From Quiz Revision Notes

Maya Angelou was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. Born in St. Louis.

On the Pulse of Morning is a poem read at Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993.

Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie (1971) is Angelou’s first collection of poems.

And Still I Rise (1978) is a collection of poems.

Guillaume Apollinaire was a French poet of Polish-Belorussian descent who was born in Rome. He is credited with coining the terms Cubism, Orphism, and Surrealism. He died during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918.

Alcools (1913) – first major collection of poems.

For other works by this author see: Plays

Ludovico Ariosto was an Italian poet best known as the author of the romance epic Orlando Furioso.

Orlando Furioso (1516) is a chivalric romance that takes place against the background of the war between the Christian emperor Charlemagne and the Saracen King of Africa, Agramante. Orlando is the Christian knight known in French and English as Roland. The poem is a continuation of Matteo Maria Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato.

Louis Aragon was a French poet who co-founded the surrealist review Littérature with Andre Breton and Philippe Soupault.

Simon Armitage was appointed Poet Laureate in 2019. Poetry collections include Book of Matches (1993) and The Dead Sea Poems (1995).

Matthew Arnold was an inspector of schools for thirty-five years. Son of Thomas Arnold, the headmaster of Rugby School.

Dover Beach (1867) is a lyric poem.

Thyrsis (1865) refers to Oxford as "that sweet city with her dreaming spires".

W(ystan) H(ugh) Auden born in York, England, became an American citizen in 1946. Life-long friend of Christopher Isherwood.

Night Mail (1935) – specially written for a documentary film. First lines: “This is the Night Mail crossing the border, Bringing the cheque and the postal order, Letters for the rich, letters for the poor, The shop at the corner and the girl next door”.

Funeral Blues or Stop all the clocks (1936) was read in its entirety in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral.

For the Time Being (1944) is Auden's only explicitly religious long poem.

The Sea and the Mirror: A Commentary on Shakespeare's The Tempest (1944) is a series of dramatic monologues spoken by the characters in Shakespeare's play after the end of the play itself.

The Age of Anxiety won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1948 and inspired a symphony by composer Leonard Bernstein.

The Shield of Achilles (1955) refers to the making of the shield by Hephaestus.

Richard Barham - The Jackdaw of Rheims about a jackdaw, who steals a cardinal's ring, and is made a saint, is one of the The Ingoldsby Legends, a collection of myths, legends, ghost stories and poetry written supposedly by clergyman Thomas Ingoldsby, Barham’s pen name.

Charles Baudelaire was a 19th century French poet.

Les Fleurs du Mal (The Flowers of Evil, 1857) is a book of lyric poetry that expresses the changing nature of beauty in the rapidly industrializing Paris.

John Betjeman was Poet Laureate from 1972 until his death in 1984, and a founding member of the Victorian Society. He is considered instrumental in helping to save St Pancras railway station, and there is a statue of him at the station. He had a teddy bear named Archibald Ormsby-Gore, better known as Archie. Together with an elephant known as Jumbo, he was a lifelong companion of Betjeman's.

Summoned by Bells (1960) is a blank verse autobiography

Slough (1937) is a ten-stanza poem that begins “Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough! It isn't fit for humans now”.

Christmas (1954) describes the traditions of Christmas time and how they compare to the story of the birth of Christ.

Diary of a Church Mouse (1961) is a satirical look, through the eyes of a mouse, at the relationship humans have with their church.

For other works by this author see: Literature - Non-Fiction

Laurence Binyon - For the Fallen (1914) is well known for being used in Remembrance Sunday services and includes the lines “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning. We will remember them”.

William Blake was a poet and artist.

Songs of Innocence and of Experience is a collection of illustrated poems.

Songs of Innocence (1789) is a collection of 19 poems, engraved with artwork.

Songs of Experience (1794) is a collection of 26 poems, including The Tyger. First lines: “Tyger Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night”.

Auguries of Innocence includes the lines: “A Robin Red breast in a Cage Puts all Heaven in a Rage”.

