Edgar Poe claims that in order to

Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe is known as one of the most influential
writers of all time, he was born in 1809, son of Elizabeth Arnold Poe and David
Poe Jr. Both parents were actors and died before Edgar Poe reached the age of
three. Poe was then sent to live with his presumed Godfather John Allan in 1811
in Richmond. 4 years later Poe was taken to England and Scotland to pursue an
education which was eventually continued in Richmond. 11 years later he joined
the university of Virginia for 11 months, but due to losses made by gambling at
the university, John Allan refused to let Poe continue his studies. In 1827,
Boston, Edgar Allan Poe published his first works, which was a leaflet with
various poems. Due to poverty he was forced to go to the army, however when his
godfather’s wife died, he quit his post at the military. In 1829 Edgar Allan
Poe published a new collection of his works with more poetry, one of these
poems was ‘Elizabeth’. ‘Elizabeth’ was written for his cousin, Elizabeth
Rebecca Herring. The poem’s focus is about being a poet. Here, Poe claims that
in order to be a successful poet one must have lived life to the fullest, write
about those things which matter to one the most and to have studied the
techniques and skills of poetry. This poem was an Acrostic poem, spelling out
the name of his cousin. 4 years later, in 1833, Edgar Allan Poe’s message found
in a Bottle won 50 dollars from an issue of Baltimore Weekly. In 1835, he
became editor of Southern Literary Messenger, and married his 13-year-old
cousin, Virginia Clemm. Poe was later on fired from his post due to drinking.
In 1838, he published The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and in 1839 Poe
continued his work as an editor, this time at Burtons gentleman’s magazine. In
the same year, Poe published ‘Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque’. He then
quit his job in 1940, and returned a year later to become editor of Graham’s
Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine, in which he published his famous detective
story ‘Murders in the Rue Morgue’. In January of 1845, Poe’s best known poem, ‘the
Raven’, was published in the New York Mirror. This masterpiece made him famous
across the country. In January of 1847, Poe’s wife died. Later on in 1848 Poe
wrote ‘Eureka’, which is an explanation of the universe. In 1849 he became
engaged to Royster Elmira. Poe died later on in the year on the 7th
of October.

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Lutwidge Dodgson

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, known to the public
as Lewis Carroll, was born in 1832, England, on the 27th of January,
and died on the 14th of January 1998. Dodgson is particularly known
for his novel ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and the sequel ‘Through the
Looking Glass’. Carroll was the oldest son of 11 children. His mother was
called Frances Jane Lutwidge, and his father was Rev. Charles Dodgson. Lewis
Carroll was born in a small rural village, and lived there up until the age of
12 when the family moved to the town of Croft. From 1844 to 1845, Charles
attended the public school of Richmond, and later on transferred to Rugby
school in 1846. After 4 years at Rugby School he spent a year being taught by
his father due to his dislike of public school. In 1850 he attended Oxford
Christ Church, where he graduated in 1851. A year later, in 1852, Charles
Dodgson pursued mathematical studies, and excelled in the course. Due to his
aptitude for mathematics he was chosen for a scholarship, and in 1854 he
graduated top of his class. Carroll’s scholarship at Christ Church Oxford,
relied fully on him remaining unmarried, and though he considered marriage, he
decided he was satisfied to remain an unmarried man. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson
often told stories to the Liddell children, these were the children of the Dean
of Christ Church; Henry George Liddell. Dodgson often told stories to Lorina,
Edith and Alice as they were the only other non-adults in the Church. Alice
Liddell was the inspiration to the protagonist Alice from ‘Alice’s Adventures
in wonderland’. Their tutor, known as Ms.Prickett was the inspiration for the
‘Red Queen’ in the sequel ‘Through the Looking Glass’. On the 4th of
July 1862, Dodgson and a friend went on a rowing trip with the three Liddell
daughters, of which they returned to the Christ Church late in the evening.
This evening, Dodgson told the daughters and his friend Robinson Duckworth the
story of ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’. This story, which was the prototype
of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ is primarily based on a picnic the
children had two weeks earlier. As all the children had been in awe with the
story, Alice Liddell had asked for Charles to write it out, and so he did;
whilst adding pieces of previous stories and illustrations. A while after he had
given the story to Alice, a well-known writer had visited the church and happened
to read it. The writer, Henry Kingsley, had asked Alice to persuade Dodgson to
publish it, as he too enjoyed the story. In 1865, the story was published by
the name of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. The final product included more
pieces of stories that were told to the Liddell’s, and less detailed
descriptions of the picnic. As the novel had been a great success with the
people, Dodgson wrote the sequel, ‘Through the Looking Glass’ which was
published in 1871. The poem ‘A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky’ is an acrostic poem
written by Charles Dodgson in the same year as ‘Through the Looking glass’.
This poem was initially made for Alice Liddell, as her name was spelled out by
the first letter of every line. The Acrostic poem is initially the narrator
(Dodgson) telling three children (the Liddell’s) a story. However, the poem
speaks to the children growing up and times changing.


