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The British Poetry Society

The Poetry Society was founded in London, England in 1909. Then called the Poetry Recital Society, Lady Margaret Sackville was its first president. The group changed it’s name to what it is today three years later. Their flagship publication, Poetry Review, is the most respected poetry journal in Britain. It publishes the works of some of Britain’s most unique seasoned and emerging voices. Membership of The Society is open to anyone. Their website states that their mission is “to promote the study, use and enjoyment of poetry”.
The British Poetry Society
The Society hosts several poetry competitions every year, the biggest of which is
the British National Poetry Competition. Other contests include the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, The Geoffrey Dearmer Award, and The Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry. For a short period, they organised the Alice Hunt Bartlett Prize competition.

The National Poetry Competition has been conducted in Britain every year since 1978. Contrary to what its name implies, the contest is open to foreigners and usually receives around 10,000 entries. The competition opens in the spring and closes in the fall, and its panel of judges changes every year and are composed of well established poets. The top three entries are published in Poetry Review, and writer of the best poem receives £5,000.

Winners have included Carol Ann Duffy, who was appointed British Poet Laureate in 2009. Her poem ‘Whoever She Was’ topped the competition in 1983. 2008 winner Christopher James summarised the relevance of the The National Poetry Competition when he said, “If there is an unspoken Grand Slam circuit for poetry prizes, then the National Poetry Competition is definitely Wimbledon – it’s the one everyone dreams of winning”. Previous winners also include Jo Shapcott, Ruth Padel, Sinéad Morrissey and Helen Dunmore.

How To Write Poetry

Writing poetry is less a form of technique, and more a form of artistic release. In order to get a feel for poetry, one must first begin by actually reading other poetry. Poetry can come in many different forms and can have very deep meaning. Attending poetry readings and other public readings may be a great start in order to hone your abilities. As one reads and hears other poetry, skills and inspiration will begin to grow. After growing inspiration and a feel for poetry, you must begin to find a “spark”.

A spark is something from which an individual draws inspiration. Sparks could be anything from a park bench to a tree with leaves falling. Inspiration can come from anything that you could admire for some trait. Finding a spark may be very difficult, but can also be very rewarding.

Next, you must decide what it is your poem will be accomplishing. All poems accomplish things through expression, such as a love for something. Also important is for the author to put himself into an environment that contributes to the inspiration and subject of the poem. For example, one may visit a zoo if his or her inspiration is an animal. Next, begin writing the poem and continue to read each verse repeatedly. Remember the goal of the poem and the style you choose to write in. After running through multiple drafts and making any possible corrections, it is time to share your work.

Share your poem through social media, blogging, friends, poetry groups, and other similar sources. Social media outlets are great ways to display your poetry. Use sites like YouTube and post a home poetry reading. Join Twitter and follow poets whose work you enjoy. With most people having access to high speed internet connections, using social media is easier than ever. Don’t already have a high speed connection? There are plenty of sites that offer deals for top providers — for example, you can use a Verizon FiOS promotion code and save a ton on various broadband options.

After you’ve shared your poetry, you will find that you have an abundance of constructive criticism to use to better your writing. Some feedback might be very helpful and you will be able to either continue working on your poem or your poetry writing skills in general. Regardless of what other people say about your poetry, writing is a very personal experience and you should feel proud of your efforts.

Who Are the Top Metaphysical Poets

Before we talk about some of the most famous of the metaphysical poets, let’s talk a little bit about metaphysical poetry. Metaphysical poetry, as the name implies, is concerned with the abstract and intellectual viewpoint of life. The topics of this kind of poetry include discussions about life and love and their ever-entwining nuances with each other. It speaks of the infinite perspective and eternal quality of life and how that perspective intensifies man’s relationship with God.

Metaphysical poems are beautiful and lilting, lyrical yet intense. They are thought-provoking in the use of witty repartee, acute in their irony and amusing in their use of words. There is always some type of argument, some effort to convince one way or another, that a certain path of action or a certain way of thinking be pursued.

There are many metaphysical poets of great renown. We think first of John Donne, George Herbert and T.S. Elliot. Others come to mind also, but for our discussion today, we’ll consider just these few. John Donne was an English poet who lived in the later half of the sixteenth century. Interestingly Donne also became a lawyer, a member of parliament, and, on the insistence of King James I, Donne became an Anglican priest. His knowledge and experience in these two fields undoubtedly contributed to his eminence as a metaphysical poet. As is often the case with artists, in spite of his education and his wonderful talents of poetic writings, Donne lived a good portion of his life in poverty, relying only on the help of well-to-do friends.

