Tag Archives: poetry

Book of Answers: Philip Freneau

“Who is known as the “poet of the American Revolution”? Philip Freneau (1752-1832), whose poems include “American Liberty” (1775) and “The Indian Burying Ground” (1788). He was a favorite of Thomas Jefferson’s.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Fate of the 7 Days

“Monday’s child is full of face * Tuesday’s child is full of grace * Wednesday’s child is full of woe * Thursday’s child has far to go * Friday’s child is loving and giving * Saturday’s child  works hard for living * And the child that is born on the Sabbath day is bonny and blithe, good and gay

This poem was first printed in a collection of Devon folk-tales in 1838, though it had a widespread English oral tradition for many centuries before this, Should you recite it to a child who turns out to be born on a Wednesday, you should know that there is a useful version that swaps fates with Friday’s child. You can also, at will, exchange the Scot-sounding phrase of ‘bonny and blithe’ for ‘happy and wise.'”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

Delmira Agustini

Delmira Agustini: (1886-1914) Uruguayan poet. Together with Gabriela Mistral, Juana de Ibarbourou, Alfonsina Storni, and Dulce Maria Loynaz, Agustini is one of the key voices in the rich tradition of Spanish American poetry by women. Influenced by Ruben Dario’s Modernismo, her poetry is marked by sensuality and eroticism. Agustini published three collections of poetry: El libro blanco (1907); Cantos de la manana (1910); and Los calices vacios (1913). At the time of her death, she was working on Los astros del abismo (1954). Agustini’s biography has drawn almost as much attention as her writing. She was raised in cultivated and conventional surroundings in Montevideo, but was murdered by her estranged husband less than a year after their marriage.

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Annus Mirabilis

“A long poem (1997) by John Dryden (1631-1700). The annus mirabilis (wonderful year) was 1666, the year of the Fire of London and of continuing war with the Dutch. Queen Elizabeth II alluded to the phrase in a speech at the Guildhall, London, when she referred to 1992 and ‘annus horribilis’ (a coinage that had been suggested to her by a ‘sympathetic correspondent’); this was the year when fire caused extensive damage to the royal residence at Windsor Castle, Princess Anne was divorced, and the Duke of York separated from the Duchess of York, topless photos of whom appeared in the tabloids.”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.


synesthesia: A medical (or psychological) term describing the occurrence when stimulating one sense organ causes another to respond. It is as though in eating one were to receive strong visual sensations of color rather than, or along with, sensations of taste. As a literary device, synesthesia has been used in certain types of poetry of the 19th and 20th centuries, especially that of the Symbolists. Rimbaud’s “Sonnet des voyelles,” expressing the sounds of the common vowels in terms of colors, is an excellent use of this device.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

“When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloomed”

“An elegy on the death of President Abraham Lincoln (1809-65) by the US poet Walt Whitman (1819-92), published in 1865-6 and incorporated into Leaves of Grass in 1867. Lincoln was assassinated on the evening of 14 April 1865, and died the following morning. It was lilac time.

‘When lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed,

And the great star early drooped in the western sky in the night,

I mourned, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.’

There is a musical setting for soloists, chorus and orchestra (1970) by the US composer Roger Sessions (1896-1985). The US writer Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) entitled one of his early collections of poetry When Elephants Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d (1973).”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

A Learning Support on Poetry Terms

This short learning support on poetry terms is the last of the English Language Arts learning supports I have to publish for the time being. I expect, as I continue to teach, I’ll develop more of them. Maybe you can use this cogent explanation of basic terms of art in poetry.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.