Tag Archives: Famous Poet

Lewis Carroll

Hi everyone, I hope you are all doing okay. It is times like this that you can reflect on what matters most in the world to you, family, friends and most important, to yourself is your sanity. These are crazy times that as befallen us all, so we must make the most of what we have and cherish it with all our hearts.

I would like to share with you on how I try to keep my sanity intact. I try to keep my mind busy whether its reorganising cupboards in every room in the house, enrolling on courses, to learn new things or further educate myself in certain subjects as well as writing my blog and my first fantasy novel. And of course, watching comedy films.

I am not immune to having my bad days, where I feel down and depressed, I have my moments where I sit down and have a good cry. I try to keep busy so that I do not have too many days like that. What may work for me, may not necessarily work for you, so I would suggest trying to find what will work for you to help you get through this by any means necessary. I have found that laughter has been a key factor for my family as it has got us through some of our darkest of days, it has been our saviour.

Anyway, on with my blog. Today’s post is about the wonderfully talented, and a great imaginative mind that is of Lewis Carroll.

Who was Lewis Carroll?

Who was Lewis Carroll you might ask, well he was a fiction writer, who loved to write and use his imagination to create games from when he was a child? By the age of 20, he received a studentship at Christ Church and was appointed as a lecturer in mathematics. Although he was extremely shy, he did enjoy creating stories for children. His all-time and most famous books included Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

Early Years

Best known by his pseudonym name, Lewis Carroll, he was born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, to parents Frances Jane Lutwidge and Revered Charles Dodgson on 27 January 1832, in a village of Daresbury, Warrington, England. The eldest boy of eleven children, Carroll was adept at entertaining himself and his younger siblings.  His father, who was a clergyman raised them in the rectory. Carroll had a happy childhood. His mother was gentle and patient, and his father, regardless of his religious beliefs tutored every one of his children and taught them to be good people.

Even though during his years at Rugby School (1846-1849) were a particularly unhappy time, he was always recognised as a good student, Carroll excelled in mathematics and won many academic prizes. In 1850 he was admitted to study further at Christ Church, Oxford, England, and would graduate in 1854. He became a mathematical lecturer in 1855 at the college. This became a permanent appointment, which not only recognised his academic skills, but it also paid him a decent pay, that required Carroll to take holy orders in the Anglican Church and for him to remain unmarried. He agreed to these terms and then was made a deacon in 1861.

Alice in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll suffered severely from a bad stammer, but he vocally found his voice when he could speak fluently to children. The young children played a significant part in inspiring his best-known work. He loved to entertain children, and it was Alice, the daughter of Henry George Liddell, who can be credited with his pinnacle inspiration and overall achievement. Alice remembers spending many hours with Carroll, listening to his stories that told fantastic tales of dream worlds.

The story fell into the hands of novelist Henry Kingsley, who urged him to publish it. The book Alice in Wonderland was released in 1865. The book gained popularity at a steady pace, and as a result, Carroll began writing a sequel. Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There (1871). By the time of his death, Alice went on to become the most popular children’s book in England, and by 1932, it had become the most popular in the world.

