by Victorian poet Christina Rossetti. It was her first published work and it received critical acclaim. The poem «Goblin Market» is a story about two sisters, Laura and Lizzie, who live alone near a market that is run by goblins. Each night, the goblins call out to the girls to try their wares, but the girls are wary of their offers. One night, Laura cannot resist temptation, and she gorges herself on the sweet fruits at the goblin market. When she arrives back home, Laura dreams about the fruit, but she can no longer see or hear the goblins. She begins to wither away, and Lizzie sees that her sister needs to eat. Lizzie walks to the market, but the goblins attack her when they realize that she is not purchasing the fruits for herself. They try to force feed their goods to Lizzie, but they ultimately give up. Lizzie goes home and nourishes Laura back to health, and both girls are able to live to warn their own daughters about the dangers of the goblin market. Children and adults alike will enjoy this and other poems in this classic collection.