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Poetry

7 Poetry Verses From Hafez to Awaken Your Heart.

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Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥāfeẓ-e Shīrāzī is know by his pen-name ‘Hafez’ or ‘Hafiz’, meaning ‘memoriser’ or ‘keeper’. The Persian poet, lover, and wine drinker, lived around the 14th century and his works are considered to have much influence over Persian culture.

Hafez’s poetry is lyrical and sumptuous, with much of his poetry dedicated to themes of divine ecstasy, freedom, and love. There is no complete compilation of his poetry, but the number of his writings have been said to almost hit 1000 verses. The first translations into English were done in the late 1700s by William Jones, but as with most poetry it is always better in its original language, as it was meant to be heard.

We will have to make do with the closest translations available, until we learn to read it in Hafez’s own language…

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The Perfection of the Haiku

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A three line poem consisting of 17 syllables written in a 5/7/5 syllable rhythm…what could be simpler right? Well, if it was indeed so, we would all be texting Haikus to each other as easily as we send smileys these days.

When you read a poem, you can experience it through all your senses and that is something Haiku specifically tries to do. Haiku poems are usually about nature and include vivid images portrayed through the mention of colours, seasons or animals. These season words called kigo indicate a particular time of the year. Winter may be indicated by the use of words like ‘snow’ or ‘bare tree’; Summer by references to ‘sky’ or ‘heat’. Read More

Howl by Allen Ginsburg (and how it was seized on grounds of obscenity)

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On 25th March, 1957 US Customs seized copies of Allen Ginsburg’s poem Howl on grounds of obscenity, securing the poem’s place in cult classic history. The ensuing events saw City Lights Bookstore owner, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsburg arrested as both played the ‘I’m Spartacus’ role of both claiming to be the author. The pair were charged with disseminating obscene literature and both were arrested with a court case to follow. Read More

10 of My Favourite Lines from Poetry

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Poetry is so subjective and that’s because it speaks to the heart, and each of us will have our favourite poems and verses that seem to speak to us personally and that’s what makes poetry so magical.

Today I thought I’d share mine, the verses I believe are the most beautiful lines from poetry but I’d love to hear yours too. Let us know what your favourite lines from poetry are in the comments. Read More

Nobel Prize Winner Derek Walcott Reads Sea Grapes

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Sir Derek Alton Walcott (January 1930- March 2017) was an award-winning poet from Saint Lucia; born to parents who adored poetry and art, Derek and his twin brother Roderick (a playwright) seemed destined to be creative and expressive themselves.

Sadly Derek passed away in March 2017, but he has left an extensive legacy of poetry that gained much recognition through the decades. He wrote his first poem at 14 and, with help from his mother, he self-published his works, and eventually gained a scholarship to the University College of the West Indies.

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Last Known Sketch of Dylan Thomas Donated to Swansea Collection

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One of the last known sketches sat for by Dylan Thomas has been gifted to a collection in Swansea. The sketch was drawn by Welsh-Canadian artist, Gordon Stuart and is the last known art drawn during the poet’s lifetime.

Dylan Thomas sat for the sketch after a chance meeting in Laugharne, where the poet’s famous boathouse and writing shed stand, and was drawn just before Thomas left for New York where he died in 1953. Read More

Vita Sackville-West Reads from ‘The Land’

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Vita Sackville-West (9 March 1892 – 2 June 1962) was an English poet, novelist and garden designer, but is probably best known today for her relationship with Virginia Woolf, immortalised in Woolf’s Orlando: A Biography.

A successful and prolific novelist, poet, and journalist during her lifetime— Sackville-West was twice awarded the Hawthornden Prize for Imaginative Literature: in 1927 for her pastoral epic, The Land, and in 1933 for her Collected Poems. Read More

Christopher Lee Reading Poe’s The Raven.

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Edgar Allan Poe is so widely celebrated, we even have our own Poe-inspired range of merchandise in our Literary Store here.

His poem The Raven is one of the most popular of his works; the likes of Vincent Price and Christopher Lee have used their famous voices to the prose and rhyme to create spine-tingling recordings of the poem.

I adore Christopher Lee’s work, and his wonderful voice, and I hope you do too.

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