20 Fascinating Facts About Lewis Carroll

  • Lewis Carroll was the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, author of the children’s classics ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking-Glass.’
  • Lewis Carroll was one of eleven children, and whilst he was growing up, he would often spend his time playing literary games with his three brothers and seven sisters.
  • Lewis invented a way to write in the dark. Like a lot of writer’s, he was frustrated by losing great ideas that would come to him in the middle of the night, that is why in 1891 he invented the nyctograph. Carroll also considered it to be useful for the blind.
  • He invented the Carroll Diagram (which is sometimes known as the Lewis Carroll Square), a method of grouping data, which is still taught in math lessons today.
  • Carroll wrote numerous books including 11 books in mathematics, 12 literary fiction books, as well as poetry.
  • Carroll would have a very rough childhood. Not only did he suffer with a stutter from an early age, which lasted throughout his life, but a childhood fever also left him deaf in one ear, and a bout of whooping cough at 17 weakened his chest for the rest of his life. Whilst later in life he had developed debilitating, aura migraines that doctors at the time diagnosed him as having epilepsy.
  • Lewis Carroll suffered with ADHD.
  •  He was a big letter writer, sometimes he would correspond up to 2,000 times in one year, and he would occasionally write backwards, so the reader would have to hold it up to a mirror to decipher what was said.
  • He was very keen on drawing as a child.
  • He kept records of the letters he had sent and received, it recorded more than 98,000 letters
  • Carroll had his productivity down to a science, he could write 20 words in a minute, a page of 150 words in seven minutes, and 12 pages in two and a half hours.
  • He was an accomplished photographer, that started in his mid-20’s and would continue on for over two decades. Carroll had created more than 3000 photographs, that would include portraits of friends, children staged in costume and very notable figures (such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Alfred, Lord Tennyson), landscapes, and stills of skeletons, dolls, statues, paintings and so much more, he even considered making a living as a photographer in the 1850’s.
  • Even after all the success of Alice in Wonderland, and the only time he travelled was in 1867 on a road trip to Russia, and on the way back he stops in Poland, Germany, Belgium, and France,
  • In Christ Church College at Oxford, you can find a white rabbit and Alice holding a flamingo that is immortalized in its stained glass. This was where Lewis Carroll would spend most of his life.
  • Lewis Carroll had spelled out his inspiration for Alice in the last chapter of Through the Looking Glass, but throughout his life he had denied that Alice was based on a real-life person, but it was “a boat beneath a sunny sky,” poem it was at the end of Through the Looking Glass, is an acrostic which spells out Alice Pleasance Liddell.
  • Lewis Carroll would often take his friend Dean Liddell’s three daughters, for days out and on boat trips on the river. It was whilst on one of these trips on 4 July 1862, during the Independence celebrations that was going on across the pond that he first told the story that would go on to become Alice in Wonderland. The story was first published in 1865.
  • The Cheshire cat was inspired by cheese moulds from the Cheshire county in England, which was a dairy rich area, where “grinning like a Cheshire cat” was a popular phrase. Cheesemakers in the area would mould the cheese into a cat’s grinning face, and slice the cheese from the back, so that he would slowly disappear until the last part was consumed was the head.
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been translated into more than 70 languages.
  • He became a deacon but never a priest. He was ordained as a deacon on 22, December 1861, but had to petition Dean Liddell to avoid becoming a priest.
  • He was born in Daresbury 1832, and died in Guildford from pneumonia in 1898.

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my blog. Have a great week and stay busy, safe and connected. see you all next week!

Emily Dickinson

Hi everyone, today’s post is about the American Poet Emily Dickinson. She was born on this day, one hundred and ninety years ago today. Emily was more renowned for her poetry after her death than when she was alive.

Early Life

Emily as a Child

Born Emily Elizabeth Dickinson, (December 10, 1830), to parents Edward Dickinson (politician), and Emily Norcross Dickinson (poet), in Amherst, Massachusetts, she was born into a literate and very respectable family. Emily is the second of three children, and she grew-up living a moderately privileged life with strong religious beliefs. For the first nine years of her life she lived in a mansion built by her paternal grandfather Samuel Fowler Dickinson who helped found the Amherst College, but then everything took a drastic turn and they went bankrupt shortly before her birth.

Her father Edward Dickinson was a forceful Whig lawyer and trustee of Amherst College, her mother Emily Norcross Dickinson was a former student of ‘Monson Academy’ and an introverted wife and hardworking housekeeper. Emily was named after her mother and lived with her parents and two siblings her elder brother William Austin Dickinson (known as Austin), and her younger sister, Lavinia Norcross Dickinson (known as Vinnie) at their homestead. Her parents were loving but stern, Emily didn’t get along with her parents but she did become very close to Austin and Vinnie.

 The family moved to Pleasant Street after the birth of Lavinia in order to accommodate for Edwards prospering political career as well as his legal career that provided a bigger house for his children, and to provide his children with a refined education. The education catered to Emily which was not one that was provided to girls during the Victorian age. She received a classical education that only the elite few could afford.