When a poet uses a marker to cover all undesired words in
an already existent text to form a poem, this may relate to the text (when the
text is fictional) or may have no relation to the text in anyway (when
non-fictional). Blackout poetry is used to overcome writers block.

History of Blackout Poetry:

Blackout poetry is a poetry genre which can
be traced back to the 18th century, during this time, newspaper
columns were thin in width, and Caleb Whitefoord (1737-1810) decided to read
across each newspaper column rather than down, this created whole new
sentences, and gave each column a new meaning. After making many of these
phrases, Whitefoord developed a collection, and published it. The genre can
then be traced to the beginning of the 20th century, to Tristan
Tzara (1896-1962), who amused the public by picking scraps of a newspaper out
of a hat, and reading them as a poem. 30 years later, the genre developed further
by Brion Gysin (1916-1986). Gysin was a painter, and was preparing a canvas to
paint on when he accidentally cut through several newspapers, upon seeing the
parts of the newspaper cut up, he was inspired to make poetry by rearranging
these strips. The idea of this poetry was later on seen by William Burroughs
(1914-1997) who is known for his cut-up method of writing, where one cuts up
sentences and recomposes them to make a new text. When traveling further up the
timeline of blackout poetry, one reaches Tom Phillips (1937-/). In the 1960’s,
Tom Phillips bought the cheapest Victorian novel he found and started painting
images and illustrating all over the pages of this book, leaving certain words
clear to develop a new story.











Safran Foer was born on the 21st of February in 1977. Foer was the
second son in a Jewish family. Foer did his secondary education in his state of
birth, Washington D.C., in Princeton University. He majored in Philosophy, but
completed a creative writing course under guidance of the author Joyce Carol
Oates. Foer’s first short story; ‘About
the typefaces not used in this edition’ was published in the Paris Review Literary Magazine in
2000.  Shortly after this success, Foer
started to study medicine at Mount Sinai’s school. However, he left to continue
a career in writing. His debut novel ‘Everything
is Illuminated’ was published in 2002 and was much-admired by the public. Foer
published his second novel ‘Extremely
Loud and Incredibly Close’ in 2005, it is a postmodern novel following the
story of Oskar Schell, a boy who lost his father in the 9/11 terrorist attack.
Foer published a non-fiction novel on being vegetarian in 2009, called ‘Eating Animals’. In 2010, Foer published
‘Tree of Codes’, this novel is a
piece of blackout poetry in which Foer, rather than erasing, or crossing out
words, cut out fragments of sentences and words he did not need in his ‘new
version’. He changed everything about this novel, which was previously called ‘Street of Crocodiles’. The title of his
blackout novel derives from the original name, because Foer cut up the letters
used in the original, and recomposed these until he had what he wanted. The
‘die-cut book’ is a mere 3000 words, and is a shorter version of the original
with both reinvented sentences and old sentences combined on each page.
Although the story Foer made, is inspired by the original novel by Bruno
Schulz, certain aspects of it have been altered, for example, an obsession with
career has been changed into an obsession with a woman. Furthermore, Foer
decided to exclude a lot of Schulz’s pessimism, and the autobiographical elements,
resulting in a focus on the larger image.










Seward Burroughs was born on the 5th
of February 1914 in Missouri. Burroughs was an American writer whose novels
present a frightening but at times amusing world. He was favored amongst other
writers of the ‘Beat Movement’ because of his bare honesty when it came to his
drug addiction, and his openness to his sexual orientation, as he was
homosexual. William Burroughs was the grandchild of the known originator of the
Burroughs adding machine, and lived in fairly wealthy circumstances. Burroughs
graduated Harvard University in 1936, and moved to New York City in 1943, where
he met two writers who were to become essential in the Beat Movement (Jack
Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg). Burroughs went on a downward spiral after taking
Morphine in 1944, and later on becoming a heroin addict. In this same year one
of Burroughs friends killed a man who is said to have made sexual advances
towards him. Burroughs and Kerouac were arrested as witnesses, but soon
released on bail with no charge. Based on these events, Kerouac and Burroughs
wrote a collaborated fictional novel called
‘And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks’. This novel was not published
until 2008. In 1949, Burroughs moved to Mexico with his wife, where he
drunkenly shot and killed her 2 years later, as a result, he fled Mexico and
traveled to the Amazon where he continued his drug use. When traveling, he
lived in Tangier, London New York City and Paris for short periods of time,
finally settling in Lawrence Kansas in 1981. In 1953 Burroughs published his
first book using the pen name ‘William Lee’ the book, named ‘Junkie: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug
Addict’, was renamed in 1977 to ‘Junky’.
‘The Naked Lunch’ (movie and book) was
made after Burroughs’ rehabilitation. In ‘The
Naked Lunch’ the unpleasantness of the world is intensely displayed, this
novel and movie further concerns itself with homosexuality. Burroughs claims
that drug addiction is largely unhelpful for a writing career, and the only
thing he learned during his 15 years as an addict was that drug users are
usually seen as a victim; which he found incredibly bizarre. Burroughs died on
the 2nd of August 1997 in Kansas.


