"Autobiographies of great nations are written in three manuscripts – a book of deeds, a book of words, and a book of art.
Of the three, I would choose the latter as truest testimony." - Sir Kenneth Smith, Great Civilisations

"I must write each day without fail, not so much for the success of the work, as in order not to get out of my routine." - Leo Tolstoy

I have never believed that one should wait until one is inspired because I think the pleasures of not writing are so
great that if you ever start indulging them you will never write again. - John Updike

"The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour
is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it." - J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Saturday, May 30, 2015

E.E. Cummings - Dive for Dreams ("Live by love though the stars walk backwards")

dive for dreams
- ee cummings

dive for dreams
or a slogan may topple you
(trees are their roots
and wind is wind)
trust your heart
if the seas catch fire
(and live by love
though the stars walk backward)
honour the past
but welcome the future
(and dance your death
away at the wedding)
never mind a world
with its villains or heroes
(for good likes girls
and tomorrow and the earth)
in spite of everything
which breathes and moves, since Doom
(with white longest hands
neating each crease)
will smooth entirely our minds 
-before leaving my room
i turn, and (stooping
through the morning) kiss
this pillow, dear
where our heads lived and were.

silently if, out of not knowable

silently if, out of not knowable 
night's utmost nothing,wanders a little guess
(only which is this world)more my life does
not leap than with the mystery your smile
sings or if(spiralling as luminous
they climb oblivion)voices who are dreams,
less into heaven certainly earth swims
than each my deeper death becomes your kiss
losing through you what seemed myself,i find
selves unimaginably mine;beyond
sorrow's own joys and hoping's very fears
yours is the light by which my spirit's born:
yours is the darkness of my soul's return
-you are my sun,my moon,and all my stars

- E. E. Cummings

e.e. cummings, poet

by Bertr& Jerome

I believe I mentioned this quote in my "about me", which you may or may not have read yet. If not, you should definitely give it a read, I think it will help when reading the content in the blog.

This is a quote by e.e. cummings, a rather illustrious American poet whose claim to fame was the rejection of conventional English rules of grammar and mechanics.

In context, the line makes more sense, the intent of his words a bit more clear. I believe that it means to live though the filter of love and to order your steps in the name of love, not selfishness or bitterness and especially not hate. When one orders their steps in the name of love, they will find that their lives, although sometimes and temporarily more difficult, will overall be a better, more accomplished life.

Everyone finds themselves in the face of a hardship and are forced to make the decision of whether or not to act selfishly or out of love. Oftentimes, when acting out of love, the ordeal will become more difficult in the short run. But, if one were to follow the actions of those who consistently act out of love, they would find that these people do, in fact have better lives. If you believe in the celestial, you can call it karma, the idea that what one does is what one brings upon themselves; so, logically if one acts in love, then people will do nothing but to treat them with love. To those who do not believe in karma and like ideals, it is an accepted belief that people are always watching each others actions. The saying goes, "there are always more eyes on you than you have." Therefore, if one consistently acts out of love, people will see that, and take that as an example. More often than not, people treat other people how that person treats those around them. That being said, people will see a person who lives by love and treat them with the love that they have treated others.

This line is saying that regardless of what may happen, even if the impossible were to happen, like the earth changing it's entire rotation, live by love because that is what will make life worth living. If one lives by love, then they will be treated with love, and eventually, die by love.

Live your life how you see fit, and I encourage you to make it one of love. It is never too late to change. Change may be difficult, but for the right reasons, it will always be worth it.


Bertr& Jerome

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Biography - E.E. Cummings
[source: Poets.org]

E. E. Cummings
1894-1962 , Cambridge , MA

Related Schools & Movements:
Concrete Poetry

Edward Estlin Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 14, 1894. He began writing poems as early as 1904 and studied Latin and Greek at the Cambridge Latin High School.

He received his BA in 1915 and his MA in 1916, both from Harvard University. His studies there introduced him to the poetry of avant-garde writers, such as Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound.

