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Blog 01.02.2020

Literary Inspiration for the New Year

A Whole New Year

  • T.S. Eliot—one of the greatest poets of the 20th century and leading voices of the Modernist movement—spoke of a new year as a hopeful beginning for language and as a time for new voices to be heard:

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language

And next year’s words await another voice.”

T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding” (1942)

  • Charles Dickens (one of our favorites at Full Cycle Publications) was one of the most influential writers and thinkers of the 19th century; his beloved A Christmas Carol (1843) lives on as a holiday favorite while Oliver Twist (1837) is another novel that is perfect for children and adults alike. Dickens was known for his social commentary and for his musings on living a life of generosity. For the new year, it is important to keep this wise sentiment in mind (from his novel, The Chimes (1844):

A new heart for a New Year, always!”

Charles Dickens

Wisdom in Poetry and Verse

Alfred, Lord Tennyson—one of the 19th century’s most famous British poets—wrote the epic poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade” (1854) and served as the Poet Laureate of Ireland and Great Britain while Queen Victoria reigned. Today, he is known as one of the most beloved of all the Victorian poets. From his 1850 poem, “Ring Out, Wild Bells,” he gives us inspiration for the New Year:

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true.”

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

  • From Tennyson’s play, “The Foresters” (1892):

[I]f this life of ours

Be a good glad thing, why should we make us merry

Because a year of it is gone? but Hope

Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,

Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

  • Ezra Pound—a contemporary of T.S. Eliot as well as one of the most important figures in Modernist poetry—was one of the leading literary figures of the 20th century. He is most well-known for his translations as well as his poem, “The Cantos” (1925). Here he muses on the importance of a new beginning:

The artist is always beginning. Any work of art which is not a beginning, an invention, a discovery is of little worth.”

Ezra Pound

(Dr. Maya Angelou reading “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s Inauguration, January 20, 1993;

  • Maya Angelou (1928-2014)—one of the greatest African American poets and writers the literary world has ever known—offers us hope for change and growth. This bit of wisdom comes from her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” (1993) that she read at former President Bill Clinton’s first inauguration:

The horizon leans forward,

Offering you space to place new steps of change.”

Maya Angelou

For more information on the writers, poets and quotations mentioned in this blog, consult the websites below:

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