Poets from the Academy’s Special Collections: Lamb, Burns, and Nogushi

In celebration of National Poetry Month and in place of offering a physical exhibit to view, the Library has created a series of weekly blog posts to share a bit about a few of the poets whose work reside in the Class of 1945 Library’s Special Collections.

Our last post in this series, highlights the work of three poets whose works reside in our Special Collections: Mary and Charles Lamb, Robert Burns, and Yone Noguchi. The Library’s print books by these poets are not digitized, however we have provided alternative copies to view online through Internet Archive.

Mary Lamb (1764 – 1847) & Charles Lamb (1775 – 1834)

Mary Lamb was a British seamstress for 10 years before becoming a poet.  Mary suffered from bipolar disorder and during a manic episode she murdered her mother with a kitchen knife. After the tragic incident, her younger brother Charles, a poet and essayist who worked for the East India Company, agreed to serve as his sister’s caretaker rather than have her institutionalized. Together they developed a collaborative writing relationship and produced many well-known collections of poetry and prose for children, including Tales from Shakespeare (1807), Mrs. Leicester’s School (1809), and Poetry for Children (1809). Usually the books were published anonymously or under Charles’s name in order to shield Mary from unwanted publicity. (Source: Poetry Foundation).

Selected Works

Robert Burns (1759 – 1796)

Burns was born in Alloway, Scotland. Like his father, Burns was a tenant farmer and a practicing poet throughout his lifetime. Burns wrote his poetry in Scots and English. The subject of his poetry celebrated aspects of farm life, regional experiences, traditional Scottish culture, social economics, politics, and religious practices. Burns is credited with beginning the literary tradition called Pre-Romanticism given his sensitivity to nature, his valuation of feeling and emotion, his fierce stance against oppressive authority, his individualism, and his antiquarian interest in old songs and legends. Some of Burns most notable works include “Auld Lang Syne,” “Scots Wha Hae,” and “A Red, Red Rose.” Not only was Burns a poet, but he had a hand in the creation of 330 songs for James Johnson’s The Scots Musical Museum (1787 – 1803), a six-volume work. Today he is recognized as the national poet of Scotland, and is referred to as the National Bard or the Scots Bard. (Source: Poetry Foundation)

Selected Works

Yonejiro (Yone) Noguchi (1875 – 1947)

Noguchi was the first Japanese-born writer to publish poetry in English. Noguchi’s first work of poetry was Seen & Unseen, or, Monologues of a Homeless Snail (1897). Before becoming a poet Noguchi was a domestic servant, magazine editor, and studied at Keio University. Noguchi befriended literary luminaries such as William Butler Yeats and Ezra Pound. Noguchi’s son is acclaimed sculptor Isamu Noguchi. (Source: Poetry Foundation)

Selected Works