Category Great Poets

“I wandered lonely as a cloud” begins which poet’s popular work?

“I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” is a lyric poem by William Wordsworth. It is Wordsworth’s best-known work.

The poem was inspired by an event on 15 April 1802 in which Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy came across a “long belt” of daffodils.

Wordsworth was aware of the appropriateness of the idea of daffodils which “flash upon that inward eye” because in his 1815 version he added a note commenting on the “flash” as an “ocular spectrum”. Coleridge in Biographia Literaria of 1817, while acknowledging the concept of “visual spectrum” as being “well known”, described Wordsworth’s (and Mary’s) lines, among others, as “mental bombast”. Fred Blick has shown that the idea of flashing flowers was derived from the “Elizabeth Linnaeus Phenomenon”, so called because of the discovery of flashing flowers by Elizabeth Linnaeus in 1762. Wordsworth described it as “rather an elementary feeling and simple impression (approaching to the nature of an ocular spectrum) upon the imaginative faculty, rather than an exertion of it…” The phenomenon was reported upon in 1789 and 1794 by Erasmus Darwin, whose work Wordsworth certainly read.

The entire household thus contributed to the poem. Nevertheless, Wordsworth’s biographer Mary Moorman notes that Dorothy was excluded from the poem, even though she had seen the daffodils together with Wordsworth. The poem itself was placed in a section of Poems in Two Volumes entitled “Moods of my Mind” in which he grouped together his most deeply felt lyrics. Others included “To a Butterfly”, a childhood recollection of chasing butterflies with Dorothy, and “The Sparrow’s Nest”, in which he says of Dorothy “She gave me eyes, she gave me ears”.


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Whose narrative poem is “Goblin Market”?

Goblin Market, poem by Christina Rossetti, published in 1862 in the collection Goblin Market and Other Poems. Comprising 567 irregularly rhyming lines, the poem recounts the plight of Laura, who succumbs to the enticement of the goblins and eats the fruit they sell. 

Christina Georgina Rossetti was born on December 5, 1830, in London, England, the fourth child of an Italian immigrant family with strong literary and artistic leanings. Her father, Gabrielle Rossetti, was an Italian poet and political exile whose support for revolutionary nationalism drove him to seek refuge in England. One of Rossetti’s brothers was the painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti. His work is also discussed and studied today. Her other brother, William Michael Rossetti, was a writer and critic who later acted as her editor. Both brothers were members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood art movement. Rossetti’s sister, Maria Francesca Rossetti, was an author who later in life became an Anglican nun. Indeed, Rossetti dedicated “Goblin Market” to Maria. Rossetti’s mother, Frances Polidori (later Rossetti), was the daughter of another Italian exile and the sister of John Polidori, the physician of the famous poet Lord Byron.

Rossetti had struggled with ill health since her teens, when a doctor (probably inadequately) diagnosed her condition as “religious mania.” In 1871, she became seriously ill with Graves’ disease. The illness affected her heart and permanently altered her appearance, causing her eyes to protrude. In May, 1892, Rossetti was diagnosed with breast cancer. A mastectomy performed in her home proved ineffectual, and she died in London two years later on December 29, 1894. Her brother William continued to edit and publish her poetry after her death.


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Which 19th Century American poet’s most popular work is “The Raven”?

Edgar Allan Poe, American short-story writer, poet, critic, and editor who is famous for his cultivation of mystery and the macabre. His tale “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841) initiated the modern detective story, and the atmosphere in his tales of horror is unrivaled in American fiction. His “The Raven” (1845) numbers among the best-known poems in the national literature.

Poe and his works influenced literature around the world, as well as specialized fields such as cosmology and cryptography. He and his work appear throughout popular culture in literature, music, films, and television. A number of his homes are dedicated museums today. The Mystery Writers of America present an annual award known as the Edgar Award for distinguished work in the mystery genre.

