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Poetry, Anyone? May 3, 2007

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Academically Speaking, Ramblings.
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My browser’s RSS reader pointed me towards an entry from CNET on a handful of Webby winners that might have gone under the mainstream radar. Although I only gave the list a look — literally, for I just kept clicking “next” — the one site that did catch my attention was the Poetry Foundation’s.

The foundation in its current incarnation is rather new (founded in 2003), but has a more colorful history best discovered through the site. Overall, the site itself is an amazing resource of everything and anything poetry-related, with links, a blog, and even podcasts. However, what literature lovers will no doubt appreciate the most is the site’s Poetry Tool, which allows visitors to search the Foundation’s archives for poems by poet, title, occasion and, best of all, a poem’s first line.

This last feature I think is a real winner: after all, who hasn’t been made to memorize some poem or another in a high school literature class, and can remember little more of it now except for that first line? In fact, I couldn’t help myself and spent the better part of an hour putting the archive through its paces, searching for poems off the top of my head. While the site didn’t have two of my favorites — the twenty-fourth poem from Stephen Crane’s The Black Riders and Other Lines and Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s Ode — it did have many I do happen to like (in no particular order):

  • O Captain! My Captain! (Walt Whitman)
  • God’s Grandeur (Gerard Manley Hopkins)
  • Man with a Hoe (Edwin Markham)
  • Sonnet XVIII (William Shakespeare)
  • Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night (Dylan Thomas)
  • Ozymandias (Percy Bysshe Shelley)
  • The Road Not Taken (Robert Frost)
  • Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (Robert Frost)
  • How Do I Love Thee? (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
  • If a heathen such as myself can appreciate what this site has to offer, I can imagine the sheer joy this will elicit in the poetry afficionado at heart.

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