Does not
conform to a set of rules, the poet chooses a topic, and decides on punctuation, rhymes,
number of stanzas, number of lines, syllables… There is no right or wrong way
to write a free verse.

History of Free Verse:

Derives from the French phrase ‘Verse Libre’
which was an organization in France in the 1880’s. Authors associated with the
earliest free verse were Ezra Pound, T. Hulme and T.S. Eliot, who all studied
French poems. The Imagist movement of which Ezra Pound was a leader, attempted
to show poetry should follow musical rhythms rather than a metronome.


Ezra Loomis Pound was born in Idaho (US) on the 30th of
October 1885. Pound grew up in a small village, as an only child in middle class
conditions, he went to military school for two years, then quit without
graduating to pursue his scholar career in a public school. After high school,
Pound applied and got into the University of Pennsylvania, where he stayed from
1901-1903. Here, Ezra Pound met his lifelong friend, and well known poet
William Williams. In 1905 Pound attained a PH.B. (Philosophy Bachelor) at
Hamilton College, and then later returned to University of Pennsylvania, where,
in 1906, he achieved an M.A. He then left the university with knowledge of 7
languages. A year later, in 1907, Pound became a professor of ‘Romance
Languages’ in Indiana, at Wabash Presbyterian College. This career was short
lasting as he left for Europe for the 4th time in 1908, willing to
pursue his poetic career, after his poems had been rejected by an American
publisher. In Europe, Pound had previously been to find inspiration for his published
works, e.g. ‘Interesting French
Publications’ which was published in September of 1906 in Book News
Monthly. Pound, having little luggage and money, traveled to Spain, Gibraltar,
and Venice. It was in his last destination that he published his first book of
poetry, named ‘A lume Spento’ in June
1908. 2 months later, Pound set sail for London, England. In London, he became
friends with Madox Ford who published Pound’s poetry in ‘English Review’. Later, Ezra joined a group known as ‘School of Images’, which was under the supervision
of philosopher T. Hulme. In the spring of 1909, another book of Pound’s poetry was
published (Personae), his book ‘Exultations’ was published in Autumn of
the same year, and his third book, ‘The
Spirit of Romance’ was published in 1910. Not long after, Pound returned to
the US and attempted to make his living as a writer there, however was unsuccessful
thus returned to Europe at the start of 1911, traveling to Germany, Italy and France.
Approximately 9 months later, Pound met Alfred Orage, who was the editor of ‘New Age.’ And found work there for 9
years. Pound became a correspondent of the magazine ‘Poetry’ in 1912, where he quickly became an important person, and
played a vital role in the evolution of the magazine. He was amongst the first
to review Robert Frost’s poetry, and was quickly associated with Anglo-American
Verse. During the years of 1912-14, Pound was a leader of the imagist movement
and became the successor of his group ‘School
of Images’. It was in these years that Pound made his first Manifesto, and
published ‘Des Imagistes’ which was
his imagist anthology. In this same year, Pound married Dorothy Shakespear. In
1912, Pound published ‘Ripostes’ and
later published ‘Cathay’ (1915), and ‘Lustra’ (1916). Pound published ‘Homage to sextus propertius’ which
describes England in 1917, in 1919, and ‘Hugh
Selwyn Mauberly’, a portrait of British culture, in 1920. These works were
to become two of his most influential pieces of poetry. In the years after the
war, Pound wanted Modernism which returned the high standards of living of the
Victorian era, thus wrote plenty of poetry regarding the subject, including the
free verse poem, of ‘The Return’ written
in 1912. Ezra Pound moved to Italy in 1924, and had a daughter named Maria in
1925 by a violinist Olga Rudge, a year later, his wife gave birth to a son,
Omar. Neither of the children were raised by their father, the girl grew up in
Tirol, Italy in a peasant family, whereas the son was brought up by a family in
England. Pound developed his long poem ‘the
Cantos’. In 1930, which he named ‘A
Draft of XXX Cantos’. Ezra Pound is incredibly well known for ‘The Cantos’, which he started in 1915.

