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William Blake

Songs of Innocence and Experience, by William Blake, introduction by Richard Holmes

William Blake was that rare thing, a great artist who was as much poet as painter, as much illustrator as writer. He was a visionary who created his own mythology, wrote satires, prophecies, epics and children’s rhymes, and made hand-colored illustrated books that remain admired icons of the two arts centuries after his death.

More on Blake:
Poetry Spotlight10

Spring Into Summer: A Roundup of Poetry Contest Deadlines

Wednesday April 16, 2014

Spring is officially here, “Sumer Is Icumen In,” and with the passing seasons comes a new round of poetry competitions. Poets who’ve been working on a manuscript may be interested in the book and chapbook publication competitions, and those who have their eye on publication in a journal or periodical will want to enter the single poem competitions. Whichever route you choose, it’s time to gather your stamps and envelopes, or go for the contests that accept online entries—you’ll notice that many of the contests on this list will take submissions either way.

Required reading before you submit to any contests:
What’s Really Wrong with Poetry Book Contests?,” by David Alpaugh
How to Put Together a Poetry Manuscript for Publication
A Word To the Wise: On Entering Your Poems in Competition,” by Kurt Heintz
You Do It Because You Love It,” by S.A. Griffin

More contest links

Letís get silly: Limericks!

Friday April 11, 2014

Sometimes the point of a poem is just to have fun with words—that’s why they call it word-play! Among the kinds of poem defined in our Glossary of Poetic Forms is that most beloved of nonsense poems, the limerick. We have a self-illustrated selection of Edward Lear’s limericks and links to the best places to find more limericks around the Net—have fun!

Open Mic, Spoken Word - Performance Poetry Definitions and How-Tos

Thursday April 10, 2014

Poems are coming to life in performance all over the US this National Poetry Month, and if you’re looking for the definitions of the New Performance Poetry, this is the place ask your Poetry Guide Bob Holman. See his manifesto “Open Mic: Definitions, Rules, Etiquette, Irony.” The poetry open mic is “a meta-metaphor for freedom, a place where your art can be presented to the public at large,” a place where “all humans are created equal—so long as you don’t go over the time limit!” Our archive of articles on poetry slam, spoken word, and the late 20th century performance poetry renaissance is a historical treasure trove.

Then if you want further definitions from the younger generation, Eman’s the one to ask: she was just 16 and already hosting two weekly open mics when we interviewed her in the millennium year, “HipHop, Performance Poetry, Spoken Word, Slam: Definitions from a Teenager.”

And then it will be time to get out there and join in the fun—an endeavor for which you might want to consult our performance poetry how-tos:

Sonnets: The Universe in 14 Lines

Saturday April 5, 2014

Sonnets come in many flavors—originating in medieval Italian, the sonnet has captured the imagination of poets all over the world, who have adapted the form to many different languages. The first sonnets were lyrics addressed to the poet’s beloved—like Shakespeare’s “Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?” or later, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” But it turns out this 14-line structure can accommodate a great variety of poetic worlds, and if you read through the chronologically indexed poems in our collection of sonnets, you will see some of this amazing variation. In the collection is a sonnet addressing Death, John Donne’s “Death Be Not Proud”... a sonnet describing a literary encounter with greatness, John Keats’ “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer”... a sonnet addressing the American symbol of immigration, the Statue of Liberty, Emma Lazarus’ The New Colossus”... a sonnet on a warrior’s death on foreign soil, Rupert Brooke’s “The Soldier”... Gerard Manley Hopkins’ inimitable sonnet containing “God’s Grandeur”... and Robert Frost’s odd sonnet of 20th century urban loneliness, “Acquainted with the Night”... what a magnificently flexible form of poem this is!

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