Saturday, 31 May 2008

Robert Louis Stevenson: Early Life

A brief overview of Robert Louis Stevenson's Life

Friday, 30 May 2008

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Robert Louis Stevenson - Bed in Summer

Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was born on November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was an only child and was sickly so spent a lot of time in bed. After studying law at Edinburgh University, he travelled for four years around Europe and the USA, spending a lot of time in California. He moved back to Europe but was plagued by ill health. This was when he wrote A Child's Garden of Verses and his popular classics, Treasure Island, Kidnapped and Dr Jeyll and Mr Hyde.

In 1888 he started travelling the Pacific with his family, spending time in palces like Hawaii, Tahiti and Samoa. In 1890, he purcahsed land in Samoa and lived and wrote there until he died on December 3, 1894.

The natives insisted on surrounding his body with a watch-guard during the night, and on bearing their Tusitala (Samoan for "Story Writer") upon their shoulders to nearby Mount Vaea and buried him on a spot overlooking the sea. A tablet was placed there, bearing this epitaph:

“ Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.”

If you want to study the poem 'Bed in Summer' with your primary school child or class, here is a link to a worksheet.

There are more of his poems in his most popular book
A Child's Garden of Verses'

Why not download the poster of the poem and frame or laminate it for your waiting room or staffroom? You order 'A Child's Garden of Verses' by Robert Louis Stevenson published by many publishers from Amazon and all good bookshops.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Leigh Hunt - Jenny Kissed Me

Leigh Hunt
James Henry Leigh Hunt was born into a poor family near London in 1784 and died in 1859. He was an essayist, critic, poet, and publisher. But he was not a renowned poet, though his poem “Jenny Kissed Me,” included in our first leaflet, has been enjoyed and often quoted for nearly two centuries. However, he lived during an age of English Romanticism and was influential in the lives of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Keats. He was also contemporary with Samuel Coleridge, William Wordsworth, and Charles Dickens. Such great company has given him a distinguished status.

He and his brother, John created a political weekly in 1808 that established their liberal reputation called the Examiner. One section on “Young Poets” gave Keats and Shelley access to valuable space where some of their first works were published.
In 1812 the Hunts wrote an article that called the Prince Regent, the future King George IV, “a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps.” As a result, both brothers were convicted by a jury of libel and sentenced to two years in prison.

Though he continued to write for the Examiner while in prison, Leigh Hunt’s separation from his family convinced him to turn away from political writing and to focus on literary writing.

About "Jenny Kissed Me"
In 1835 Leigh Hunt and his large family moved to Chelsea in London and became neighbor to poet and author, Thomas Carlyle, at his suggestion. The two became close friends and Hunt’s home was always open to his circle of friends, of which there were many.

Two stories exist. One story is that Leigh Hunt visited the Carlyles to deliver the news that he was going to publish one of Thomas Carlyle’s poems. When the news was delivered to Carlyle’s wife, Jane, she jumped up and kissed him.

The more common story is that during one winter Hunt was sick with influenza and absent for so long that when he finally recovered and went to visit the Carlyles, Jane jumped up and kissed him as soon as he appeared at the door. Two days later one of the Hunt servants delivered a note, addressed, “From Mr. Hunt to Mrs. Carlyle.” containing the first draft of the poem, “Jenny Kissed Me.”

Read this article for a more detailed analysis of the poem.

You can download a poster of his poem 'Jenny Kissed Me' on the sidebar. Why not print it out and frame or laminate it for display in your waiting room or staff room?
The poem is included in 'The Oxford Book of English Verse' published by OUP and you can order on Amazon or at any good bookshop.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Leaflets Printed

The lovely lads from printworld in Clondalkin have printed our leaflets and they're all ready to send out.

Who can Apply?
Any organisation with a waiting room in Kildare can contact us(leave a comment) to order a set of leaflets to leave for their visitors. The leaflets are issued free with an information and guidelines sheet included in each pack. There is a suggested donation of €20 for each institution, to cover postage and costs but this is not mandatory.

Words Worth Waiting For
Poems in the Waiting Room is a project to supply a short collection of poems for people in waiting rooms in County Kildare. These can be doctor's surgeries, dentists, medical centres, county council offices, hospitals, libraries, clinics, day centres, social welfare offices, NCT centres, anywhere the public has to wait. The waiting room is the one place that at some point, everyone has to pause. It is a room full of strangers that levels us and where we have a chance to reflect. Poetry can help humanise these impersonal places. And hopefully, some people will take away something more than a brief relief to the boredom or worry of the wait. They will take away a newly awakened appreciation of poetry.

What type of poetry?
The poetry is carefully chosen firstly to be accessible. Many people complain of being put off poetry since school so experimental or demanding poetry would not work well in this context. It must also be sensitive to the possible feelings of people in a waiting room, frustrated, worried, even emotionally disturbed. The poetry should speak to all parts of the community. Poems will include those from from contemporary poets with a preference for Kildare based writers. This new work will be put alongside older poems, which are familiar to the older generation, poems for children, which are also enjoyed by adults.

Funds permitting, we will publish more issues. It would be good to tie in poetry readings in some of the waiting rooms. If you have suggestions for poems for future leaflets, please let us know.

Poems in the Waiting Room is supported by the nice people at Kildare County Council Arts Service.