Programming note: If you missed today's edition of Steyn's Song of the Week on Serenade Radio in the UK, do treat yourself and catch the rerun. It airs Monday morn at 5.30am GMT - that's 9.30pm Sunday on the US and Canadian West Coast, so a kind of late-night vibe to it, but it's early Monday afternoon in Oz, so a mellow post-prandial feel to it. Whichever you prefer, we hope you'll tune in. You can listen from anywhere on the planet right here.
On the subject of rhymed words, albeit without accompanying music, welcome to a brand new entry to our Mark Steyn Club anthology of video poetry. Because, as I always say, video poetry is where the big bucks are.
Last month we featured a unique contributor to the annals of American verse: Phillis Wheatley was a West African slave woman to Boston and sold to the family of a wealthy merchant - and yet she became the first American slave to be a published poet.
Today's poet is not a slave but she was also a domestic servant - in Northamptonshire country houses, for all of her brief life. In today's Sunday Poem, I look at the life and background of Mary Leapor and then read her work Strephon to Celia: A Modern Love Letter. Almost all Miss Leapor knew of "modern love" and modern life came of observing the foibles of her mistresses and their friends. But she was a very sharp observer, as you'll hear...
To watch my reading of Strephon to Celia: A Modern Love Letter, prefaced by my introduction, please click here and log-in.
Don't worry, we're not going to make domestic service or slavery an entry requirement for our Sunday poems, but I was very touched by your response to our Phillis Wheatley selection. Rosette, one of our Belgian Steyn Clubbers, writes:
Mark, your poems are my favorite program. Today you gave us again another precious gem. I am amazed under the spell of this beautiful and touching text. Such a talent for a young child of 17 years of age!! She blossomed despite her conditions of slave thanks to the environment of a warm open minded household. It is a fabulous tale about the real life in the 18th century that stands in deep contrast with nowaday political mass hysteria on the subject of race...
Thank you, Rosette. Increasingly, we impose a one-size-fits-all version of the past on the entirety of human history. My fellow Ontarian Gayle Yee adds:
Thank you Mark for the poetry, I enjoy your readings (both video and audio) very much. You have a recurring theme when you speak on a number of issues. I particularly like the one centred on when we memory hole the past. With the absence of Time Past to ground us, it makes for no Time Future, and leaves us in an enduring Time Present, just floating on the jetsam and flotsam of day to day.
It makes me think of TS Eliot which I have been enjoying. You should do a presentation on any number of his great works. I started reading him, after a wonderful lecture at Hillsdale College Online Course website. Thanks for all you do, its difficult to keep up with all you produce, I try though !
That's not a bad idea, Gayle. I have a very slender connection to Mr Eliot, which I'll leave for another occasion.
If you'd like to catch up on earlier poems in the series, you can find them on our Sunday Poems home page. As with Tales for Our Time and our music specials and The Mark Steyn Show, we're archiving my video poetry in an easy-to-access Netflix-style tile format that we hope makes it the work of moments to prowl around and alight on something that piques your interest of a weekend, whether Kipling, Keats or The Kangaroo.
One other bonus of Steyn Club membership is that you can enjoy much of our content in whichever is your preferred form - video, audio, text. So, if you'd rather hear me read Strephon to Celia: A Modern Love Letter off-camera, please click here.
Steyn's Sunday Poem is a special production for The Mark Steyn Club. We launched the Steyn Club over four-and-a-half years ago, and in this our fifth year I'm immensely heartened by all the longtime SteynOnline regulars - from Fargo to Fiji, Madrid to Malaysia, West Virginia to Witless Bay - who've signed up to be a part of it. Membership in The Mark Steyn Club also comes with non-poetic benefits, including:
~Our latest audio adventure in Tales for Our Time, and more than fifty thrilling predecessors;
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~The opportunity to engage in live Clubland Q&A sessions with yours truly (such as this Friday's);
~Transcript and audio versions of Mark's Mailbox, The Mark Steyn Show, and other video content, including today's poem;
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