Throughout the 1930’s, more and more of Cantos was published, including ‘The Fifth Decade of Cantos’ and ‘Cantos LIILXXI’ in 1937 and 1940.
During the 1930’s, Pound became obsessed on the subjects of economic history
and politics, which made his ‘The Cantos’
an unorganized collection of modern, historic and personal events. In 1939
Pound traveled to the US as an attempt to keep the peace between the Italy his
home country, but returned to Italy unsuccessful. During the war, Pound made
hundreds of broadcasts in which he often criticized the effort the Americans
were making to stop the war. This resulted in his arrest in 1945 by the
American Government During his imprisonment which lasted 6 months, Pound wrote
the most emotional section of ‘The
Cantos’ titled ‘The Pisan Cantos’ which
was written in 1948. Pound was returned to the United States to go to trial,
but was diagnosed as insane, and unable to testify at court by several doctors,
he thus spent 12 years in a mental hospital for criminals (1946-1958) but
continued to add pieces of writing to his long-poem (the cantos). Halfway
through his stay at Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital, Pound received a Bollingen
Prize for the ‘Pisan Cantos’, and in
the spring of 1958, the charges against him were dropped and he was released
from the mental clinic and immediately went to Italy. In the 1960’s Pound
stopped writing, and left his 800-page long work of mythology, diary entries,
thoughts, economics, history, and personal experience unfinished. Throughout
his lifetime, Pound wrote 70 books in 60 years of publishing, along with more
than a 1000 articles. Pound died on 1st of November 1972 in Venice.






Whitman was born in Long Island (United States) on the 31st of May
1819, and died in New York (United States) on the 26th of March
1892. Walt spent the first 4 years of his life on a farm with his parents,
Louisa Van Velsor, and Walter Whitman. However, in 1923, the family moved to
Brooklyn as the father was unable to sustain his family as a farmer. In
Brooklyn, the father built cheap houses for the poor, and was involved in the
real estate business, however still had difficulty to support his family which
had now grown to 11 members. Whitman went to public school in Brooklyn, and
started working in the printing industry at the age of 12. 11 years later,
Whitman was editor of a newspaper in New York, and became editor of the ‘Brooklyn Daily Eagle’ in 1846, but was
fired due to his support for the anti-slavery political party, known as Free
Soil two years later. Due to everyone’s rejection of Free Soil Journalism, Walt
Whitman made a living by following his father’s footsteps: building houses and
speculating the real estate. Whitman had been an arts enthusiast his entire
life, often visiting the theatre, in particular Opera and Shakespeare’s plays.
In writing too, he had been interested, composing poems and sentimental pieces
which were published in newspapers, and experimenting with new poetic genres. By
April 1855, Walt Whitman had written an extensive amount of poetry, and in order
to publish his collection, he sold a house and published ‘Leaves of Grass’ at his own cost. His small volume of poetry was
quite unappreciated by most, except poet Ralph Emerson, who claimed that ‘Leaves of Grass’ was “the most
extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom” written in the country. Once the civil
war broke out, Whitman’s brother had been injured, causing Whitman to visit him
and other wounded or depressed, in January of 1865, Whitman was appointed clerk,
and received a promotion in May, however was fired as his volume ‘Leaves of Grass’ was found
inappropriate. Whitman displayed a new genre of poetry to the public in the
spring of 1865, this being free verse. This collection of free verse poems,
called ‘Drum-Taps’ includes ‘Beat! Beat! Drums!’ a poem regarding the
true -bitterness of war. A few months later, the sequel was published, which
includes his poem of sorrow for the President Abraham Lincoln. By the late
years of 1860, Whitman’s writing was being recognized and liked by an
increasing number of poets and authors including John Burrough, who wrote a
volume titled ‘Notes on Walt Whitman as
Poet and Person’. Another volume by Whitman was published in 1882, titled ‘Specimen Days & Collect’ this
displayed the harsh realities of the war. In the year of 1972, Whitman fell
severely ill, due to heavy emotional strains, a year later, he had a stroke,
which left him partly paralyzed. However, he quickly recovered, and traveled to
his brother’s house in New Jersey as a result of his mother’s death. The
passing of his mother was hard on him, and he subsequently stayed at his
brother’s, quitting his job.  By 1979,
Whitman recovered, and he traveled to the West, where he found the publisher
James Osgood, who published another edition of ‘Leaves of Grass’. Soon after Whitman found another publisher named
David McKay, and ‘Leaves of Grass’ was
finalized selling better than all its predecessors. With the profit, Whitman
purchased a cottage in Camden, New Jersey, where he remained for the rest of
his life. The final (9th) edition of ‘Leaves of Grass’ was published in 1892, the same year in which
Whitman passed away, Whitman saw this book as a tree, as it never stops
growing, distinguished by the rings in the stem. When Whitman died, he was
respected more in Europe than in the United States.


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