Do You Have the Soul of a Poet?

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Could You Be The Next Great Poet?

Are you another Elizabeth Barrett Browning (“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”), Emily Dickinson (“I held a jewel in my fingers and went to sleep”) or earl Sandburg (“The fog comes on little catfeet. lt sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.”)?

“Poetry is the lava of the imagination whose eruption prevents an earthquake.” Lord Byron

Do you have the soul of a poet? Perhaps you do and you are simply waiting for your literary flair to spontaneously emerge. How does one know if one is poetic? Well let’s see …

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was a recluse who had an affinity for long, white dresses. Some historians hint that she may have suffered an ill-fated affair of the heart. Star-crossed lovers abound, then and now. If, indeed, the rumor is accurate, most of us can understand her pain, if not her decision to become an ascetic and compose lonely poems. Very few of her poems were published during her life.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning ( 1861-1906) learned Greek, Latin and several modern languages when a child. An invalid during her early  years,  her health improved dramatically when she eloped with Robert Browning (1812- 1889). There is a lesson in there somewhere.

John Keats, born in 1795, published three books of poetry in his lifetime, but was dismissed as a middle-class intruder by most critics. “He had no advantages of birth, wealth or education; he lost his parents in childhood, watched  one  brother  die of  tuberculosis  and the  other  travel  to America.

Poverty kept him from marrying the woman he loved. And he achieved lasting fame only after his early death in 1821” ( Another star-crossed lover. Interesting, we may be onto something here (“I saw the sweetest flower wild nature yields”).

Carl Sandburg (1878 -1967) was not only a tough, outgoing reporter, but also a folk musician who accompanied himself somewhat roughly on the guitar while he sang folk songs. I am afraid he did not prosper in the music industry. I visited the Sandburg house in North Carolina and saw the chair in which Sandburg sat when he wrote. His home and furnishings were comfortable, yet modest by most standards-unpretentious. His home was reminiscent of his best poetry.

Lord Byron (George Gordon Byron), born in 1788, was the most famous and controversial of his contemporaries. He was always a study in contrasts, “a melancholy satirist, an aristocratic champion of the common man, handsome and adored but obsessed with a small personal deformity. He fled England to escape scandal and a failed marriage and died of fever in 1824” ( Another love relationship turned sour. This theme seems to abound in poets (“Had sigh’d to many, though he loved but one”).

Do you feel lyrical? Learn if you will be the next Lord Byron or Emily Dickinson.

Do you feel lyrical? Learn if you will be the next Lord Byron or Emily Dickinson by answering “Yes” or “No” to each question.

Are You the Next Shakespeare?


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1. Have you ever had an overwhelming desire to wear long white dresses? (By the way, if you plan on being the next Lord Byron, this means something entirely different.)
2. Have you been known to send hand-written greeting cards that begin with, “Roses are red, violets are blue”?
3. Were you absolutely mesmerized (not put to sleep) by your poetry classes in school?
4. Do you patiently reflect on cat’s paws for hours on end?
5. Is your Greek as fluent as your Latin?


© 2016, Dr. Dorothy McCoy. All rights reserved.