And did those feet in ancient time is a poem from the preface to Milton: A Poem in Two Books (1804-1808) one of a collection of writings known as the Prophetic Books. Today it is best known as the hymn Jerusalem.

Richard Brautigan - All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace (1967) is a poem that envisions a world where cybernetics has advanced to a stage where it allows a return to the balance of nature and an elimination of the need for human labour.

For other works by this author see: Novels - USA

Rupert Brooke is best known for his war sonnets. He was buried on the island of Skyros, Greece.

The Soldier was published in 1915 in the book 1914 and Other Poems. First lines: “If I should die, think only this of me: That there’s some corner of a foreign field That is for ever England”.

The Old Vicarage, Grantchester (1912) is named after Brooke’s house near Cambridge. First line: “Just now the lilac is in bloom”. Last line: “Stands the church clock at ten to three? And is there honey still for tea?”.

Gwendolyn Brooks

Annie Allen (1949) – is about the life of Annie Allen, an African American girl growing to adulthood. Won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1950 and made Brooks the first African American to ever receive a Pulitzer Prize.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was married to Robert Browning.

Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850) is a collection of 44 love sonnets. Sonnet 43 begins “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”.

Aurora Leigh (1856) is an epic poem written in blank verse. It was the first feature-length poem in English to place a female artist at the centre of the plot. Aurora Leigh overcomes the prejudices of both a masculine audience and the man she loves, in order to find fame and happiness in Italy.

The Cry of the Children (1842) condemned child labour and helped bring about child-labour reforms.

Robert Browning died in Venice in 1889.

Home Thoughts from Abroad was written in 1845 while Browning was on a visit to Italy. First lines: “Oh, to be in England Now that April’s there”.

Porphyria’s Lover (1836) is Browning's first ever short dramatic monologue. In the poem, a man strangles his lover, Porphyria, with her hair.

Pippa Passes (1841) is a verse drama. Includes the line: “God’s in his Heaven – all’s right with the world!”.

My Last Duchess (1842) is the description of the wife of a Duke of Ferrara.

Pied Piper of Hamelin (1842) is a children’s poem.

How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix (1845) describes an imaginary incident.

The Lost Leader (1845) is an attack on Wordsworth for what Browning considered his desertion of the liberal cause.

Robert Burns was born in Ayrshire, in 1759. Pioneer of the Romantic Movement.

Auld Lang Syne is a popular song traditionally sung to bid farewell to the old year. Text was written by Burns in 1788.

To a Mouse (1785) was written after Burns was ploughing in the fields and accidentally destroyed a mouse's nest. First line: “Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie”.

Tam o’Shanter (1791) describes the habits of Tam, a farmer who often gets drunk with his friends in a public house in Ayr.

A Red, Red Rose (1794) is a song that is often published as a poem. First line: “My luve is like a red red rose”.

Lord Byron was born George Gordon Byron in London in 1788. Died in Missolonghi, Greece, aged 36.

Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812-18) is a long narrative poem. It describes the travels and reflections of a young man, who is disillusioned with a life of pleasure and revelry and looks for distraction in foreign lands. Includes the lines: “While stands the Coliseum, Rome shall stand; When falls the Coliseum, Rome shall fall; And when Rome falls – the world”.

Don Juan (1819-24) is a long narrative poem. Byron completed 16 cantos, leaving an unfinished 17th canto before his death.

Epitaph to a Dog (1808) was written in honour of Byron’s Newfoundland dog, Boatswain, who had just died of rabies.

She Walks in Beauty (1814) is said to have been inspired by Anne Beatrix Wilmot, who Byron met at a party. Begins: “She walks in beauty, like the night; Of cloudless climes and starry skies”.

The Corsair (1814) centres around the main character of Conrad, the Corsair, a pirate or privateer.

The Destruction of Sennacherib (1815) is based on the biblical account of the historical Assyrian siege of Jerusalem in 701 BC by Assyrian king Sennacherib. First line: “The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold”.