Emily and her siblings – L-R: Emily, William and Lavinia

Dickinson went to primary school in Amherst before she attended the co-educational Amherst Academy, where teachers and students alike saw her extraordinary abilities in composition. Along with being brilliant and observant. She showed a keen interest in the piano and domestic chores, especially in gardening, she also excelled in other subjects that was encouraged by the school, most notably Latin and sciences.

After having seven years at Amherst Academy (1840), she then went onto Mount Holyoke female seminary (1847). This was her first and longest time that she had spent away from her family. Emily made friends easily and acquired plenty of female friends as a young girl, some of them were Emily Fowler, Abby Wood, Jane Humphrey, Abiah Root, Susan Gilbert (who later went on to marry her brother William) and her cousin Sophia Holland. She also had a couple of male friends Benjamin Newton and Henry Vaughn Emmons. The only affection she had for them was purely platonic, nothing went beyond the boundaries of friendship.

There was a sudden turn of events, when Emily was hit by the sudden death of her beloved cousin Sophia Holland; she was so overwhelmed and shaken up by grief over the loss of Sophia that she was sent away to Boston to recover from the trauma. It was the death of Sophia that bought up many questions of death and mortality to a young Emily, and the fact that her garden at the back of the house was opposite the cemetery, which added to her morbid fascination with death. It was presumed that it was the loss of her loved ones that inflicted her with the most pain and which she would later sit down and pen several poems.

Emily’s House/Museum

Facts:

  • Her Father was a Senate for the United States.
  • The Dickinson family were devout Calvinists.
  • Emily Dickinson’s passion in her early years was botany, and it was because of her love of plants that she wanted to know the science of plant life.
  • The sisters never married and remained at home, there brother who was the only one that married, moved into the house next door with his wife.
  • Benjamin Franklin Newton, a student of her fathers, and had tutored her, introduce her to the works of William Wordsworth and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
  • Emily wrote a letter to her brother expressing on her growing interest and desire to write. She also wrote telling him on how different she felt.
  • Between the years of 1858 to 1865 saw her work take a steady leap, she based her writings on a few themes, such as nature and flora: some ballads, gospel, death and mortality
  • Her family moved back to the homestead, where her brother married Susan and had three children.
  • From an early age Emily Dickinson chose to restrict her social engagements as she retreated from society and became a recluse. In her late twenties she chose to stay within her family home for the vast majority of the time instead of venturing out into the world around her. She rarely travelled and based her perceptions of her friends on their ability to write a letter back to her.
  • Emily had wrote 1,000 poems by the time she was 35, which she categorized into manuscripts, and around 50 poems were sent to the chief editor of ‘Springfield Republican Samuel Bowles, which he published only a few anonymously in his journal.
  • Only 10 poems were actually published in her lifetime. The poems that were published during her lifetime were mainly done so anonymously or without her consent.
  • Emily Dickinson’s work was mostly published after her death.  Her sister Lavinia retrieved the bulk of her works when the poet had died. On per Emily’s request Lavinia burnt most of her letters but she recognized the worth of her poems and rather than burn them she wanted the world to recognize and applaud her sister’s works.
  • Dickinson’s health began to deteriorate after the untimely death of her youngest nephew in 1883. She became extremely fragile and became bedridden, but even during her illness she would continue to write.
  • Aged just 55, on May 15, 1886, Emily died of a kidney disorder called ‘Bright’s Disease’. As per her last wish, she was carried through a blooming field of buttercups to her burial site, where her coffin was laid in the family cemetery.
  • Emily’s herbarium, consists of 66 pages of special plant species from her garden is now preserved at Harvard University. The special collections of Amherst College also contains the original portrait and locks of the great poet.
  • Because of the wide heritage that stood in the ‘Homestead’ especially contributing to the proliferous work of Emily Dickinson, the mansion has now been preserved as a museum.
  • The ‘Amherst College’ also purchased the house of William and Susan Dickinson, called ‘Evergreens’ and converted it into a museum open to tours and renamed it the ‘Emily Dickinson Museum’.

