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May 2020 Notable Author: Francis Scott Key

francis scott key, poetry

“Then, in that hour of deliverance, my heart spoke. Does not such a country, and such defenders of their country, deserve a song?”
— Francis Scott Key

Francis Scott Key  (Aug 1, 1779 - Jan 11, 1843) Born in Frederick county, Maryland, Key, at age 10, entered St. John’s College in Annapolis. He graduated seven years later in 1796.  He was an extremely pious young man and considered joining the Episcopal priesthood. He eventually opted for law and became a prominent Washington attorney. 

It was this prominence that allowed him to organize a prisoner exchange during the War of 1812. During this exchange, Key was confined to a British warship and witnessed the fierce bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, MD as well as saw the American flag still flying over the fort the next morning. On September 14, 1814, Key, an amateur poet, wrote a poem titled “Defense of Fort M'Henry,” on the back of a letter he had in his coat. “Defense of Fort M'Henry,” would later be set to music and on March 3, 1931 become the national anthem of the United States of America.

Key was an influential and effective lay supporter of the Episcopal Church, taking an active role in Christ Church and St. John’s Church in Georgetown and Trinity Church in Washington, D.C. For decades, he served as a lay rector, led services, and visited the sick. Among the scores of poems he wrote, many dealt with religious themes, including several hymns. In 1823, he helped found what became the Virginia Theological Seminary.

Genre: Poetry

The first major literary genre, poetry is a form of text that follows a meter and rhythm, with each line and syllable. Poetry uses figurative language, such as metaphor, simile, onomatopoeia, hyperbole, and alliteration to create heightened effect.  Poetry is subdivided into genres, such an epic poem, narrative, romantic, dramatic, and lyric.

Poems/hymns written by Key: Defense Of Fort M’Henry; Lord, With Glowing Heart I'd Praise Thee; Before The Lord We Bow; 

Writer's Prompt - Fun With Words

MWA invites you to have fun writing poetry using up to 100 words. Imagine you have witnessed a heroic event and write a poem about it which will stir the hearts and minds of your countrymen to a higher purpose. Make their speech vivid, without using swear words. Have fun and send us your result.

Submit by the 25th of the month and receive an MWA Fun With Words Submission Certificate.  

Submit Your FUN WITH WORDS Prompt

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