Some of Donne’s best-known works include The Good-Morrow, The Sunne Rising, The Canonization and A Valediction Forbidding Mourning. His poems have a strong style that is filled with exciting metaphors and thought-provoking ironies. He had a great knowledge of British Society and often sought outlet in criticizing what he knew. One of his favorite themes was based on his ideas of true religion. Although not a poem in the strictest sense, who cannot thrill at Donne’s words in Meditation when he reminds, “Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Another of the great metaphysical poets we are considering today is George Herbert. Herbert, a Welsh-born English poet, was born in 1593 and died in 1633, and was also an orator and an Anglican priest, as was John Donne. Herbert was also well-educated in the study of languages and music. Some of George Herbert’s poems include A Dialogue, A Wreath, Affliction. One of Herbert’s most intriguing works is his poem, Easter Wings. The words are meaningful and thoughtful, but there’s even more to the poem than that. It was printed sideways on two facing pages of a book in such a way that the lines of the poem look like two birds with wings outspread flying toward heaven.

Thomas Stearns Eliot, 1888,1965, was born in America but moved to England where he became a naturalized British subject in 1927. His most famous poem, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, was a masterful writing which laments the plight of Prufrock and his handicap of mediocrity. Eliot also wrote some other well-known works including Gerotin, The Waste Land and the Hollow Men. Eliot was a successful businessman, who had developed a love of poetry at a very early age. Thank goodness for us, literature was an important part of his early life.

What is Metaphysical Poetry and Who Wrote It?

The term “metaphysical poetry” refers to a specific period of time and a specific set of poets. In 17th-century England, there was a group of poets who, while they did form a formal group, have been considered the metaphysical poets. There are, in most lists, nine poets that belong, and they are as follows: John Donne, George Herbert, Henry Vaughan, Edward Herbert, Thomas Carew, Richard Crashaw, Andrew Marvel, Richard Lovelace and Sir John Suckling. There are an additional seven poets that are sometimes also considered to be part of this small group of 17th century metaphysical poets, and they are George Chapman, Abraham Cowley, Richard Leigh, Katherine Philips, Edward Taylor, Anne Bradstreet and John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester.

Donne is, and this is almost undisputed, the quintessential metaphysical poet. If none other is read, Donne is generally recommended for a reader to get a good idea of what metaphysical poetry is all about.

So, what is metaphysical poetry? The answer lies in the composition of these pieces. The common thread is that they contain metaphors that are highly conceptual in nature. These metaphors are often tenuous, at best, in their comparisons of one thing to another, but they can leave the reader feeling enlightened.

This type of metaphor is known as a metaphysical conceit. The way to tell a metaphysical conceit from a regular metaphor is that they often exhibit an analytical tone, contain double meanings, show logical reasoning, and have paradoxes, symbolism, and wit. While one or two of these elements might be missing from any given piece, there should be the majority of them present.

One of the prime examples of metaphysical poetry is John Donne’s “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”. In this piece, Donne paints a picture of a drawing compass that helps an artist or architect create circles. One arm is one of the lovers and is constantly moving, but even so, the other person, or arm, leans toward the movement. The circles that the compass draws are symbols of perfection and eternity, two things people strive for when in love. Most wouldn’t have drawn a correlation between love and lovers and a compass used for making precise circles. This was the genius of the metaphysical poet — drawing similarities between the unlikeliest of similar ideas and objects.

One of the most apparent contrasts between metaphysical poetry and other poems of the 17th century is that while the metaphysical poets were comparing love to compasses (Donne) and the human soul to drops of morning dew (Marvel) the rest were relying heavily on classical mythology and nature for their symbolism and allusions.

Another characteristic that separates the poetry of the metaphysical poets and their contemporaries is that even when writing on a romantic subject, the word and metaphor choices were most often decidedly unromantic. They have both been praised and criticized for this, but despite the mixed reviews, they remain interesting and engaging reads.

How Poetry Has Changed Through History

The human tradition of poetry is a vital part of the spiritual and cultural legacy of our species. It likely began as a simple mnemonic device used to transmit messages across great distances. Eventually, poetry emerged as a very poignant form of language created to move and inspire the reader, as well as preserve memories through descriptive and detailed storytelling.

