Category: Online Poetry
We have encountered famous poems day in and day out, but many people don’t take the time to dig deeper and learn more about them. Focusing on a particular poem and the poet who wrote it adds a richness to daily life. Here are some tips to get started.
#1 – Choosing a Famous Poem to Study
Finding and selecting a specific famous poem or poet to study can be daunting. Most of the famous poems in history are available for free online and can be searched for by topic. If you are interested in a war story, Homer’s Iliad has been enthralling readers for millennia while Shakespeare’s sonnets are beautiful love poems.
#2 – Find out About the Poet
Who is the author of your famous poem? Here are a few of the biggest and brightest stars of the poetry universe to get you started. Also check with the reference librarian at your local library or at a knowledgeable bookstore.
- William Shakespeare
- Percy Bysshe Shelley
- Edgar Allen Poe
- William Wordsworth
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
- John Keats
#3 – Reading the Poem
Read it carefully and slowly. Simply skimming through a famous poem doesn’t do it justice. Poetry is meant to be absorbed and to absorb it you must read it slowly and methodically. Follow the rhythm and tempo to get inside the poet’s feelings.
#4 – Put Famous Poems in Context
When was the famous poem written? What was happening in the world? What major events were coloring the life of its author? These are the questions you should ask when reading a famous poem. Every poem has a story behind it and knowing that story can make the entire experience that much more engaging.
#5 – Finding More Poetry
Once you find a famous poem that you enjoy, that strikes the perfect cord, you will want to find more of the same. Luckily, many of the poets listed above have enormous bodies of work. Most local bookstores feature large anthologies of work from most of them as well as combined anthologies with famous poems organized by subject or publication date. If you want to find more poetry, there are dozens of resources to do so.
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date”.
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its lovliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.”
To Friends at Home
To friends at home, the lone, the admired, the lost
The gracious old, the lovely young, to May
The fair, December the beloved,
These from my blue horizon and green isles,
These from this pinnacle of distances I,
The unforgetful, dedicate.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Nor dread nor hope attend
A dying animal;
A man awaits his end
Dreading and hoping all;
Many times he died,
Many times rose again.
A great man in his pride
Confronting murderous men
Casts derision upon
Supersession of breath;
He knows death to the bone
Man has created death.