Friday Poetry: Claude McKay

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone has some fab books to read over the weekend.

My chosen poem this week is by the Jamaican- American poet and writer Claude McKay (1890-1948). McKay studied in the United States and became a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance.

After the Winter

Some day, when trees have shed their leaves
And against the morning's white
The shivering birds beneath the eaves
Have sheltered for the night,
We'll turn our faces southward, love, 
Toward the summer isle
Where bamboos spire the shafted grove
And wide-mouthed orchids smile.

And we will seek the quiet hill
Where towers the cotton tree,
And leaps the laughing crystal rill,
And works the droning bee,
And we will build a cottage there
Beside an open glade,
With black-ribbed blue-bells blowing near,
And ferns that never fade. 

Claude McKay

Happy Reading

Etsy

WWW Wednesday: 18/01/2023

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The rules are answer the questions below and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you will read next?

Hello!

I hope everyone is well. Reading hasn’t been going quite so well this week, I’ve still managed some reading everyday but not as much as I would like.

What I am Currently Reading

The more I read this book the more bizarre it gets. I like how the author has used creations by William Blake within this book but at the same time it is just to strange and I really don’t like the main character.

What I have Recently Finished Reading

I throughly enjoyed this book and it was great to get back into reading my classics again. Here is the review if you are interested.

What I Think I will Read Next

I have so many books I want to read this year and because of this I plan to be a lot more restrained with my book buying.

Please drop me a comment with your WWW Wednesday and I will head over for a visit.

Happy Reading

Etsy

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Books I will Definitely Read in 2023

Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm, and now being hosted by Meeghan reads.

Hello!

I hope you are all having a good week so far. I am struggling with my current read but I am trying to get through it. If it wasn’t a book sent by the publisher I would DNF but I always like to try and finish a book that has been kindly given to me by a publisher.

There are so many books I intend to read this year so it has been hard to narrow the list down to 5 but here goes.

  1. The Cicero Trilogy by Robert Harris – I bought this last year and I have been eager to read it but I sadly ran out of time in 2022 so I am determined to make time for it this year.
  2. The Persephone Book of Short Stories – I have decided to read this book this year and to try and read one short story a day. I like dividing a substantial book up into manageable segments as it makes me see my progress whilst reading and not feeling bogged down with a book.
  3. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius – This is one of the books I plan to read for my challenge of reading an Ancient Greek or Roman book a month.
  4. Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski – I meant to start The Witcher series last year but again I ran out of time. This year I am determined to start the series but I probably won’t finish the series.
  5. The Woman Who Would be King by Kara Cooney – This book was on my wish list for ages and I finally had it as a Christmas present off my wonderful husband. Now I have the book I can’t wait to get reading it.

Please drop me a comment if you have taken part in Top 5 Tuesday this week and I will head over for look.

Happy Reading

Etsy

The Weekly Brief

Hello!

I hope everyone has had a good weekend so far. I am feeling rather good about 2023 so far. Blogging and reading is going well and I up to date on all my book reviews. I actually feel organised with my blog for a change!

Anyway, here is what has been happening on the blog this week.

Posts this Week

Currently Reading

I’m nearly half way through with this and I must admit I am struggling. I suspect I have already worked out who the murderer is because the story is quite predictable but I am really struggling with the characters especially the main character. I will carry on till the end though as I am reading and reviewing it for the publishers but I am finding it all quite odd.

Happy Reading

Etsy

The Aeneid by Virgil (translated by by Frederick Ahl)(Review #3)

The Aeneid by Virgil (translated by by Frederick Ahl)

Blurb

After a century of civil strife in Rome and Italy, Virgil wrote the Aeneid to honour the emperor Augustus by praising his legendary ancestor Aeneas. As a patriotic epic imitating Homer, the Aeneid also set out to provide Rome with a literature equal to that of Greece. It tells of Aeneas, survivor of the sack of Troy, and of his seven-year journey: to Carthage, where he falls tragically in love with Queen Dido; then to the underworld,; and finally to Italy, where he founds Rome. It is a story of defeat and exile, of love and war, hailed by Tennyson as ‘the stateliest measure ever moulded by the lips of man’.

Review

I have finally finished this book! When I first started reading it I was in the middle of my Masters and this sadly had to fall by the way side. However, on the 1st January I decided to read one book a day of this book and yesterday (yes I know a day behind) I finally finished. 

