Quote of the Week

“For winter’s rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten.
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.”

Algernon Charles Swinburne [1837-1909]

Atalanta in Calydon. Stanza 4.

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[Review] Whitman, Poetry and Prose by Walt Whitman

Publisher and Publication Date: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc. 1982.
Genre: Poetry.
Pages: 1407.
Format: Hardcover. Library binding.
Source: Public library.
Audience: Readers of poetry.
Rating: Very good to excellent.

Link for the e-book @ Amazon. The price is .99 cents on this date.

Walt Whitman’s Goodreads author page.

Further links:

Britanica.

Poetry Foundation.

LitPriest.

Summary:

A complete book with Walt Whitman’s poems, prose, essays, and letters.

Walt Whitman was born in 1819. He died in 1892.

He was an American poet of 19th century America.

Whitman wrote the famous, Leaves of Grass. This is the poem that is most affiliated with his name. He continued to add to and edit the Leaves of Grass poems. When they were first written, they were untitled. Later, he added titles.

My Thoughts:

Before reading, Whitman, Poetry and Prose, I’d heard of him, and I’d heard of the poetry collection, Leaves of Grass. This is the first time to read in any of his poems. So, I jumped into this chunkster book of Whitman’s writings with no previous knowledge.

Do I love his writing style? Yes.

Do I love his poems? Yes, but not all of them.

Do I feel he is unique or an important poet? Absolutely.

While reading, I wondered if I’d read another poet who writes in such a huge arena of different subject matters. I don’t think so.

Most poets have a certain type of poem they write. Their own voice speaking through the poems about what they love, or who they love, or nature, or fears and uncertainties, or a rich fantasy world.

Whitman writes about everything. I love this.

I kept a list of different topics. The list below are examples:

  1. Soldiers.
  2. Tears.
  3. Ships.
  4. Beaches.
  5. People. People of various skin color and personalities and cultures; a community of people.
  6. A hand mirror.
  7. Memories of President Lincoln.
  8. Compost.
  9. Ireland.
  10. A prison.
  11. A Prostitute.
  12. India.
  13. Faces of various types.
  14. Friendship.

I love his writing style. He is independent. He speaks with transparency. He ponders things. There is a fluidness and freedom, intelligence; and his poems are inspiring.

A couple of favorites:

Song of Myself pages 188 to 247.

“Ashes of Soldiers.” Pages 598-600.

[Review] The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrun by J. R. R. Tolkien

Publisher and Publication Date: Mariner Books. First Mariner edition 2010. First published 2009.
Genre: Fantasy fiction. Poetry.
Pages: 381.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Self-purchase.
Audience: Tolkien readers. Readers of myths and legends. Readers of Old Norse poetry.
Rating: Very good.

Link for the book @ Amazon.

J. R. R. Tolkien Goodreads author page.

The Tolkien Estate, the official site.

This link is to read an article about Tolkien from the Smithsonian Magazine: How J. R. R. Tolkien Came to Write the Stories of The Rings of Power.

Summary:

The Legend of Sigurd & Gudrun is Tolkien’s version of ancient Dane stories. The Danes were an ancient Northern Germanic people who lived in what we now call the modern countries of Denmark and the southernmost area of Sweden. Their time period is roughly 500 BC to 1050 AD.

His story is told in two poems. Lay of the Völsungs. Lay of Gudrún.

These poems are from the heroic age of Vikings, after 700 AD.

They are in verse form, an old 8-line stanza. And each line is 3 to 4 words.

Even though there are old sources that these new poems loosely came from, it is stated in the Foreword: “He scarcely ever (to my knowledge) referred to them.” This book of Tolkien’s’ poems is not to be thought as “translations” of the previous. They are new. Tolkien called them “New Lays.” Tolkien possibly wrote them in the 1930s.

My Thoughts:

Reading through the book is the easy part. Understanding what I have read is difficult because I have little knowledge of Dane history, culture, society, and literature. I focused on reading for pleasure. I have since reread the Foreword and Introduction and this has helped. In addition, there is a commentary chapter after each of the two poems. My advice is to read these features.

I feel like I’ve been on an adventure reading these two poems.

The poems are dramatic, masculine, vivid, physical, and haunting. The words in the poems are purposeful in carrying the serious dark nature of their world.

I don’t consider the poems to be ethereal or romantic.

The poems are not to be compared to Tolkien’s well-known Lord of the Rings books.

Some of my favorite lines are in reference to the dragon, Fafnir. I love reading about dragons!

I believe this is a perfect book to read aloud. I’d love to hear it read through Audible.

Themes in the poems are injustice, betrayal, death, marriage, courage, and bravery.