William Butler Yeats photographed in 1903 by Alice Boughton
by Abraham Lincoln
My childhood home I see again, And sadden with the view; And still, as memory crowds my brain, There's pleasure in it too. O Memory! thou midway world 'Twixt earth and paradise, Where things decayed and loved ones lost In dreamy shadows rise, And, freed from all that's earthly vile, Seem hallowed, pure, and bright, Like scenes in some enchanted isle All bathed in liquid light. As dusky mountains please the eye When twilight chases day; As bugle-notes that, passing by, In distance die away; As leaving some grand waterfall, We, lingering, list its roar— So memory will hallow all We've known, but know no more. Near twenty years have passed away Since here I bid farewell To woods and fields, and scenes of play, And playmates loved so well. Where many were, but few remain Of old familiar things; But seeing them, to mind again The lost and absent brings. The friends I left that parting day, How changed, as time has sped! Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray, And half of all are dead. I hear the loved survivors tell How nought from death could save, Till every sound appears a knell, And every spot a grave. I range the fields with pensive tread, And pace the hollow rooms, And feel (companion of the dead) I'm living in the tombs. Source: Poem-A-Day from the Academy of American Poets.
I really like this.
1. It hurts to love someone and not be loved in return. But what is more painful is to love someone and never find the courage to let that person know how you feel.
2. A sad thing in life is when you meet someone who means a lot to you, only to find out in the end that it was never meant to be and you just have to let go.
3. The best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had.
4. It’s true that we don’t know what we’ve got until we lose it, but it’s also true that we don’t know what we’ve been missing until it arrives.
5. It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone-but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.
6. Don’t go for looks, they can deceive. Don’t go for wealth, even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day
7. Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be. Because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.
8. Always put yourself in the other’s shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the person too.
9. A careless word may kindle strife. A cruel word may wreck a life. A timely word may level stress. But a loving word may heal and bless.
10. The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.
11. Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, ends with a tear. When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die,
you’re the one smiling and everyone around you is crying.
(Courtesy of Board of Wisdom)
Expect nothing. Live frugally
become a stranger
To need of pity
Or, if compassion be freely
Take only enough
Stop short of urge to plead
Then purge away the need.
Wish for nothing larger
Than your own small heart
Or greater than a star;
Tame wild disappointment
With caress unmoved and cold
Make of it a parka
For your soul.
Discover the reason why
So tiny human midget
Exists at all
So scared unwise
But expect nothing. Live frugally
Walker was born in Putnam County, Georgia, the youngest of eight children, to Willie Lee Walker and Minnie Lou Tallulah Grant. Her father, who was, in her words, “wonderful at math but a terrible farmer,” earned only $300 ($4,000 in 2013 dollars) a year from sharecropping and dairy farming. Her mother supplemented the family income by working as a maid. She worked 11 hours a day for USD $17 per week to help pay for Alice to attend college.
Living under Jim Crow laws, Walker’s parents resisted landlords who expected the children of black sharecroppers to work the fields at a young age. A white plantation owner said to her that black people had “no need for education”. Minnie Lou Walker said, “You might have some black children somewhere, but they don’t live in this house. Don’t you ever come around here again talking about how my children don’t need to learn how to read and write.” Her mother enrolled Alice in first grade at the age of four.
Growing up with an oral tradition, listening to stories from her grandfather (the model for the character of Mr. in The Color Purple), Walker began writing, very privately, when she was eight years old. “With my family, I had to hide things,” she said. “And I had to keep a lot in my mind.”
In 1952, Walker was accidentally wounded in the right eye by a shot from a BB gun fired by one of her brothers. In 2013, on BBC Radio’s Desert Island Discs, she said the act was actually deliberate but she agreed to protect her brother against their parents’ anger if they knew the truth. Because the family had no car, the Walkers could not take their daughter to a hospital for immediate treatment. By the time they reached a doctor a week later, she had become permanently blind in that eye. When a layer of scar tissue formed over her wounded eye, Alice became self-conscious and painfully shy. Stared at and sometimes taunted, she felt like an outcast and turned for solace to reading and to writing poetry. When she was 14, the scar tissue was removed. She later became valedictorian and was voted most-popular girl, as well as queen of her senior class, but she realized that her traumatic injury had some value: it allowed her to begin “really to see people and things, really to notice relationships and to learn to be patient enough to care about how they turned out”.
After high school, Walker went to Spelman College in Atlanta on a full scholarship in 1961 and later transferred to Sarah Lawrence College near New York City, graduating in 1965. Walker became interested in the U.S. civil rights movement in part due to the influence of activist Howard Zinn, who was one of her professors at Spelman College. Continuing the activism that she participated in during her college years, Walker returned to the South where she became involved with voter registration drives, campaigns for welfare rights, and children’s programs in Mississippi.
