Thursday, February 4, 2016

My Favorite Male Poets

Offered for no particular reason, but I consider these six poets to be my favorites.  Yes they are all male.  However, I like a lot of poets, and could add a couple dozen more.

William Carlos Williams 
September 17, 1883 – March 4, 1963

Puerto Rico, American poet, physician.

 Imagist and Modernist

"God damn it, you might think a man had no business to be writing, to be a poet unless some philosophic stinker gave him permission."

He was famous for clear writing, and poems that seem to be snatched from everyday dialogue.  Included among his great poems, "This is Just to Say" and "The Red Wheelbarrow".

Lord Byron, George Gordon
22 January 1788 – 19 April 1824

Born in London, England.  British poet/writer.

He was a Romantic/Neo-Classicalist who wrote in numerous genres and prose as well.  He traveled throughout Europe, wrote and loved many, and became attached to the cause of freedom in Greece in their struggle for freedom against the Ottoman Turks.  Which is where he died.

His most famous poem is "She Walks in Beauty" and no other poem should ever be said to be so beautiful.

She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
   Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
   Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
   Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
   Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
   Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
   How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
   So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
   But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
   A heart whose love is innocent!


4 August 1792 – 8 July 1822

Born in England.  A British poet, writer, and dramatist, known for Romanticism in his fiction.  However, his private life and his social beliefs were to become rather more famous than his writing.  He entered and left romantic couplings, had numerous liasons, and believed in open marriages, apparently.  He also became famous for his beliefs regarding wealth and labor, influencing others, including Karl Marx among others.   He died in the Kingdom of Sardinia which became the subject for the painting Funeral of a poet.

My favorite work of his is Ozymandias, a name in Greek, for the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II, also known as Ramses the Great. 

Shelley's "Ozymandias"
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."

Edgar Allan Poe
January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849
American.  Writer, Poet, Editor, Critic
Famous for his creation of Weird fiction, and Crime fiction.  He wrote in the genres of Science fiction and fantasy before they were so named.

In his own day, Edgar Allan Poe was lost.  He suffered from lack of funds, addiction to alcohol, desire for recognition, and depression.  His works were unusual, often brilliant, but out of step for his day, and by reason of that, he was a hard sell, with his readers being interested in his work, but his publishers uncertain how to sell his work.

He as much as created weird fiction, he used poetry and prose alike to write horror, fantasy, crime stories.  He chased demons from his life, all the while desiring love, and dealing with loss.

Ezra Pound
30 October 1885 – 1 November 1972

American Writer, Poet, Editor, Enemy of the State

Ezra Pound was a talented writer who wrote in layers, with references to other works, depth requiring knowledge of literature, and intelligence.  His works worked on numerous levels, and he was a master at all times, he was able to be beautiful, funny, angry, and witty.

Pound was respected for his work, but found writing poetry and editing the same to be less than rewarding, monetarily speaking.  But it was his living in the UK during the time period of World War I that caused him to become a believer in the existence of a framework beyond nations that serves to become wealthy due to war.

He began to drift from poetry as his main focus, and became obsessed with how the world was becoming destroyed by usury, Jews, and the bankers who would soon own everything.  This obsession caused him to eventually to lose friends in the poetry community, and worse, he grew attracted to the politics and power of Benito Mussolini.  The attraction caused him to move to and advocate for Italy.  And to reject his American citizenship.  He gave radio broadcasts, somewhat pro Italy, somewhat anti US, but mostly, Anti Semitic.  He was found Not Guilty of treason at the end of the war, due to insanity.  And if he was insane, he was very well spoken, and clear minded.

E.E. Cummings
October 14, 1894 – September 3, 1962

American who was an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright.

Prolifically creative, Cummings was sold to breaking perceived rules in an effort to create new forms, and to demonstrate mastery of the language and medium in particular.  A Taoism and Unitarian, his views were clearly expressed, and his clarity was seen in all his presentations.  By virtue of his experimentation with established forms of writing and art in general, he was perceived by others in his artist circles to be a liberal, but especially following a visit to the Soviet Union, he self identified as a Republican, and an anti Communist.

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