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Philip Sidney

B. 1554 D. 1586

1 poem available

A poet, soldier and courtier, Philip Sidney was one of the most celebrated figures of the Elizabethan age. He was a member of a distinguished and talented family; his sister, Mary, the Countess of Pembroke, was a patron of writers…


Edmund Spenser

B. 1553 D. 1599

3 poems available

Edmund Spenser is often mentioned alongside Shakespeare, Marlowe and Donne as one of the greatest poets of the Elizabethan period. He is probably best known for his long, allegorical epic poem, The Faerie Queen, which is full of medieval knights,…


Charlotte Smith

B. 1749 D. 1806

2 poems available

Charlotte Turner was born in 1749 into the landed gentry. Her father owned two prosperous estates, Stoke Place in Surrey and Bignor Park in Sussex, but gambling losses destroyed his fortune; aged fifteen Charlotte was married off to the wealthy but…


William Shakespeare

B. 1564 D. 1616

22 poems available

Little is known about Shakespeare’s life. Existing records give tantalising glimpses: he was born in 1564, the eldest son of an illiterate but locally prominent Stratford glover, married (at eighteen) the twenty-six-year-old Anne Hathaway, had three children of whom one,…


Todd Swift

B. 1966

5 poems available

Todd Swift was born in Montreal in 1966 and grew up by the St Lawrence Seaway, a landscape that shaped the development of his imagination. He studied Creative Writing at Concordia University, tutored by Gary Geddes and Robert Allen. After…


John Keats

B. 1795 D. 1821

7 poems available

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 his mother, was to help…


Christina Rossetti

B. 1830 D. 1894

9 poems available

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. But her work ranges widely,…


8 poems available

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, she read novels aged six and Pope’s translations of…


John Milton

B. 1608 D. 1674

3 poems available

John Milton was born in 1608 in Bread Street, Cheapside, the son of a composer and scrivener. He was educated at St Paul’s School and Christ’s College, Cambridge and seemed destined for the priesthood. However, at Cambridge he began to…


Thomas Wyatt

B. 1503 D. 1542

4 poems available

Thomas Wyatt was born in 1504. His father was a Lancastrian, imprisoned and tortured near the end of the Wars of the Roses in the reign of Richard III, then promoted to high office by Henry VII. Thomas entered the…


George Herbert

B. 1593 D. 1633

4 poems available

George Herbert was born 3 April 1593 in Montgomery, Powys, Wales 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 Shropshire knights….


Gerard Manley Hopkins

B. 1844 D. 1889

6 poems available

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 that writing poetry was too…