Category: Poetry

5 Love Poems to Read on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day is typically known as a couple’s holiday – a holiday which inspires gifts of roses, chocolates, and even marriage proposals. For me though, and maybe it’s the English major in me, this is a day that makes me want to read love poems. I know, I know. It’s extremely corny to say that. Call me a romantic, but there is something about reading a poem and knowing that it was crafted for someone that the poet loved that just makes me want to sit with those words. Poetry is hard to write. Sometimes, a five line poem can take hours, or even days, to craft. So a love poem, to me, isn’t just a handful of sweet words–it is one of the most powerful ways to express one’s affection.

All of my mushy rambling about love poetry aside, here are five love poems that you can read on Valentine’s day.

 

 

1. Harold pinter’sit is here

image via wallpaper flare

What sound was that?
I turn away, into the shaking room.

What was that sound that came in on the dark?
What is this maze of light it leaves us in?
What is this stance we take,
To turn away and then turn back?
What did we hear?
It was the breath we took when we first met.

Listen. It is here.

 

2. E.E. Cumming’s[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

image via pinterest
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling) (read more)
(Cummings has a very interesting way of formatting his poetry. The absence of capitalization and absence of spaces between parentheses and the rest of the line is fully intentional)

3. Pablo Neruda’sIf you Forget me

image via dhgate

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me. (read more)

 

 

4. Spiritwind Wood’sLet’s Grow old Together

image via wallpaper flare

Let’s sit underneath the open sky
and watch the night just pass us by
let’s me and you dream of the now
and don’t worry about tomorrow
you know we will make it somehow

Let us talk about our plan
two lover’s hand in hand
and let’s grow old together (read more)

 

 

5. Christina Rossetti’sI loved you first: but afterwards your love

image via pinterest
I loved you first: but afterwards your love
Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
Which owes the other most? my love was long,
And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be –
Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong. (read more)


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Top 10 Literary Places to Explore in NYC!

January and February are the coldest and toughest months in New York, and if you’re feeling the blues, we got some good news to cheer you up! Because, guess what, now is the perfect time to huddle around and explore the best literary places this magnificent city has to offer all you book nerds out there! So, without further adieu, here’s a big list to keep you busy!

1. The new york public library

image via the nation

The main branch of the NYPL lives up to its hype and is just as magnificent as you would imagine. They hold interesting exhibits frequently enough and the Rose Main Reading Room is beautiful and worth a visit just to get lost in the architecture, and of course — the books!

2. the morgan library and museum

image via conde nast traveler

If you haven’t heard of this magnificent library yet, you need to change that right now! They have ongoing exhibitions all year round, including Walt Whitman, Charles Dickens and many more. Also, fun fact: Did you know this library actually belonged to the famous J.P Morgan, and was opened to the public by J.P Morgan Jr? Well, now you do!

 

3. strand book store

image via downtown magazine

Strand! Everyone’s heard of the famous bookstore and its 18 miles of books, but did you also know that they have a whole floor dedicated to banned books? How awesome is that? Also, they host frequent events, so check out their calendar to be in the loop!

4. poets house

image via pinterest

If you’re a fan of poetry, you’ll love Poets House! It’s literally a massive poetry library, free and open to the public, located in Tribeca. It has over 70,000 volumes of poetry (insane, I know!) and hosts awesome events all year round.

5. edgar allen poe cottage

image via nycgo

Fans of “The Raven” can gather around and make their way to The Bronx, where Edgar Allen Poe’s cottage still exists! Poe spent the last years of his life there and the park where its located is actually called Poe Park, how neat! It’s open to the public and gathers tons of tourists all year long, and you could be one of them too!

6. the jefferson market library

image via millie fiori

This location of the New York Public Library was actually a courthouse originally, and has served the Greenwich Village community for over 50 years! And also, the Jefferson Market Library is now considered a national monument as well, so definitely worth a visit!

 

7. bluestockings

image via bluestockings

Bluestockings is a volunteer-initiative based and collectively-owned super cool, one of a kind bookstore! They also have a fair trade cafe, and an activist center, located in the LES. The store specializes in feminism, queer and gender studies, global capitalism, climate & environment and many other pressing issues– so we’re sure you’re dying to check it out, and you should!

