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Famous Poets:

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Ernest Hemingway

Born: July 21, 1899 // Died: July 2, 1961

Ernest Hemingway Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois on July 21, 1899. Working in a newspaper office in Kansas City at the age of seventeen, Hemingway started his career as a writer. Before the United States had entered the World War I, he joined a volunteer ambulance unit in the Italian army. Hemingway was wounded while serving at the front, and later decorated by the Italian Government. After his return to the United States, he became a reporter for Canadian and American newspapers. Later he was sent back to Europe to cover such events as the Greek Revolution.

During the 1920's, Hemingway became a member of the group of expatriate Americans in Paris, which he described in his first important work, The Sun Also Rises (1926). A Farewell to Arms (1929), the study of an American ambulance officer's disillusionment in the war and his role as a deserter, was equally successful. Hemingway used his experiences as a reporter during the civil war in Spain as the background for his most ambitious novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940). Among his later works, The Old Man and the Sea (1952), a short novel about an old fisherman's journey, his long and lonely struggle with a fish and the sea, and his victory in defeat, was the most outstanding.

Hemingway's straightforward prose, spare dialogue, and predilection for understatement are particularly effective in his short stories. Some of his short stories are collected in Men Without Women (1927), The Fifth Column, and The First Forty-Nine Stories (1938). Ernest Miller Hemingway died in Idaho on July 2, 1961.

* From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967.

  Ernest Hemingway's Poetry: (click on a title to read a poem)
  The Age Demand   Along with Youth   Champs D'Honneur
  To Good Guys Dead   I Like Americans   I Like Canadians
  Montparnasse   Neo-Thomist Poem   Riparto D'Assalto
  The Soul of Spain   Chapter Heading   Captives

The Age Demand
The age demanded that we sing
And cut away our tongue.

The age demanded that we flow
And hammered in the bung.

The age demanded that we dance
And jammed us into iron pants.

And in the end the age was handed
The sort of shit that it demanded.

Along with Youth
A porcupine skin,
Stiff with bad tanning,
It must have ended somewhere.
Stuffed horned owl
Yellow eyed;
Chuck-wills-widow on a biassed twig
Sooted with dust.
Piles of old magazines,
Drawers of boy's letters
And the line of love
They must have ended somewhere.
Yesterday's Tribune is gone
Along with youth
And the canoe that went to pieces on the beach
The year of the big storm
When the hotel burned down
At Seney, Michigan.

Champs D'Honneur
Soldiers never do die well;
Crosses mark the places --
Wooden crosses where they fell,
Stuck above their faces.
Soldiers pitch and cough and twitch --
All the world roars red and black;
Soldiers smother in a ditch,
Choking through the whole attack.

To Good Guys Dead
They sucked us in;
King and country,
Christ Almighty
And the rest.
Words and phrases,
They either bitched or killed us.

I Like Americans
By A Foreigner

I like Americans.
They are so unlike Canadians.
They do not take their policemen seriously.
They come to Montreal to drink.
Not to criticize.
They claim they won the war.
But they know at heart that they didn't.
They have such respect for Englishmen.
They like to live abroad.
They do not brag about how they take baths.
But they take them.
Their teeth are so good.
And they wear B.V.D.'s all the year round.
I wish they didn't brag about it.
They have the second best navy in the world.
But they never mention it.
They would like to have Henry Ford for president.
But they will not elect him.
They saw through Bill Bryan.
They have gotten tired of Billy Sunday.
Their men have such funny hair cuts.
They are hard to suck in on Europe.
They have been there once.
They produced Barney Google, Mutt and Jeff.
And Jiggs.
They do not hang lady murderers.
They put them in vaudeville.
They read the Saturday Evening Post
And believe in Santa Claus.
When they make money
They make a lot of money.
They are fine people.

