As well as new recordings by contemporary poets the Poetry Archive also contains selections of classic poems recorded by contemporary voices.

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Poet

Amy Levy

B. 1861 D. 1889

1 poem available

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. She had a wide circle…

Poet

Robert Bridges

B. 1844 D. 1930

1 poem available

Robert Bridges was a trained doctor working in London hospitals until 1882, a classicist and poet who served as Poet Laureate from 1913 until his death in 1930. Educated at Eton and Corpus Christi college, Bridges edited and published the…

Poet

E. Nesbit

B. 1858 D. 1924

1 poem available

Edith Nesbit was a prolific author of over forty books for children, including the enduringly popular The Railway Children. Her lifestyle, especially for a middle-class Victorian woman, was highly unconventional. A committed socialist and a significant figure within the Fabian…

Poet

Oscar Wilde

B. 1854 D. 1900

1 poem available

Wilde’s imprisonment for homosexuality in 1895 ended a spectacularly successful career. Although he lived for a few more years in exile in France after his release and produced some moving poetry, his life was effectively over. He had been a…

Poet

Paul Laurence Dunbar

B. 1872 D. 1906

3 poems available

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 successful reading at the…

Poet

1 poem available

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 nineteenth century. Mary met weekly with friends in the late…

Poet

Robert Louis Stevenson

B. 1850 D. 1894

1 poem available

Born in Scotland, Stevenson was an unconventional and adventurous novelist, poet, essayist, short story and travel writer with a remarkable gift for captivating story-telling. Some of his prose works, such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,…

Poet

W. E. B. DuBois

B. 1868 D. 1963

1 poem available

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 fighting prejudice and racism in America throughout his long life. The co-founder of the National Association for…

Poet

C. P. Cavafy

B. 1863 D. 1933

1 poem available

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. From his birth in 1863 to…

Poet

G. K. Chesterton

B. 1874 D. 1936

1 poem available

Chesterton is probably best known for his popular priest-detective Father Brown, who appeared in over fifty short stories. However, he was also a poet, biographer, essayist, dramatist, critic, journalist, advocate of a political movement called ‘Distributism’ and, after his conversion…

Poet

Amy Lowell

B. 1874 D. 1925

1 poem available

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. Amy Lowellonce remarked that God had made her a businesswoman…

Poet

W. H. Davies

B. 1871 D. 1940

1 poem available

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 own outdoor life, which was unconventional….

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