After his early attempts at poetry, Poe had turned his attention to prose, likely based on John Neal’s critiques in The Yankee magazine. He placed a few stories with a Philadelphia publication and began work on his only drama Politian. The Baltimore Saturday Visiter awarded him a prize in October 1833 for his short story “MS. Found in a Bottle”. The story brought him to the attention of John P. Kennedy, a Baltimorean of considerable means who helped Poe place some of his stories and introduced him to Thomas W. White, editor of the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond. Poe became assistant editor of the periodical in August 1835, but White discharged him within a few weeks for being drunk on the job. Poe returned to Baltimore where he obtained a license to marry his cousin Virginia on September 22, 1835, though it is unknown if they were married at that time. He was 26 and she was 13.

Poe was reinstated by White after promising good behavior, and he went back to Richmond with Virginia and her mother. He remained at the Messenger until January 1837. During this period, Poe claimed that its circulation increased from 700 to 3,500. He published several poems, book reviews, critiques, and stories in the paper. On May 16, 1836, he and Virginia held a Presbyterian wedding ceremony at their Richmond boarding house, with a witness falsely attesting Clemm’s age as 21.


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What is the name of 14-line form of poems usually associated with British playwright and poet William Shakespeare?

A sonnet is a poem generally structured in the form of 14 lines, usually iambic pentameter, that expresses a thought or idea and utilizes an established rhyme scheme. As a poetic form, the sonnet was developed by an early thirteenth century Italian poet, Giacomo da Lentini. However, it was the Renaissance Italian poet Petrarch that perfected and made this poetic literary device famous. Sonnets were adapted by Elizabethan English poets, and William Shakespeare in particular.

Shakespeare’s sonnets are composed of 14 lines, and most are divided into three quatrains and a final, concluding couplet, rhyming abab cdcd efef gg. This sonnet form and rhyme scheme is known as the ‘English’ sonnet. It first appeared in the poetry of Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, who translated Italian sonnets into English as well as composing his own. Many later Renaissance English writers used this sonnet form, and Shakespeare did so particularly inventively. His sonnets vary its configurations and effects repeatedly. Shakespearean sonnets use the alternate rhymes of each quatrain to create powerful oppositions between different lines and different sections, or to develop a sense of progression across the poem. The final couplet can either provide a decisive, epigrammatic conclusion to the narrative or argument of the rest of the sonnet, or subvert it. 

Some critics argue that the Fair Youth sequence follows a story-line told by Shakespeare. Evidence that corroborates this is that the sonnets show a constant change of attitude that would seem to follow a day-by-day private journal entry. Furthermore, there is an argument that the Fair Youth sequence was written to Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton. Critics believe that Shakespeare would like him to marry and have an heir so that his beauty would live forever. The historical timeline of the procreation sonnets directly relates to William Cecil Lord Burghley and the pressure he put on Southampton to marry his granddaughter Lady Elizabeth Vere (daughter of Edward de Vere). To this day the relationship between Henry Wriothesly and Shakespeare is debated due to the fact that some believe it was romantic in nature, and not platonic. Regardless most critics agree that Shakespeare wrote this sonnet in order to convince him to produce an heir.


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Who is considered one of America’s greatest and most original poets and her noted poems include “Success is Counted Sweetest” and “I’m Nobody. Who are You?”

Emily Dickinson has received considerable attention during the 100 years since her death on May 15, 1886, and yet she remains almost as mysterious as Shakespeare. Some of her lines are so familiar that we quote them without knowing we are doing so: ”The Soul selects her own Society”; ”I’m Nobody! Who are you? / Are you – Nobody – Too?”; ”Success is counted sweetest / By those who ne’er succeed”; ”Parting is all we know of heaven, / And all we need of hell.” They have entered our language with some of the anonymous authority of proverbs.

Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts. She attended Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, but only for one year. Throughout her life, she seldom left her home and visitors were few. The people with whom she did come in contact, however, had an enormous impact on her poetry. She was particularly stirred by the Reverend Charles Wadsworth, whom she first met on a trip to Philadelphia. He left for the West Coast shortly after a visit to her home in 1860, and some critics believe his departure gave rise to the heartsick flow of verse from Dickinson in the years that followed. While it is certain that he was an important figure in her life, it is not clear that their relationship was romantic—she called him “my closest earthly friend.” Other possibilities for the unrequited love that was the subject of many of Dickinson’s poems include Otis P. Lord, a Massachusetts Supreme Court judge, and Samuel Bowles, editor of the Springfield Republican.