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

Thankyou for taking the time to read my blog. See you all next week.

Beauty And The Beast

A Merchant, who by generous pains
Prospered in honorable gains,
Could boast, his wealth and fame to share,
Three manly Sons, three Daughters fair;
With these he felt supremely blest.-
His latest born surpass’d the rest:
She was so gentle, good and kind,
So fair in feature, form, and mind,
So constant too in filial duty,
The neighbors called her Little Beauty!
And when fair childhood’s days were run,
That title still she wore and won;
Lovelier as older still she grew,
Improv’d in grace and goodness too.-
Her elder Sisters, gay and vain,
View’d her with envy and disdain,
Toss’d up their heads with haughty air;
Dress, Fashion, Pleasure, all their care.

‘Twas thus, improving and improv’d;
Loving, and worthy to be lov’d,
Sprightly, yet grave, each circling day
Saw Beauty innocently gay.
Thus smooth the May-like moments past;
Blest times! but soon by clouds o’ercast!

Sudden as winds that madd’ning sweep
The foaming surface of the deep,
Vast treasures, trusted to the wave,
Were buried in the billowy grave!
Our Merchant, late of boundless store,
Saw Famine hasting to his door.

With willing hand and ready grace,
Mild Beauty takes the Servant’s place;
Rose with the sun to household cares,
And morn’s repast with zeal prepares,
The wholesome meal, the cheerful fire:
What cannot filial love inspire?
And when the task of day was done,
Suspended till the rising sun,
Music and song the hours employ’d,
As more deserv’d, the more enjoy’d;
Till Industry, with Pastime join’d,
Refresh’d the body and the mind;
And when the groupe retir’d to rest,
Father and Brothers Beauty blest.

Not so the Sisters; as before
‘Twas rich and idle, now ’twas poor.
In shabby finery array’d,
They still affected a parade:
While both insulted gentle Beauty,
Unwearied in the housewife’s duty;
They mock’d her robe of modest brown,
And view’d her with a taunting frown;
Yet scarce could hold their rage to see
The blithe effects of Industry.

In this retreat a year had past,
When happier tidings came at last,
And in the Merchant’s smile appear’d
Prospects that all the Cotters cheer’d:
A letter came; its purport good;
Part of his ventures brav’d the flood:
‘With speed,’ said he, ‘I must to town,
‘And what, my girls, must I bring down?’
The envious Sisters, all confusion,
Commissions gave in wild profusion;
Caps, hats, and bonnets, bracelets, broaches,
To cram the pockets of the coaches,
With laces, linens, to complete
The order, and to fill the seat.

Such wants and wishes now appear’d,
To make them larger Beauty fear’d;
Yet lest her silence might produce
From jealous Sisters more abuse,
Considerately good, she chose,
The emblem of herself,-a Rose.

The good man on his journey went,
His thoughts on generous Beauty bent.
‘If Heav’n,’ he said, and breath’d a prayer,
‘If Heav’n that tender child should spare,
‘Whate’er my lot, I must be bless’d,
‘I must be rich:’-he wept the rest.
Timely such feelings!-Fortune still,
Unkind and niggard, crost his will.
Of all his hopes, alas, the gains
Were far o’erbalanc’d by the pains;
For after a long tedious round,
He had to measure back his ground.

A short day’s travel from his Cot,
New misadventures were his lot;
Dark grew the air, the wind blew high,
And spoke the gathering tempest nigh;
Hail, snow, and night-fog join’d their force,
Bewildering rider and his horse.
Dismay’d, perplext, the road they crost,
And in the dubious maze were lost.

When glimmering through the vapours drear,
A taper shew’d a dwelling near.
And guess our Merchant’s glad surprise,
When a rich palace seemed to rise
As on he mov’d! The knee be bent,
Thankful to Heaven; then nearer went.

But, O! how much his wonder grew,
When nothing living met his view!-
Entering a splendid hall, he found,
With every luxury around,
A blazing fire, a plenteous board,
A costly cellaret, well stor’d,
All open’d wide, as if to say,
‘Stranger, refresh thee on thy way!’

