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Here's another confession (you'll probably hear a lot of them, if you look at my site for any length of time):  I love poetry.  I can't write it worth shit, but I like to read it.  Not all the time, and not all poetry, but when I'm in the right mood, the right poem can cheer me up more than virtually anything else.  And I'm going to share some of that poetry with you, whether you like it or not.  For now, I'll stick mainly to the older stuff, not just because I tend to like it better, but because I run a smaller chance of getting sued if I post stuff that's public domain.

W.H. Auden
Lewis Carroll
e.e cummings
Emily Dickinson
Michael Lassell
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Ogden Nash
Edwin Arlington Robinson
William Shakespeare
Dylan Thomas
Mark Twain
William Butler Yeats

My favorite two poets are e.e cummings and William Shakespeare.  If you haven't heard of e.e. cummings, you need to read his stuff. He is an incredible poet, a poet who combines the visual with the literary. If you haven't encountered him before, you're in for a treat. If you haven't heard of Shakespeare before and you're over the age of embryo, I'm impressed that you can tie your shoes, much less use a computer. If you haven't read anything by him, do so.  Don't just think that he's a stuffy dead white guy; he can be funny, touching, cynical, violent, and wonderful, often all at once (he, however, is still a dead white guy). Again, I think you're in for a treat. The other poets included are not necessarily favorites of mine, but I really love a poem or two by them, so I thought I'd include them. Send me suggestions for more poems at loki814@hotmail.com

W.H. Auden
    W.H. Auden is on my list of favorite poets for only one poem because I haven't read much more than one of his works. He's on my list of poets to read; I've just never gotten around to it. But he definitely deserves being on this list for this one poem. It is called "Funeral Blues". You might have heard it before. It was in the movie "Four Weddings and a Funeral" (it was read at the funeral). It's quite simply one of the most heartbreaking poems about the loss of a loved one that I've ever read. Check it out.

Lewis Carroll
    Who doesn't love Lewis Carroll (that is, besides those who condemn him for being a latent pedophile or some other sort of incredibly disturbed individual)? Anyway, I've included one of my favorite poems by him, probably the best nonsense poem ever written, "Jabberwocky".

e.e. cummings
    No, it's not a typo. E.E. Cummings often wrote his name in lowercase. In fact, it is a common misconception (which I have been a victim of) to say that he legally changed his name to lowercase. But that's besides the point. Of all the people on this website, only Shakespeare comes close in consistent quality. I love this guy. As I wrote to someone while working on entering these poems into the computer: "I'd be hard pressed to find an activity as wonderful as copying down e.e. cummings poetry...it forces careful reading, and his stuff is just so absolutely wonderful...I'm in the mood right now that I could love all mankind." While my feeling of love for all mankind wears off pretty quickly, my love for cummings never has. If you want to read a paper I wrote about him, here it is. Here are some of my favorite poems of his (be careful, there are a lot of them). I tried writing explanations for them, but it's impossible.. It's one thing to know what he's saying, it's entirely another thing to understand what he means. As clichéd as it sounds, e.e. cummings is an experience, and nothing I could say to you will change the experience. Even if you don't understand what he's saying exactly his poems are enjoyable in their wordplay. The joy comes in reading him. So enjoy:
  • Pity this Busy Monster,Manunkind
  • All Ignorance Toboggans Into Know
  • As Freedom is a Breakfastfood
  • Somewhere I Have Never Travelled
  • When God Decided to Invent
  • Since Feeling is First
  • Life is More True Than Reason Will Deceive
  • . . . (And Anything's Righter
  • Who Are You,Little I
  • In Just
  • Dying is Fine)But Death
  • There Are So Many Tictoc
  • I Like My Body When It Is With Your
  • She Being Brand
  • L(A
  • Old Age Sticks
  • Anyone Lived In a Pretty How Town
  • Emily Dickinson
        Emily Dickinson is probably one of the best poets to ever walk this earth...which is interesting, since she didn't do much earth walking. She mostly stayed in her house, lived the life of a hermit, and wrote nearly 2000 poems. Some of them are pretty incredible.
  • 185 -"'Faith' Is a Fine Invention" -Cute, short, and to the point. It's a nice little comment about the relationship between faith and science.

    Michael Lassell
        I just discovered this poet tonight (April 16th, 1999) and was astounded by this poem. Michael Lassell was a former editor of The Advocate, a national gay and lesbian news magazine. This poem is quite honestly one of the most moving things I've ever read in my entire life. After reading it, I sat down and cried for the first time in over a year. Please (this is Stu as social activist) read this poem. Michael Lassell: "How to Watch Your Brother Die"

    Edna St. Vincent Millay
        Edna St. Vincent Millay...don't really have all that much to say about this poet...I simply read it for an English class, and thought I might as well include it on this page, since I really liked it...it's got a great sense of irony in it...and I'm a big fan of irony. So, without further ado: Sonnet xli

    Ogden Nash
        Another poet I know nothing much about, other than through a couple of his poems. He's got a great sense of humor though, and he writes really succinct easy to read entertaining poems. The two that I have listed are Love Under the Republicans (or Democrats)" and "So That's Who I Remind Me Of," which are good examples of his talents.