Dickinson’s great poetic achievement was not fully realized until years after her death, even though Dickinson understood her own genius when she lived. Many scholars now identify Dickinson’s style as the forerunner, by more than fifty years, of modern poetry. At the time in which Dickinson wrote, the conventions of poetry demanded strict form. Dickinson’s broken meter, unusual rhythmic patterns, and assonance struck even respected critics of the time as sloppy and inept. In time, her style was echoed by many of our most revered poets, including Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot. However, while she lived, the few publishers could not appreciate the innovation of Dickinson’s form. Her unique technique discomfited them, and they could not see beyond it to appreciate her jewels of imagery and her unexpected and fresh metaphors.
Dickinson’s niece Martha Dickinson Bianchi and Dickinson’s sister Lavinia collected and published some of Dickinson’s poetry after her death, but the world was still slow to recognize Dickinson. In 1945, the collection of poems titled Bolts of Melody was published. In 1955 Dickinson’s letters and selected commentaries on her life and work were published, and in 1960, her complete poems, edited by Thomas H. Johnson, were published. At last the world began to recognize Dickinson’s innovation and brilliance. Today, Dickinson is ensconced in the canon and almost universally considered one of the greatest poets in history.
In recent years, many scholars have rejected the popular view of Emily Dickinson as a heartsick recluse who spent her entire life pining for an unnamed lover, foregoing sex and companionship in order to concentrate more fully on her writing. Some scholars have argued that research on Emily Dickinson has focused too heavily on her personal life and on the importance of men to her poetry. There can be no doubt, however, that her poetry was a forerunner to modern poetry and that her poems contained some of the most unusual and daring innovations in the history of American poetry.
Dickinson was experimenting with the form and structure of the poem. Many of her innovations form the basis of modern poetry. She sent her poems as birthday greetings and as valentines, but her love poetry was private. She tied it in tight little bundles and hid it away. She did, however, seek out a mentor in Thomas Wentworth Higginson, a prominent literary critic in Boston. They began a correspondence that would last for the rest of her life. Though she doggedly sought out his advice, she never took the advice he gave, much to Higginson’s annoyance.


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Which poet works include two epic poems – “Raghuvamsa” and “Kumarasambhava”?

Seven works of Kalidasa are known till date which include three epics, namely: Abhijnanasakuntalam, Malavikagnimitram and Vikramorvasiyam; two epic poems, namely: Raghuvamsa and Kumarasambhava; and two khandakavyas or minor poems, namely Meghadutam and Ritusamhara.

The Raghuvamsha treats of the family to which the great hero Rama belonged, commencing with its earliest antecedents and encapsulating the principal events told in the Raamaayana of Valmiki. But like the Kumarasambhava, the last nine cantos of which are clearly the addition of another poet, the Raghuvamsha ends rather abruptly, suggesting either that it was left unfinished by the poet or that its final portion was lost early.

Kalidasa has been lauded for his literary brilliance from the time of the inception of his works. His works have been a source of inspiration for various writers who have followed. Being written in Sanskrit, his works would have been limited to the upper varnas of society. He is contested to be a Brahmin whose works were centred around men and power. Brahminical hegemony, as a function of land grants made to them, worsened the status of lower varnas due to exploitation at the hands of landowners. The idea which the dominant section of the society wanted to propagate was at the centre of his works. His works tried to manifest the idea of the Gupta age being the “Golden Age”. This itself explains the reason for his works being very popular.

Therefore, this essay establishes that his works were the reflection of his society, written with a male Brahmin’s perspective, limited to a section of society which was in power due to changes in the economic infrastructure, popular because they depicted the mindset of the audience and sounded music to their ears, and remained popular during the course of time among other Sanskrit writers.


