In the first of a two-part reading of selections from Longfellow’s Tales of a Wayside Inn, the panel reads the beginning of the Prelude and then examines “Paul Revere’s Ride” in detail, with attention to the structure of the text and its formal aspects.
The panel concludes a two-part survey of Melville’s reading of the Civil War as viewed through his Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War (1866) by discussing poems on Stonewall Jackson, the Surrender at Appomattox, and post-war America.
In this first episode of a two-part examination of Melville’s poetic response to the Civil War, the panel reads two poems from his first poetry collection, Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War (1866): ‘The Conflict of Convictions’ and ‘Gettysburg’.
The panel performs a thorough close readings of two well-anthologised poems by E. E. Cummings–‘i sing of Olaf glad and big’ and ‘the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls’–examining how their structure and formal aspects reflect their content.
In celebration of King Charles III, the panel reads two poems written to celebrate the reigns of his predecessors, King Charles I and King Charles II, including a New Year’s Gift by Thomas Carew and a coronation panegyric by John Dryden, respectively.
The panel reads poetry celebrating the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II, including Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes for the Silver Jubilee, Hughes for the 40th anniversary, Simon Armitage for the Platinum Jubilee, and his newly-written Floral Tribute.
The panel reads three stirring poems by the American diplomat, activist, author, poet, and professor James Weldon Johnson, examining the theological symbolism and social commentary in “The Creation”, “Listen, Lord”, and “Lift Every Voice and Sing”.
The panel reads the first book of William Wordsworth’s “The Prelude”, discussing the intention of the overall work, with special attention to the presentation of childhood freedom, the intellectual work of writing poetry, and existential dread.
The panel attempts to read Canto LXXIV from The Cantos of Ezra Pound, but finds even this one poem too dense to complete in a single episode, with its use of a vast array of literary and personal references fused into a challenging composite work.
The panel concludes the series on Idylls of the King with a full reading of “The Passing of Arthur” and the epilogue “To the Queen”, considering Gawain’s warning, the last battle, Bedivere’s treachery, and Arthur’s departure with the three queens.
The panel reads the penultimate idyll, “Guinevere”, last of the original 1859 collection, and focuses on the redemptive arc of the queen, passing from recognition of her sin and fear of shame into pursuit of the pure and the good for its own sake.
The panel reads the second part of the story of Sir Pelleas, “The Last Tournament”, with its contrast between white innocence and red blood, its manifold inversions of the Arthurian court, and its connexion to the real-life Eglinton Tournament of 1839.