Today is the birthday of poet
Algernon Charles Swinburne.
This was the first sentence I read this morning. Algernon Charles Swinburne... did I know of him? I searched my brain for his poetry, for any idea of him that maybe stuck with me after all my college poetry classes.
The Writer's Almanac tells me:
"He had wild red hair, drank to excess, and screamed his poetry and blasphemies aloud while wandering around Oxford at night. He wrote poems about sex, and sadomasochism and vampires, which shocked the Victorians and which nobody reads anymore."
I still couldn't place Algernon Charles Swinburne. More research tells me he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, and 1909.
As a young man, he was friends with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Morris.
Oh Algernon, you escape me. I still can't place you, but I know of your friends...
I walked through the open gate to knowledge. I needed to know more about Algernon, the poet no one reads anymore.
I read on. Algernon was a "an alcoholic and algolagniac".
He was a decadent poet. Decadent??? Decadent... a group of writers and poets who were influenced by Gothic novels and by Edgar Allen Poe. Oscar Wilde was labeled a Decadent writer. So was HG Wells.
But Algernon gave us more. He gave us the 'roundel' style of poetry. Christina Rossetti wrote in roundel verse, thanks to Algernon.
The gate to knowledge opened wider...
Roundel: verse in the rhyme scheme of
"A B A R
B A B
A B A R "
Which interprets to "A poetic form of 11 to 14 lines consisting of two rhymes and the repetition of the first two lines in the middle of the poem and at its end" (source: The Poetry Foundation).
I have more reading to do this morning.
I am fascinated by gates to knowledge.
Where will yours lead today?