Entries Tagged as 'Poetry'

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Aspects of Edward Lear (Part III)

‘Verily, I am an odd bird’, Lear once confessed. He was also a superb illustrator of odd birds, as his Illustrations of the Family of Psittacidae, or Parrots attests. Working from live models in the gardens of the newly established Zoological Society in London the 18-year-old Lear produced his book without any formal training, independent […]

Monday, January 15th, 2018

Aspects of Edward Lear (Part II)

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word backstories enters the language in 1982. But it would seem that Edward Lear invented the word over a century earlier (it appeared in his diary entry for 19 March 1876). The diaries themselves—a mixture of confession, bewilderment, recollection, and fantasy—contain a range of backstories that take us […]

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Aspects of Edward Lear (Part I)

Houghton Library at Harvard has an incomparable set of materials relating to Edward Lear—the largest, most diverse collection in the world: his natural history illustrations, thousands of landscape paintings, travel journals, diaries, letters, nonsense books and manuscripts, and personal documents including musical scores. This is the first of four blogs by Matthew Bevis, Professor of English Literature […]

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

In Memoriam: John Ashbery

John Ashbery is gone. A pivotal figure in 20th– and 21st-century literature, few poets have been as honored as he: recipient of the Bollingen Prize, the National Humanities Medal, a MacArthur “genius” grant, and numerous other awards. His 1975 collection, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, won the American book world’s triple crown: the Pulitzer Prize, […]

Friday, December 9th, 2016

Emily Dickinson’s Birthday Party: Cake, Hope & Camaraderie

Today at Houghton Library, we celebrated the birthday of Emily Dickinson a day before her actual birthday of December 10th with an inspiring gathering of colleagues, scholars and students, faculty and friends. A feature-focus of the party was the serving of Dickinson’s own black cake made by Houghton staff from the manuscript recipe in our […]

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Perhaps Silence Is More Decent: Thomas Merton at 100

January 31st marks the closing of the centenary of Thomas Merton’s birth. Merton is best known for his 1948 autobiography The Seven Story Mountain, which charted his trajectory from world citizen and aspiring literati to cloistered monk at the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in Kentucky. In addition to writing prose and poetry related […]

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Baking Emily Dickinson’s Black Cake

  The Emily Dickinson manuscripts are a cherished part of Houghton Library’s collections and while it is her poems and letters that are most often celebrated, we’ve lately been dwelling on the poet’s lesser known lines: “2 Butter. / 19 eggs. / 5 pounds Raisins.” Dickinson’s manuscript recipe for black cake, from which these lines come, was sent […]

Friday, July 17th, 2015

REEL WRITING podcast series

Reel Writing: Poems and prose off and on the tape reel, brought to you by Houghton Library and the Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard University, is a podcast series by Virginia Rose Marshall. Virginia is a recent graduate of Harvard University and one of the 2015 recipients of the Houghton Library Undergraduate Fellowship. Three episodes […]

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Ginsberg for sale

This post is part of an ongoing series featuring material from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection. The Beats continue their expansion onto Houghton’s shelves by means of Santo Domingo Collection accessioning; Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) is the most recent author to attain fuller representation in our catalog. Ginsberg books in the collection range from the slightest volume […]

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Re-Sounding Wallace Stevens

“It is/ A sound like any other. It will end,” writes Wallace Stevens in “It Must Change,” a sequence whose audible existence (at least as rendered in the poet’s voice) had until this Fall to a certain extent ceased. The lacquer microgroove disc of “It Must Change,” recorded 60 years ago this month, on October […]