Sardanapalus (1821) is a historical tragedy in blank verse, set in ancient Nineveh and recounting the fall of the Assyrian monarchy and its supposed last king.

When We Two Parted (1817) describes the pain and disillusionment that follow a break-up between the speaker and his lover.

So, we'll go no more a roving (1817) was included in a letter to Thomas Moore. It describes how the youth at that time wanted to do something different.

Luis de Camoes is considered Portugal’s greatest poet.

Os Lusíadas is an epic poem first published in 1572. The work celebrates the discovery of a sea route to India by the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama.

Lewis Carroll was the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. He was a writer of children’s fiction and nonsense poetry.

Jabberwocky concerns the killing of a creature named "the Jabberwock". It was included in the novel Through the Looking-Glass (1871). First lines: “Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe”.

The Walrus and the Carpenter (1871) appeared in the novel Through the Looking-Glass. The poem is recited by Tweedledum and Tweedledee to Alice.

The Hunting of the Snark (1876) follows a crew trying to hunt the Snark, a creature which may turn out to be a highly dangerous Boojum. The crew consists of ten members, whose descriptions all begin with the letter B.

For other works by this author see: Literature - Childrens / Literature - Non-Fiction

Thomas Carew was a member of the Cavalier group of poets.

An Elegie upon the death of the Deane of Paul’s, Dr. John Donne (1633) presents the claim that John Donne was a class of poet far above his peers.

Thomas Chatterton was an English poet who committed suicide at age 17, in 1770. He was able to pass off his work as that of an imaginary 15th century poet called Thomas Rowley. He is the subject of the painting The Death of Chatterton (1856) by Pre-Raphaelite artist Henry Wallis.

Geoffrey Chaucer died in 1400 and was the first writer to be buried in what has since come to be called Poets' Corner, in Westminster Abbey. He is best known for The Canterbury Tales.

The Canterbury Tales is a collection of 24 stories. The tales are contained inside a frame tale and told by a collection of pilgrims on a pilgrimage from the Tabard Inn in Southwark to Canterbury to visit the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. Each member of the group tells tales on the way to and from Canterbury in order to make the time pass more pleasantly. The person who tells the best story will be awarded a meal at the Tabard Inn at the end of the trip. There is also no general agreement regarding the order in which Chaucer intended the stories to be placed. Consists of the General Prologue and the following tales –

The Knight’s Tale

The Miller’s Tale

The Reeve’s Tale

The Cook’s Tale

The Man of Law’s Tale

The Wife of Bath’s Tale

The Friar’s Tale

The Summoner’s Tale

The Clerk’s Tale

The Merchant’s Tale

The Squire’s Tale

The Franklin’s Tale

The Second Nun’s Tale

The Canon’s Yeoman’s Tale

The Physician’s Tale

The Pardoner’s Tale

The Shipman’s Tale

The Prioress’s Tale

The Tale of Sir Thopas

The Tale of Melibeus

The Monk’s Tale

The Nun’s Priest’s Tale

The Manciple’s Tale

The Parson’s Tale

The Book of the Duchess (c1368) is the earliest of Chaucer's major poems and was probably written to commemorate the death of Blanche of Lancaster, wife of John of Gaunt.

Parlement of Foules is in the form of a dream vision and contains one of the earliest references to the idea that St. Valentine's Day is a special day for lovers.

Troilus and Crisedye retells the tragic story of Troilus and Cressida. Source of the phrase “all good things must come to an end”.

Chretien de Troyes is best known for his five Arthurian romance poems, Erec; Cligès; Lancelot, ou Le Chevalier à la charrette; Yvain, ou Le Chevalier au lion and Perceval, ou Le Conte du Graal, written between 1170 and 1181.

John Clare was known as the “Peasant Poet” and died in Northampton General Lunatic Asylum in 1864.

First Love describes the sudden, overwhelming love a speaker feels for a woman he is seeing for the first time.

I Am is a description of loneliness and change.