I Like Canadians
By A Foreigner

I like Canadians.
They are so unlike Americans.
They go home at night.
Their cigarets don't smell bad.
Their hats fit.
They really believe that they won the war.
They don't believe in Literature.
They think Art has been exaggerated.
But they are wonderful on ice skates.
A few of them are very rich.
But when they are rich they buy more horses
Than motor cars.
Chicago calls Toronto a puritan town.
But both boxing and horse-racing are illegal
In Chicago.
Nobody works on Sunday.
That doesn't make me mad.
There is only one Woodbine.
But were you ever at Blue Bonnets?
If you kill somebody with a motor car in Ontario
You are liable to go to jail.
So it isn't done.
There have been over 500 people killed by motor cars
In Chicago
So far this year.
It is hard to get rich in Canada.
But it is easy to make money.
There are too many tea rooms.
But, then, there are no cabarets.
If you tip a waiter a quarter
He says "Thank you."
Instead of calling the bouncer.
They let women stand up in the street cars.
Even if they are good-looking.
They are all in a hurry to get home to supper
And their radio sets.
They are a fine people.
I like them.

There are never any suicides in the quarter among people one knows
No successful suicides.
A Chinese boy kills himself and is dead.
(they continue to place his mail in the letter rack at the Dome)
A Norwegian boy kills himself and is dead.
(no one knows where the other Norwegian boy has gone)
They find a model dead
alone in bed and very dead.
(it made almost unbearable trouble for the concierge)
Sweet oil, the white of eggs, mustard and water, soap suds
and stomach pumps rescue the people one knows.
Every afternoon the people one knows can be found at the café.

Neo-Thomist Poem
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not
want him for long.

Riparto D'Assalto
Drummed their boots on the camion floor,
Hob-nailed boots on the camion floor.
Sergeants stiff,
Corporals sore.
Lieutenant thought of a Mestre whore --
Warm and soft and sleepy whore,
Cozy, warm and lovely whore;
Damned cold, bitter, rotten ride,
Winding road up the Grappa side.
Arditi on benches stiff and cold,
Pride of their country stiff and cold,
Bristly faces, dirty hides --
Infantry marches, Arditi rides.
Grey, cold, bitter, sullen ride --
To splintered pines on the Grappa side
At Asalone, where the truck-load died.

The Soul of Spain
In the rain in the rain in the rain in the rain in Spain.
Does it rain in Spain?
Oh yes my dear on the contrary and there are no bull fights.
The dancers dance in long white pants
It isn't right to yence your aunts
Come Uncle, let's go home.
Home is where the heart is, home is where the fart is.
Come let us fart in the home.
There is no art in a fart.
Still a fart may not be artless.
Let us fart an artless fart in the home.
Bill says democracy must go.
Go democracy.

Bill's father would never knowingly sit down at table with a Democrat.
Now Bill says democracy must go.
Go on democracy.
Democracy is the shit.
Relativity is the shit.

Dictators are the shit.
Menken is the shit.
Waldo Frank is the shit.
The Broom is the shit.
Dada is the shit.
Dempsey is the shit.
This is not a complete list.
They say Ezra is the shit.
But Ezra is nice.
Come let us build a monument to Ezra.
Good a very nice monument.
You did that nicely
Can you do another?
Let me try and do one.
Let us all try and do one.
Let the little girl over there on the corner try and do one.
Come on little girl.
Do one for Ezra.
You have all been successful children.
Now let us clean the mess up.
The Dial does a monument to Proust.
We have done a monument to Ezra.
A monument is a monument.
After all it is the spirit of the thing that counts.

Chapter Heading
For we have thought the longer thoughts
And gone the shorter way.
And we have danced to devils' tunes,
Shivering home to pray;
To serve one master in the night,
Another in the day.

Some came in chains
Unrepentant but tired.
Too tired but to stumble.
Thinking and hating were finished
Thinking and fighting were finished
Retreating and hoping were finished.
Cures thus a long campaign,
Making death easy.

The Collected Poems of Ernest Hemingway, Number One of The Library of Living Poetry (Richard West, 1979); North York Public Library 821 H. First Publication Date: Querschnitt 5.ii (February 1925): 21, 111

Ernest Hemingway, Three Stories & Ten Poems (Dijon: Maurice Darantiere, 1923): 54, 56, 57. Facsimile edition by Contact Publishing, 1977. PS 3515 E37A15 Robarts Library. First Publication Date: Ernest Hemingway, Three Stories and Ten Poems (Paris, 1923)

Ernest Hemingway, Complete Poems, ed. Nicholas Gerogiannis, rev. edn. (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1992): 65, 66-67. PS 3515 E37A17 1992 Robarts Library. First Publication Date: Toronto Star Weekly, ca. 1923

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