353. (William Shakespeare)

This is a post on Shakespeare’s sonnets, read narrowly through Empson’s analysis in Some Versions of Pastoral. A friend of … More

343. (John Donne)

The last line of “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” riddles, urging us to return to the start of the poem, as … More

339. (John Dryden)

Dryden honored music in his verse, and his verse in general repeatedly challenges us to better tune our ears to … More

337. (John Donne)

John Donne’s “The Sun Rising” exemplifies Donne’s art because the poem issues from Donne’s exertion to shift the truth of … More

331. (Ben Jonson)

Jonson’s “To Penshurst” is an extraordinary achievement of technique: a poem that feels relaxed, and at ease, and yet is … More

328. (John Donne)

Donne’s poetry does not achieve ambiguities at the cost of compression; it achieves compression with the success of ambiguities. That … More

307. (Andrew Marvell)

Andrew Marvell’s detached melancholy accommodates skepticism towards the idea that melancholy is suitable for the world (even as it admits … More

299. (Mary Sidney)

Mary Sidney is among the greatest Elizabethan poets in English, her translations of the psalm an achievement of a style … More

298. (John Donne)

John Donne’s “Nocturnal Upon St. Lucy’s Day” is one of the most beautiful poems in English. Below is a discussion … More

292. (John Donne)

Of the true metaphysical conceit, the critic James Smith (in “On Metaphysical Poetry”) says, hesitating before his extravagant language, “it … More