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Posts Tagged ‘poet’

Shakespeare’s Legacy 400 Years Since His Death

William Shakespeare Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

William Shakespeare Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

Four hundred years ago on April 23, the man whom many regard as the greatest writer ever to write in the English language died.  On that day, William Shakespeare, aged 52, may have breathed his last, but his impact on world literature and everyday life remains.  In terms of today’s social media culture, Shakespeare has been “a trending topic for more than 400 years.”

The Bard, as Shakespeare is often called, was a playwright and a poet.  His works — approximately 37 plays and 154 sonnets — have been translated into every major language.  His plays are some of the most frequently performed around the world.  Theatergoers continue to flock to his Globe Theatre (at least, its third incarnation opened in 1996) in London.  And, as long as motion pictures have been produced, Shakespeare’s works have appeared on screen.  His themes are not complicated, though his words sometimes may be.  His characters are diverse, covering the demographic landscape from star-crossed teens in love (Romeo and Juliet) to a king descending into madness (King Lear).  He was not only a master of the historic, dramatic and tragic but also of the comedic.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing are among his most acclaimed comedies.  Shakespeare’s longevity rests in the richness of his characters, some real and most imagined.

Shakespeare’s sonnets were considered outdated and underwhelming when they were written 400+ years ago, but their impact on literature has stood the test of time.  Who hasn’t read the words of Sonnet 18 — “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” — and been transported by its romantic notion of eternal beauty.  Read all 154 of his sonnets in Great Works of Literature in eLibrary.

eLibrary contains a vast amount of resources related to Shakespeare and his body of work.  Take a look at Shakespeare Quarterly and Shakespeare Studies, scholarly journals focusing on scholarship and criticism of Shakespeare and his contemporaries.  Search eLibrary’s Research Topics for pages on Shakespeare’s plays (15, with more to come) and other interesting topics like Shakespearean authorship.  Research Topics provide an excellent starting point for inquiry.  Read an entire play in The Complete Works of Shakespeare.  Celebrate William Shakespeare’s legacy by diving into these and many more eLibrary resources.

 

Remembering Maya Angelou

"Maya Angelou." Photo credit: www.geteverwise.com / Foter / CC BY-SA

“Maya Angelou.” Photo credit: www.geteverwise.com / Foter / CC BY-SA

Today marks exactly one year since we lost Maya Angelou on May 28, 2014. Her literary and educational contributions go beyond books and wisdom. She was an activist, actress, composer, dancer, director, editor, essayist, playwright, poet, singer, storyteller and writer. In the 86 years she spent on Earth sharing her art, voice and many gifts, it is her strength and poise we will remember most. To honor the full life she led, I thought it would be befitting to list 10 facts you may not know about Maya Angelou and reflect on the woman who published more than just poetry. She imprinted our hearts with empathy and adoration so that we always seek to understand instead of to judge.

1. She Was a Southern Soul

Maya Angelou loved country music.

2. Her Real Name Was Not Maya Angelou

She was born Marguerite Annie Johnson.

3. She Reached an Educational Milestone

Maya Angelou received over 30 honorary doctorates from universities spanning the world during her life, but never attended college.

4. She Was Very Multi-Talented

Aside from being a poet, she was a calypso singer and dancer. She also immersed herself in other artistic areas including acting, directing, editing, and playwriting.

5. Her Birthday Held a Unique Significance

April 4, 1928 was Maya Angelou’s birthday and April 4, 1968 was the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. She didn’t celebrate her own birthday for years after his death because of the shared date.

6. She Was Multilingual

She mastered French, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Fanti and English of course.

7. She Earned Presidential Praise

In 1993, Maya Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” during Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration and was the first black female poet to do so.

8. She Loved Oprah

Though Maya Angelou had one son, she thought of Oprah Winfrey as the daughter she never had.

9. You Can Say She’s a Space Poet

NASA sent Maya Angelou’s poem “A Brave and Startling Truth” into space aboard the Orion spacecraft in December 2014.

10. She Was a Powerful Advocate

Maya Angelou was a strong supporter of civil rights and marriage equality.