poetry

Orlando Furioso in English Heroical Verse, by Sir John Harington (1607)

The Italian poet Ludovico Ariosto’s epic Orlando Furioso first appeared in print exactly 500 years ago. Taking inspiration from the French Chanson de Roland, Ariosto recounted the fantastic adventures of one of Charlemagne’s knights, Roland (Orlando) and his associates. The main stories concern Orlando, who has been driven mad by his unrequited love for the... more

Poetry Month: A Celebration of W. B. Yeats

ZSR Special Collections & Archives will celebrate Poetry Month on Thursday, April 16 with a special Library Lecture event. In coordination with the current Special Collections exhibit, W.B. Yeats and his Books, Dr. Jeff Holdridge of the Wake Forest English Department will give a talk entitled “The Sterner Eye:  Yeats and the Inhuman.” The lecture... more

W.B. Yeats and His Books

2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of William Butler Yeats, one of the most important and influential literary figures of the 20th century. In celebration of the Yeats sesquicentennial, Z. Smith Reynolds Library’s Special Collections department has opened an exhibit of materials from its extensive Yeats collection. William Butler Yeats was born in... more

18 Poems, by Dylan Thomas (1934)

You asked me to tell you about my theory of poetry. Really I haven’t got one. I like things that are difficult to write and difficult to understand; I like “redeeming the contraries” with secretive images; I like contradicting my images, saying two things at once in one word, four in two words and one... more

Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, by Robert Burns (1787)

In December of 1786 a young country poet from the west of Scotland traveled to Edinburgh. Robert Burns hoped to drum up support for a second edition of the collection of poems that he had recently published by subscription in Kilmarnock. On 6 December Burns wrote to a friend I have now been a week... more

Death of a Naturalist, by Seamus Heaney (1966)

When poet Seamus Heaney died last month at age 74, obituaries hailed him as the greatest Irish poet since William Butler Yeats. The New York Times noted that Heaney, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, was renowned for work that powerfully evoked the beauty and blood that together have come to define... more

Louis MacNeice in Special Collections

Wake Forest University Press has recently released the American edition of Louis MacNeice‘s Collected Poems.  MacNeice’s poetry is experiencing something a renaissance, after spending several decades in the shadow of  W. H. Auden. As New York Times poetry critic David Orr observed in his review of this new collected edition, [MacNeice’s] reputation has been steadily... more

Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman (1855)

We have yet had no genius in America, with tyrannous eye, which knew the value of our incomparable materials, and saw, in the barbarism and materialism of the times, another carnival of the same gods whose picture he so much admires in Homer; then in the middle age; then in Calvinism. . . .Yet America... more

The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot, published at the Hogarth Press

T. S. Eliot’s bleak “anti-epic” The Waste Land is considered by many to be the most influential poetic work of the twentieth century. It was first published in book form by the New York firm Boni and Liveright in 1922, but Eliot offered the first British edition to Leonard and Virginia Woolf. The Woolfs had... more

Paradise Lost, 1669

The first issue of John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost appeared in 1667. The anti-royalist Milton, blind and near sixty years old, had fallen on hard times in Restoration England, but Paradise Lost fit the apocalyptic mood of a nation that had recently suffered an outbreak of plague, the great fire of London, and defeat... more