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William Butler Yeats

b. 1865 d. 1939

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) stands at the turning point between the Victorian period and Modernism, the conflicting currents of which affected his poetry.

William Carlos Williams

b. 1883 d. 1963

William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) famously combined the two careers of doctor and writer, along the way founding a specifically American version of Modernism.

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 for poets such as Wordsworth and Coleridge.

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 held in high esteem by such figures as W. H.

William Shakespeare

b. 1564 d. 1616

Little is known about Shakespeare's life.

William Wordsworth

b. 1770 d. 1850

Wordsworth was born at Cockermouth, Cumbria, in 1770, the son of an attorney.

WS Merwin

b. 1927

In 2009, WS Merwin won the Pulizer Prize for poetry for the second time, with The Shadow of Sirius.

Yusef Komunyakaa

b. 1947

Yusef Komunyakaa was born in 1947 in the quiet mill town of Bogalusa, Louisiana. Son of a carpenter he was raised in a house of few books at the beginning of the civil rights movement.

Yvor Winters

b. 1900 d. 1968

Yvor Winters (b. 1900) was notorious in his lifetime for his recalcitrant literary criticism which rejected modernism in favour of reason in poetry.