Rhythm and rhyme are essential parts of the oral poetry that many believe existed well before the age of written words. Assonance, the use of repetitive vowel and consonant sounds within a poem, also played a significant role in the creation of early verse. These characteristics were designed to aid in the memorization of a large amount of wording and information so that history could be more easily maintained by the itinerate poets of the age.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is a piece of literature that is representative of the earliest age of written poetry. This lengthy narrative poem, carved in Sumerian text upon tablets made of clay, was created to honor a famous king and warrior of the ancient near east. Near this time, the legendary Iliad and Odyssey epics were written by the Greek poet, Homer, detailing the Trojan War and the myths surrounding it.

Greco-Roman poetry extended the tradition of retelling occurrences in history but added its own cultural conventions by changing the lengths and forms of the most widespread poetry. Psalms and hymns became more and more accepted, and poems were an integral part of the elaborate religious rites that took place within the era. Latin poems maintained strict rules as to the length of meter and number of beats, as exemplified by the poet Ovid. Medieval times saw a steady flow of religious themes in poetry, from hagiographic details on the lives of the saints to songs meant to be sung during Mass, often times in Latin. Secular themes were still quite popular, nonetheless, and usually written in the language of the common people. Medieval poems were often sung before an audience to the accompaniment of a lyre, or read as script in plays such as the works of Shakespeare.

The modern age sustains a vast appetite for free verse poems, with a high emphasis on careful selection of each word and placement to evoke a thoughtful response from the reader. E.E. Cummings is an example of a modern writer who employs unusual experimentation with freedom and language to create memorable poetry. Form has not been abolished, however, and many poets seek to reinvent former styles including those that cross cultural boundaries.

The world of poetry has, much like the world around us, undergone quite a few changes since its beginnings. Due to the increasing advancements and complexities of human thought and society, poets continue to stretch to the very limits of imagination in their epic attempt to find the right words.

What is a sonnet?

A sonnet is a form of poetry that originated in Europe, mainly in Italy. The poet Giacomo de Lentini is credited with the invention. A sonnet is a poem written in a certain format with distinguishable characteristics.

Sonnets have 14 lines broken down into four sections called quatrains. The rhyme scheme of a sonnet is ABAD, CDCD, EFEF, GG. Sonnets are written in iambic pentameter, which is a poetic meter with 10 beats per line of alternating unstressed and stressed syllables.

Each quatrain progresses in the poem as follows: 

First quatrain: This should establish the subject of the sonnet.

Number of lines: 4. Rhyme Scheme: ABAB

Second quatrain: This should develop the sonnet’s theme.

Number of lines: 4. Rhyme Scheme: CDCD

Third quatrain: This should round off the sonnet’s theme.

Number of lines: 4. Rhyme Scheme: EFEF

Fourth quatrain: This should act as a conclusion to the sonnet.

Number of lines: 2. Rhyme Scheme: GG 

Here is an example of one of Shakespeare’s best known sonnets.

 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.

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest,

Nor shall death brag thou wanderest in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou growest.

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

First quatrain

Shakespeare establishes the theme of comparing “thou” (or “you”) to a summer’s day, and why, to do so, is a bad idea. The metaphor is made by comparing his beloved to summer itself.

Second quatrain

Shakespeare extends the theme, explaining why even the sun, supposed to be so great, gets obscured sometimes, and why everything that’s beautiful decays from beauty sooner or later. He has shifted the metaphor. In the first quatrain, it was “summer” in general, and now he’s comparing the sun and “every fair,” every beautiful thing, to his beloved.

Third quatrain

Here the argument takes a big left turn with the familiar “But.” Shakespeare says that the main reason he won’t compare his beloved to summer is that summer dies, but she won’t. He refers to the first two quatrains — her “eternal summer” won’t fade, and she won’t “lose possession” of the “fair” (the beauty) she possesses. So he keeps the metaphors going, but in a different direction. And for good measure, he throws in a negative version of all the sunshine in this poem — the “shade” of death, which, evidently, his beloved won’t have to worry about.

Fourth quatrain/Couplet

How is his beloved going to escape death? The answer is in Shakespeare’s poetry, which will keep her alive as long as people breathe or see. This bold statement gives closure to the whole argument. It’s a surprise.

A Brief History of Greek Literature

Few literary traditions have been as influential to Western society as Greek literature. From the works of Homer to the musings of Aristotle, ancient Greek literature forms the foundation of Western thought. Greek literature and thought has continued to influence Western society, as the conquests of Alexander the Great and the Roman Empire spread Greek thinking throughout the Western world. The Greek literary tradition is deep and rich, with a profound impact felt throughout all civilization. 

