poems

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1648 – 1695), born in San Miguel Nepantla, Mexico, was and remains one of the towering figures of the Spanish Golden Age. A child prodigy with a wide-ranging grasp of literature, languages, science and music, she was famed for her learning and intelligence, as well as her beauty, but choices were limited in New Spain for a woman who wished above all to dedicate her life to scholarship and writing.

 

Tove Ditlevsen

Tove Ditlevsen (1917 – 1976) was a Danish author of deeply personal and heartfelt stories, novels and memoirs, though she considered herself primarily a poet. Married four times, she struggled with substance abuse and mental illness throughout her life. She committed suicide in 1976

 

 

Gaius Valerius Catullus

Gaius Valerius Catullus (c. 84 BC – 54 BC) was a Latin poet of the late Roman Republic whose work had a profound influence on later Latin poets, including Ovid, Horace, and Virgil. Approximately 116 of Catullus’s often-translated poems have survived.

 

 

Miguel de Unamuno

Miguel de Unamuno (1864 – 1936) was one of the most important intellectuals in Spanish history. Born of Basque parents, Unamuno was a distinguished philosopher, author, and educator. He received his doctorate in philosophy at the University of Madrid and eventually became a professor of Greek language and literature at the University of Salamanca, where he would later serve two terms as rector of the university. The author of numerous books and treatises, Unamuno’s creative writings included novels, plays, short stories, and poems.

 

 

Fernando Pessoa

Fernando Pessoa (1888 – 1935) is generally acknowledged as Portugal’s most distinguished and influential poet of the Twentieth Century. Pessoa published his poems under various heteronyms (alter egos with distinctive names and poetic styles). “Autopsicografia,” one of Pessoa’s most translated poems, was written under his own name, which was itself a kind of heteronym.

 

 

Paul Valéry

Paul Valéry (1871 – 1942) was born in Sète on the Mediterranean. As a young man he wrote poems, painted, and was drawn to music and architecture. He studied law, mathematics, and physics at the University of Montpellier before moving to Paris, where his work was noticed by the Symbolist poets of the 1890s. However, searching for a greater understanding of the intellectual and emotional functions of the mind, he withdrew from writing poems for twenty years.

 

Euripides

Euripides (480 BC – 406 BC) was the youngest of the three great Athenian tragedians whose work survives. From the voluminous number of tragedies these three playwrights produced, we have seven apiece by Aeschylus and Sophocles, and eighteen or nineteen by Euripides, who was called in antiquity the most tragic of the tragic poets, and of whom it was also said that he showed people not as they ought to be but as they are. Some of the ancient references to Euripides, while they can’t be substantiated, give a vivid sense of the nature and popularity of his art.

 

Delmira Agustini

Delmira Agustini was born on October 24, 1886, in Montevideo, Uruguay. She began to publish her work at an early age, and in her short life published three volumes of poetry: El libro blanco (Frágil) [The White Book—Fragile] (1907), Cantos de la mañana [Morning Songs] (1910), and Los calices vacíos [The Empty Chalices] (1913). An early modernista, Agustini was influenced both by the French Parnassians and the French symbolists.

 

Horace

Horace (65 BC – 8 BC) was a Roman lyrical poet of satire and historical/pastoral odes. Son of a freedman, eventually he became close friends with Virgil. His famous Ars poetica has been an abc of poetry practice and criticism. He was given a farm near Tivoli, and there he wrote his pastoral and other poems. His main works are his Satires, Odes, Epodes, and Epistles. His Ars suggests that a poet should read widely, and be precise and plain in thought and speech. His influence has been enormous on Pope, Ben Jonson, Auden, and Frost.

 

François Villon

François Villon (1431 – c. 1463) was born François Montcorbier. A promising graduate of the University of Paris, adept in law and the classics, he fled to the countryside in 1455 after killing a priest in a brawl. For the rest of his life he was a violent vagabond, a thief, and arguably the finest lyric poet in French literature. Between imprisonments, in extreme poverty, he produced volumes of poems, including The Testament. When his death sentence in Paris was commuted to a ten-year banishment, he left the city and was never heard from again.

 

 

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