The book begins in Carthage where Aeneas tells his journey to Queen Dido starting from  the fall of Troy where Aeneas and the survivors he manages to gather including his father and son flee Troy and begin their 7 year journey to find a new home. Their journey goes from Carthage, to the Underworld and finally Italy his final destination.  

My first thought about this book is what an amazing piece of propaganda. The amount of propaganda in this book really made me laugh but I think the pinnacle of it was in book 7. In book 7 Anchises shows Aeneas all the descendants that will come from his line and it is quite a list. Aeneas is basically the father of all the great leaders of Rome which seems highly improbable. 

My husband kindly treated me to see Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas opera for my birthday which I absolutely loved but I do think Purcell was rather kind to Aeneas. In truth I always found Aeneas to be a bit of an ass. Whilst he is fleeing Troy he accidentally loses his wife, he does go back and look for her but really he shouldn’t have lost her in the first place. Then what he does with Queen Dido is in my opinion absolutely awful. Yes, I know the gods had something to do with it but really the man did not show any remorse at all and was a complete b__.

The last 6 books of the book is where Aeneas and his men, and we presume some women and children as they are briefly mentioned, land in Italy and all hell breaks loose in war. I loved how all the gods get involved and even some nymphs as this really parallels with Homer’s depiction of the war of Troy. In fact Virgil is very clever with his direct links with Homer’s work. When studying my Masters it was always amazing how much the Romans wanted to be as good as the Ancient Greeks. The Romans copied their sculptures, their texts and much more but always keeping their Roman values. 

I really enjoyed this book and it was a great start to 2023 and my plan to read at least one Ancient Greek or Roman text a month. Virgil was a very talented writer who knew how to write an excellent piece of propaganda. I also loved Ahl’s translation but I knew it would be good as he is one of my favourite translators. I happily give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons. 

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Bookshop.org | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Publius Vergilius Maro (October 15, 70 BCE – September 21, 19 BCE), usually called Virgil or Vergil /ˈvɜrdʒəl/ in English, was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues (or Bucolics), the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid. A number of minor poems, collected in the Appendix Vergiliana, are sometimes attributed to him.

Virgil is traditionally ranked as one of Rome’s greatest poets. His Aeneid has been considered the national epic of ancient Rome from the time of its composition to the present day. Modeled after Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, the Aeneid follows the Trojan refugee Aeneas as he struggles to fulfill his destiny and arrive on the shores of Italy—in Roman mythology the founding act of Rome. Virgil’s work has had wide and deep influence on Western literature, most notably the Divine Comedy of Dante, in which Virgil appears as Dante’s guide through hell and purgatory.

Etsy

Friday Poetry: Sergei Yesenin

Happy Friday!

I hope everyone has had a good week so far and have some good plans for the weekend.

My chosen poem for this week is by another new poet for me, Sergei Yesenin. Yesenin (1895-1925) was a Russian lyric poet.

The Birch Tree

Under my window
Tucked in the snow
White birch retired
Clad in silver glow.

On the fluffy branches
Snowy-trim with silver-tinge
Melted around catkins
Forming white fringe.

Like golden fires
Snow-flakes blazed
While birch stood still
Asleep, or amazed.

Meanwhile, lazily
Strolling around,
Dawn threw more 'silver'
On the twigs (and ground). 

Sergei Yesenin

Happy Reading

Etsy

Amours de Voyage by Arthur Hugh Clough (Review #2)

Amours de Voyage by Arthur Hugh Clough

Blurb

Amours de Voyage is a novel in verse and is arranged in five cantos, or chapters, as a sequence of letters. It is about a group of English travellers in Italy: Claude, and the Trevellyn family, are caught up in the 1849 political turmoil. The poem mixes the political (‘Sweet it may be, and decorous, perhaps, for the country to die; but,/On the whole, we conclude the Romans won’t do it, and I sha’n’t’) and the personal (‘After all, do I know that I really cared so about her?/Do whatever I will, I cannot call up her image’). The political is important but the personal dilemmas are the crucial ones.

Claude, about to declare himself, retreats, regrets. It is this retreat, his scruples and fastidiousness, that, like a conventional novel, is the core of Amours de Voyage. The poem thus contributed something important to the modern sensibility; it is a portrait of an anti-hero; it is about love and marriage (the difficulties of); and it is about Italy.

