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James Merrill Special Issue: An Introduction

James Merrill is one of those poets whom everybody (well, everybody in the literary world) knows but whom few have read—or, at least, few have read at length or in depth.… continue reading...

Posted in 2013 November: James Merrill Special Issue, This MonthComments (0)

Thomas Hardy’s Artistry in “The Darkling Thrush”

I teach Hardy every other year in my “Modern British Poetry“ course at Wells College, and this year I decided to use “The Darkling Thrush” to introduce his work to students, many of whom had not read him before.… continue reading...

Posted in Classic Reading, October 2012: Thomas Hardy Special Issue, This MonthComments (1)

Thomas Hardy’s “In Tenebris”: The Problem of Relativity

Click here (and scroll to the bottom of the page) to read the poem sequence.

I’d like to start by making a claim that I have recently asserted elsewhere: The lyric poem is fundamentally elegiac.… continue reading...

Posted in Classic Reading, October 2012: Thomas Hardy Special Issue, This MonthComments (1)

“The Convergence of the Twain”: Thomas Hardy and Popular Sentiment

On April 15, 1912, on her maiden voyage, the British steamer Titanic, the world’s largest and most luxurious ship, struck an iceberg in mid-Atlantic and sank.… continue reading...

Posted in Classic Reading, October 2012: Thomas Hardy Special Issue, This MonthComments (0)

“Effulgent” by David M. Katz (A parody)

 

“Effulgent” by David M. Katz

          Part seemed she of the effulgent thought“Her Initials,” Thomas Hardy

 
Glitter, brilliance, candor, dazzle;
Luster, splendor, lambent lightness;
She evokes a lucid ghazal
All shot through with flashing brightness:
Of those words, he chose “effulgent.”

Anhedonic to a fault, dour
Hardy’s verse betrays his waning
Adolescent self in flower,
Breaking up while it was raining.

continue reading...

Posted in October 2012: Thomas Hardy Special Issue, Poem, This MonthComments (0)

Thomas Hardy: The Flexible Strength of “Neutral Tones”

How can you account for the love you have for a favorite poem?  One way is simply to say that it sparks personal associations for you.… continue reading...

Posted in Classic Reading, October 2012: Thomas Hardy Special Issue, This MonthComments (0)

Form as Moral Content in Thomas Hardy’s “During Wind and Rain”

Read the poem here.

When beginning to think about the poem “During Wind and Rain” by Thomas Hardy, I thought it might be useful to go back for some context to the old pessimist Yvor Winters, who always had provocative things to say about form.  … continue reading...

Posted in Classic Reading, October 2012: Thomas Hardy Special Issue, This MonthComments (3)

The Light of Loss: Thomas Hardy’s “The Last Signal”

Thomas Hardy’s poem “The Last Signal” is one of his finest elegies. That is already saying a good deal, since a great many of his poems could be defined as elegiac in tone, if not actually in strict form.… continue reading...

Posted in Classic Reading, October 2012: Thomas Hardy Special Issue, This MonthComments (1)

Introduction: The Poetry of Thomas Hardy (A Special Issue)

 

Thomas Hardy is still far better known as a novelist than he is as a poet. Although certain poems have lodged themselves where, as Frost put it, they will be hard to get rid of, there is still a widespread conviction that much of his poetry is either awkward, difficult or just downright bad.… continue reading...

Posted in October 2012: Thomas Hardy Special Issue, This MonthComments (0)

From the Archives: The Last of the Regency Dandies (1862)

An excerpt from “The Last of the Dandies”
Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, June 1862
Article unsigned

“Who is Captain Gronow?”

He is the last of the “Dandies” of the Regency of George IV.; the sole survivor—unless we except the present octogenarian Prime Minister — of the favored mortals who, forty years ago, danced at Almack’s with the fair and frail Lady Jersey; dined at White’s with Alvanley, Kangaroo Cook, Hughes Ball, Red-Herring Yarmouth, and other worthies who have long passed the Styx; who had looked with hopeless envy upon the wonderful coats and miraculous cravats of Beau Brummell and Gentleman George; who knew the men who had penetrated the sacred mysteries of Carlton House; and who never appeared by daylight until afternoon, when the world was sufficiently aired for their advent.… continue reading...

Posted in July 2012: The Literary Dandy, This MonthComments (1)