The Badger describes the way a badger is hunted and caught.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was published in 1798 in the first edition of Lyrical Ballads. The poem begins with an old sailor, the Mariner, stopping a guest at a wedding ceremony to tell him a story of a sailing voyage he took long ago. Contains the line: “Water, water, every where, nor any drop to drink”. The ancient mariner shoots an albatross, and has ‘a glittering eye’.

Kubla Khan was completed in 1797 and published in 1816. Subtitled: A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment. Coleridge claimed to have perceived the entire course of the poem in a dream (possibly an opium-induced haze) but was interrupted by “a person from Porlock” while in the process of writing it. First lines: “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan A stately pleasure-dome decree: Where Alph, the sacred river, ran”.

The Eolian Harp (1795) discusses Coleridge's anticipation of a marriage with Sara Fricker.

Christabel (c1797-1800) is an unfinished narrative ballad about a woman named Christabel and her encounter with a stranger called Geraldine.

Dejection: An Ode (1802) was written to Sara Hutchinson, a woman who was not Coleridge’s wife, and discusses his feelings of love for her.

Wendy Cope

Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis (1986) is a collection of poems.

Serious Concerns (1992) is a collection of poems. Includes the poem Bloody Men.

William Cowper was a poet and hymnwriter.

Light Shining out of Darkness (c1773) includes the lines: “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform”.

Verses Supposed to be Written by Alexander Selkirk (1782) includes the line: “I am monarch of all I survey”.

George Crabbe was helped greatly both in his literary career and in building a role within the church by Edmund Burke.

The Village (1783) is an attempt to realistically portray the misery and degradation of rural poverty.

The Borough (1810) is based on Aldeburgh, where Crabbe was born. The poems are arranged as a series of 24 letters, the best known of which is Peter Grimes, which formed the basis for Benjamin Britten’s opera of the same name.

Hart Crane - The Bridge (1930) is a long poem inspired by Brooklyn Bridge.

E(dward) E(stlin) Cummings used idiosyncratic syntax and lower-case spellings in his poems. His name is self-styled as e e cummings.

Tulips and Chimneys (1923) is Cummings’s first collection of poetry. Includes the poem Puella Mea.

For other works by this author see: Novels - USA

Dante Alighieri was born in Florence c. 1265. He became involved with the politics of Florence, and was exiled for life by the leaders of the Black Guelphs in 1302.

The Divine Comedy was written between c. 1306 and 1320. It is composed of three canticas: Inferno (Hell), Purgatorio (Purgatory), and Paradiso (Paradise), each consisting of 33 cantos (or ‘canti’). An initial canto, serving as an introduction to the poem and generally considered to be part of the first cantica, brings the total number of cantos to 100. The poet tells in the first person his travel through the three realms of the dead, lasting during the Easter Triduum in the spring of 1300. The Roman poet Virgil guides him through Hell, and Purgatory; Beatrice, Dante's ideal woman, guides him through Heaven. Topping the spheres of heaven is the Empyrean, which contains the essence of God.

“Abandon hope all ye who enter here” is inscribed above the gates of Hell.

Judas, Cassius and Brutus are traitors eaten on Level 9 of Hell.

Nine circles of hell – Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Wrath/Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, Treachery.

Seven terraces of purgatory – Pride, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, Greed/Avarice, Gluttony, Lust.

Nine spheres of heaven – Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Fixed Stars, Primum Mobile.

La Vita Nuova (The New Life, 1294) details Dante’s tragic love for Beatrice, who died unexpectedly in 1290.

Convivio (The Banquet, 1307) is a collection of Dante’s longest poems with an unfinished allegorical commentary; De Monarchia.

W(illiam) H(enry) Davies was born in Wales and spent most of his life as a tramp. He published his autobiography The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp in 1908.

Leisure (1911) is Davies' best-known poem. Opening lines: “What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare”.

Walter de la Mare - The Listeners (1912) opens with ““Is there anybody there?" said the Traveller, Knocking on the moonlit door”.

Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1830. Though virtually unknown in her lifetime, Dickinson has come to be regarded, along with Walt Whitman, as one of the two quintessential American poets of the 19th century. Her extensive use of dashes and unconventional capitalization in her manuscripts, and her idiosyncratic vocabulary and imagery combine to create a unique lyric style. She wrote 1800 poems, but only 10 were published in her lifetime. Well-known poems include: Success is counted sweetest (1890); I’m Nobody! Who Are You? (1891) and I heard a Fly buzz - when I died (1896).

Lord Alfred Douglas was an English poet and journalist, and a lover of Oscar Wilde.

Two Loves (1894) includes the phrase: “The love that dare not speak its name”.

John Dryden was a poet and playwright who was appointed England's first Poet Laureate in 1668. He was sacked as Poet Laureate when he refused to sign the oath of allegiance during William and Mary’s Glorious Revolution.

Mac Flecknoe (1682) is a verse mock-heroic satire. It is a direct attack on the poet Thomas Shadwell. Opening lines: “All humane things are subject to decay, And, when Fate summons, Monarchs must obey”.

For other works by this author see: Plays

Carol Ann Duffy was Poet Laureate from 2009 to 2019

Poems include – Standing Female Nude (1985), Selling Manhattan (1987), Mean Time (1993), The World’s Wife (1999), Rapture (2005) and Achilles (for David Beckham) (2010).

Max Ehrmann - Desiderata (c1927) is a prose poem. It exhorts the reader to “be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be”. The text became very popular in the 1960s/70s and was widely reproduced on posters.

T(homas) S(tearns) Eliot was born in St. Louis in 1888. He moved to England in 1914 and became a British citizen in 1927. Eliot was a central figure in Modernist poetry. Awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. In 1967, on the second anniversary of his death, Eliot was commemorated by the placement of a stone in the floor of Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915) is Eliot’s first published poem. First line: “Let us go then, you and I”. Contains the line: “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons”.

The Waste Land was published in 1922. Among its famous phrases are "April is the cruellest month" and "I will show you fear in a handful of dust". The poem is divided into five sections – The Burial of the Dead, A Game of Chess, The Fire Sermon, Death by Water, and What the Thunder Said. Dedicated to Ezra Pound, who gave Eliot the nickname ‘Old Possum’.

The Hollow Men (1925) follows the otherworldly journey of the spiritually dead. Includes the phrase: “This is the way the world ends Not with a bang, but a whimper”.

Ariel Poems is a collection of poems published by Faber & Faber that includes The Journey of the Magi (1927) and A Song for Simeon (1928).

Ash-Wednesday (1930) deals with the struggle that ensues when one who has lacked faith in the past strives to move towards God.

Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939) forms the basis for Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cats.

Four Quartets (1943) consists of four poems: Burnt Norton, East Coker, The Dry Salvages, and Little Gidding.

Burnt Norton includes the phrase “The trilling wire in the blood sings below inveterate scars”.

For other works by this author see: Plays

Paul Eluard was a French poet who was one of the founders of the surrealist movement. His first wife, Gala, married Salvador Dali. Buried in the Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

Liberté is a 1942 poem. It is an ode to liberty written during the German occupation of France.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an abolitionist and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century.

The Rhodora is an 1834 poem about the rhodora, a common flowering shrub, and the beauty of this shrub in its natural setting.

Concord Hymn (1837) describes the first shot fired by the Patriots at the Battle of Concord in 1775 as the "shot heard round the world".

Robert Frost was born in San Francisco in 1874. He frequently wrote about settings from rural life in New England in the early 20th century. Frost is the only poet to receive four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. He died in Boston in 1963. His epitaph quotes the last line from his poem, The Lesson for Today (1942): "I had a lover's quarrel with the world".

The Road Not Taken (1915) is a narrative poem. Its central theme is the divergence of paths, both literally and figuratively. Last stanza: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–; I took the one less traveled by; And that has made all the difference”.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (1923) reflects the thoughts of a lone wagon driver (the narrator), pausing at night in his travel to watch snow falling in the woods.

The Gift Outright was written in 1941 and was recited on 20 January 1961 at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy.

Allen Ginsberg was a Beat Generation poet.

