Posts Tagged ‘poetry’

Claude McKay (1889-1948) was born in Jamaica but spent much of his life in NYC where he became a major poet and novelist of the Harlem Renaissance.


If we must die, let it not be like hogs

Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,

While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,

Making their mock at our accursèd lot…

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Countee Cullen born Countee LeRoy Porter (1903-1946) was likely born in Louisville, Kentucky but lived in NYC and was a poet of the Harlem Renaissance. He was also a novelist, children’s writer, playwright interested in African subjects as well as Classical Romantic themes.


All through an empty place I go,
And find her not in any room;
The candles and the lamps I light
Go down before a wind of gloom….

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Sligo’s favorite poet

W. B. Yeats (1865-1939) was an Irish poet, winner of the Nobel Prize. In my younger days, his poetry, Irish mythology, and forays into the occult thrilled me.

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love …

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Emily Dickinson (1830-1885) is America’s greatest woman poet. She wrote 1800 poems, yet she only published 10. Known as a recluse who never married, she likely suffered from epilepsy. She is famous for her slant rhyme, near rhyme, and for not giving her poems titles.  

A Day! Help! Help! Another Day!
Your prayers, oh Passer by!
From such a common ball as this
Might date a Victory!

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Sprung rhythm

One of my favorite poets is Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889), born in England. His sprung rhythm involved emphasis on accented syllables, not syllable counts as in metered poetry. His poetry was not published in his lifetime.

The Wreck of the Deutschland

    Thou mastering me

    God! giver of breath and bread;

    World’s strand, sway of the sea;

    Lord of living and dead…

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Leaves of Grass

Poetry Month needs Walt Whitman, most famous of American poets. 1819-1892, he spent his life in the NYC area. Besides being a poet, he was a novelist, journalist, teacher, army nurse, office worker, and more. He is still one of my favorite poets. When lilacs last in the door-yard bloom’d, / And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night, /I mourn’d and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

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Horse’s tail?

Horse’s Tale

Charles Suddeth

We raced through the night,

Larry’s Pontiac belching smoke,

His red hair always tangled,

Even sober he was drunk.

Good ole cheap beer.

Somewhere in Michigan we halted,

Headlights aimed at a barn.

My horse’s here, he slurred.

He led a nag into the pasture.

The fleas bailed out.

It didn’t have a saddle,

I figured he was lost,

We would be hanged,

The fate of horse thieves.

My neck itched.

You gotta ride bareback,

He handed me a rope halter.

Afraid to argue with a drunk,

I climbed on, held tight.

Yippy yi yay!

I was doing just fine,

The mare broke into a trot.

Larry belly laughed,

I wished I was drunk.

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Jesse Stuart (1906-1984) is perhaps Kentucky’s most well-known poet. In 1990 my late wife’s family held a family reunion had a cousin’s farm across the road from W Hollow, Jesse Stuart’s farm. We were allowed to tour the farm, but his widow still lived in the house so we didn’t get to see that.

Kentucky is my land.
It is a place beneath the wind and sun
In the very heart of America.
It is bounded on the east, north, and west by rivers
And on the south by mountains.

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James Whitcomb Riley

James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916), the Hoosier poet, the originator of Little Orphan Annie. When I was in high school, a lady gave a reading of his poetry. She lived in his house as a child, and I never forgot his poetry.


When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,

And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,

And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,

And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence…

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Poetry Month wouldn’t be complete without Robert Frost (1874-1963), born in California but spent his life in New England. One of my favorite poets, he was the winner of 4 Pulitzers.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth…

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