Summer is one of the happiest seasons at Tweetspeak Poetry, because it is the season of Take Your Poet to Work Day (or, you know, to the beach). It’s one thing to start every day with a poem (we recommend it). But how great would it be to start your day with a poet? On Take Your Poet to Work Day, we encourage people around the world to take their favorite poet to work for the day.
Take Your Poet to Work Day is coming July 20, 2016
To help you play and celebrate with us, we’re releasing poets each week in a compact, convenient format you can tuck in your pocket, tool belt, or lunchbox. We started our celebration three years ago with Sara Teasdale, Pablo Neruda, T. S. Eliot, Rumi, Edgar Allan Poe, and the reclusive Emily Dickinson (for folks who work at home). We even released a full collection, The Haiku Masters: Matsuo Basho, Yosa Buson, and Kobayashi Issa. In 2014, we added Langston Hughes, Adrienne Rich, John Keats, William Butler Yeats, Christina Rossetti and the beloved 20th-century American poet, Sylvia Plath. And last year, we introduced the Bard of Avon William Shakespeare, beloved poet Maya Angelou, and iconic American poet Robert Frost, Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, Polish poet Wisława Szymborska, and America’s poet, Walt Whitman.
Because you can never have too many poets in your lunch box (or your desk drawer), we have a new collection of poets to release this year, including English Romantic poet William Wordsworth, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Irish poet Seamus Heaney, and this week’s release, English poet and novelist Emily Brontë.
Take Your Poet to Work: Emily Brontë
Get your own downloadable version of Take Your Poet to Work Day Printable – Emily Brontë that you can print, color and cut out for the big day.
Emily Brontë was an English poet and novelist born in 1818 and the younger sister of Charlotte Brontë, who wrote Jane Eyre. Along with two older sisters, Elizabeth and Maria, Emily and Charlotte attended the Cowan Bridge School where they suffered greatly. When Elizabeth and Maria contracted tuberculosis, the four returned home, where the older girls died. The girls also had a brother, Branwell, who was a painter.
Emily, Charlotte and the youngest sister, Anne, together published a collection of poems in 1946 under the pen names Ellis Bell, Currer Bell and Acton Bell respectively, choosing masculine names so as to avoid, in Charlotte’s words, being “looked upon with prejudice.” The collection sold just 2 copies and received minimal, though positive, reviews.
Emily Brontë later published her only novel, Wuthering Heights. She would publish no other poems in her lifetime, though some 200 other poems were later published with the 1850 edition of Wuthering Heights, after her death from tuberculosis in 1848 at just 30 years of age.
Often rebuked, yet always back returning
To those first feelings that were born with me,
And leaving busy chase of wealth and learning
For idle dreams of things that cannot be:
To-day, I will seek not the shadowy region;
Its unsustaining vastness waxes drear;
And visions rising, legion after legion,
Bring the unreal world too strangely near.
I’ll walk, but not in old heroic traces,
And not in paths of high morality,
And not among the half-distinguished faces,
The clouded forms of long-past history.
I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading:
It vexes me to choose another guide:
Where the gray flocks in ferny glens are feeding;
Where the wild wind blows on the mountain side.
What have those lonely mountains worth revealing?
More glory and more grief than I can tell:
The earth that wakes one human heart to feeling
Can centre both the worlds of Heaven and Hell.
— Emily Brontë
The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.
The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.
Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing drear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.
— Emily Brontë
Post and illustrations by LW Lindquist. Brontë poems are in the public domain.