Goodreads Facebook Twitter RSS Feed

The Blogging From A to Z April Challenge: X is for Xanadu

Friday, 27 April 2012

My posts in the The Blogging From A to Z April Challenge are all about interesting words. Words that are weird, intriguing, poetic or just plain cool ...

X is for Xanadu

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

Thus starts Xanadu, the 18th century poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. And, of course, we don't know how the work finishes because Coleridge was interrupted by 'a person on business from Porlock' while he was desperately trying to get the lines in his head down on paper.

I'm sure all writers will know that feeling well. Sometimes it feels like we're surrounded by the person from Porlock's modern-day equivalents ...

Xanadu, incidentally, was a real place: it was the name of Kublai Khan's summer capital in China. Coleridge had just been reading about this the night before. And taking opium ...

Archaeopteryx Blunderbuss Chthonic Dreadnought Entropy Fulgurite Gargantua Humbucking Ichthyic Juggernaut Kappa Labyrinthine Megrim Numinous Ophidian Pandemonium Quark Ragnarök Shibboleth Thing Umami Verdigris Worm Xanadu


  1. Xanadu is also the name of one of my most favourite films - the one with Olivia Newton John and Gene Kelly! Yay! LOL! Take care

  2. Old Kitty - I remember it well. The ELO soundtrack too...

  3. LOL! I was also going to make reference to the film, but let me be diplomatic and simply say that "most favourite" would not be the terms I would use...


  4. Chris - No, but top ten, right?

  5. Hello, Simon! I remember learning this when I studied Coleridge in college. Fascinating poet!

    Have a lovely weekend and happy A to Z!

  6. Hi Laura - Thanks for dropping by. A fascinating period in English literature, no doubt about it.

  7. That's such a great and bizarre poem. Love the Kubla Khan.

  8. S. L. - It is. I'd love to know how it should have ended ...

  9. Xanadu is one of those names/places that always evokes ideas for me. Thanks for mentioning it today!

  10. Your post made me think of a YA book I read about Xanadu--Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang. It was an interesting story.

    The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

  11. Hi Simon .. I love the poem - so evocative .. and the song .. I'm not sure I've seen the movie - but the poem is amazing ..

    Cheers Hilary


I'd love to know what you think.