8. forbidden planet

image via facebook

Calling all comic nerds! Forbidden Planet, located right next to Strand, is THE place for graphic novels, figurines and T-shirts! So feel free to head your way over there and geek out to your hearts content!

9. housing works bookstore cafe

image via wikipedia

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe and Bar is a non-profit, donation based bookstore, run solely by volunteers and their proceeds go towards people affected by homelessness and AIDS. So, every time you purchase a book or a baked good from there, know that you’re giving back to the society directly! And if the great cause wasn’t a good enough reason to visit the store, know that it’s also gorgeous inside!

10. drunk shakespeare

image via nytimes

If you haven’t seen this radical show in performance yet, can you even call yourself a literary enthusiast? Drunk Shakespeare is exactly as enticing as it sounds. One actor shoots five shots of whiskey, then attempts to act as the lead in a performance of a Shakespeare play, while the other four try to keep up. It’s rowdy, literary, and wildly entertaining, and trust us when we say that you don’t want to miss this!

So, while this list keeps you busy, we’ll go compile some more cool stuff for you to do, so these dreary months don’t feel as long! Until then, keep reading!

featured image via the crazy tourist


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Sex, Drugs and Greek Rock and Roll

George Gordon Byron, referred to these days as simply Lord Byron, was one of the leading poets of the English Romantic period. Born on this day 232 years ago in 1788, he died aged 36. Byron was known for being subversive, racy and more than a bit eccentric – and just wait until you hear about his pet in college.

Byron was born in London to parents Catherine Gordon and Captain John “Mad Jack” Byron. Mad Jack married heiress Catherine, allegedly for her money. He gambled most of her fortune and fathered George before then dying in 1791. Rumors circulated that he had a grisly end, but tuberculosis is more likely.

 

One thing that Byron was known for, both in the 1800s and today, was his rampant promiscuity and his hazy sexuality. Like a lot of other literary heroes (looking at YOU, Joyce), he got it on with many people, to the detriment of his own health, and he was diagnosed with syphilis and gonorrhea by the time he turned twenty-one. His romantic history includes a roster of relatives, like cousin Mary Chaworth and half-sister Augusta. While in education he experimented with young men, young women, not-so-young married women. Basically, he was busy.

thinkin’ bout boys (and girls) via wikipedia

Always the rebel, Byron was constantly breaking rules and basically being the O.G. Romantic Bad Boy. One of his lovers once described him as “Mad, bad and dangerous to know”. You know the type. He’ll write you poetry one day but break your heart two weeks later by asking your sister out (or his own, apparently). He is said to have enjoyed scaring people or making them uncomfortable. Allegedly, he had a tame bear during his time at Cambridge that he would walk around campus. This was in answer to his college denying his request to have a dog. Disclaimer: Bookstr does NOT recommend this as a method of working around your dorm’s pet allowances!

 

Since Byron was so busy ahem, dallying, with so many people, it should come as no surprise that he fathered a few children. He had some rumored, out-of-wedlock children, like Allegra Byron, alongside legitimate daughter Ada Lovelace. Allegra sadly died of typhus, aged 5. Ada, however,  grew to be one of the first software developers, having worked on very early computer software, a.k.a the Analytical Engine.

image via brittanica

Aside from writing, shocking and sinning, Byron’s other passion was Greece. No, not the 1978 classic film, the country. George donated a lot of his own fortune to the revolution in Greece. A War of Independence was being fought and Byron wanted to take part and fight alongside them against the Ottoman Empire. Sadly, he caught a terrible cold while abroad and it was a resultant fever that took him out in the end.

 

Bad Boy Lord Byron is celebrated today as a true Romantic poet. His narrative works Don Juan – all seventeen cantos of it!! -and Childe Harolde are renowned still. He moved in some seriously impressive circles, staying with the Shelleys in Italy as Frankenstein was being concocted. Despite his debauchery and his less-than-savory hobbies, he was passionate about his craft and wrote some beautiful poems which still resonate in a more modern age.

image via pinterest

Happy Birthday, Byron! Were he alive today, we have little doubt that his birthday bash would be of the strip club and shots kind. After all, he wasn’t Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know for nothing!


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Featured image via Poetry Foundation