Preclassical Era

Greek literature traces its roots to the preclassical period, beginning around 800 B.C. The great poets, Homer and Hesiod, worked during this time period. Homer’s two great works, the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey,” are the foundation of Greek literature. These two epic poems set the tone, scope and form for Greek literature for centuries to come. 

Classical Era

The classical era of Greek literature was an explosion of forms, ideas and techniques that have formed the basis of Western literature. The classical period is particularly noteworthy for the emergence of Western philosophy and the invention of drama. Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, the three great philosophers of ancient Greece, lived during the classical period. These three Greeks have had an immeasurable impact on the development of civilization. Socrates is notable for being the muse of Greek philosophy, the original thinker who inspired all who followed after him. His teachings are preserved in many of Plato’s “Dialogues.” Plato was a student of Socrates who went on to found the Academy of Athens, the first institution of higher learning. Aristotle was himself a student of Plato’s; his status is such that he is often simply called “The Philosopher.” He composed many of the bedrock works of Western literature, including “Physics,” “Metaphysics,” “Politics,” and more.

Greek drama also had its own trio of giants – Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. These three playwrights are the only dramatists from the classical age whose works have survived. They are widely considered to be the equal of Shakespeare. Their works, including “Agamemnon,” “Antigone” and “Medea,” are the forerunners of modern drama and are still studied and performed today.

Hellenistic Era

By the conquest of Greece by Phillip II and later by Alexander the Great, the influence of Greek literature had begun to spread around the world. Poetry was the main literary product of the Hellenistic period, with the trio of Theocritus, Callimachus and Apollonius leading the way. Theocritus invented the pastoral poem, while Apollonius is famous for his “Argonautica,” the story of Jason and the search for the Golden Fleece. Callimachus worked at the Library of Alexandria and is famous for his “Aetia,” an elegy exploring the origins of many things. Callimachus was also the model for the Roman poet Ovid.

Greek literature has a storied history, full of towering names and prominent works. The history of Greek literature is in many ways the history of Western literature as a whole. The world owes Greece a great debt for its contribution to the development of human civilization.

Metaphysical Poetry

We can  reach our own realizations of this wondrous phenomenon of endurance (aspects) as we begin to understand and believe that creation is held  by eternal structures, thousands of angels have guardianship over these eternal points of existence that remain guarded and protected.  These aspects are real notions that descend into the world allowing us to be fulfilled with facets rich with meaning. Keeping one level of focus allows us to excel and meditate on one aspect of our life that is guarded. Reaching out to another   is a passage in time, this passage in time is a new journey that brings us to a shift in stimuli and  allows integrating one or more aspects into a new reality. This new position  of  complex interactions that is integrated into a novel whole, is a  transformation that leads us  to a new state that is  filled with new energy that we must experience in a new light.  The  way forward is paved by our  endeavours and finding the light in new aspects of ourselves. Great structures, such as planets and stars  hold constant eternal vibrations which are unique and are guiding interactions with other great structures according to position and distance between, creating a new form of  existence called an aspect. This  influences the state of the world and the  way we are influenced by creation.

Beasts of the Forest, God Up Above

Using an ancient language of correspondences, we can touch upon Angels and guardianship, planets and their positions, understanding a  truth ancient by deciphering ourselves, we understand that creation is set by eternal principles that hold our hopes as we are encouraged by  a supreme guardianship  to progress in our journey.

Through sacred words  which unravel, a secret code which describes everlasting truths that vary in  time  influence and frequency , we can envision   a spectrum of ideals  that we must reach for. Striving  for a perfect existence fill our mind and hearts. We progress in our spiritual development in that moment in time  in which we are aware of the spiritual light that guides us and understand it denotes an eternal life existing within each one of us. These constructs that are established by sacred truths, are representing an infinite range of possibilities creation is supported by pillars which are also aspects of the possibilities of existence, angels remain as guardians protecting the heavens and the earth. Realizing our own abilities is  allowing us to connect to the planets and stars  and be touched by angels and chariots that carry our hopes and guard us. Each containing aspects of perfect states guiding,  guarding suspending and holding  as enduring constructs of faith.

PLAYFUL ANGELS

Remembering that we have many  systems that emulate information on various levels remembering that energy levels fluctuate in each world we can transverse through worlds through recollections of previous worlds. As a gas gage is our subconscious as our  mind tells us of our own progress.

  Relating in new ways , allows us to exchange energy within our system of existence, and perceive and touch upon,  creative channels as we pick up different vibrations that we have integrated into our own daily living. Our own creative understanding relates to our responses…and the feedback we get from our own Godhead.