Grief, Struggle And Fame Are Interlinked #NationalPoetryMonth

Grief_Poem

Many of our favorite poets who inspire us, had to battle with life and its miseries. I have compiled some interesting and amazing facts from their lives to reiterate the facts that success doesn’t come on a platter; grief transcends all boundaries and the icy finger of death may squeeze all your dreams.

 Robert Frost sold his first poem “My Butterfly, An Elegy, to the New York Independent for $15. He was an extremely successful poet but his life was full of sorrow and suffering. His father died of tuberculosis when he was just 11 years old, leaving the family with just eight dollars. Frost’s mother died of cancer in 1900. His younger sister Jeanie died in a mental hospital, where she struggled with her mental illness for nine years. Mental illness apparently ran in Frost’s family, as both he and his mother suffered from depression and his daughter too was committed to a mental hospital in 1947.

John Keats, an English Romantic poet who is known for his brilliant poetry, vivid imagery and sensuous appeal died from tuberculosis at the age of 25. He received fame only after his death. His poems were not received well by critics during his lifetime; his reputation grew after his death.

S.T. Coleridge had bipolar disorder, which had not been defined during his lifetime. Throughout his adult life Coleridge had crippling bouts of anxiety and depression was treated for these conditions with laudanum, which fostered a lifelong opium addiction.

He is best known for his long poems, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Christabel and Kubla Khan, some of which were written under the influence of opium. He has given the English language the famous metaphor of “an albatross around one’s neck”, the quotation of “water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink” and the phrase “a sadder and a wiser man.”

Walt Whitman, one of the most influential poets in the American canon, often called “the father of free verse” was very controversial in his time, particularly for his poetry collection ‘Leaves Of Grass,’ which was described as obscene for its overt sexuality.

Maya Angelou, best known for ‘I know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, including fry cook, sex worker, nightclub dancer and performer, cast member of the opera ‘Porgy and Bess’ and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the decolonization of Africa.

When Angelou was three and her brother four, their parents’ “calamitous marriage” ended, and their father sent them to Stamps, Arkansas, alone by train, to live with their paternal grandmother. She was sexually assaulted by her mother’s boy friend when she was eight. It was her tumultuous life that molded her into a multi-faceted personality.

Mirza Ghalib, the last great poet of the Mughal Era, is considered to be one of the most famous and influential poets of the Urdu language but fame came to him posthumously. He started composing poetry at the age of 11. His verses eloquently expressed philosophy, the travails and mysteries of life.

Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese American writer, a poet and a visual artist is the third best-selling poet of all time, behind Shakespeare and Laozi. Due to his family’s poverty, Gibran received no formal schooling during his youth in Lebanon. Gibran’s father was imprisoned for embezzlement and his family’s property was confiscated by the authorities. It was only when his mother took him to New York that he could attend school.

Emily Dickinson, a prolific poet lived much of her life in reclusive isolation. Considered to be an eccentric by locals, she developed a noted penchant for white clothing and became known for her reluctance to greet guests or, later in life, to even leave her bedroom. Dickinson’s poems are unique for the era in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation.

For a poet of his stature, T.S.Eliot produced a relatively small number of poems. He was aware of this even early in his career. He wrote to J.H. Woods, one of his former Harvard professors, “My reputation in London is built upon one small volume of verse, and is kept up by printing two or three more poems in a year.”

Rudyard Kipling was born in Mumbai. (India) His parents had been so much moved by the beauty of the Rudyard Lake in Rudyard Staffordshire, (England) that when their first child was born they named him after it. In a 1995 BBC opinion poll, his poem ‘If’ was voted the UK’s favorite poem.

A 13th-century Persian poet, Rumi’s influence transcends national borders and ethnic divisions. Rumi has been described as the “most popular poet”and the “best selling poet” in the United States.

Source: Wikipedia

Compiled by Balroop Singh

Thank you for extending your support during the National Poetry Month by sharing your poems and reflections. Next post will announce the two winners of the gift that I had promised in the beginning of this month.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Advertisements

Interesting Facts About Poetry – Old and New #NationalPoetryMonth

Poetry inspires
Poetry as an art form predates literacy. The earliest poetry is believed to have been recited or sung, employed as a way of remembering oral history, genealogy, and law. Poetry is often closely related to musical traditions, and the earliest poetry exists in the form of hymns.

