Alfred Edward Housman, the eldest son of a Bromsgrove solicitor, was born in 1859.
Adelaide Anne Proctor’s father was a poet, and her mother actively encouraged her daughter’s interest in poetry. She submitted her early work to Charles Dickens’s publication Household Words under the pseudonym Miss Berwick.
Pope was born into a Catholic family in 1688, the year of The Glorious Revolution, when Catholics could not live in London - the centre of literary life – or attend university.
Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, the third surviving son of a rector whose violent alcoholism blighted the family home.
Swinburne came from an aristocratic background and drew on a wide range of influences and interests from an early age, including Elizabethan dramatists, Greek and Latin poets and French writers.
Amy Levy was one of seven children born to a wealthy Anglo‑Jewish family. She was in many ways a pioneering woman, becoming the first Jewish woman ever to study at Newnham College, Cambridge, in 1879.
Amy Lowell was born into an affluent Massachusetts family and educated at home and in private schools in Boston. Her financial resources helped her develop a liberated and unconventional lifestyle.
Andrew Marvell was born near Kingston Upon Hull in 1621, the son of a priest.
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 while still a child.
Anne Bradstreet was born in 1612 in England. In 1630 she emigrated to Massachusetts, with her father Thomas Dudley and her husband Simon Bradstreet.
Anne Finch was an aristocrat acquainted with the most famous poet of the age, Alexander Pope.
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.
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.
Clough suffered from periods of religious doubt throughout his life.
Jonson was a skilful satirist of contemporary society, producing Volpone for the stage in 1606 and The Alchemist in 1610.
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 lifetime.
Charles Wolfe was an Irish priest and poet who is best remembered for this extremely popular elegy, which has appeared in many anthologies of poetry throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Charlotte Mew was surrounded by mental ill health and death from a young age. Three brothers died while she was still a child and two other siblings were committed to mental institutions.
Charlotte Turner was born in 1749 into the landed gentry.
Chidiock Tichborne was part of the Babington plot to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I. When the Protestant Elizabeth came to the throne, Catholics such as Tichborne had a degree of freedom to practise their faith.
Many readers first come across Christina Rossetti as the writer of the words of the carol 'In the Bleak Midwinter', or the deceptively simple, but actually strange and powerful, fairy tale in verse, Goblin Market.
Marlowe is believed to have written all his poems and translations as a young man studying at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He was born in 1564, the same year as Shakespeare, and was the son of a shoemaker.
Christopher Smart was born in 1722 and is best remembered for his religious poems A Song to David and Jubilate Agno, both of which were written during his time at St Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics, London.
A miner’s son from Nottingham, Lawrence was a prolific writer of short stories, essays, poems and novels before his death at the age of forty‑four in 1930.
Edith Nesbit was a prolific author of over forty books for children, including the enduringly popular The Railway Children.