Parnassian Moments 31 October: John Keats

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John Keats

John Keats

 

Poet: John Keats

Dates: 31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821

Nationality: English

Title of Poem: Ode To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimmed their clammy cell.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir, the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

 

Brief Biography: Keats was a poet. He was a central figure of the second generation of of Romantic poets alongside Shelley and Byron. Keats’ work was in publication just four years before his death but by the end of the 19th Century he was one of England’s best loved poets.

Parnassian Moments 30 October: Ezra Weston Loomis Pound

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Ezra Weston Loomis Pound

Ezra Weston Loomis Pound

 

Poet: Ezra Weston Loomis Pound

Dates: 30 October 1885 – 1 November 1972

Nationality: American

Title of Poem: The Three Poets

Candidia has taken a new lover
And three poets are gone into mourning.
The first has written a long elegy to ‘Chloris’,
To ‘Chloris chaste and cold,’ his ‘only Chloris’.
The second has written a sonnet
upon the mutability of woman,
And the third writes an epigram to Candidia.

 

Brief Biography: Pound was a poet and critic. He was a major figure of the Modernist Movement. Pound’s poetry was development of Imagism, a movement derived from classical Chinese and Japanese poetry.

Artistic Memories 29 October: Ronald Brooks Kitaj

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Ronald Brooks Kitaj

Ronald Brooks Kitaj

 

Artist: Ronald Brooks Kitaj

Dates: 29 October 1932 – 21 October 2007

Nationality: American

Title of Piece: The Autumn of Central Paris

The Autumn of Central Paris by Ronald Brooks Kitaj

The Autumn of Central Paris by Ronald Brooks Kitaj

Brief Biography: Kitaj was an artist. He was a significant influence in Pop Art.

Artistic Memories 28 October: William Dobson

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William Dobson

William Dobson

 

Artist: William Dobson

Dates: 24 February 1611 – 28 October 1646

Nationality: English

Title of Piece: Portrait of James Graham

Portrait of James Graham by William Dobson

Portrait of James Graham by William Dobson

 

Brief Biography: Dobson was a portraitist influenced by Venetian art. He was serjeant painter to King Charles I and a lord of the privy chamber. Until the civil war and Oxford falling to the Parliamentarians Dobson made a modest living with his art.

Literary Memories 28 October: Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh

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Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh

Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh

 

Author: Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh

Dates: 28 October 1903 – 10 April 1966

Nationality: English

Title of Book: Decline and Fall

Little suspecting the incalculable consequences that the evening was to have for him, he bicycled happily back from a meeting of the League of Nations Union. There had been a most interesting paper about plebiscites in Poland. He thought of smoking a pipe and reading another chapter of the Forsyte Saga before going to bed. He knocked at the gate, was admitted, put away his bicycle, and diffidently, as always, made his way across the quad to his rooms. Paul had no particular objection to drunkenness – he had read a rather daring paper to the Thomas More Society on the subject – but he was consumedly shy of drunkards.

Out of the night Lumsden of Strathdrummond swayed across his path like a druidical rocking-stone. Paul tried to pass.

Now it so happened that the tie of Paul’s old school bore a marked resemblance to the plae blue and white of the Bollinger Club. The difference of a quarter of an inch in the width of the stripes was not on that Lumsden of Strathdrummond was likely to appreciate.

‘here’s an awful man wearing the Boller tie,; said the Laird. It was not for nothing that since pre-Christian times his family had exercised chieftainship over unchartered miles of barren moorland.

Mr Sniggs was looking rather apprehensively at Mr Postlethwaite.

‘They appear to have caught somebody,’ he said. ‘I hope they don’t do him any serious harm.’

 

Brief Biography: Waugh was a writer of novels, biographies and travel books. He is recognised as one of the great prose stylists of English language of the 20th Century.