Historical facts about poetry:

Poetry appears among the earliest records of most literate cultures, with poetic fragments found on early monoliths, rune stones and stele. (a stone or wooden slab)

Scholars suggest that early writing shows clear traces of older oral traditions, including the use of repeated phrases as building blocks in larger poetic units.

The oldest surviving speculative fiction poem is the ‘Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor’ written in Hieratic and ascribed a date around 2500 B.C.E.

Greek epics lliad and Odyssey and the Indian Sanskrit epics Ramayana and Mahabharata are the oldest epic poems.

The development of literacy gave rise to more personal, shorter poems intended to be sung. These are called lyrics,which derives from the Greek lura or lyre, the instrument that was used to accompany the performance of Greek lyrics from about the seventh century BC onward.

The development of modern poetry is generally seen as having started at the beginning of the 20th century and extends into the 21st century.
(Source: Wikipedia)

What comes first – thought or title?

Another question, which has always haunted me is what comes first- the title or the content? I have never written with a title in my mind. The flow of thoughts has always been supreme in my mind.

Some of my poems remain untitled for many days and I have to struggle to decide the title.

Robbie agrees with me… “I let the words flow or fit themselves together first. Often the poem comes into my mind and almost unfolds by itself with little intervention. I think of a title afterwards.”

Wendy also agrees: “I never chose a title first. In my published poetry books there are no titles. The poems are sequentially numbered. Emily Dickinson is a poet who did not title a lot of her poetry. Her early editors titled a handful of her poetry.  In general, I am not certain what I am writing about until the poem starts brewing in me, and then I am looking for paper and a pen, which I usually have with me. I have many poems that were written on napkins, bar coasters, or whatever I could find if I did not have paper with me at the time.”

For Ritu, “It really depends on why I am writing a poem. If it is a response to a prompt the title may come to mind first. The topic is already there. If it is a time when words are pulsating and need to flow onto paper, then I will write my poem first and then title it after.”

Miriam lets the title be the first words. At times I just see the title and may be first line. I rarely search for a title.”

Radhika says: “thoughts flow in and my fingers pen them down. At times the flow is spontaneous like the gurgling brook. While at other times the thoughts ebb in a gentle flow. I enjoy flirting with different genres of poetry. With micro poetry like haiku and tanka, I take care to use words that create an impact within the limitation of syllables. Otherwise, my poems are simple and lucid, reflecting my musings, beliefs, emotions or the bewitching beauty of nature. After completing a poem, I try to bring out it’s essence in the title.”

Poetry writing is a natural gift, which can be nurtured and embellished. Poets are born!  Most of the poets find inspiration in nature and human nature.

Emotions reign supreme in most of the poetry, which slowly matures and becomes complex.

Poetry may or may not start with what we feel about us or others but it definitely takes us into a journey of self-realization. We have amongst us one such spiritual poet, Wendy E. Slater.

Today I am going to share her untitled poem:

Wendy-new
Wendy E. Slater

I would never
Build a monument
In your name,
But I will plant
A forest in your honor
To seed the love and life
We share
Into all.

And it will be called
To us:
Our terrain,
The map of our geography—
Exquisite intimate landscapes sculpting
Love.

And to others
It will be something
Like the sacred forest
Where the genesis of the beloved
Will awaken
In them
When they walk the path.

There will be wildflower
Meadows
That will have seeded
In our hearts,
And the warbler, hawk, and owl
Will come
To rest and live
In song, wisdom, and sight
As we will have
Lived our journey in grace.
©2016 Wendy E. Slater

Wendy E. Slater has three published books of modern mystical poetry, Into the Hearth, Poems-volume 14, Of the Flame, Poems-volume 15, and The Ocher of Abundance, Poems-volume 16, that are part of her poetry series, The Traduka Wisdom Poetry series. The poetry chronicles the inner journey of self-discovery and Divinity and opens doors for readers and invite them on their own spiritual journey of awakening and healing into self-forgiveness.  All the poetry can be found on her website:  traduka.com/poetry or Amazon. She can found on twitter @WendyE Slater.

 A reminder: I would be gifting two ebooks –  Sublime Shadows Of Life, my debut poetry book to those two readers who write the most poetic answer to all the posts I publish this month – #NationalPoetryMonth. Happy writing!

Thank you for reading this. Please share your valuable reflections, as they are much appreciated.

If you have liked this post, please share it at your favorite social networks.

Balroop Singh.