Howl was published in 1956 and is dedicated to Carl Solomon. Howl and Other Poems was the subject of an obscenity trial in 1957. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the owner of the City Lights bookstore in San Francisco was subsequently arrested for publishing the book.

Kaddish (1961) is a poem about Ginsberg’s mother Naomi and her death in 1956. Kaddish refers to an important and central prayer in the Jewish prayer service.

Louise Glück is an American poet. Awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature.

The Triumph of Achilles (1985) is a collection of poems that concerns themes from classical antiquity and myth.

The Wild Iris is a poetry book for which Glück received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1993.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Prometheus (1773) is a poem about the Titan god of fire who defies the gods.

Hermann and Dorothea (1798) is an epic poem set at the beginning of the French Revolutionary Wars.

West–östlicher Divan (West–Eastern Diwan, 1819) is a collection of lyrical poems inspired by the Persian poet Hafez.

For other works by this author see: Novels - World / Plays

Oliver Goldsmith The Deserted Village was published in 1770. It is written in heroic couplets, and describes the decline of a village and the emigration of many of its residents to America.

For other works by this author see: Novels - British Isles / Plays

Robert Graves was a war poet and was one of the first to write realistic poems about the experience of frontline conflict including Fairies and Fusiliers (1917). He was injured at the Battle of the Somme.

Thomas Gray published only 13 poems in his lifetime. He was offered the position of Poet Laureate in 1757, though he declined.

Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard (1751) was completed when Gray was living near St Giles' parish church at Stoke Poges. The poem opens with the lines: “The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea” and includes the line: “The paths of glory lead but to the grave”.

Ivor Gurney was a war poet and composer, born in Gloucester. He suffered from manic depression through much of his life. His poems offered a complex, wry, unheroic view of the soldierly world of the Western Front.

Severn & Somme and War's Embers is a posthumous collection of poems.

Thomas Hardy wrote poetry throughout his life and regarded himself primarily as a poet, although he is best known for his novels

Poems of the Past and the Present (1901) is a collection of poems. Includes The Darkling Thrush and The Ruined Maid

For other works by this author see: Novels - British Isles / Historical Fiction

F(rederick) W(illiam) Harvey - Ducks (1917) was written when Harvey was a prisoner of war in the Holzminden camp in Germany during World War I.

J(ames) Milton Hayes - The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God is a 1911 poem set in Nepal and tells the tale of a wild young officer known as "Mad Carew". First line: “There's a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Khatmandu”.

Seamus Heaney was born in Northern Ireland. He was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Death of a Naturalist (1966) is a collection of poems and was Heaney's first major published volume. Includes the poems Digging, Death of a Naturalist and Mid-Term Break.

North (1975) was the first of his works that directly dealt with the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

District and Circle is a collection of poems that won the 2006 T. S. Eliot Prize.

Human Chain (2010) is Heaney’s final poetry collection.

Heinrich Heine is best known for his early lyric poetry, which was set to music in the form of lieder by composers such as Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert.

Die Lorelei is based on a German legend of an enchanting, seducing mermaid who lures seamen to their death.

Felicia Hemans

Casabianca was published in 1826. The poem opens: “The boy stood on the burning deck” and commemorates an actual incident that occurred in 1798 during the Battle of the Nile aboard the French ship L'Orient.

The Homes of England (1827) opens: “The stately homes of England”

George Herbert was born in Wales in 1593. He was a priest of the Church of England.

The Temple (1633) is a sacred lyric collection imitating the architectural structure of a church while tracing the story of the persona's struggle with faith.

Robert Herrick wrote the words to the song Cherry Ripe.

Hesperides (1648) is a book of poems that includes the poem To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time, with the first line: "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may".

Oliver Wendell Holmes was based in Boston and was one of the fireside poets. He is best known for the "Breakfast-Table" series of essays.

Old Ironsides (1830) is a tribute to the USS Constitution.

Thomas Hood

The Song of the Shirt (1843) was written in honour of a Mrs. Biddell, a widow and seamstress living in wretched conditions.