In 1917, Cummings published an early selection of poems in the anthology Eight Harvard Poets. The same year, Cummings left the United States for France as a volunteer ambulance driver in World War I. Five months after his assignment, however, he and a friend were interned in a prison camp by the French authorities on suspicion of espionage (an experience recounted in his novel, The Enormous Room) for his outspoken anti-war convictions.

After the war, he settled into a life divided between houses in rural Connecticut and Greenwich Village, with frequent visits to Paris. He also traveled throughout Europe, meeting poets and artists, including Pablo Picasso, whose work he particularly admired.

In 1920, The Dial published seven poems by Cummings, including "Buffalo Bill ’s.” Serving as Cummings’ debut to a wider American audience, these “experiments” foreshadowed the synthetic cubist strategy Cummings would explore in the next few years.

In his work, Cummings experimented radically with form, punctuation, spelling, and syntax, abandoning traditional techniques and structures to create a new, highly idiosyncratic means of poetic expression. Later in his career, he was often criticized for settling into his signature style and not pressing his work toward further evolution. Nevertheless, he attained great popularity, especially among young readers, for the simplicity of his language, his playful mode and his attention to subjects such as war and sex.

The poet and critic Randall Jarrell once noted that Cummings is “one of the most individual poets who ever lived—and, though it sometimes seems so, it is not just his vices and exaggerations, the defects of his qualities, that make a writer popular. But, primarily, Mr. Cummings’s poems are loved because they are full of sentimentally, of sex, of more or less improper jokes, of elementary lyric insistence.”

During his lifetime, Cummings received a number of honors, including an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, two Guggenheim Fellowships, the Charles Eliot Norton Professorship at Harvard, the Bollingen Prize in Poetry in 1958, and a Ford Foundation grant.

At the time of his death, September 3, 1962, he was the second most widely read poet in the United States, after Robert Frost. He is buried in Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston, Massachusetts.

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e.e. cummings, poet

Biography - E.E. Cummings


Edward Estlin Cummings (October 14, 1894 – September 3, 1962), known as E. E. Cummings, with the abbreviated form of his name often written by others in lowercase letters as e e cummings (in the style of some of his poems—see name and capitalization, below), was an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. His body of work encompasses approximately 2,900 poems, two autobiographical novels, four plays and several essays, as well as numerous drawings and paintings. He is remembered as an eminent voice of 20th century English literature.


Despite Cummings's familiarity with avant-garde styles (undoubtedly affected by the Calligrammes of Apollinaire, according to a contemporary observation), much of his work is quite traditional. Many of his poems are sonnets, albeit often with a modern twist, and he occasionally made use of the blues form and acrostics. Cummings' poetry often deals with themes of love and nature, as well as the relationship of the individual to the masses and to the world. His poems are also often rife with satire.

While his poetic forms and themes share an affinity with the romantic tradition, Cummings' work universally shows a particular idiosyncrasy of syntax, or way of arranging individual words into larger phrases and sentences. Many of his most striking poems do not involve any typographical or punctuation innovations at all, but purely syntactic ones.
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                            i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
From "i carry your heart with me(i carry it in" (1952)
As well as being influenced by notable modernists, including Gertrude Stein and Ezra Pound, Cummings in his early work drew upon the imagist experiments of Amy Lowell. Later, his visits to Paris exposed him to Dada and surrealism, which he reflected in his work. He began to rely on symbolism and allegory where he once used simile and metaphor. In his later work, he rarely used comparisons that required objects that were not previously mentioned in the poem, choosing to use a symbol instead. Due to this, his later poetry is "frequently more lucid, more moving, and more profound than his earlier." Cummings also liked to incorporate imagery of nature and death into much of his poetry.
While some of his poetry is free verse (with no concern for rhyme or meter), many have a recognizable sonnet structure of 14 lines, with an intricate rhyme scheme. A number of his poems feature a typographically exuberant style, with words, parts of words, or punctuation symbols scattered across the page, often making little sense until read aloud, at which point the meaning and emotion become clear. Cummings, who was also a painter, understood the importance of presentation, and used typography to "paint a picture" with some of his poems.
The seeds of Cummings' unconventional style appear well established even in his earliest work. At age six, he wrote to his father:

