Monday, April 18, 2011

H. W. Longfellow: A lousy poet?

All right. Who can't recite at least some of The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere? It starts haunting all of us starting at around third grade. But when was the last time you even gave a thought to Henry Wadsworth Longellow? As in, was he any good? 'Longfellow could speak eight languages and read more than a dozen. His own poems are thick with allusions, especially of the classical sort. But they were also so singularly accessible and so overwhelmingly popular that he has been blamed, preposterously, for the death of poetry, as if readers reared on Longfellow were ruined forever for anything tougher. He worked hard to make poetry look easy; his success was his failure.' More... (Via)

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