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Anonymous

Anonymous

Anonymous is a well-known and prolific poet. Many of the traditional folk ballads we know today may have begun as songs sung by wandering minstrels,for which authorship was unimportant. The songs...
Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold

b. 1822 d. 1888

Matthew Arnold was born in 1822, the son of the celebrated headmaster of Rugby, Thomas Arnold. Matthew attended Balliol College, Oxford and was a close friend of an older fellow Rugbeian, the poet...
Joanna Baillie

Joanna Baillie

b. 1762 d. 1851

Baillie was a Scottish playwright, critic and poet who lived most of her life in Hampstead, where she was the centre of a rich literary culture. Born into a family of physicians and the daughter of a...
Anna Laetitia Barbauld

Anna Laetitia Barbauld

b. 1743 d. 1825

Anna Barbauld (nee Aikin) was born in 1743, daughter of a nonconformist minister and schoolmaster, who taught her to read English before she was three and to master French, Italian, Latin and Greek...
William Barnes

William Barnes

b. 1801 d. 1866

William Barnes was a Dorset‑dialect poet and artist. An extremely learned man with knowledge of many languages, he worked for some time as a schoolteacher, running his own schools with his wife,...
Aphra Behn

Aphra Behn

b. 1640 d. 1689

Aphra Behn was the first female writer to make her living through her art; she was a significant seventeenth‑century dramatist,The Rover being one of her best‑known plays. Little is known of her...
William Blake

William Blake

b. 1757 d. 1827

William Blake was born in London in 1757 and spent most of his long life there. The son of a hosier, he left ordinary school at the age of ten to join a drawing school, and at fourteen became...

Anne Bradstreet

b. 1612 d. 1672

Anne Bradstreet was born in 1612 in England. In 1630 she emigrated to Massachusetts, with her father Thomas Dudley and her husband Simon Bradstreet. They sailed as members of the expedition led by...
Robert Bridges

Robert Bridges

b. 1844 d. 1930

Robert Bridges was a trained doctor working in London hospitals until 1882, a classicist and poet who served as Poet Laureate from 1913 until his death in 1930. Educated at Eton and Corpus Christi...
Emily Bronte

Emily Bronte

b. 1818 d. 1848

Emily Bronte was born in 1818, the daughter of Irishman Patrick Bronte, perpetual curate of Haworth, Yorkshire. Emily's mother died in 1821, leaving five daughters and a son to the care of their aunt...
Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

b. 1806 d. 1861

Elizabeth Barrett was born in 1806, the eldest of twelve children of Edward Barrett, whose fortune was derived from Jamaican plantations. She was largely self-educated at home: something of a prodigy...
Robert Browning

Robert Browning

b. 1812 d. 1889

Robert Browning was born in South London in 1812. He was largely self-educated, utilising his father's extensive library of over six thousand volumes. A voracious reader, Browning would later draw on...
Robert Burns

Robert Burns

b. 1759 d. 1796

Burns started life as a ploughman in Scotland but is now one of the world’s most celebrated poets. Every January, his life is remembered with whisky, haggis, singing and dancing on Burns Night....
Lord Byron

Lord Byron

b. 1788 d. 1824

George Byron was born in 1788 with a deformed foot: he limped all his life. His father was 'Mad Jack' Byron, an infamous adventurer who abandoned his wife and family in 1790 and died in 1791. At the...
Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll

b. 1832 d. 1898

Lewis Carroll was the literary pseudonym of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, born in 1832, the third in a family of eleven children; he had seven younger sisters. In childhood, he produced magazines for his...
C.P Cavafy

C. P. Cavafy

b. 1863 d. 1933

Cavafy is widely considered to be one of the greatest Greek poets of the twentieth century. A perfectionist as regards his work, which he constantly revised, he published only 154 poems in his...
G.K Chesterton

G. K. Chesterton

b. 1874 d. 1936

Chesterton is probably best known for his popular priest-detective Father Brown, who appeared in over fifty short stories. However, he was also a poet, biographer, essayist, dramatist, critic,...
John Clare

John Clare

b. 1793 d. 1864

John Clare, the son of a casual labourer, was born in Helpstone, Northamptonshire. His twin sister died a few weeks after their birth and he was brought up in poverty, only attending school very...
Arthur Hugh Clough

Arthur Hugh Clough

b. 1819 d. 1861

Clough suffered from periods of religious doubt throughout his life. His inability to subscribe to the Thirty‑nine Articles, which detailed the beliefs of the Church of England, meant that he felt...
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

b. 1772 d. 1874

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was born in 1772, the tenth and youngest child of the schoolmaster of the country town of Ottery St Mary. After the death of his father he attended Christ's Hospital School...

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A tour of the Children's Archive with Jean Sprackland

There are so many good poems in the Children's Poetry Archive, it's hard to know where to start! I'd like to share...

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

My cat, Jeoffry

Christopher Smart

read by Daljit Nagra

The Good-morrow

John Donne

read by Adam Foulds