No! (1844) is a poem about the month of November. It begins “No sun - no moon!”.

The Bridge of Sighs (1844) concerns the suicide of a homeless young woman who threw herself from Waterloo Bridge.

I Remember, I Remember is a poem dedicated to the nostalgic embrace of the memory of childhood.

Gerard Manley Hopkins was an English poet and a Jesuit priest. He called his own rhythmic structure ‘sprung rhythm’. Inscape and instress are complementary and enigmatic concepts about individuality and uniqueness derived by Hopkins from the ideas of the medieval philosopher Duns Scotus.

The Windhover is a sonnet dedicated “To Christ our Lord”. Windhover is another name for the common kestrel.

The Wreck of the Deutschland depicts the shipwreck of the SS Deutschland, a passenger emigrant ship sunk off the coast of Kent in 1875.

A(lfred) E(dward) Housman was a poet and classical scholar.

A Shropshire Lad (1896) is a collection of 63 poems. It starts with celebrations of Victoria’s 50th year on the throne, with beacons lit across the country.

Langston Hughes was a leader of the Harlem Renaissance and a pioneer of jazz poetry.

The Weary Blues (1926) was included in Hughes's first book, a collection of poems, also entitled The Weary Blues.

Ted Hughes was Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death in 2008. He was married to American poet Sylvia Plath.

The Hawk in the Rain (1957) was Hughes’s first collection of poetry.

Tales from Ovid (1997) contains a selection of free verse translations from Ovid's Metamorphoses.

Birthday Letters (1998) was released only months before Hughes's death. it is his response to the suicide of his estranged wife Sylvia Plath in 1963, and to their widely discussed marriage. Won multiple awards including the Forward Poetry Prize and the T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry.

For other works by this author see: Literature - Childrens

Leigh HuntAbou Ben Adhem (1834) focuses on an event in the life of a Sufi saint. First line: “Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)”.

David Jones was a painter and a modernist poet. He served on the Western Front in 1915–18.

In Parenthesis (1937) is an epic narrative poem based on Jones's first seven months in the trenches culminating in the assault on Mametz Wood during the Battle of the Somme.

The Anathemata (1952) is an epic poem, a dramatic multi-voiced anatomy of Western culture.

Jenny Joseph - Warning (1961) was voted the UK's "most popular post-war poem" in a 1996 poll by the BBC. First line: “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple”.

John Keats was born in London in 1795. He was a key figure of the Romantic movement and died of tuberculosis in Rome, aged 25. Fanny Brawne was his fiancée and muse.

Endymion (1818) is based on the Greek myth of Endymion, the shepherd beloved by the moon goddess Selene. Dedicated to Thomas Chatterton. Opens with the line: “A thing of beauty is a joy for ever”.

Hyperion (1818) is an unfinished poem based on the Titanomachia and tells of the despair of the Titans after their fall to the Olympians.

Ode on a Grecian Urn (1819) is a poem where the speaker looks at a Grecian urn, which is decorated with evocative images of rustic and rural life in ancient Greece. These scenes fascinate, mystify, and excite the speaker in equal measure. Includes the line: “Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty”.

Ode to a Nightingale (1819) focuses on a speaker standing in a dark forest, listening to the beguiling and beautiful song of the nightingale. First line: “My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains”. Includes the line: “That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees”.

The Eve of St. Agnes (1820) refers to the day before the feast of Saint Agnes, the patron saint of virgins, who died a martyr in 4th century Rome. St. Agnes’ Eve is 20 January and is traditionally the night when unmarried women, wishing to dream of their future husbands, would perform certain rituals before going to bed.

Lamia (1820) tells how the god Hermes hears of a nymph who is more beautiful than all. Hermes, searching for the nymph, instead comes across Lamia, trapped in the form of a serpent.

To Autumn (1820) describes a progression through the season, from the late maturation of the crops to the harvest and to the last days of autumn. First lines: “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun”.

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art is a love sonnet written when Keats was with Fanny Brawne.