Following his autobiographical novel, The Enormous Room, Cummings' first published work was a collection of poems entitled Tulips and Chimneys (1923). This work was the public's first encounter with his characteristic eccentric use of grammar and punctuation.
Some of Cummings' most famous poems do not involve much, if any, odd typography or punctuation, but still carry his unmistakable style, particularly in unusual and impressionistic word order.
anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn't he danced his did

Women and men (both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn't they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain
Cummings' work often does not proceed in accordance with the conventional combinatorial rules that generate typical English sentences (for example, "they sowed their isn't"). His readings of Stein in the early part of the century probably served as a springboard to this aspect of his artistic development. In some respects, Cummings' work is more stylistically continuous with Stein's than with any other poet or writer.
In addition, a number of Cummings' poems feature, in part or in whole, intentional misspellings, and several incorporate phonetic spellings intended to represent particular dialects. Cummings also made use of inventive formations of compound words, as in "in Just" which features words such as "mud-luscious", "puddle-wonderful", and "eddieandbill." This poem is part of a sequence of poems entitled Chansons Innocentes; it has many references comparing the "balloonman" to Pan, the mythical creature that is half-goat and half-man. Literary critic R.P. Blackmur has commented that this usage of language is “frequently unintelligible because he disregards the historical accumulation of meaning in words in favour of merely private and personal associations.”
Many of Cummings' poems are satirical and address social issues but have an equal or even stronger bias toward romanticism: time and again his poems celebrate love, sex, and the season of rebirth.
Cummings also wrote children's books and novels. A notable example of his versatility is an introduction he wrote for a collection of the comic strip Krazy Kat.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

William Shakespeare - 5 Love Sonnets

Shakespeare's Sonnets is the title of a collection of 154 sonnets accredited to William Shakespeare which cover themes such as the passage of time, love, beauty and mortality. It was first published in a 1609 quarto with the full stylised title: SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS. Never before imprinted. (although sonnets 138 and 144 had previously been published in the 1599 miscellany The Passionate Pilgrim). The quarto ends with "A Lover's Complaint", a narrative poem of 47 seven-line stanzas written in rhyme royal.

The first 17 poems, traditionally called the procreation sonnets, are addressed to a young man urging him to marry and have children in order to immortalize his beauty by passing it to the next generation. Other sonnets express the speaker's love for a young man; brood upon loneliness, death, and the transience of life; seem to criticise the young man for preferring a rival poet; express ambiguous feelings for the speaker's mistress; and pun on the poet's name. The final two sonnets are allegorical treatments of Greek epigrams referring to the "little love-god" Cupid.

The publisher, Thomas Thorpe, entered the book in the Stationers' Register on 20 May 1609:Tho. Thorpe. Entred for his copie under the handes of master Wilson and master Lownes Wardenes a booke called Shakespeares sonnettes vjd.

Whether Thorpe used an authorised manuscript from Shakespeare or an unauthorised copy is unknown. George Eld printed the quarto, and the run was divided between the booksellers William Aspley and John Wright.


The sonnets are almost all constructed from three quatrains, which are four-line stanzas, and a final couplet composed in iambic pentameter ("5 feet of unstressed followed by stressed syllables." Ex, "da-DUM" repeated 5 times). This is also the meter used extensively in Shakespeare's plays.

The rhyme scheme is abab cdcd efef gg. Sonnets using this scheme are known as Shakespearean sonnets. Often, the beginning of the third quatrain marks the volta ("turn"), or the line in which the mood of the poem shifts, and the poet expresses a revelation or epiphany.

