You have to hand it to the English: they know how to do Christmas right. Maybe it has to do with their respect for tradition, maybe with their sense of occasion, maybe with their aptitude for pageantry, and maybe with their compulsion, for all that, not to take anything too seriously.[...]
Which living writer stands as the heir to Edgar Allan Poe? A silly question, admittedly: now, more than 160 years after his death, Poe’s influence has spread so far and wide throughout literature that no one writer’s work could possibly count as his definitive continuation.[...]
By the time William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge published their Lyrical Ballads in 1798, poets in England had long been celebrities and arbiters of taste in matters political and literary. The seventeenth century, for example, became known as the “Age of Dryden,” for poet and literary critic John Dryden’s tremendous influence.[...]
Arthur Rimbaud, far-seeing prodigy, “has been memorialized in song and story as few in history,” writes Wyatt Mason in an introduction to the poet’s complete works; “the thumbnail of his legend has proved irresistible.[...]
Here’s how Smithsonian Folkways describes this 1961 album now made available by Spotify. (If you need their free software, download it here):
Paul A. Mankin recites the most famous French poetry from the 19th Century.
Leonard Cohen was graced with a distinctive slow burn of a voice, a manly purr well suited to the louche mysteries of his most famous lyrics.
His death prompted a post-election outpouring from his already crestfallen fans, who sought catharsis by sharing the myriad ways in which his music had touched their lives.
In 1909, early cinematic auteur D.W. Griffith offered his seven-minute interpretation of Edgar Allan Poe composing his acclaimed and widely-read poem “The Raven.[...]
Image by Michiel Hendryckx, via Wikimedia Commons
A peek at the photos on a realtor’s listing for a New York City one bedroom apartment formerly occupied by Beat poet Allen Ginsberg is a dispiriting reminder of how much the East Village has changed.
Image by Jules Jacot Guillarmod, via Wikimedia Commons
Last week, we brought you a rather strange story about the rivalry between poet William Butler Yeats and magician Aleister Crowley. Theirs was a feud over the practices of occult society the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn; but it was also—at least for Crowley—over poetry.
Aleister Crowley—English magician and founder of the religion of Thelema—has been admired as a powerful theorist and practitioner of what he called “Magick,” and reviled as a spoiled, abusive buffoon.[...]