“Sonnet 18” by William Shakespeare, English (1564-1616)
Today’s balmy breezes and the “darling buds of May” bring to mind one of my favorite sonnets written by William Shakespeare, “Sonnet 18,” with its famous first line: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” During his lifetime, Shakespeare wrote over 150 sonnets. The word sonnet comes from the Italian word sonetto, meaning little song. A sonnet is a simple lyric poem with fourteen lines and a fixed rhyming pattern. Each line is written in iambic pentameter. An iamb is a word with an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable. The word compare from the first line of this sonnet is an example of an iamb. And pentameter? Penta means five, so there are five stressed syllables in each line. That’s it!
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Sarah M. Fredericks © 2015
Carpe Librum!📚Seize the Book…and let the page-turning begin!
“Why I Live at the P.O.” by Eudora Welty, American (1909-2001)
This morning, I perused my collection of Penguin 60s Classics on my dresser, trying to decide which little gem I would take to the coffee shop. Penguin published these 5″ x 4″ paperbacks in 1995 to celebrate their 60th anniversary. These little books represent the best of short fiction and non-fiction, and they are so small and light, you can pop one into your pocket to fill those dull moments while standing in line at the grocery store. This morning, I chose “Why I Live at the P.O.” by Eudora Welty. Continue reading
Filed under America, STORY
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, Persian (1048-1123)
Omar Khayyám, son of Abraham, the tent maker, was born in Naishapur, Iran, almost a thousand years ago. He initially followed his father’s profession, but when he completed his education in Samarkand, he developed a lifetime passion for astronomy, philosophy, and algebra. Algebra? Oh, yes! We can thank Omar for our many sleepless nights when we fretted over his geometric methods to solve his cubic equation (x^3 + 200x = 20x^2 + 2000). He wrote treatises on music, mechanics, geography, and Islāmic theology. Omar also developed the Jalali calendar, one of the oldest and most accurate solar calendars still in use today. Apart from acknowledging his incredible contributions in various fields of study, we in the 21st century can enjoy Omar’s Rubáiyát, rhymes instructing us to live for today and not worry about the Hereafter. Omar was a realist, declaring, “I, myself, am Heaven and Hell.” Continue reading
Filed under AUDIO🎤, Persia, POEM
Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan, French (1935-2004)
I have just finished reading Bonjour Tristesse, an incredible novel, written by Françoise Sagan when she was only eighteen. She failed her exams at the Sorbonne and decided to write a book instead. The book received instant international acclaim, and by 1959 it had sold 850,000 copies. It has since been translated into many languages and is a “must” for readers who enjoy coming-of-age stories. I first discovered this novel when I was twenty-five and have reread it every five years. Continue reading
Filed under France, NOVEL
“A Passion for Reason” – a little satire to promote the Classics by Sarah M. Fredericks, Irish (1960-present)
I wrote the above poem while reading about The Age of Reason (The Enlightenment) which occurred in 17th and 18th century Europe. A group of philosophical intellectuals decided that instead of relying on traditions and superstitions (especially those based on faith), they should emphasize individualism, reason, the scientific method, and reading the Classics to advance society. Continue reading