The Merchant to the fire drew near,
Deeming the owner would appear,
And pardon one who, drench’d in rain,
Unask’d, had ventured to remain.
The court-yard clock had number’d seven,
When first he came; but when eleven
Struck on his ear as mute he sate,
It sounded like the knoll of Fate.

And yet so hungry was he grown,
He pick’d a capon to the bone;
And as choice wines before him stood,
He needs must taste if they were good:
So much he felt his spirits cheer’d-
The more he drank, the less he fear’d.

Now bolder grown, he pac’d along,
(Still hoping he might do no wrong),
When, entering at a gilded door,
High-rais’d upon a sumptuous floor,
A sofa shew’d all Persia’s pride,
And each magnificence beside:
So down at once the Merchant lay,
Tir’d with the wonders of the day.
But had it been a rushy bed,
Tuck’d in the corner of a shed,
With no less joy had it been press’d:
The good man pray’d, and sank to rest.

Nor woke he till the noon of day;
And as he thus enchanted lay,
‘Now for my storm-sopp’d clothes,’ he cries:
When lo! a suit complete he spies;
‘Yes, ’tis all fairy-work, no doubt,
‘By gentle Pity brought about!’
Tenfold, when risen, amazement grew;
For bursting on his gazing view,
Instead of snow, he saw fair bowers
In all the pride of summer flowers.
Entering again the hall, behold,
Serv’d up in silver, pearl, and gold,
A breakfast, form’d of all things rare,
As if Queen Mab herself were there.

As now he past, with spirits gay,
A shower of Roses strew’d the way,
E’en to his hand the branches bent:
‘One of these boughs-I go content!
‘Beauty, dear Beauty-thy request
‘If I may bear away, I’m blest.’
The Merchant pull’d-the branches broke!-
A hideous growling while he spoke,
Assail’d his startled ears; and then
A frightful Beast, as from a den,
Rushing to view, exclaimed, ‘Ingrate!
‘That stolen branch has seal’d thy fate.
‘All that my castle own’d was thine,
‘My food, my fire, my bed, my wine:
‘Thou robb’st my Rose-trees in return,
‘For this, base Plunderer, thou shalt mourn!’

‘My Lord, I swear upon my knees,
‘I did not mean to harm your trees;
‘But a lov’d Daughter, fair as spring,
‘Intreated me a Rose to bring;
‘O didst thou know, my lord, the Maid!’-

‘I am no Lord,’ Beast angry said,
‘And so no flattery!-but know,
‘If, on your oath before you go,
‘Within three wasted Moons you here
‘Cause that lov’d Daughter to appear,
‘And visit Beast a volunteer
‘To suffer for thee, thou mayest live:-
‘Speak not!-do this!-and I forgive.’
Mute and deprest the Merchant fled,
Unhappy traveller, evil sped!

Beauty was first her sire to meet,
Springing impatient from her seat;
Her Brothers next assembled round;
Her straying Sisters soon were found.
While yet the Father fondly press’d
The Child of Duty to his Breast,-
‘Accept these Roses, ill-starr’d Maid!
‘For thee thy Father’s life is paid.’

The Merchant told the tale of Beast;
And loud lamentings, when he ceas’d,
From both the jealous Sisters broke,
As thus with taunting rage they spoke:
‘And so thou kill’st thy Father, Miss,
‘Proud, sinful creature, heardst thou this?
‘We only wish’d a few new clothes;
‘Beauty, forsooth, must have her Rose!
‘Yet, harden’d Wretch, her eyes are dry,
‘Tho’ for her Pride our Sire must die!’

‘Die! Not for worlds!’ exclaim’d the Maid;
‘Beast kindly will take me instead:
‘And O, a thousand deaths I’d prove
‘To shew my Father how I love!’
The Brothers cried, ‘Let us away,
‘We’ll perish, or the Monster slay.’

‘Vain hope, my gen’rous Sons, his power
‘Can troops of men and horse devour:
‘Your offer, Beauty, moves my soul;
‘But no man can his fate controul:
‘Mine was the fault; you, Love, are free;
‘And mine the punishment shall be.’
Beauty was firm! the Sire caress’d
Again his Darling to his breast;
With blended love and awe survey’d,
And each good Brother blest the Maid!

