Literature

The Deep and Fun History of Poetic Riddles

"The Wedding of Samson" by Rembrandt. (The York Project)
"The Wedding of Samson" by Rembrandt. (The York Project)

In one of the tensest moments in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” Gollum is ready to eat Bilbo Baggins if he cannot answer this riddle correctly: Alive...




  • "Pentonville Road" by John O'Connor. (public domain)

    The Music of Words and Poetry (Part 2)

    Language that uses poetic meter, knowingly or unknowingly, is among the most powerful. Perhaps the most famous line in all of English literature is “To... Read more

  • "Sappho and Alcaeus" by Lawrence Alma-Tadema. (public domain)

    The Music of Words and Poetry

    “Four score and seven years ago …” Even if you can’t tell me where these six words come from, there is a good chance that you... Read more

  • collage-books

    Books to Help Us Understand Homelessness

    Homelessness is a complex issue, affecting more people than we’d like to think. A report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)... Read more

  • The Reception Of Christopher Columbus By Ferdinand II Of Aragon And Isabella by Eugene Deveria.

    Valentine’s Day Poetry for Any Situation

    For Valentine’s Day, I offer you some love poems for almost any situation. The first poem, by the great poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, is perfect... Read more

  • "The Lute Player" by Frans Hals. (public domain)

    Rhymes Remain Fertile Ground for Humorists

    From Mother Goose to Dr. Seuss, rhyming poetry has induced laughter in children for century after century. The enchantment of rhyme, while considered somewhat passé... Read more

  • "Italian Dream" (Aline Coquelle)

    A Publisher That Champions Beauty

    NEW YORK—If Martine Assouline has a motto, it might be that “beauty is necessary—or that culture is the best accessory.” “I strongly believe that when... Read more

  • Cadets of the KGB Moscow Higher Frontier Guards Command Academy parade in Red Square, Moscow, in 1972. (RIA Novosti archive, image #700215/Lev Polikashin/CC-BY-SA 3.0)

    The Nature and Fate of Soviet Communism in ‘One Day We Will Live Without Fear’

    Nearly a century ago, Bolshevik revolutionaries toppled the legal Russian government and murdered the royal family, establishing the world’s first communist regime. For the seven... Read more

  • (Hachette Books)

    8 Books With Simple Truths to Remember All Year Long

    At the beginning of a new year, I like to review the past year and think about positive things in my life that I might... Read more

  • "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" circa 1830, by Hokusai. (public domain)

    How to Write a Haiku

    The Japanese-inspired haiku is perhaps the most well-known and often-used form of poetry today. Schoolchildren the English-speaking world over know that a haiku has five... Read more

  • russian_chamber_chorus_picture_2014

    Russian Chamber Chorus to Bridge Celebrated Poets Shakespeare and Pushkin in Concert

    NEW YORK—What do Shakespeare and Pushkin have in common?  Despite the fact that they were writing in places far from each other and centuries apart,... Read more

  • “Triumphant Achilles,” from a panoramic fresco on the upper level of the main hall of the Achilleion in Gastouri, Corfu. Achilles is dragging Hector's lifeless body in front of the Gates of Troy. Andrew Kern considers Homer, who told Achilles's story, to be the source of Western civilization. (Public domain)

    Educator Andrew Kern: The Classics Ignite Our Desire to Learn, to Honor Others

    Not everyone likes school, but everyone loves to learn. “Star Wars” fans light up when they learn something new about the franchise’s movies or actors... Read more

  • William Ruleman. (Elizabeth Sayle Ruleman)

    Withstanding the Ravages of Time: An Interview With Poet William Ruleman

    William Ruleman is helping lead the revival of classical poetry. In addition to serving on the Board of the Society of Classical Poets, he has... Read more

  • “Sunrise on the Bay of Fundy” by William Bradford (1823–1892). (Public Domain)

    Writing a Sonnet: Easy to Difficult (Part 2)

    Part 1 Level 3, Medium-Difficult: Poetry with Rhyme and Structure Traditional or classical poets usually adhere to more rigid structure than is found in the... Read more

  • “Sunrise on the Bay of Fundy” by William Bradford (1823-1892)

    Writing a Sonnet: Easy to Difficult: Part 1

    Put simply, a sonnet is a 14-line poem. I’ll take you through a simple guide that can lead to a basic sonnet in 10 minutes... Read more

  • "Ancient Rome" by Giovanni Paolo Panini (Italian, Piacenza 1691–1765 Rome). (Gwynne Andrews Fund, 1952)

    Poetry: A Dead Art Form Reborn

    Man, is it nice to meet you, Newspaper Readers. My name is Poetry. I have been crammed into weird shapes in textbooks and have spent... Read more

  • Sibylle Eschapasse in Paris on July 31, 2016. (Marie-Edith Dugoujon)

    Sibylle’s Favorite Quotes About Paris

    Paris… or as they pronounce it in Paris: Paree! The city of lights and romance has inspired so many writers and artists over the years... Read more

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