There are a few exceptions: Sonnets 99, 126, and 145. Number 99 has fifteen lines. Number 126 consists of six couplets, and two blank lines marked with italic brackets; 145 is in iambic tetrameters, not pentameters. There is one other variation on the standard structure, found for example in sonnet 29. The normal rhyme scheme is changed by repeating the b of quatrain one in quatrain three, where the f should be.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Sonnet 18
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
by William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Wikipedia - Sonnet 18 [a partial excerpt]

Sonnet 18, often alternately titled Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?, is one of the best-known of 154 sonnets written by the English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. Part of the Fair Youth sequence (which comprises sonnets 1126 in the accepted numbering stemming from the first edition in 1609), it is the first of the cycle after the opening sequence now described as the Procreation sonnets.

In the sonnet, the speaker compares his beloved to the summer season, and argues that his beloved is better. He also states that his beloved will live on forever through the words of the poem. Scholars have found parallels within the poem to Ovid's Tristia and Amores, both of which have love themes. Sonnet 18 is written in the typical Shakespearean sonnet form, having 14 lines of iambic pentameter ending in a rhymed couplet. Detailed exegeses have revealed several double meanings within the poem, giving it a greater depth of interpretation.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Sonnet 116
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
by William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov'd,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

Wikipedia - Sonnet 116 [a partial excerpt]

Shakespeare's sonnet 116 was first published in 1609. Its structure and form are a typical example of the Shakespearean sonnetThe poet begins by stating he should not stand in the way of true love. Love cannot be true if it changes for any reason. Love is supposed to be constant, through any difficulties. In the seventh line, a nautical reference is made, alluding that love is much like the north star to sailors. Love should also not fade with time; instead, true love lasts forever.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Sonnet 29
When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
by William Shakespeare

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

Wikipedia - Sonnet 29 [a partial excerpt]

Sonnet 29 is one of 154 sonnets written by the English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. It is part of the Fair Youth sequence (which comprises sonnets 1-126 in the accepted numbering stemming from the first edition in 1609). In the sonnet, the speaker bemoans his status as an outcast and failure but feels better upon thinking of his beloved. Sonnet 29 is written in the typical Shakespearean sonnet form, having 14 lines of iambic pentameter ending in a rhymed couplet.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Sonnet 73
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
by William Shakespeare

That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire,
Consum'd with that which it was nourish'd by.
This thou perceiv'st, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

Wikipedia - Sonnet 73 [a partial excerpt]

Sonnet 73, one of William Shakespeare's most famous sonnets, focuses upon the theme of old age, with each of the three quatrains encompassing a metaphor. The sonnet is pensive in tone, and although it is written to a young friend (See: Fair Youth), it is wholly introspective until the final couplet, which finally turns to the person who is addressed (the "thou" in line one).

Joseph Kau suggests that Samuel Daniel had a fair amount of influence on this sonnet and that Shakespeare's immediate source of the impresa, or motto, "Qua me alit me extinguit" came from Geoffrey Whitney's A Choice of Emblems (London, 1586)

* * * * * * * * * * *

Sonnet 1
From fairest creatures we desire increase
by William Shakespeare

From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty’s rose might never die,
But as the riper should by time decease,
His tender heir might bear his memory;
But thou, contracted to thine own bright eyes,
Feed’st thy light’s flame with self-substantial fuel,
Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.
Though that art now the world’s fresh ornament
And only herald to the gaudy spring,
Within thine own bud buriest thy content,
And, tender churl, mak’st waste in niggarding.
Pity the world, or else this glutton be,
To eat the world’s due, by the grave and thee.

Wikipedia - Sonnet 1 [a partial excerpt]

Sonnet 1 is one of 154 sonnets written by the English playwright and poet William Shakespeare that were published in 1609 by Thomas Thorpe It is a procreation sonnet within the Fair Youth sequence. Nineteenth-century critics thought Thorpe might have published the poems without Shakespeare's consent; Sidney Lee called him "predatory and irresponsible." Conversely, modern scholars Wells and Taylor assert their verdict that "Thorpe was a reputable publisher, and there is nothing intrinsically irregular about his publication." Either way, this sonnet is considered the first in the sequence.

