The Daily Poem
The Daily Poem
Goldberry Studios
The Daily Poem offers one essential poem each weekday morning. From Shakespeare and John Donne to Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson, The Daily Poem curates a broad and generous audio anthology of the best poetry ever written, read-aloud by David Kern and an assortment of various contributors. Some lite commentary is included and the shorter poems are often read twice, as time permits. The Daily Poem is presented by Goldberry Studios. dailypoempod.substack.com
William Cullen Bryant's "To a Waterfowl"
William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) was a Fireside Poet, journalist, and nature writer with ties to the Hudson River School of art. He wrote poems, essays, and articles that championed the rights of slaves, workers, and immigrants, and he was frequently published by the North American Review. He is the author of several books, including The White-Footed Deer and Other Poems (I. S. Platt, 1844), and The Fountain and Other Poems (Wiley and Putnam, 1842). -bio via Academy of American Poets Get full access to The Daily Poem Podcast at dailypoempod.substack.com/subscribe
Feb 9
8 min
Elizabeth Bishop's "In the Waiting Room"
Today’s poem is a rare departure for Elizabeth Bishop who usually avoided a confessional style of poetry–but everybody gets a little introspective on their birthday. Get full access to The Daily Poem Podcast at dailypoempod.substack.com/subscribe
Feb 8
7 min
Tracy K. Smith's "Solstice"
Tracy K. Smith was born in Massachusetts and raised in northern California. She earned a BA from Harvard University and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. From 1997 to 1999 she held a Stegner fellowship at Stanford University. Smith is the author of four books of poetry: The Body's Question (2003), which won the Cave Canem prize for the best first book by an African-American poet; Duende (2007), winner of the James Laughlin Award and the Essense Literary Award; Life on Mars (2011), winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; and Wade in the Water (2018). In 2014 she was awarded the Academy of American Poets fellowship. She has also written a memoir, Ordinary Light (2015), which was a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction.In June 2017, Smith was named U.S. poet laureate. She teaches  at Harvard University, where she is a professor of English and of African and African American Studies and the Susan S. and Kenneth L. Wallach Professor at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute. She also hosted American Public Media's daily radio program and podcast The Slowdown, which is sponsored by the Poetry Foundation.-bio via Poetry Foundation Get full access to The Daily Poem Podcast at dailypoempod.substack.com/subscribe
Feb 7
7 min
Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach"
Today’s poem is the one you had to read in high school without really understanding it. (Or was that just me?)Among the major Victorian writers, Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) is unique in that his reputation rests equally upon his poetry and his poetry criticism. Only a quarter of his productive life was given to writing poetry, but many of the same values, attitudes, and feelings that are expressed in his poems achieve a fuller or more balanced formulation in his prose. This unity was obscured for most earlier readers by the usual evaluations of his poetry as gnomic or thought-laden, or as melancholy or elegiac, and of his prose as urbane, didactic, and often satirically witty in its self-imposed task of enlightening the social consciousness of England.Assessing his achievement as a whole, G.K. Chesterton said that under his surface raillery Arnold was, “even in the age of Carlyle and Ruskin, perhaps the most serious man alive” [though, from Chesterton, this is not entirely a compliment.] H.J. Muller declared that “if in an age of violence the attitudes he engenders cannot alone save civilization, it is worth saving chiefly because of such attitudes.” It is even more striking, and would have pleased Arnold greatly, to find an intelligent and critical journalist telling newspaper readers in 1980 that if selecting three books for castaways, he would make his first choice The Poetical Works of Matthew Arnold (1950), because “Arnold’s longer poems may be an acquired taste, but once the nut has been cracked their power is extraordinary.” Arnold put his own poems in perspective in a letter to his mother on June 5, 1869: “It might be fairly urged that I have less poetical sentiment than Tennyson, and less intellectual vigour and abundance than Browning; yet, because I have perhaps more of a fusion of the two than either of them, and have more regularly applied that fusion to the main line of modern development, I am likely enough to have my turn, as they have had theirs.”-bio via Poetry Foundation Get full access to The Daily Poem Podcast at dailypoempod.substack.com/subscribe
