William Blake, 1757-1827, was an accomplished poet, and a spiritual rebel who claimed to speak with angels. However, he was first a master engraver, who illustrated his own poems, as well as manuscripts by such authors as Mary Wollstonecraft and Dante Alighieri.
SSPL celebrated Poetry Month, April 2020 on Facebook, offering weekly staff readings of poems. Shared here is a staff reading of “Hope is the Thing With Feathers” by Emily Dickinson. Also posted: some links to other poems we shared with you!
Image from Library of Congress –
The American Folklife Center –
Literatura de Cordel – Brazilian Chapbook Collection:
“The Romance of the Mysterious Peacock”
Poetry, as an oral art and means of communication, pre-dates written language. In cultures worldwide, committing words to memory has been a way to pass down a peoples’ history. Poets were the early bringers of news to the provinces. Bards in Celtic countries might have been harp-toting singers as well as historians - and often included women. The Brazilian writers of Cordels - hand-made books containing art, news and stories – are said to have their roots in the tradition of the troubadours of Europe. The Griot tradition of of West Africa informs contemporary African American poetry. And in literature from Homer to Shakespeare, the figure of the poet was often revered and protected. In The Odyssey, Ulysses tells his warring men to spare the poet’s life; in King Lear, the rhyming clown was that monarch’s chief confidant.