Analyzing the sonnets in this order allows for an underlying story of a love triangle to emerge. Sonnet 1 is part of the Fair Youth sonnets, in which an unnamed young man (the beloved) is being addressed by the speaker (the lover) and later sonnets also refer to a "dark lady" (thus they are called the Dark Lady sonnets). Patrick Cheney comments on this: 

"Beginning with a putatively male speaker imploring a beautiful young man to reproduce, and concluding with a series of poems – the dark lady poems – that affiliate consummated heterosexual passion with incurable disease, Shakespeare's Sonnets radically and deliberately disrupt the conventional narrative of erotic courtship". 

Because of this, Sonnet 1 instantly attracts interest as being a kind of introduction (or possibly an index) to the rest of the sonnets.

The 1st sonnet is also the first of the "procreation sonnets" (sonnets 1 – 17; including Sonnet 15 which, although it does not directly contain an encouragement to procreate is fully part of the sequence as it forms a diptych ("a hinged interweaving") with Sonnet 16—note Sonnet 16 starts with the word "But..."—which does), which urge this youth to not waste his beauty by failing to marry or reproduce. Joseph Pequigney notes:

"... the opening movement give[s the] expression to one compelling case... The first mode of preservation entertained is procreation, which is urged without letup in the first fourteen poems and twice again".

The identity of the beloved Fair Youth has remained a mystery, but most researchers believe there are two potential candidates for whom the dedication of the Fair Youth Sonnets was written: "Henry Wriothesley, third earl of Southampton (1573-1624), or William Herbert, third earl of Pembroke (1580-1630)". Both were patrons of Shakespeare but at different times – Wriothesley in the 1590s and Herbert in the 1600s. There is trouble finding out which earl it might have been because sonnets were in fashion in the 1590s but Shakespeare's were not published until 1609. [See: Identity of "Mr. W.H."]


In Sonnet 1, we begin to see the "love story" between the fair youth (beloved) and the speaker (lover) unfold, though not the typical "love story" of the Elizabethan era if read this way. However, each of Shakespeare's sonnets can still be read as separate from the other sonnets. In this sonnet, the speaker engages in an argument with the beloved/fair youth about procreation: "An agon, a dramatic struggle, develops between the speaker and the youth"Scholar Helen Vendler sums up Sonnet 1:

"The different rhetorical moments of this sonnet (generalizing reflection, reproach, injunction, prophecy) are permeable to one another's metaphors, so that the rose of philosophical reflection yields the bud of direct address, and the famine of address yields the glutton who, in epigram, eats the world's due".

* * * * * * * * * * *

Biography of Shakespeare

* * * * * * * * * * *

Biography of Shakespeare
from Wikipedia [a partial excerpt]

William Shakespeare (/ˈʃkspɪər/;[1] 26 April 1564 (baptised) – 23 April 1616)[nb 1] was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.[2] He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon".[3][nb 2] His extant works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays,[nb 3] 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, of which the authorship of some is uncertain. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.[4]

Shakespeare was born and brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon. At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet andJudith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain's Men, later known as the King's Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613 at age 49, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare's private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.[5]

Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613.[6][nb 4] His early plays were mainly comedies and histories and these works remain regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights.

Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime. In 1623, John Heminges and Henry Condell, two friends and fellow actors of Shakespeare, published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare's. It was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Shakespeare is hailed, presciently, as "not of an age, but for all time".[7] In the 20th and 21st century, his work has been repeatedly adopted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular today and are constantly studied, performed, and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world.

Shakespeare's Sonnets
Audiobook by William Shakespeare

THE SONNETS by William Shakespeare
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