Feb 6
12 min
Langston Hughes' "Harlem"
Today’s poem is one of the most recognizable and influential American poems of the twentieth century.Langston Hughes was a central figure in the Harlem Renaissance, the flowering of black intellectual, literary, and artistic life that took place in the 1920s in a number of American cities, particularly Harlem. A major poet, Hughes also wrote novels, short stories, essays, and plays. He sought to honestly portray the joys and hardships of working-class black lives, avoiding both sentimental idealization and negative stereotypes.Hughes’s position in the American literary scene seems to be secure. David Littlejohn wrote that Hughes is "the one sure Negro classic, more certain of permanence than even Baldwin or Ellison or Wright. … His voice is as sure, his manner as original, his position as secure as, say Edwin Arlington Robinson’s or Robinson Jeffers’. … By molding his verse always on the sounds of Negro talk, the rhythms of Negro music, by retaining his own keen honesty and directness, his poetic sense and ironic intelligence, he maintained through four decades a readable newness distinctly his own."Hughes’s poems have been translated into German, French, Spanish, Russian, Yiddish, and Czech; many of them have been set to music.-bio via Poetry Foundation Get full access to The Daily Poem Podcast at dailypoempod.substack.com/subscribe
Feb 5
10 min
Robert Herrick's "Ceremony Upon Candlemas Eve"
Today’s poem from Robert Herrick is not only an ode to the holiday of Candlemas, but a meditation on the everlasting revolution of the seasons.For more on the history of Groundhog Day and Candlemas, check out this conversation between Richard Rohlin and Jonathan Pageau. Get full access to The Daily Poem Podcast at dailypoempod.substack.com/subscribe
Feb 2
11 min
Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Work Without Hope"
If you had to live the same day over and over again, you may as well use the time to memorize some poetry. That’s exactly what Phil Connors does in Groundhog Day. Today’s poem is featured in the film and marks a significant turning point for the once-misanthropic weatherman.Samuel Taylor Coleridge is the premier poet-critic of modern English tradition, distinguished for the scope and influence of his thinking about literature as much as for his innovative verse. Active in the wake of the French Revolution as a dissenting pamphleteer and lay preacher, he inspired a brilliant generation of writers and attracted the patronage of progressive men of the rising middle class. As William Wordsworth’s collaborator and constant companion in the formative period of their careers as poets, Coleridge participated in the sea change in English verse associated with Lyrical Ballads (1798). His poems of this period, speculative, meditative, and strangely oracular, put off early readers but survived the doubts of Wordsworth and Robert Southey to become recognized classics of the romantic idiom.-bio via Poetry Foundation Get full access to The Daily Poem Podcast at dailypoempod.substack.com/subscribe
Feb 1
7 min
Robert Browning's "Development"
Although the early part of Robert Browning’s creative life was spent in comparative obscurity, he has come to be regarded as one of the most important English poets of the Victorian period. His dramatic monologues and the psycho-historical epic The Ring and the Book (1868-1869), a novel in verse, have established him as a major figure in the history of English poetry. His claim to attention as a children’s writer is more modest, resting as it does almost entirely on one poem, “The Pied Piper of Hamelin,” included almost as an afterthought in Bells and Pomegranites. No. III.—Dramatic Lyrics (1842) and evidently never highly regarded by its creator. Nevertheless, “The Pied Piper” moved quickly into the canon of children’s literature, where it has remained ever since, receiving the dubious honor (shared by the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen and J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan) of appearing almost as frequently in “adapted” versions as in the author’s original. His approach to dramatic monologue influenced countless poets for almost a century. Browning was born on May 7, 1812 in Camberwell, a middle-class suburb of London. He was the only son of Robert Browning, a clerk in the Bank of England, and a devoutly religious German-Scotch mother, Sarah Anna Wiedemann Browning. He had a sister, Sarianna, who like her parents was devoted to Browning. While Mrs. Browning’s piety and love of music are frequently cited as important influences on the poet’s development, his father’s scholarly interests and unusual educational practices may have been equally significant. The son of a wealthy banker, Robert Browning the elder had been sent in his youth to make his fortune in the West Indies, but he found the slave economy there so distasteful that he returned, hoping for a career in art and scholarship. A quarrel with