Poets

Sappho

Sappho is described as the greatest female poet of ancient Greece. Or, the greatest Greek lyric poet, period. Her reputation as one of the world’s finest poets has persisted for more than 2500 years, but the overwhelming majority of her work has not.

Christmas Triple-Feature: Stille Nacht, St. Nick & Scrooge

We're taking a look at three creative works that have become staples of the Christmas season. All three of them have played a huge part in how people observe and celebrate Christmas in parts of the world, and they all have milestone birthdays this year.

The Beheading of Sir Walter Raleigh

Among other things, Sir Walter Raleigh was a courtier, an explorer, a historian, a Member of Parliament and a soldier. He was part of England’s defense against the Spanish armada, as well the Tudor conquest of Ireland, some of which was truly horrifying. According to some people, he is now a ghost. 

Christine de Pizan and the Book of the City of Ladies

Christine de Pizan is often described as a late-Medieval writer. But just “writer” does not really sum up everything she did. She wrote  verse, military manuals, and treatises on war, peace and the just governance of a nation. She was the official biographer of King Charles V of France and wrote the only popular piece in praise of Joan of Arc that was penned during her lifetime. 



Phillis Wheatley

Perceptions and interpretations of Phillis Wheatley's life and work have shifted since the 18th century. This episode examines Wheatley's published writing while enslaved, and how her place in the world of black literature rose, fell, and rose again.

Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas

Gertrude Stein is an icon in the world of modernist literature. Alice B. Toklas is often described as her partner and assistant, but she was also published writer, and “assistant” really doesn't cover how important she was to Stein’s life and work.

Rufus Wilmot Griswold

Griswold is most commonly known as Edgar Allan Poe's rival, and for creating negative characterizations of Poe that have endured more than a century. But his life story beyond his connections to Poe is worthy of examination on its own.

Edward Gorey

Based just on his art, you might imagine Edward Gorey as a dour Englishman, with the peak of his career sometime in the 1920s or '30s, whose childhood was marked with a series of tragic deaths. But Gorey was none of these things.

Walt Whitman, Poet of Democracy

Whitman is often touted as the best and most important poet in U.S. history, but he also worked as a teacher and a journalist. And his poetry career didn't start out particularly well.

Aphra Behn, Writer and Spy

There's really not a lot concretely known about the life of Aphra Behn, who, in addition to being a spy, was a dramatist, poet, novelist, translator, and the first woman in English literature known to have made her living as a writer.