    Edwin Arlington Robinson
        This is a poet I know next to nothing about.  I've included his two most famous poems, because they're the only two of his that I've read. They're funny, and they're very ironic. They're both about our perceptions of reality, and how reality is rarely how we think it is. They're both also good examples of how a sudden reversal at the end of the poem can skew the entire meaning.
  • Richard Cory -Simon and Garfunkel made this into a song.  I really love the song, but unfortunately, I can't put it online, but I can put up the lyrics (well, probably not legally, but this will be our little secret). I still prefer the original poem, which is about the richest man in town, and how the town's people view him, as opposed to how his life really is.
  • Miniver Cheevy -This poem is about a man who lives in the past, and curses the life he's in right now instead of trying to make it better.
  • William Shakespeare
        Not much is known about Shakespeare, and I won't get into it here. Most of the poetry I'm including are sonnets, though I might include some of his monologues if I think of any. Who knows...I might put all the sonnets on, if I feel like it. For now, these are my favorites, with my personal summaries to accompany them. Just click on the title, and that'll take you directly to the sonnet.
  • Sonnet 17-"Who Will Believe My Verse In Time to Come" My love is so incredible that when people read about her/him they won't believe such a person could truly exist.
  • Sonnet 18-"Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day?" This is of course, Shakespeare's most famous sonnet. It's famous for a reason. It's probably one of the most romantic pieces ever written, about how his love (probably male, incidentally) is more beautiful than anything else, and how his/her beauty will live forever in this poem. Wonderful stuff.
  • Sonnet 23-"As An Unperfect Actor On the Stage"  I'm like an actor who doesn't know his part around you. I don't know my lines, and I'm trying to muddle through this relationship as best I can.
  • Sonnet 27-"Weary with Toil, I Haste Me to My Bed,"  When I'm exhausted at night, I still can't sleep because I can't stop thinking of you.
  • Sonnet 29-"When, In Disgrace With Fortune and Men's Eyes"  Basically, whenever my life is falling apart, I remember you, and the world becomes worthwhile again.
  • Sonnet 30-"When to the Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought"  No matter how awful it gets, I remember our friendship, and I know my life has been worthwhile.
  • Sonnet 55-"Not marble nor the Gilded Monuments" Nothing lasts longer than our love, as expressed in this poem.  Love is forever, as well as poetry.  Similar in theme to #18.
  • Sonnet 116-"Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds" A description of the indestructable power of love, perhaps meant to be read with a tinge of bitterness. I haven't decided yet. Decide for yourself.
  • Sonnet 130-"My Mistress' Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun"  This is a truly funny sonnet about his "mistress." The theme is how ugly she is (and make no mistake, this lady is hideous), but how much the narrator loves her anyway. Relax if you find it humorous, it's supposed to be.
  • Sonnet 138-"When My Love Swears That She is Made of Truth"  This sonnet is fascinating because there are a number of different ways to read it. Is the narrator cynical or bitter? Or dispassionately stating the truth? He knows his love lies to him, but he "believes her". What does he think about this? A sonnet of surprising depth, considering it's only 14 lines.
  • Sonnet 141-"In Faith I Do Not Love Thee With Mine Eyes"  Similar in tone to #130, but without the humor. This one is much more touching.; Basically, it means that I love you despite all your flaws. This, along with "The Taming of the Shrew" was the inspiration for the movie "10 Things I Hate About You."
  • Macbeth 5.5.19-28- "Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow" This is one of the most beautiful pieces of poetry about the futility of life that I've ever read. It seems really weird to say that, but it's true. A good thing to read when your life is getting you down, if you want to stay that way.
  • King Lear 1.2:121-136- "This is the excellent foppery of the world..." A great rant about those who blame their misfortune or problems on fate, rather than taking responsiblity for their own disfunctions.

    Dylan Thomas
        I know next to nothing about Dylan Thomas.  He's a poet who's last words were legendarily "I just had my sixteenth martini. I think that's some sort of record." He is also the author of one of my favorite poems. It is called "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night." It's about death, and it sums up basically my feelings about death...I don't want to die, and I intend to fight it as much as possible. That's what Dylan was talking about...of course, he was too drunk to fight death when it came for him...but he left us this.

    Mark Twain
        Now, some of you are probably wondering what's going on here. Mark Twain is a fiction writer, not a poet...for the most part. I've only seen one poem of his, and I absolutely love it.  It's called "The War Prayer," and it's about what we actually pray for when we pray. It let's us know that there are two sides to every story, and our side is not necessarily more valid than the other side. Twain said of this piece that "I have told the whole truth in that, and only dead man can tell the truth in this world. It can be published after I'm dead." Unluckily for him, eventually he died, but lucky for us, "The War Prayer" was published. You can read it here, or you can try to find the incredible, poignantly illustrated version, but they're hard to come by. I've been looking for a replacement since my current copy is falling apart (from overuse), but they're nearly impossible to find.

    William Butler Yeats
        So far, I've not read much Yeats, but I love this poem of his. It's wonderfully dark and disturbed...it's weird that it's about the "Second Coming" (presumably of Christ, but maybe of something much more sinister). It doesn't seem to be complimentary though. It's a view of a collapsing world. I haven't done much scholarly study on this poem, so that's about all I can give you. Someone sent me this description of the "Second Coming"...I recommend giving it a quick read through. Just check the poem out yourself.

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