Poetry

Emily Dickinson – ‘I Can Wade Grief’ (1862)

Emily Dickinson was born on 10 December 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts, the town where she would live the duration of her life. She attended Amherst Academy, newly opened to female students, for seven years, punctuated briefly by spells of illness and a stay in Boston in the aftermath of the death of her cousin, Sophia Holland. In her teens she…

The Early Poetry of Mina Loy

When the first issue of Others: A Magazine of the New Verse appeared in July 1915 – a new venture out of New Jersey headed by the poet and editor Alfred Kreymborg – it featured four short ‘Love Songs’ by Mina Loy. Loy at the time was lingering in Florence. Born as Mina Löwy on 27 December 1882 in London, her…

Fyodor Sologub – ‘At Times There Comes a Strange Smell Wafting’

Fyodor Sologub – ‘At Times There Comes a Strange Smell Wafting’

Fyodor Sologub was born Fyodor Kuzmich Teternikov on 1 March, 1863, in Saint Petersburg. Accounts of his father’s life evoke Gogol’s The Overcoat and Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, for Kuzma Afanasyevich Teternikov was a shoemaker and tailor, and apparently the illegitimate son of a local landowner. When Kuzma Afanasyevich died in 1867, Fyodor’s mother became a domestic servant, and Fyodor…

Rabindranath Tagore, E. E. Cummings; Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Björk

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was a Bengali polymath, best known as a poet. Born in Calcutta – then part of the Bengal Presidency, and the capital city of British India – Rabindranath was the youngest child of Debendranath Tagore, the first leader of the Brahmo Samaj, a religious and social reform movement prominent in the development of the Bengal Renaissance. The Brahmo…

Pierrot Through the Arts: The Cultural History of a Sad Clown

Pierrot, the sad clown, with white face and loose white blouse, expressing slowly and subtly and in the absence of and beyond words, emerged in the nineteenth century from his roots in stock comedies and pantomimes to become the embodiment of a certain artistic type, a specific strain of artistic emotion: sensitive, melancholy and solitary, and at once playful and…

Alexander Blok – ‘Night, street, street-light, drugstore’ (1912)

Alexander Blok (Александр Блок) (1880-1921) was the foremost of the Russian Symbolists, who changed the face of Russian letters from the late 1890s through until the Russian Revolution, leading Russian literature into a ‘Silver Age’ after the great works of the previous century. Chekhov died in 1904, and Tolstoy, over thirty years his senior, not until 1910. Tolstoy published his…

‘Silentium!’ by Fyodor Tyutchev

‘Silentium!’ by Fyodor Tyutchev

Silentium! Speak not, lie hidden, and conceal the way you dream, the things you feel. Deep in your spirits let them rise akin to stars in crystal skies that set before the night is blurred: delight in them and speak no word. – How can a heart expression find? How should another know your mind? Will he discern what quickens…