1 - 20 of 27 results


Elizabeth Bartlett

Elizabeth Bartlett

b. 1924 d. 2008

Elizabeth Bartlett (1924 - 2008) grew up in Deal, Kent. Her childhood was one of hardship and although she gained a grammar school scholarship she left education at fifteen. At nineteen she married...

John Berryman

b. 1914 d. 1972

John Berryman (1914-1972) was born John Smith Jnr. in rural Oklahoma, the product of an unhappy marriage between a small-town banker and schoolteacher. When he was eight, Berryman suffered the...
Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop

b. 1911 d. 1979

Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) at the time of her death was respected as a "writer's writer" on account of her technical mastery and exemplary patience and dedication to her craft. Since then her...
Charles Causley

Charles Causley

b. 1917 d. 2003

Charles Causley (1917-2003) was born and brought up in Launceston, Cornwall and lived there for most of his life. When he was only seven his father died from wounds sustained during the First World...
E. E. Cummings

E. E. Cummings

b. 1894 d. 1962

E. E. Cummings (1894-1962) was born and brought up in Cambridge Massachusetts, and is remembered above all for his startling innovations in syntax and typography. His early experiments in poetry...
William Empson

William Empson

b. 1906 d. 1984

William Empson (1906-1984) is best remembered as one of the most important and idiosyncratic literary critics of the 20th Century but he was also an influential poet whose output, though small, was...
D. J. Enright

D. J. Enright

b. 1920 d. 2002

D. J. Enright (1920-2002) was born in Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, into a family of modest means. However, the young Dennis won a place at Downing College, Cambridge where he was influenced by...
U. A. Fanthorpe

U A Fanthorpe

b. 1929 d. 2009

U. A. Fanthorpe (1929 - 2009) spent her earliest years in Kent. She attended St Anne's College Oxford afterwards becoming a teacher and ultimately Head of English at Cheltenham Ladies' College....
Vona Groarke

Vona Groarke

b. 1964

Vona Groarke is one of the leading Irish poets of her generation. Born in Mostrim, Ireland, she studied at Trinity College, Dublin and University College, Cork. She has held positions at Villanova...
Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney

b. 1939 d. 2013

Seamus Heaney (1939 - 2013) was the eldest child of nine born to a farming family in County Derry, Northern Ireland. He won a scholarship to St Columb's College, Derry, beginning an academic career...
John Heath-Stubbs

John Heath Stubbs

b. 1918 d. 2006

John Heath-Stubbs (1918 - 2006) recalled how the teacher at his tiny village school read her pupils Our Island Story, sparking in him the lifelong fascination with history that informed his poetic...
Patrick Kavanagh

Patrick Kavanagh

b. 1905 d. 1967

Patrick Kavanagh (1904-67) is one of Ireland's best-loved poets: when the Irish Times compiled a list of favourite Irish poems in 2000, ten of Kavanagh's were in the top fifty, with only Yeats's name...
Philip Larkin

Philip Larkin

b. 1922 d. 1985

Philip Larkin (1922-1985) is a poet whose very name conjures up a specific persona: the gloomy, death-obsessed and darkly humorous observer of human foibles and failings. The truth, both about the...

Melissa Lee-Houghton

b. 1982

Fearless, naked and knowing, Melissa Lee-Houghton’s poems square up to the wildest reaches of our emotional lives. Hers is a poetry of excess, of the beautiful mess and complex depths of life as it...
Robert Lowell

Robert Lowell

b. 1917 d. 1977

Robert Lowell (1917-1977) packed a huge amount into his sixty years: a rollercoaster of triumphs and disasters that informed his writing and pushed back the boundaries of what was deemed suitable...
E A Markham

E A Markham

b. 1939 d. 2008

E A Markham (1939-2008) had a career that embraced the range of literary life, and more. Aside from his poetry, for which he was nominated for the T S Eliot Prize in 2002, he wrote novels, essays,...
Adrian Mitchell

Adrian Mitchell

b. 1932 d. 2008

Adrian Mitchell (1932 - 2008) was a hugely prolific writer, the author of a great number of novels, plays and poems, for adults and, increasingly, for children - he wrote that "more and more of my...

Richard Murphy

b. 1927

Richard Murphy has been called a poet of two traditions, British and Irish. Born in 1927 at Milford, a small “Big House” of his mother’s Anglo-Irish family near Kilmaine, County Mayo, Richard spent...
Ogden Nash

Ogden Nash

b. 1902 d. 1971

Ogden Nash ( 1902-1971) was a master, perhaps the 20th Century master, of light verse whose continuing popularity shows that the term 'light' is not incompatible with long-lasting. He was born in Rye...
Lorine Niedecker

Lorine Niedecker

b. 1903 d. 1970

When Lorine Niedecker died of a brain haemorrhage in 1970 at the age of 67, her work was virtually unknown outside contemporary circles.  Indeed, some of the closest members of her family didn’t even...

Bernard O'Donoghue

b. 1945

Bernard O'Donoghue's poetry is marked by a gift for poetic portraiture, sketching characters at moments of emotional intensity. From encounters during his childhood in Ireland, to elegiac...

F T Prince

b. 1912 d. 2003

F.T. Prince was one of the most influential and critically-neglected Anglophone poets of the twentieth century. Born in South Africa in 1912, he became deeply engaged as a teenager with French...

Justin Quinn

b. 1968

Justin Quinn’s poems are formal in the very best sense, finding rhythms and rhymes to match the complexities and intimacies of our lives and the world in which we live them. Lyrically exact and...
Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich

b. 1929 d. 2012

Adrienne Rich (1929 - 2012) was one of the USA's foremost poets, and her poetry's intelligent and outspoken political commitment makes her one of the most provocative. She was awarded, among others,...
Edith Sitwell

Edith Sitwell

b. 1887 d. 1964

Edith Sitwell (1887-1964) was born into an aristocratic family and, along with her brothers, Osbert and Sacheverell, had a significant impact on the artistic life of the 20s. She encountered the work...
Hone Tuwhare

Hone Tuwhare

b. 1922 d. 2008

Hone Tuwhare (1922 — 2008) is New Zealand’s pre-eminent Maori poet; his tribal affiliations are with Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Korokoro, Ngāti Tautahi, Te Popote and Uri-o-Hau. From a working class background...

Clive Wilmer

b. 1945

Clive Wilmer's first collection of poems, The Dwelling-Place (Carcanet, 1977), opens with an epigraph from John Ruskin's Val d'Arno, which begins: “A man's religion is the form of mental rest, or...

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A tour of the Archive with Monica Ali

On my initial visit to the Poetry Archive, the historical recordings caught my attention first. I did not know that...

Featured Guided Tours

Enjoy new recordings of classic poems from the past read by contemporary poets

Binsey Poplars

Gerard Manley Hopkins

read by Mimi Khalvati

Ulysses

Alfred Tennyson

read by Andrew Motion