Overview This edifying volume presents mini-biographies of key British and American poets who at one time or another worked as journalists.
Gin Before Breakfast: The Dilemma of the Poet in the Newsroom
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Topics range from the diffusion of AIDS, mental maps, and development themes in Africa to postmodernism, and the practices of teaching and writing. View Product. Geography Inside Out. Providing a critique of the practices of academic geography, this book identifies the field's biases Providing a critique of the practices of academic geography, this book identifies the field's biases and hypocrisy, reveals its self- censorship and rails against its intellectual cowardice.
Chapters focus on postmodernism, elitism, the abuse of logic and language, intellectual turf Journalist Spence recalls his summers at an opulent Adirondack Great Camp owned by his patrician Often writing in the spirit of these poet-journalists, Nelson occasionally punctuates his observations with poetic flourish all the while remaining focused on the biographical specifics of his subjects.
Beginning with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the poet best known for his "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and his partnership with William Wordsworth in Lyrical Ballads , Nelson reveals that before poetry took hold of him, Coleridge begrudgingly reported on daily events, including the speeches of the long-winded in the House of Commons, for various newspapers like the London Morning Post , aptly subtitled Cheap Morning Advertiser.
Additionally, he wrote feature columns and editorials for his own short-lived publication, The Watchman March-May, Nelson cleverly assesses the parallels in Coleridge's poetic diction with those of his editorials, which many of his contemporaries lauded for their precise lambasting of famous figures like William Pitt the Younger, Britain's prime minister through the turbulent period from and again from Describing the politician as a "plant sown and reared in a hot house" p. Although Coleridge's inclination toward poetry could not compete with his journalism--he chose ultimately "to write for the permanent or none at all" p.
Like Coleridge, Edgar Allen Poe attempted to publish his own publication, Penn , in , renamed Stylus that same year. Poe found it easier to speculate about the business of publishing than to become successful within it: the magazine was never published. Both men fell into a common trap among many of the poet-journalists about whom Nelson writes: they believed their esoteric topics could capture the interest of the public upon which publishers typically depend for their survival.
Not all met journalism with tempered enthusiasm.
Walt Whitman claimed to be "ill-suited for newspaper work" p. Yet, as Nelson suggests, Whitman found his education among the various New York newspapers which he worked for or railed against.
Gin Before Breakfast: The Dilemma of the Poet in the Newsroom by W. Dale Nelson
Stoked by work for James Gordon Bennett's New York Herald , Whitman's journalistic career was largely directed against the nineteenth-century convention of newspapers as organs of political parties. Establishing his mature poetic voice writing for the Brooklyn Eagle , Whitman used the impermanence of the newspaper as a foil to elaborate on the essence of American-ness at a time when national feeling was seeping into a self-assured sense of international dominance and the question of slavery was shadowing the nation's moral claims.
Nelson's analysis of Whitman as a poet who learned from journalism provides a lens through which we can understand Whitman the American icon and American poet as distinct but complementary and inextricably linked identities.
For many of the poet-journalists Nelson covers, including Whitman, there was less a strict dichotomy between poetry and journalism than a cautious respect for each and an honest concern about the feasibility of marrying the two. Rudyard Kipling, the Indian-born British writer, often labeled a quintessential Orientalist, had a talent for journalism yet found his greatest expression in poetry and prose.
According to Nelson, his practice of describing events for colonial newspapers like the Civil and Military Gazette taught him how to translate action in journalistic prose into literary craft. His first entry in bridging the two fields came with Departmental Ditties , light verse originally published in the newspaper. Harvard University, April Boston College, September May Covering local events for bi-weekly periodical of the Indian diaspora in New England. Editing textbooks for the College Psychology division.
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