Three months elaps’d, her Father’s heart
Heav’d high, as she prepar’d to part;
The Sisters try’d a tear to force,
While Beauty smil’d as she took horse;
Yet smil’d thro’ many a generous tear,
To find the parting moment near!
And just as evening’s shades came on,
The splendid Palace cour.

by Charles Lamb

Enjoy the rest of your day and I will see you back here next week!

International Dylan Thomas Day

Hi everyone, Today is International Dylan Thomas Day or Dylan Day for short. It is a day that is celebrated every year on 14th May for the life and work of the welsh poet Dylan Thomas. Today marks the anniversary of ‘Under Milk Wood’ as it was first read on stage at 92Y The Poetry Center, New York in 1953. Dylan Day is usually hosted by Hannah Ellis the granddaughter of Dylan Thomas, who is the Creative Directive of his literary estate. He is a writer who is best known for his poem ‘Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night and his play ‘Under Milk Wood’

Dylan Thomas Biography

Dylan Marlais Thomas was born in Swansea Wales on 27th October 1914 he was the only son of David John Thomas (DJ), and Florence Hannah Thomas. He was once educated at Swansea Grammar School.

Dylan was very close to his father whom played a big part in him becoming a poet as he was the one that introduced him to the world of poetry. Dylan started writing poetry from an early age, and with every bit of poetry he had written, it was his dad that he looked to for admiration, as he wrote to please not only himself but his father. When he was around 16years old, he began copying out the poems he once did when he was younger, what would eventually become known as his notebooks, which would then contribute to several of his first collection that included 18 poems that would get published in 1934…

At 16 Dylan left school to start a job as a junior reporter at Wales Daily Post. His position at this job was not to last very long, as he quit in December of 1932 and turned his attention away from journalism, and back to what he does best writing poetry, which now became a full-time pursuit. About two-thirds of his work was created when he was in his teens. This was the beginning of his journey of how he got to become one of the greatest writers of all time.

Dylan hid his own heartbreak of losing his father David John (DJ) Thomas to throat cancer (December 16th 1952) aged seventy-six, he was so distraught this event played a significant part in what happened in his life next. After losing his father his health had took a rapid decline in his mental wellbeing, In addition to his grieving, Dylan had become physically ill, exhausted, his marriage to Caitlin Macnamara Thomas was very rocky, and he found it hard to write, With all this pressure and downward spiral eventually led to his death less than a year later.                                                                                                                                            

Dylan Thomas was quite a heavy drinker, whom died shortly after leaving The White Horse Tavern in New York City, New York US on 9th November 1953. Dylan Thomas was a man full of talent, it’s just a shame it ended far before his time and who knows what else a man of his stature would have created.

Five of his best Quotes:

  • “There is only one position for an artist anywhere; and that is upright.” – Dylan Thomas.
  • “There are but dreaming men, and they fade.” – Dylan Thomas.
  • “Never be lucid, never slate, if you would be regarded great.” – Dylan Thomas.
  • “I may without fail, suffer, the first vision that set fire to the stars.” – Dylan Thomas.
  • “When one burns ones bridges, what a very nice fire it makes.” – Dylan Thomas.
  • “I think, that if I touched the earth, it would crumble; it is so sad and beautiful, so tremulously like a dream.” – Dylan Thomas

Finally I will leave you with this beautiful poem.

From ‘Under Milk Wood’

Every morning when I wake,
Dear Lord, a little prayer I make,
O please do keep Thy lovely eye
On all poor creatures born to die

And every evening at sun-down
I ask a blessing on the town,
For whether we last the night or no
I’m sure is always touch-and-go.

We are not wholly bad or good
Who live our lives under Milk Wood,
And Thou, I know, wilt be the first
To see our best side, not our worst.

O let us see another day!
Bless us all this night, I pray,
And to the sun we all will bow
And say, good-bye – but just for now!

Have a great week and I will see you all next time