Parnassian Moments 28 October: Edward James “Ted” Hughes

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Edward James (Ted) Hughes

Edward James (Ted) Hughes

 

Poet: Edward James “Ted” Hughes

Dates: 17 August 1930 – 28 October 1998

Nationality: English

Title of Poem: Lovesong

He loved her and she loved him
His kisses sucked out her whole past and future or tried to
He had no other appetite
She bit him she gnawed him she sucked
She wanted him complete inside her
Safe and sure forever and ever
Their little cries fluttered into the curtains

Her eyes wanted nothing to get away
Her looks nailed down his hands his wrists his elbows
He gripped her hard so that life
Should not drag her from that moment
He wanted all future to cease
He wanted to topple with his arms round her
Off that moment’s brink and into nothing
Or everlasting or whatever there was
Her embrace was an immense press
To print him into her bones
His smiles were the garrets of a fairy palace
Where the real world would never come
Her smiles were spider bites
So he would lie still till she felt hungry
His words were occupying armies
Her laughs were an assassin’s attempts
His looks were bullets daggers of revenge
Her glances were ghosts in the corner with horrible secrets
His whispers were whips and jackboots
Her kisses were lawyers steadily writing
His caresses were the last hooks of a castaway
Her love-trick were the grinding of locks
And their deep cries crawled over the floors
Like an animal dragging a great trap.

 

 

Brief Biography: Hughes was a poet and author. He is ranked as one of the best poets of his generation. Hughes was Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in 1998.

Flashbacks of Rock and Pop 27 October: Lewis Allan “Lou” Reed

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Lewis Allan (Lou) Reed

Lewis Allan (Lou) Reed

 

Artist: Lewis Allan “Lou” Reed

Dates: 2 March 1942 – 27 October 2013

Nationality: American

Title of Song: Perfect Day

Brief Biography: Reed was a guitarist, singer and songwriter. In the 1960s he was the guitarist and principal songwriter for The Velvet Underground. As a teenager Reed received electroconvulsive therapy with the intent on curing his bisexuality; it didn’t! He was also a long term supporter of the Free Tibet movement.

 

Parnassian Moments 27 October: Sylvia Plath

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Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath

 

Poet: Sylvia Plath

Dates: 27 October 1932 – 11 February 1963

Nationality: American

Title of Poem: Dark Wood, Dark Water

This wood burns a dark
Incense. Pale moss drips
In elbow-scarves, beards

From the archaic
Bones of the great trees.
Blue mists move over

A lake thick with fish.
Snails scroll the border
Of the glazed water

With coils of ram’s-horn.
Out in the open
Down there the late year

Hammers her rare and
Various metals.
Old pewter roots twist

Up from the jet-backed
Mirror of water
And while the air’s clear

Hourglass sifts a
Drift of goldpieces
Bright waterlights are

Sliding their quoits one
After the other
Down boles of the fir.

 

Brief Biography: Plath was a poet, novelist and short-story writer. She is credited with the advancement of the confessional poetry genre. Plath was married to the poet Ted Hughes.

Parnassian Moments 26 October: Andrew Motion

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Andrew Motion

Andrew Motion

 

Poet: Andrew Motion

Dates: 26 October 1952

Nationality:  English

Title of Poem: A Glass of Wine

Exactly as the setting sun
clips the heel of the garden,

exactly as a pigeon
roosting tries to sing
and ends up moaning,

exactly as the ping
of someone’s automatic carlock
dies into a flock
of tiny echo-aftershocks,

a shapely hand of cloud
emerges from the crowd
of airy nothings that the wind allowed
to tumble over us all day
and points the way

towards its own decay
but not before
a final sunlight-shudder pours
away across our garden-floor

so steadily, so slow
it shows you everything you need to know
about this glass I’m holding out to you,

its open eye
enough to bear the whole weight of the sky.

 

Brief Biography: Motion is a poet, novelist and biographer. He was UK Poet Laureate from 1999 – 2009.

Artistic Memories 25 October: Pablo Ruiz y Picasso

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Pablo Ruiz y Picasso

Pablo Ruiz y Picasso

 

Artist: Pablo Ruiz y Picasso

Dates: 25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973

Nationality: Spanish

Title of Piece: Les Noces de Pierrette

Les Noces de Pierrette by Pablo Ruiz y Picasso

Les Noces de Pierrette by Pablo Ruiz y Picasso

Brief Biography: Picasso was a painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and designer. A founder of the Cubist Movement he is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th Century.

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