Infographic: Death in The Odyssey

Sure, everyone sympathizes with Odysseus, the man who got dragged off to fight a ten-year war and then had to face a journey home so filled with obstacles it took another ten years to make it back. That’s rough.

Except you know what’s rougher? Being one of Odysseus’s crewmen. If you’re a crewman in The Odyssey, you don’t get a book written about you, you probably don’t get a name, and you have an 81.2% chance of being eaten.

Check out how this epic poem’s men met their epic demises.

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Are You Listening? Poetry Slam and Social Commentary

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For National Poetry Month we were tempted to pay homage to classics like Poe, Whitman, Neruda, and all the other greats. But much of the buzz in the poetry world is not around words on a page, but rather the voice and performance of the poet. We’re talking about poetry slam, and it’s been growing in popularity thanks to the web and social media. You no longer have to head to a club to see a live performance – YouTube brings the hottest slam poets right to your screen. And if you’ve never heard of this art form, prepare to emote (hard). Continue Reading ›

Happy Birthday, Shakespeare! 4 Ways to Celebrate the Bard

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Today is the anniversary of the Bard’s birth. Check out ways to commemorate the day below, complete with cakes, quizzes, quotes and more.

1. Bake a Shakespeare-inspired birthday cake

Introducing… Cakespeare! To celebrate Shakespeare’s b-day, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London invited bakers to design cakes inspired by the Bard’s prose. See a few below, or check out the full gallery here.

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The Love Lives of Authors

Love is dangerous—best to leave it to the experts.

Spend your Valentine’s Day living vicariously through these writers and their passionate love lives. Because let’s face it, you’d rather be draped in chocolate wrappers than a volatile amour, right? Just me?

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Lord Byron

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The 6th Baron Byron was a Romantic with a capital ‘R,’ but that doesn’t mean he was particularly gentlemanly. His first partner in scandal, Lady Caroline Lamb, described him aptly when she professed he was “mad, bad, and dangerous to know.” Indeed, she was just one of many public conquests that rocked British society, several of which produced children. Only one of these was legitimate, the Honorable Augusta Ada Byron, also known as the co-creator of the first computer, Ada Lovelace. Others, save for a daughter he had with Mary Shelley’s sister, were never proven or recognized by Byron. In essence, he was a cad with a weakness for women, or so we can assume from his poem “Don Juan.” I mean, not even his own half-sister was off-limits to him.

But still some come to his defense. Poet Katha Pollitt excused Byron’s bad boy behavior with an interesting take on his contribution to feminism: “Byron’s great insight, in an era where women were expected to be placid and insipid (not that they were!), was to see that women were much like men: They wanted sex and went after it eagerly, if secretly.”

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This Week in Poetic History

Just for fun: we’re celebrating the lives of three poets that were changed this week in history, many years ago, and examining the curious ways one turn of events can change a legacy. Here are three world-altering events from three years in poetic history…

“The Raven” Is Born

Tenniel-TheRavenOn this day in 1845, Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven,” one of the best-known poems in the English language, was first published. But it was no easy feat getting it into print. Poe first submitted the poem his friend and owner of Graham’s Magazine George Rex Graham, who declined. He did, however, give Poe $15 out of what could best be described as pity. The poem was eventually bought by The American Review, for $9. Still, Poe was not yet to become the household name he would shortly be; the magazine printed it under the pseudonym “Quarles.”

It was in the Evening Mirror that the poem first appeared with Poe’s name beneath it. Thanks to this publication, Edgar Allen Poe and his “Raven” achieved Continue Reading ›

Erudite Frights for All Hallow’s Night: Ten Spine-Tingling Lines from Literature

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Here at eNotes, we would NEVER let Halloween pass without a few good scares from the masters of horror!  Let’s all take a break from the tedious terror of government shutdowns and 404 Errors of the new healthcare law and enjoy some scares that are a lot more fun.

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1.  “The shortest horror story:   The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door.”
― Frederic Brown

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2.  “At bottom, you see, we are not Homo sapiens as all. Our core is madness. The prime directive is murder. What Darwin was too polite to say, my friends, is that we came to rule the earth not because we were the smartest, or even the meanest, but because we have always been the craziest, most murderous motherfuckers in the jungle. And that is what the Pulse exposed five days ago.” –   from Cell by Stephen King 

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