Emily Dickinson, Dylan Thomas, e.e. cummings and W.H. Auden Emily Dickinson, 1830–86 American poet, b. Amherst, MA. Considered one of the greatest poets in American literature. Stands outside the mainstream of 19th-century American literature (Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Longfellow). Before she was 30, she began to withdraw from village activities and gradually ceased to leave home at all. Often fled from visitors and eventually lived as a virtual recluse. Dickinson published only seven poems during her lifetime. After her death in 1886, her sister Lavinia Dickinson discovered over 1,000 poems in her bureau. The chief tension in her work comes from her inability to accept the orthodox religious faith of her day and her longing for its spiritual comfort. Immortality she called ―the flood subject,‖ and she alternated confident statements of belief with lyrics of despairing uncertainty that were both reverent and rebellious. Her verse, noted for its aphoristic style, its wit, its delicate metrical variation and irregular rhymes, its directness of statement, and its bold and startling imagery, has won enormous acclaim and had a great influence on 20th-century poetry. Dylan Thomas, 1914–53 Welsh poet, Eighteen Poems (1934) created controversy but won him immediate fame, which grew with the publication of Twenty-five Poems (1936), The Map of Love (1939; containing poetry and surrealistic prose), The World I Breathe (1939; also containing some prose), Deaths and Entrances (1946), and In Country Sleep and Other Poems (1952). The prose Thomas published is fragmented into stories and sketches, many auto- or pseudo-autobiographical, all touched with fantasy and are collected in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog (1940), Adventures in the Skin Trade, and Quite Early One Morning (1955). Thomas’s themes are traditional—love, death, mutability—and over the years he seemed to pass from religious doubt to joyous faith in God. His complex imagery is based on many sources, including Welsh legend, Christian symbolism, witchcraft, astronomy, and Freudian psychology Villanelle (Italian villa) Traditional poetic form that entered English-language poetry in the late 1800s from the imitation of French models. 19 lines long, but only uses two rhymes First five stanzas are triplets, last stanza is a quatrain such that the rhyme scheme is as follows: ―aba aba aba aba aba abaa‖ Repeats two lines throughout the poem (refrains). Line 1 is repeated as Line 6, 12 and 18; Line 3 repeated as Lines 9,15,19 Lines 18-19 make a rhymed couplet. e.e. cummings (edward estlin) Edward Estlin Cummings, poet, playwright, novelist, and painter, b. October 14, 1894, in Cambridge, MA, d. September 3, 1962 Received his A.B. and M.A. from Harvard Univ in 1915 &16 Service in France in 1917 but was arrested on suspicion of treason and interned for some months. After his release, he served U.S. Army as a private in 1918-19. Autobiographical story of his time in the internment camp, The Enormous Room (1922), received widespread praise. First book of poetry, Tulips & Chimneys (1923), showed an unusual style that was not to change for 40 years. Though as eccentric in prose as in verse, Cummings became Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry, Harvard Univ., in 1952-53. W.H. Auden (Wystan Hugh) Anglo-American poet, 1907-1973, moved to America in 1939; Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets from 1954 to 1973 influenced by the poetry of Thomas Hardy and Robert Frost, as well as William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins Leader of a left-wing literary group; lived in Germany in the early days of Nazism and was a stretcher-bearer in the Spanish Civil-war Poems, published in 1930, established him as the leading voice of a new generation. He has been admired for his unsurpassed technical virtuosity and an ability to write poems in nearly every imaginable verse form His work incorporates popular culture, current events, and vernacular speech; he drew from an extraordinary variety of literatures, art forms, social/political theories, and scientific and technical information.
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