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Which Bengali poet’s work is “Gitanjali”?

Gitanjali is a collection of poems by the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore received the Nobel Prize for Literature, largely for the English translation, Song Offerings. It is part of the UNESCO Collection of Representative Works.

Rabindranath Tagore was the youngest son of Debendranath Tagore, a leader of the Brahmo Samaj, which was a new religious sect in nineteenth-century Bengal and which attempted a revival of the ultimate monistic basis of Hinduism as laid down in the Upanishads. He was educated at home; and although at seventeen he was sent to England for formal schooling, he did not finish his studies there. In his mature years, in addition to his many-sided literary activities, he managed the family estates, a project which brought him into close touch with common humanity and increased his interest in social reforms. He also started an experimental school at Shantiniketan where he tried his Upanishadic ideals of education. From time to time he participated in the Indian nationalist movement, though in his own non-sentimental and visionary way; and Gandhi, the political father of modern India, was his devoted friend. Tagore was knighted by the ruling British Government in 1915, but within a few years he resigned the honour as a protest against British policies in India.

Tagore had early success as a writer in his native Bengal. With his translations of some of his poems he became rapidly known in the West. In fact his fame attained a luminous height, taking him across continents on lecture tours and tours of friendship. For the world he became the voice of India’s spiritual heritage; and for India, especially for Bengal, he became a great living institution.


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Who is popularly known as the “Nightingale of India”?

Sarojini Naidu was an Indian political activist and poet. A proponent of civil rights, women’s emancipation, and anti-imperialistic ideas, she was an important figure in India’s struggle for independence from colonial rule. Naidu’s work as a poet earned her the sobriquet ‘the Nightingale of India’, or ‘Bharat Kokila’.

This poet-freedom fighter born in 1879 was the first of several children to Dr. Aghore Nath Chattopadhyay, Principal of Nizam College, Hyderabad, and Barada Sundari Devi, a Bengali poet. As a student, Sarojini was bright and soon she excelled in many languages including Bengali, Urdu, Telugu and Persian besides English. The Nizam of Hyderabad on reading Sarojini’s Persian play, Maher Muneer, sent by her father was so impressed with the young woman he granted her a scholarship to study in King’s College and later she went on to Girton College in Cambridge.

She was introduced to Gopal Krishna Gokhale who in turn put her on to other prominent political figures of the time like Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, C. P. Ramaswami Iyer and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Sarojini famously referred to Gandhiji once as “Mickey Mouse”. She played a leading role in the Civil Disobedience Movement and was imprisoned thrice.

She worked alongside Nehru for the welfare of the Indigo workers of Champaran in Bihar and fought vehemently with the British for rights. Sarojini Naidu travelled all over the country and held forth on dignity of labour, women’s emancipation and nationalism.

Sarojini was made President of the Indian National Congress in 1925. She founded the Women’s Indian Association with Dr Annie Besant. She travelled to Europe, the US and UK. After Independence, she became the first woman governor of an Indian state, the United Provinces now known as UP.


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Why is the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet so heart-rending?

       Romantic lovers are often compared to Romeo and Juliet. They are celebrated for their steadfast love for each other and their sacrifice. Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet presents the story of two lovers whose fate does not allow them to live a life together.

      The ‘balcony scene’ in the play where Romeo meets Juliet for the first time is one of the most celebrated scenes in all of Shakespeare’s plays. He compares the balcony to the east and her, to the sun! Lines such as ‘Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs’ and ‘O teach me how I should forget to think’ are some of the most memorable lines of the play.

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Who first told the story of Romeo and Juliet?

      The story of these two lovers was popular in England and other parts of Europe long before Shakespeare wrote the famous play. Shakespeare’s chief source was a poem written by Arthur Brooke in 1562, titled ‘The Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet’. Brooke’s poem was in fact a free translation of a French story by Pierre Boaistuau (1566). The source for this story, in turn, was another story by an Italian writer named Mateo Bandello. Several variations of this tale existed long before that, but it was a writer named Da Porto who first named the lovers as Romeo and Giulietta, and set the action in Verona.

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