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Alfred Tennyson

b. 1809 d. 1892

Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, the third surviving son of a rector whose violent alcoholism blighted the family home.

Anne Sexton

b. 1928 d. 1974

Anne Sexton (1928-1974) is often grouped with such poets as Sylvia Plath, John Berryman and Robert Lowell as a leading figure in the so-called 'Confessional Movement'.

Austin Clarke

b. 1896 d. 1974

Austin Clarke (1896-1974), along with Louis MacNeice and Patrick Kavanagh, is regarded as one of the leading Irish poets in the generation after Yeats.

Charles Brasch

b. 1909 d. 1973

Charles Brasch belonged to a generation of New Zealand poets who, rising to prominence in the 1940s, expressed anxieties that, while personal and pākehā (non-Māori), seemed endemic to both the nation and the century.

Dylan Thomas

b. 1914 d. 1953

Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) remains one of the legendary figures in 20th Century poetry, both for the impact of his visionary, musical verse, and for the notoriety of his private life.

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.

Edgell Rickword

b. 1898 d. 1982

Edgell Rickword (1898-1982) is best known as the influential editor of journals such as Calendar of Modern Letters and The Left Review and was a key figure in establishing radical criticism in the wake of the First World War.

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.

Edmund Blunden

b. 1896 d. 1974

Edmund Blunden (1896-1974) is a poet whose work and life were moulded by his experience of the First World War. Blunden was born in London but grew up in Kent, a childhood which laid the foundation for his deep love of the English countryside.

Ezra Pound

b. 1885 d. 1972

Ezra Pound (1885-1972) is now recognised as the central figure of Anglo/American modernism, the man who did most to shape the movement which in turn did most to shape the 20th Century cultural landscape in the west.

F. W. Harvey

b. 1888 d. 1957

Frederick William Harvey is remembered today as a poet and central figure in a circle, including Ivor Gurney and Herbert Howells, which emerged in Gloucester before the First World War.

Hilaire Belloc

b. 1870 d. 1953

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) was a larger-than-life character who is now best known for his Cautionary Verses but who also wrote fiction, essays, history, biography and huge numbers of letters.

Langston Hughes

b. 1902 d. 1967

Langston Hughes (1902-1967) was the first black writer in America to earn his living from writing. Born in Joplin, Missouri, he had a migratory childhood following his parents' separation, spending time in the American Mid-West and Mexico.

Laurie Lee

b. 1914 d. 1997

Laurie Lee (1914-1997) is famous for the life he wrote about so engagingly in three volumes of autobiography, but his first love was always poetry, a passion that left its mark on his precise and lyrical prose.

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 know she wrote poetry.

Louis MacNeice

b. 1907 d. 1963

Louis MacNeice (1907-1963) was a friend and contemporary of W. H. Auden and Stephen Spender at Oxford and his poetry has often been linked to their own.

Louise Bogan

b. 1897 d. 1970

Born in Maine in 1897, Louise Bogan was the daughter of a mill worker and a mentally and emotionally unstable mother.

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.

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 appearing more frequently.

Robert Frost

b. 1874 d. 1963

Robert Lee Frost, named after the Confederate general, was born in 1874 in California, nine years after the end of the Civil War.

Robert Graves

b. 1895 d. 1985

Robert Graves (1895-1985) was a writer of extraordinary breadth whose output ranges from a classic account of his First World War experiences, Goodbye to All That, through the "potboiler" (his own term) success of I, Claudius, to the

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 subject matter for poetry.

Rudyard Kipling

b. 1865 d. 1936

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was born in Bombay (present day Mumbai). His father was a teacher in a local school of art.

Siegfried Sassoon

b. 1886 d. 1967

Siegfried Sassoon (1886-1967) was born into a wealthy Anglo-Jewish family and his early life was comfortable and leisured, dominated by sports and country pursuits.

Stephen Spender

b. 1909 d. 1995

Stephen Spender (1909-1995) is most closely associated with the 1930s: much of his best poetry was written during this decade and other important works such as his autobiography, World Within World (1951), his novel The Temple (1988)