Hear Patti Smith Read 12 Poems From Seventh Heaven, Her First Collection (1972)

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So it’s National Poetry Month, and the Academy of American Poets recommends 30 Ways to Celebrate, including some old standbys like memorizing a poem, reading a poem a day, and attending a reading. All sensible, if somewhat staid, suggestions (I myself have been re-reading all of Wallace Stevens’ work—make of that what you will).


Gustave Doré’s Splendid Illustrations of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” (1884)

≡ Category: Art, Books, Poetry |1 Comment

One of the busiest, most in-demand artists of the 19th century, Gustave Doré made his name illustrating works by such authors as Rabelais, Balzac, Milton, and Dante.


Read an Excerpt of J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1926 Translation of Beowulf Before It’s Finally Published Next Month

≡ Category: Books, Literature, Poetry |2 Comments

For the first time, J.R.R. Tolkien’s 1926 translation of the 11th century epic poem Beowulf will be published this May by HarperCollins, edited and with commentary by his son Christopher. The elder Tolkien, says his son, “seems never to have considered its publication.


Hear Allen Ginsberg’s Short Free Course on Shakespeare’s Play, The Tempest (1980)

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Ginsberg Class One

Ginsberg Class Two

Like so many great poets, Allen Ginsberg composed extemporaneously as he spoke, in erudite paragraphs, reciting lines and whole poems from memory—in his case, usually the poems of William Blake.


Orson Welles Reads From America’s Greatest Poem, Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” (1953)

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Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass often makes its way into the hands of oversized American characters of, shall we say, uncertain repute.


Groucho Marx and T.S. Eliot Become Unexpected Pen Pals, Exchanging Portraits & Compliments (1961)

≡ Category: Comedy, Poetry |1 Comment

Groucho Marx and T.S. Eliot: they’ve got to rank as one of the twentieth century’s most surprising pair of pen pals. More intriguingly still, they first got in touch — as luminaries seem to do — out of the spirit of mutual admiration.


Read Two Poems David Foster Wallace Wrote During His Elementary School Days

≡ Category: Literature, Poetry |1 Comment

Some readers discover David Foster Wallace through his fiction, and others discover him through his essays. (Find 30 Free Stories & Essays by DFW here.


Read Ezra Pound’s List of 23 “Don’ts” For Writing Poetry (1913)

≡ Category: Poetry |5 Comments

Ezra Pound was a key figure in 20th century poetry. Not only did he demonstrate impressive poetic skill in his Cantos; he also proved to be a crucial early supporter of several famous contemporaries, championing the likes of Robert Frost, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, and H.D..


Read Allen Ginsberg’s Poignant Final Poem “Things I’ll Not Do (Nostalgias)”

≡ Category: Life, Poetry |Leave a Comment

Allen Ginsberg died on April 5, 1997. Less than a week before, after the long terminally ill poet had made parting phone calls to nearly everyone in his address book, he wrote the poem above, “Things I’ll Not Do (Nostalgias).


Jeremy Irons Reads T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets (Free for a Limited Time)

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(The clip above is part of the complete recording found here.)
In 1914, T.S. Eliot moved from his birth country, the United States, to England at the age of 25 and soon thereafter established himself as one of the most influential poets of this generation, writing some of the best known poems of the 20th century including The Love Song of J.


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