On March 17, 1967, she married Melvyn Roseman Leventhal. She worked as writer in residence at Jackson State College (1968–1969) and Tougaloo College (1970–1971) and was a black history consultant to the Friends of the Children of Mississippi Head Start program.
Novels and short story collections
Writer, Poet, Activist and Educator MY HOUSE i only want to be there to kiss you as you want to be kissed when you need to be kissed where i want to kiss you cause its my house and i plan to live in it i really need to hug you when i want to hug you as you like to hug me does this sound like a silly poem i mean its my house and i want to fry pork chops and bake sweet potatoes and call them yams cause i run the kitchen and i can stand the heat i spent all winter in carpet stores gathering patches so i could make a quilt does this really sound like a silly poem i mean i want to keep you warm and my windows might be dirty but its my house and if i can't see out sometimes they can't see in either english isn't a good language to express emotion through mostly i imagine because people try to speak english instead of trying to speak through it i don't know maybe it is a silly poem i'm saying it's my house and i'll make fudge and call it love and touch my lips to the chocolate warmth and smile at old men and call it revolution cause what's real is really real and i still like men in tight pants cause everybody has some thing to give and more important need something to take and this is my house and you make me happy so this is your poem
Nikki Giovanni was born June 7, 1943 in Knoxville, Tennessee, to Yolande Cornelia, Sr. and Jones “Gus” Giovanni. She grew up in Lincoln Heights, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio, and in 1960 began her studies at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, her grandfather’s alma mater. She graduated in 1967 with honors, receiving a B.A. in history. Afterward she went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University.
In 1969 Giovanni began teaching at Livingston College of Rutgers University, and since 1987, she has taught writing and literature at Virginia Tech, where she is a University Distinguished Professor. She has received nineteen honorary doctorates and other awards, including “Woman of the Year” awards from three different magazines as well as the key to several different cities. She is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star (PHA), and an Honorary Member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
Giovanni taught the Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho in a poetry class. She described him as “mean” and “menacing”, when she approached the department chair to have Cho taken out of her class, and said she was willing to resign rather than continue teaching him. She stated that, upon hearing of the shooting, she immediately suspected that Cho might be the shooter. On April 16, 2007, at the Virginia Tech Convocation commemorating the April 16 Virginia Tech massacre, Giovanni closed the ceremony with a chant poem, intoning:
We know we did nothing to deserve it. But neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS. Neither do the invisible children walking the night awake to avoid being captured by a rogue army. Neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory. Neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water…We are Virginia Tech…We will prevail.
On August 21, 2007, The Tennessean reported that Giovanni is returning to her alma mater as a distinguished visiting professor at Fisk University.
The civil rights and black power movements inspired her early poetry that was collected in Black Feeling, Black Talk (1967), Black Judgement (1968), and Re: Creation (1970). She has since written more than two dozen books, including volumes of poetry, illustrated children’s books, and three collections of essays. Her writing has been heavily inspired by African-American activists and artists.
Her book Love Poems (1997) was written in memory of Tupac Shakur and she has stated that she would “rather be with the thugs than the people who are complaining about them.”
Giovanni tours nationwide and frequently speaks out against hate-motivated violence.
At a 1999 Martin Luther King Day event, she recalled the 1998 murders of James Byrd, Jr. and Matthew Shepard: “What’s the difference between dragging a black man behind a truck in Jasper, Texas, and beating a white boy to death in Wyoming because he’s gay?”
Those Who Ride the Night Winds (1983) acknowledged black figures. Giovanni collected her essays in the 1988 volume Sacred Cows … and Other Edibles. Some of her more recent works include Acolytes, a collection of eighty new poems, and On My Journey Now. Acolytes is her first published volume since her 2003 Collected Poems. It tones down the militant, edgy conscience for which Giovanni is known and portrays her softer, more nostalgic side. The work is a celebration of love and recollection directed at friends and loved ones and it recalls memories of nature, theater, and the glories of children. However, Giovanni’s fiery persona still remains a constant undercurrent in Acolytes, as some of the most serious verse link her own life struggles (being a black woman and a cancer survivor) to the wider frame of African-American history and the continual fight for equality.
Giovanni’s collection, Bicycles: Love Poems (2009), is a companion work to her 1997 Love Poems. They touch on the deaths of both her mother and her sister, as well as the massacre on the Virginia Tech campus. Giovanni chose the title of the collection as a metaphor for love itself, “because love requires trust and balance.” The work portrays her life as it spins out of control and love, which she prescribes as the antidote. The poems come alive with her warmth and authenticity, a stark foil to the militant, edgy work that laid a path towards becoming one of the prominent voices of the black community.
