Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Thomas Gray and the Elegy

I’ve been reading Ursula Le Guin’s new collection of poems, Finding My Elegy (more on that next week), and you can’t see a word like “elegy” without thinking of the most famous elegy of all in the English language.

If there is any poet with whom we associated the elegiac form, or elegy, it is Thomas Gray. The form dates back to Greek and Roman times, and was far broader in subject matter than what we associate with elegies. The ancients used elegiac couplets to describe the mythological, the erotic, the satirical, the playful – and occasionally for epitaphs on tombs. Examples exist of the elegiac form during medieval and later times; John Milton wrote several, for example.

To read the rest of the article, please see my post today at TweetSpeakPoetry.

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