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A Poet's Journal: February 4th, 2014

February 4th, 2014

It is in our nature to fashion understanding after intellect; from the first breath of consciousness it has been said that man is the thinking animal and whether we agree or not, the tradition with which our thoughts move is to place one object up against another, or one thought or memory up against another, and proceed through reasoning or logic to come up with a strategy that will invariably prove or not prove that one is better or worse than the other.  We place upon the scale of importance efficiency and fact, and hold with words those ideas and matters of thought that have not yet been fully understood.  To speak, or more generally, to use the senses, is our way to enlighten understanding, whereupon it is only those things that are left unsaid, or that have yet been revealed, that the intellect truly understands.  By the concept and definition of a word, we give boundary, by which is meant exclusion, so that the objective reality that we come to take as truth w…

A Biographical Remark in Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis

An essay invoking the cognitive relationship between Shakespeare's biographical life and Shakespeare's poetical life found in his narrative poem: Venus and Adonis.

‘And lo I lie between the sun and thee’
(Venus and Adonis; line 194)
To see the poet in the act of composition, to hear his words tell not only the story, but with imaginative zeal, recount the inner movements of his life, makes prejudice relax, and involves the reader in a fantasy that was at one time lived and deeply felt. Be it that each successive experience, in time, becomes poetic, or that the perception of our thoughts be seen through poetry, the dull aspects of life are but a mask to our feelings and lead us into paths that give semblance to lesser hours. That we may see and find something true, not about the story, but about the man, testifies, in mind, to that in which all great poets have taken part, that in writing the story or the verses of another, he sees his spirit live in the exotic realms of his sub…

Lost Poet Series: J. Hector St. John

Lost Poet Series: J. Hector St. John


A poet, to whom may we call, if not in word, but of vision, seeking out the quaint simplicities of life, an observer of light and of times, not through any famous event, but through those unrecorded, at instants glowing and wavering on the faint landscape of experience? To J. Hector St. John may we attach the name of poet, though he wrote no verse; for on reading his work, and most notably his Letters, we envision the life of a poet, and ask ourselves, if but for a moment, what a man may raise himself to in nameless things.
Born in 1735 at Caen, in the Normandy region of France, he grew up with the name Michel Guillaume Jean de Crèvecoeur, descending from the noble line of that family. However, his fortunes lay not in the rebellious landscapes of a revolutionary France, but in the wild and undiscovered forests of North America. There he served honourably in the French and Indian War with Montcalm, eventually rising to the rank of lieutenant. After…

Lost Poet Series: John Clare

If ever he were consoled by his own voice, even through loneliness of heart and failure of spirit, John Clare merits the attention of those who, not through pity, but of genuine desire, seek the inner motivations of man. His poetry, strange and wonderful, still remains intimate to those with a solitary moment to spare and his descriptions of the countryside offer a reason to escape.
Born on July 13th, 1793 at a time when men could still gain livings by titles such as 'wandering fiddler', of which Clare's grandfather was one, or 'wrestler and corn thrasher' as was his father, our poet grew up. Often said to be dreamy and shy--for one day he had gone off to search for the horizon--yet the boy gained from leisurely entertainment a scanty upbringing in poetry while listening 'to a curious old lady called Granny Baines' recite folk songs and ballads. Among the countryside he roamed much, but desiring in those early years to write verse, he was said to sit on hi…

Lyric Poetry

Lyric poetry lives in its present means by he who composes it. From it the cloud extends which overtops the mountain, soon to leave it snow-clad and brilliant in the morning light. In it, the human condition is apt and sentiments that have been felt by the first of humans, the same as those that will be felt by the last, are with skill waved off in concise sentences. None can be long-winded in the lyric and succeed.
A lyric, then, is a poem of no great length which embodies a mood wherein the poet has felt intensely his idea and the words which represent it. Some of the most recognized examples of lyric poetry in the English language are Shakespeare's sonnets, but some interesting examples may also include Sir Philip Sydney, who laid the ground-work for Shakespeare's sonnets; William Collins with his Ode to Evening; John Keats with his famous cycle of odes; or the following example from Emily Dickinson:

The Grass

The grass so little has to do--
A sphere of simple green,
With …