21 - 40 of 87 results


Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

b. 1861 d. 1907

Intellectually gifted Mary Coleridge was the great-grand‑niece of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Her parents were impressively well connected to writers and musicians in the London of the last half of the...
William Cowper

William Cowper

b. 1731 d. 1800

William Cowper was a popular poet and writer of hymns. His descriptions of everyday life in the English countryside changed nature writing in the eighteenth century, in many ways preparing the ground...
W.H Davies

W. H. Davies

b. 1871 d. 1940

The Welsh poet William Henry Davies wrote the poem ‘Leisure’, which famously begins:‘What is this life if, full of care,/We have no time to stand and stare.’
The poem’s theme is reflected in Davies’s...
Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson

b. 1830 d. 1886

Only seven of Emily Dickinson's poems were published in her lifetime; these were heavily edited. Many of the rest were found after her death, in little packets bound together to make small books....
John Donne

John Donne

b. 1572 d. 1631

John Donne was the greatest non-dramatic poet of his time, and its most admired preacher. He was born in 1571, a Londoner and the son of Catholic parents. In his teens, he attended both Oxford and...
John Dryden

John Dryden

b. 1631 d. 1700

John Dryden was one of the dominant literary figures of the English Restoration period. He began his prolific and versatile writing career in the Puritan era before Charles II became king, and wrote...
W.E.B. DuBois

W. E. B. DuBois

b. 1868 d. 1963

Sociologist, civil rights campaigner, historian, Harvard graduate, anti-war activist, academic, essayist, novelist, communist and, of course, poet, W.E.B. DuBois was passionately committed to...
Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar

b. 1872 d. 1906

Dunbar was one of the first African-American poets to be widely known and admired in America. His parents were freed slaves and Dunbar used some of their tales of plantation life in his work.
After a...
Anne Finch

Anne Finch

b. 1661 d. 1720

Anne Finch was an aristocrat acquainted with the most famous poet of the age, Alexander Pope. However, during her lifetime, her poetry was little known and would have remained obscure had not William...
Thomas Gray

Thomas Gray

b. 1716 d. 1771

Written over several years in the 1740s, Gray’s elegy was eventually published in 1751 and enjoyed phenomenal popularity for the next two hundred years.
Gray was a versatile poet. He wrote elegant...

Ivor Gurney

b. 1890 d. 1937

Ivor Gurney suffered periods of mental ill health before the First World War, but his condition had deteriorated significantly by the end of the conflict. He had joined up after initially being...
Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy

b. 1840 d. 1928

Thomas Hardy was born in 1840, the son of a stonemason. He trained and practised as an architect, but, as soon as he could, earned his living by writing the novels which made him famous. Then, after...
Felicia Hemans

Felicia Hemans

b. 1793 d. 1835

Felicia Hemans’s ‘Casabianca’ took on such a vibrant life of its own after her death that, somehow, its author became almost irrelevant. In fact, Hemans was an accomplished and prolific poet who...
W.E Henley

W. E. Henley

b. 1849 d. 1903

‘Invictus’ has ensured that Henley is a significant Victorian literary figure, but the phenomenal popularity of this one poem has perhaps led to the neglect of his other work. In fact, Henley was an...
George Herbert

George Herbert

b. 1593 d. 1633

George Herbert was born in Montgomery Castle, Shropshire, in 1593 and died at the age of forty. He was descended on his father's side from the earls of Pembroke and on his mother's from a family of...
Gerard Manley Hopkins

Gerard Manley Hopkins

b. 1844 d. 1889

Gerard Hopkins was born in 1844, went to Highgate School and won a scholarship to Balliol College Oxford where he took a double first in Classics. He then entered the Society of Jesus and, feeling...
A. E. Housman

A E Housman

b. 1859 d. 1936

Alfred Edward Housman, the eldest son of a Bromsgrove solicitor, was born in 1859. He attended Bromsgrove School as a dayboy, but soon after he started there his mother fell ill and his father sank...
Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson

b. 1709 d. 1784

Samuel Johnson is a towering figure in the history of English literature, to the extent that the second half of the eighteenth century has sometimes been described as ‘the age of Johnson’. He was a...
Ben Jonson

Ben Jonson

b. 1572 d. 1637

Jonson was a skilful satirist of contemporary society, producing Volpone for the stage in 1606 and The Alchemist in 1610. It is highly likely that Shakespeare would have appeared in a production of...
John Keats

John Keats

b. 1795 d. 1828

Keats was born in London in 1795. His father was killed in a riding accident when Keats was eight; his mother died six years later, probably from tuberculosis. The loss of his parents, especially of...

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A tour of the Archive with Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry is a man of many talents: actor, novelist, comedian, librettist, thinker and wit. In an interview with...

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

London Snow

Robert Bridges

read by Jacob Sam-La Rose

Jabberwocky

Lewis Carroll

read by Kei Miller