In 2004, Giovanni was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album at the 46th Annual Grammy Awards for her album The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection. She also featured on the track “Ego Trip By Nikki Giovanni” on Blackalicious‘s 2000 album Nia. In November 2008, a song cycle of her poems, Sounds That Shatter the Staleness in Lives by Adam Hill, was premiered as part of the Soundscapes Chamber Music Series in Taos, New Mexico.She was commissioned by National Public Radio’s.
All Things Considered to create an inaugural poem for President Barack Obama. Giovanni read poetry at the Lincoln Memorial as a part of the bicentennial celebration of Lincoln’s birth on February 12, 2009.
Black Feeling, Black Talk (1967)
Black Judgement (1968)
Re: Creation (1970)
My House (1972)
The Women and The Men (1975)
Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day (1978)
Those Who Ride The Night Winds (1983)
Knoxville, Tennessee (1994)
The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni (1996)
Love Poems (1997)
Blues: For All the Changes (1999)
Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea: Poems and Not Quite Poems (2002)
The Prosaic Soul of Nikki Giovanni (2003)
The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni (2003)
Bicycles: Love Poems (2009) (William Morrow)
A Dialogue with James Baldwin (1973)
Rosa with Bryan Collier (2005)
Harlem Stomp!: A Cultural History of the Harlem Renaissance with Laban Carrick (2009)
Spin a Soft Black Song (1971)
Ego-Tripping and Other Poems For Young People (1973)
Vacation Time: Poems for Children (1980)
The Genie in The Jar (1996)
The Sun Is So Quiet (1996)
The Girls in the Circle (Just for You!) (2004)
Poetry Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat (2005) [advisory editor]
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley (August 23, 1849 – July 11, 1903) was a British poet, critic and editor.
Henley was born in Gloucester and educated at the Crypt Grammar School. The school was a poor relation of the Cathedral School, and Henley indicated its shortcomings in his article (Pall Mall Magazine, Nov. 1900) on T. E. Brown the poet, who was headmaster there for a brief period. Brown’s appointment was a stroke of luck for Henley, for whom it represented a first acquaintance with a man of genius. “He was singularly kind to me at a moment when I needed kindness even more than I needed encouragement.” Brown did him the essential service of lending him books. Henley was no classical scholar, but his knowledge and love of literature were vital.
After suffering tuberculosis as a boy, he found himself, in 1874, aged twenty-five, an inmate of the hospital at Edinburgh. From there he sent to the Cornhill Magazine where he wrote poems in irregular rhythms, describing with poignant force his experiences in hospital. Leslie Stephen, then editor, visited his contributor in hospital and took Robert Louis Stevenson, another recruit of the Cornhill, with him. The meeting between Stevenson and Henley, and the friendship of which it was the beginning, form one of the best-known episodes in English literature (see Stevenson’s letter to Mrs Sitwell, Jan. 1875, and Henley’s poems “An Apparition” and “Envoy to Charles Baxter”).
In 1877 Henley went to London and began his editorial career by editing London, a journal written for the sake of its contributors rather than the public. Among other distinctions it first gave to the world The New Arabian Nights of Stevenson. Henley himself contributed a series of verses chiefly in old French forms. He had been writing poetry since 1872, but (so he told the world in his “ advertisement” to his collected Poems, 1898) he “found himself about 1877 so utterly unmarketable that he had to own himself beaten in art and to addict himself to journalism for the next ten years.” When London folded, he edited the Magazine of Art from 1882 to 1886. At the end of that period he came into the public eye as a poet. In 1887 Gleeson White made for the popular series of Canterbury Poets (edited by William Sharp) a selection of poems in old French forms. In his selection Gleeson White included many pieces from London, and only after completing the selection did he discover that the verses were all by Henley. In the following year, HB Donkin in his volume Voluntaries, written for an East End hospital, included Henley’s unrhymed rhythms quintessentializing the poet’s memories of the old Edinburgh Infirmary. Alfred Nutt read these, and asked for more; and in 1888 his firm published A Book of Verse.
Henley was by this time well known within a restricted literary circle, and the publication of this volume determined his fame as a poet, which rapidly outgrew these limits, two new editions of the volume being printed within three years. In this same year (1888) Fitzroy Bell started the Scots Observer in Edinburgh, with Henley as literary editor, and early in 1889 Bell left the conduct of the paper to him. It was a weekly review on the lines of the old Saturday Review, but inspired in every paragraph by the vigorous and combative personality of the editor. It was transferred to London as the National Observer, and remained under Henley’s editorship until 1893. Though, as Henley confessed, the paper had almost as many writers as readers, and its fame was mainly confined to the literary class, it was a lively and influential feature of the literary life of its time. Henley had the editor’s great gift of discerning promise, and the “Men of the Scots Observer,” as Henley affectionately and characteristically called his band of contributors, in most instances justified his insight. The paper found utterance for the growing imperialism of its day, and among other services to literature gave to the world Rudyard Kipling’s Barrack-Room Ballads.