Review

I had never heard of Arthur Hugh Clough before but I was really intrigued when I saw this book in Persephone books so I bought it. I have been reading some pretty hefty books recently so last weekend I thought I would read a shorter book as a quick read and this was the book I chose. 

The first thing I loved about this book was the preface by Julian Barnes. Barnes gave a wonderful description of Clough’s life and the background behind this book. It really set the scene well. 

This was quite a different read for me but one that I flew through. I really loved Claude’s thoughts on Rome as he really was very unimpressed with the whole affair and I found his reactions to it quite amusing. The book is a novel in verse and made up of letters. Claude writes to his long suffering friend Eustace and I say long suffering because I think the poor man has a lot of letters of Claude. The other letters are from the Trevellyn sisters to their friend. 

I will be honest the character Claude was not my favourite. He found Rome boring, he was self centred, looked down on people and only found Mary interesting when she had gone. Personally I think Mary was better off without Claude in her life. Mary thought a lot more about Claude than Claude did about Mary. 

Overall, I loved Clough’s writing and I would love to read more of his work but what let it down for me was simply his main character Claude. I just could not deal with Claude’s selfish behaviour sadly. Due to this I give the book 3 out of 5 Dragons. 

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Bookshop.org | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861) was an English poet, an educationalist, and the devoted assistant to Florence Nightingale. 

Etsy

Mid Week Quote: Hilary Clinton

Hello!

My chosen quote this week is by Hilary Clinton (1947). Clinton is an American politician, diplomat and former lawyer who served as the 67th United States secretary of state under president Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013, as a United States senator representing New York from 2001 to 2009, and as First Lady of the United States as the wife of president Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001.

“Always aim high, work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in. And, when you stumble, keep faith. And, when you’re knocked down, get right back up and never listen to anyone who says you can’t or shouldn’t go on.” 

Hilary Clinton

Happy Reading

WWW Wednesday: 11/01/2023

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The rules are answer the questions below and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you will read next?

Hello!

I hope everyone has had a good week so far. I have been back at work this week and it has been rather a shock to the system but I am still trying to keep up with my reading.

What I am Currently Reading

I have nearly finished this now and I am really enjoying it. I will definitely be reading more Classics this year.

What I have Recently Finished Reading

I read this at the weekend as I quite fancied a short read. It was quite a strange book but fun and I found it amusing in places.

What I Think I will Read Next

I have so many books to read that I am never sure what to read next. It all depends what mood I am in, the curse of being a mood reader.

Please drop me a comment with your WWW Wednesday and I will head over for a visit.

Happy Reading

Etsy

Top 5 Tuesday: Bookish Resolutions for 2023

Top 5 Tuesday was created by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm, and now being hosted by Meeghan reads.

Hello!

Welcome to my first Top 5 Tuesday of 2023. The Top 5 Tuesday is exploring my bookish resolutions for 2023.

  • Read more Ancient Greek and Roman texts.
    • I find that I am really missing my Masters and all the reading of Ancient texts that I did, so this year I am hoping to try and read one Ancient text a month. Most Ancient texts are divided into Books (what we would call chapters) so if I plan to read a book a day I should get at least one full ancient text read a month. Here are some of the texts I plan to read:
  • Read at least one non-fiction book a month.
    • I love history and classics so this year I have decided to read more about the subjects that I love. I bought quite a few non-fiction books last year so I am hoping to read them this year.
  • Read my height in books.
    • I tried to read my height in books in 2021 and sadly I failed because I was a few inches short. The tower was made up of 74 books and to be honest some of these books were quite thin so didn’t give much height to the tower. This year I am determined to succeed and I plan on reading some big books, like the ones below, to make the tower higher.
  • Read 80 books
    • This year I am planning on reading more books than I have ever read before. I have never managed to read more than 74 books in a year before so reading an extra 6 might be a push but I am determined to give it ago.
  • Read at least 10 books off my Classics Club list.
    • I really want to make a dent in my Classics Club list this year because I didn’t do very well last year and I really don’t want to fall behind on my target of reading 50 books in 5 years.

So there are my 5 Bookish Resolutions.

Please drop me a comment if you have taken part in Top 5 Tuesday this week and I will head over for look.

Happy Reading

Etsy