One of the most famous poems in American literature started as something quite different. The eponymous talking bird who is featured in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” was originally cast as a […]
How to Write 100,000,000,000,000 Poems
A sonnet is a one-stanza, 14-line poem, written in iambic pentameter. William Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all of which are required reading for students of great literature. Shakespeare may be the most […]
God in the Quad — Do Trees Disappear When You Stop Looking?
Anglican bishop and philosopher George Berkeley (1685-1753) was famous for his theory of immaterialism. He linked existence to perception. He suggested that material things do not exist in and of themselves but […]
The Chaos — The Aptly-Named Poem About the Insanity of the English Language
Those of us who love the English language have to admit to a bit of schizophrenia about the love affair. On the one hand, English is an utterly-flexible and ever-changing language, allowing […]
Word of the Day Challenge: Crepuscular
Crepuscular. The word fairly trips off the tongue, making even the most uneducated person sound sophisticated — assuming it is used correctly, that is.
The Hymn Writer and the President
Frances and Stephen were unlikely friends. For one thing, she was seventeen years his senior. Beyond the obvious difference in their ages, the two could not have been more different.
If Wisdom’s Ways You Wisely Seek…
In her book Little Town on the Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder records her mother giving some words of advice: “If Wisdom’s ways you wisely seek, five things observe with care. To whom […]
How Much Do You Know About Santa Claus?
One of the most recognized people in the world is that jolly, old elf, Santa Claus. Everything about him — his beard, hat, coat, belly, and even his distinctive laugh — immediately […]
The Poetic Passage of Plakkopytrixophylisperambulantiobatrix
One of the more curious titles of any literary work is G.K. Chesterton’s poem “Plakkopytrixophylisperambulantiobatrix.” The meaning of the title and the reason for its choice is unclear. The poem appears in The […]
Take a Quick 6.5 Hours to Read the World’s Longest Poem
If your attention span for poetry only extends to the length of time it takes to read a limerick, you may find yourself challenged if you try to read the Mahābhārata.
The Senator Who Poeticized a President
One of President Theodore Roosevelt’s favorite poems was written by Senator John James Ingalls of Kansas. He kept a copy of the poem, “Opportunity,” in his office at the White House, and […]
A Poet of No Distinction
William McGonagall’s reputation is in doubt — and he would be pleased about it, if he were still alive, that is. McGonagall has long held the distinction of being the worst poet […]