April is National Poetry Month! Here Are 14 Ways to Celebrate

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These days, it seems like so many arbitrary things now have their own “National Day” (or week, or month—National Candied Orange Peel Day*, anyone?), but Poetry Month is a celebration that has been going on for twenty years! Regardless of the duration of its appreciation month, it’s safe to say that poetry has been immeasurably influential throughout human history; even before the invention of writing, people told stories to one another in the form of long, epic poems. Now, candied oranges are pretty great, and chances are they’ve been around for a long time too, but we’re betting that they haven’t had quite the same societal and artistic impact. Continue Reading ›

Shakespeare on Love: A Love for Modern Times?

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For one often hailed as the Bard of love stories, Shakespeare sure has a weird way of showing/telling it. Even his most famous tale of romance, Romeo and Juliet, is a little…off…in the love department, at least for modern times.

Romeo and Juliet isn’t the only Shakespeare work that is little bit strange; in fact a pretty large number of his works depict love in ways that are off-putting. Even the most dedicated Shakespeare fan has to acknowledge that the fairy shenanigans in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the sheer wickedness of Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew are a little less than appealing to one who loves love. Continue Reading ›

Edgar Allan Poe Un-Masqued: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Gothic Writer

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You’d be hard-pressed to find a student that doesn’t enjoy (or, at the very least, find interesting) one of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories—even if you polled the most literature-hating students, they’d still be able to quoth the raven everslightly.

Poe’s stories and poems have a unique staying power with many readers, whether they’re keen on his Dark Romantic writing or hungry to latch onto anything taught in class to fuel angst-ridden high school years (*cough* totally was me *cough*). If the questions we get on eNotes are any indication of readers’ endless fascinations of Poe…it holds completely true. Our Homework Help content library is chock full of interesting questions that delve into Poe’s writing style, explain his important influences, and reveal some quirky bits of trivia. They are asked by students seeking essay help and by casual readers looking to expand their knowledge alike. Did you know that Poe had his own Sherlock-esque character, or that gifts mysteriously appear on his tombstone? If not, read on. Continue Reading ›

20 Illustrations of Famous Shakespeare Quotes

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William Shakespeare turns 451 today (happy birthday, ol’ Willy!).

To commemorate, we’re opening up the eNotes vaults to share some original artwork that brings to life the Bard’s works. We partnered with Yumi Sakugawa, a published author and artist, to recreate some of your favorite, iconic Shakespearean scenes. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, as we pick Yumi’s brain about her work and artistic process.

If you want to learn more about a quote’s context within its scene, click on each image for an in-depth analysis. Be sure to let us know your favorite(s) in the comments! Continue Reading ›

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 ›

Irish Poet Seamus Heaney Dies

Nobel prize winner Seamus Heaney, “The most important Irish poet since Yeats,” passed away in Dublin early this morning. He was 74.

934_heaney180In the short time since his death, tributes have poured in from all over the globe. But all eyes are on the people of Ireland, whose loss of a national treasure is deeply felt. President Michael D. Higgins, himself a published poet, has spoken of Heaney, “the presence of Seamus was a warm one, full of humour, care and courtesy – a courtesy that enabled him to carry with such wry Northern Irish dignity so many well-deserved honours.” It is that Irish dignity that Higgins credits with boosting national confidence after the economic downturn the nation suffered in 2010.

He carried with him an Irish legacy, born of rural county Derry, that will live on in poems like “Digging” and “Field Work.” Taoiseach Enda Kenny spoke for all of his country when he said the death of Heaney was a “great sorrow to Ireland… “For us, Seamus Heaney was the keeper of language, our codes, our essence as a people.”

Listen to Heaney’s 1995 Nobel lecture below:

Under my window, a clean rasping sound
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.