his father and the financial necessity it entailed led the elder Browning to relinquish his dreams so as to support himself and his family through his bank clerkship.Browning’s father amassed a personal library of some 6,000 volumes, many of them collections of arcane lore and historical anecdotes that the poet plundered for poetic material, including the source of “The Pied Piper.” The younger Browning recalled his father’s unorthodox methods of education in his late poem “Development,” published in Asolando: Fancies and Facts (1889). Browning remembers at the age of five asking what his father was reading. To explain the siege of Troy, the elder Browning created a game for the child in which the family pets were assigned roles and furniture was recruited to serve for the besieged city. Later, when the child had incorporated the game into his play with his friends, his father introduced him to Alexander Pope’s translation of the Iliad. Browning’s appetite for the story having been whetted, he was induced to learn Greek so as to read the original. Much of Browning’s education was conducted at home by his father, which accounts for the wide range of unusual information the mature poet brought to his work. His family background was also important for financial reasons; the father whose own artistic and scholarly dreams had been destroyed by financial necessity was more than willing to support his beloved son’s efforts. Browning decided as a child that he wanted to be a poet, and he never seriously attempted any other profession. Both his day-to-day needs and the financial cost of publishing his early poetic efforts were willingly supplied by his parents.At the time of his death in 1889, he was one of the most popular poets in England.-bio via Poetry Foundation Get full access to The Daily Poem Podcast at dailypoempod.substack.com/subscribe
Jan 31
9 min
Emily Dickinson's "Fame is a bee."
Today’s poem from Emily Dickinson is a masterclass in poetic economy. Get full access to The Daily Poem Podcast at dailypoempod.substack.com/subscribe
Jan 30
8 min
Anne Bradstreet's "To My Dear and Loving Husband"
Anne Bradstreet was the first woman to be recognized as an accomplished New World Poet. Her volume of poetry The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America ... received considerable favorable attention when it was first published in London in 1650. Eight years after it appeared it was listed by William London in his Catalogue of the Most Vendible Books in England, and George III is reported to have had the volume in his library. Bradstreet's work has endured, and she is still considered to be one of the most important early American poets.Although Anne Dudley Bradstreet did not attend school, she received an excellent education from her father, who was widely read— Cotton Mather described Thomas Dudley as a "devourer of books"—and from her extensive reading in the well-stocked library of the estate of the Earl of Lincoln, where she lived while her father was steward from 1619 to 1630. There the young Anne Dudley read Virgil, Plutarch, Livy, Pliny, Suetonius, Homer, Hesiod, Ovid, Seneca, and Thucydides as well as Spenser, Sidney, Milton, Raleigh, Hobbes, Joshua Sylvester's 1605 translation of Guillaume du Bartas's Divine Weeks and Workes, and the Geneva version of the Bible. In general, she benefited from the Elizabethan tradition that valued female education. In about 1628—the date is not certain—Anne Dudley married Simon Bradstreet, who assisted her father with the management of the Earl's estate in Sempringham. She remained married to him until her death on September 16, 1672. Bradstreet immigrated to the new world with her husband and parents in 1630; in 1633 the first of her children, Samuel, was born, and her seven other children were born between 1635 and 1652: Dorothy (1635), Sarah (1638), Simon (1640), Hannah (1642), Mercy (1645), Dudley (1648), and John (1652).Although Bradstreet was not happy to exchange the comforts of the aristocratic life of the Earl's manor house for the privations of the New England wilderness, she dutifully joined her father and husband and their families on the Puritan errand into the wilderness. After a difficult three-month crossing, their ship, the Arbella, docked at Salem, Massachusetts, on July 22, 1630. Distressed by the sickness, scarcity of food, and primitive living conditions of the New England outpost, Bradstreet admitted that her "heart rose" in protest against the "new world and new manners." Although she ostensibly reconciled herself to the Puritan mission—she wrote that she "submitted to it and joined the Church at Boston"—Bradstreet remained ambivalent about the issues of salvation and redemption for most of her life.-bio via Poetry FoundationFor further reading: a picture book about Bradstreet by one of her descendants Get full access to The Daily Poem Podcast at dailypoempod.substack.com/subscribe
Jan 29
7 min
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