Category

Poetry

Shakespeare’s Sonnets to Soothe the Soul

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William Shakespeare: the wordsmith; the romantic; the artist.

He certainly has a way with words and his sonnets remain some of his most popular work to date. Shakespeare’s sonnets were first published on the 20th of May in 1609, perhaps illicitly, by the publisher Thomas Thorpe of London.

We have chosen a small selection of his works to share with you today…

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BBC Books to Publish first Doctor Who Poetry Collection

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With Illustrations by Russell T. Davies!

Books and Doctor Who go together like bread and jam. The Doctor is enthused by knowledge and learning and in his own words “Books, the best weapons in the world!” and so I’m pretty excited to hear the news that the first Doctor Who Poetry Collection is coming and will be published by BBC Books later this year. Read More

10 Insightful Emily Dickinson Quotes

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The American poet Emily Dickinson was born on 10th of December 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts and died on the 15th of May 1886. She was part of a prominent family with good community connections, however Emily unfortunately lived most of her life in isolation.

She was a prolific poet but fewer than 12 of her almost-1,800 poems were published during her life. There were conventional rules poets must follow at the time so much of her work was altered to fit this. Emily’s poems are unique for the era with their short lines, lack of titles, and use slant, or half, rhyme, as well as her unconventional use of punctuation and capitals. Her work often centres around dying, death, and immortality or imaginative natural imagery involving flowers, gardens, and paradise.

Here are ten of our favourite quotes from her works that inspire, provoke thought, or made us smile…

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Under Milk Wood in a Musical Setting

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Here at For Reading Addicts, Under Milk Wood is one of our favourites from Dylan Thomas. Originally brought to life in 1954 as a radio drama, it has had many reincarnations: in film, on stage, and television.
The story follows the inhabitants of the fictional small Welsh fishing village Llareggub (read that backwards and it describes precisely what happens in small villages…) including the nagging Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard; the old sea dog…um, cat, Captain Cat; two Mrs. Dai Breads; and others…

The first voice, or narrator, has been played by Dylan Thomas himself, Donald Houston, or recently by Michael Sheen, but the most popular First Voice was Richard Burton.

Inspired by Under Milk Wood, and using Burton’s reading of the verse, a musician going under the name of Isabella Heights has given it new life. Check how Burton’s voice is beautifully enhanced by his new musical setting…

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Edward Lear: King of Nonsense (and so many other things)

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Edward Lear (12 or 13 May 1812 – 29 January 1888) is best known for his nonsense poetry but during his life he was a well known artist, illustrator, musician, author and poet.

Born in Holloway in North London, the penultimate of twenty-one children and the youngest to survive, Lear was already known for his art by aged 16 and was raised by his sister, 21 years his senior. Lear suffered from ill health all his life, by six he had suffered frequent grand mal epileptic seizures, bronchitis and asthma. He also probably suffered from depression, bouts of melancholy he referred to as “The Morbids”. Read More

10 Silly Poems and Stories Performed by Michael Rosen

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Michael Rosen was born in Harrow, UK on the 7th of May, 1946.

After a grammar school education, Rosen gained an English degree at Oxford university and worked for a while at the BBC as a graduate trainee. He presented W.A.L.R.U.S (Write And Learn, Read, Understand, Speak) for BBC Schools, in the 1970s, however he found the corporation a restrictive place to work for: “Their view of ‘educational’ was narrow. The machine had decided this was the direction to take. Your own creativity was down the spout.”

Since becoming a freelance writer and poet, Rosen has been a significant contributor to poetry, story, and verse for both children and adults. His work has touched a lot of lives, and inspired millions of children to write their own expressive and hilarious poetry.

Rosen has won multiple awards for his work, and was Children’s Laureate between 2007-2009. When his stint as laureate was over he commented in the Guardian newspaper: “Sometimes when I sit with children when they have the space to talk and write about things, I have the feeling that I am privileged to be the kind of person who is asked to be part of it”.

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Spike Milligan Reads On The Ning Nang Nong

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Spike (Terence Alan Milligan) was born on 16 April 1918 to parents Florence and Captain Leo Milligan. His father was serving in the British Indian Army so Florence gave birth to Spike while living in Ahmednagar, India. Spike grew up as an ‘British army brat’ in Pune and Rangoon, and was educated at various Roman Catholic schools where he learned to play the cornet, cultivating his love for jazz.

During a stint in the services in the 1930s and 40s, Milligan allegedly entertained the troops with his humour and playful nature, and reflected on his times there in his memoirs, Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall, Rommel, Gunner Who?, Monty: My Part in his Victory, among others. 

He is perhaps best known for his part in The Goon Show, an irreverent radio comedy full of nonsense and jollity, but many of us know his nonsense rhyme and poetry we were entertained with as children.

One of his most famous short poems, On The Ning Nang Nong, was voted the ultimate favourite comic poem in 1998 in a UK wide poll. It was streets ahead of other nonsense poets such as Lear or Carroll.  When set to music it became a favourite on Australia’s children’s show Playschool. The Office for Standards in Education (UK) reported that the poem is one of the most commonly taught poems in British primary schools. 

Take a look at the man himself reading the famous rhyme below and see why…

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William Wordsworth The Wordsmith

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England’s most influential Romantic poet was born on the 7th of April in 1770, at Cockermouth in Cumbria, UK. 

William Wordsworth’s parents both died before he turned 15, so he and his siblings were left in the care of their relatives. William developed a love of nature, which was reflected in his many poems, although none were published until 1793. 

Wordsworth and his sister collaborated on ‘Lyrical Ballads’, which was published in 1798. Coleridge contributed ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, which was included in the collection, and marked the start of the ‘Romantic movement’ in English poetry. 

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Listen to Charles Bukowski Discuss His ‘Crappy Life’

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Blank on Blank is an excellent YouTube channel which finds old, obscure, or all but lost interview recordings and puts them to excellent and often surreal animations. The channel features iconic figures from Ayn Rand to Jimi Hendrix and allows the viewer to listen to said figure discuss an important issue or point. From Jim Morrison discussing why he feels fat is beautiful to Jane Goodall on instinct, there are a variety of videos that will give you food for thought. Read More