Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The Dover Design Sampler email this week features Valentine’s Day books.  This classic sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning is from Great Love Poems (www.doverpublications.com). 

When I became interested in poetry, my mother began buying me classic works.  A book of sonnets by E.B. Browning, a book by Yeats, anthologies, and other books. Treasures. 

As many of you know, I am most comfortable with haiku and tanka.  I also believe in reading widely.  In the short forms, every word must especially “work” in the poemSometimes, after reading longer poems, I find I have just the right word in my mind for a haiku.  I have to keep “filling the well.”   If I feel I can’t write, reading and rest are the way back for me.

20 thoughts on “Elizabeth Barrett Browning

  1. Hi Ellen – I loved sitting in the Armstrong Browning Library on the Baylor Univ campus and reading these beloved poems. This library is filled with wonderful treasures from the Brownings and is such a lovely building. There is a virtual tour on line – check it out – I think you will enjoy it.
    Have a lovely day and thanks for reminding me of these wonderful poets!


    1. Hi Kathleen, Thank you. I’ve heard of Baylor Univ but not of this collection from the Brownings. If you have a moment sometime, please feel free to add the link to the virtual tour, in another comment. Ellen


    1. Good morning, Patti, and thank you. I was a young woman when Mom gave me some of these poetry books, but in her mind, I was still her young daughter! She often spoke of Robert Frost too–admired his “natural word order” in his poems. A shared love of books sure is a nice sense of continuity across the years.

      Congratulations on beginning your second year of blogging! Ellen


      1. Hi Ellen. I like Robert Frost too. There is no question that reading is a part of writing. I am always inspired by the way poets approach their work, the questions they ask and so on. Jane


  2. Ellen,
    Thank you for sharing things about your life as a writer, that there are times you need refreshment, and how you find it. How wonderful that your Mother continued to think of you as her young daughter!


  3. Dear Jane Tims,

    Thank you for your comment, which connected with what I said about Robert Frost in my reply to Patti!

    Love the conversations on our blogs!

    And yes, reading! I could not write like some of the language-rich poets I read–for example, Luci Shaw–nor is that my goal, yet their work enriches mine. I’ve been reading Luci for decades.

    Wonderful to follow your posts about your great-aunt’s diary. Ellen



    1. Good morning, Margaret. We have a beautiful snowfall here–how about by you?

      Yes, the sonnets do read aloud so beautifully. I imagine you have written some!

      There are poems by Shakespeare and Edna St. Vincent Millay in the Dover Design Sampler this week too.


      1. I’m another fan of Edna St. Vincent Millay! I was visiting a friend years ago in Camden, Maine, and was surprised and delighted to find a statue of her there. Ellen, you’ve given me an idea with what you said about finding the right word for a haiku in someone else’s longer poem…


    1. Thanks, Yousei! I want to get back to Emily Dickinson’s letters too. Thanks for adding classic haiku poets.

      Keats–truth and beauty. Haven’t read Tennyson, as least that I can recall now.

      I’ve read several of Shakespeare’s sonnets, but not the plays yet.


      1. I recently check out a book of soliloquies from Shakespeare’s plays. I haven’t poked my nose into it yet, but it is on my nightstand waiting with a lovely bookmark on top. I adore his language. I don’t think there are many like him, but his plays really are better seen. I’d recommend renting or Netflix, if you can find it, Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing. It’s a comedy with several recognizable actors, and the verbal sparring is great.


  4. A lovely poem. I recently took part in The Sketchbook Project, taking the theme ‘Along the Line’, illustrating lines from favourite poems. It was wonderful to discover and re-discover all those beautiful words 🙂


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