Omar Khayyam was an astronomer, mathematician, and poet born in Persia in 1048.

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is the title that Edward FitzGerald gave to his 1859 translation from Persian to English of a selection of quatrains (rubaiyat) attributed to Omar Khayyam.

Rudyard Kipling

The Ballad of East and West (1889) is best known for its opening line: “Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet”.

Barrack-Room Ballads are a series of songs and poems dealing with the late-Victorian British Army. The series includes the poems Tommy, Mandalay and Gunga Din.

Tommy (1890) contrasts the public’s attitude to the common British soldier – the ‘Tommy’ – during peacetime and wartime. Lines include: “O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, go away “; But it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play”.

Mandalay (1890) features the reminiscences of a soldier looking back on his time in Burma alongside a woman he loved.

Gunga Din (1892) is perhaps best known for its often-quoted last line: “You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!” The poem is a rhyming narrative from the point of view of a British soldier, about a native water-bearer who saves his life.

Recessional is a poem in the form of a prayer, which Kipling composed for the occasion of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The prayer entreats God to spare "us" (the British Empire) from these fates "lest we forget" the sacrifice of Christ.

The Islanders (1902) describes cricketers as ‘flannelled fools’ and footballers as ‘muddied oafs’.

A Smuggler’s Song (1906) is as the title suggests a poem about smuggling. Includes the repeated verse: “Five and twenty ponies, Trotting through the dark — Brandy for the Parson, Baccy for the Clerk; Laces for a lady, letters for a spy, And watch the wall, my darling, While the Gentlemen go by!”.

If (1910) is a motivational poem in the form of a dramatic monologue. The speaker tells his son how to cope with different situations in the life ahead. First lines: “If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you”. Last line: “And - which is more - you’ll be a Man, my son!”.

The Female of the Species (1911) includes the line: “For the female of the species is more deadly than the male”.

For other works by this author see: Novels - British Isles / Literature - Childrens

James Kirkup - The Love That Dares to Speak Its Name (1976) is a poem in which a Roman centurion describes his lust for and attraction to the crucified Jesus. The poem was published in Gay News, which was successfully prosecuted by Mary Whitehouse for blasphemous libel.

William Langland is the presumed author of Piers Plowman (c. 1377). The poem, a mix of theological allegory and social satire, concerns the narrator/dreamer's quest for the true Christian life in the context of medieval Catholicism. It is divided into sections called passus, and the main character is Will.

Philip Larkin worked with distinction as university librarian at the Brynmor Jones Library at the University of Hull for 30 years. He was offered, but declined, the position of Poet Laureate in 1984.

The North Ship (1945) was Larkin’s first book of poetry.

The Less Deceived (1955) is a collection of 20 poems.

The Whitsun Weddings (1964) is a collection of 32 poems. Includes –

The Whitsun Weddings describes a stopping-train journey southwards from Hull on a hot Whitsun Saturday afternoon.

An Arundel Tomb, where the speaker is looking at stone effigies of a medieval earl and countess in Chichester Cathedral.

High Windows (1974) is a collection of 24 poems, Includes –

High Windows examines the new permissive society that flowered during the 1960s. First lines: “When I see a couple of kids And guess he’s fucking her”.

This be the Verse is a poem about the intense relationships between children and their parents. First line: “They fuck you up, your mum and dad”.

Annus Mirabilis begins “Sexual intercourse began In nineteen sixty-three”.

For other works by this author see: Novels - British Isles

D(avid) H(erbert) LawrenceSnake is one of his best known poems. First lines: “A snake came to my water-trough On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat, To drink there”.

For other works by this author see: Novels - British Isles

Emma Lazarus is best known for The New Colossus, a sonnet written in 1883; its lines appear on a bronze plaque in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

Mikhail Lermontov was a Romantic poet, sometimes called "the poet of the Caucasus". He died in a duel at the age of 26.

Death of the Poet (1837) is an elegy written in reaction to the death of Alexander Pushkin. This elegy accused the high courts of playing a role in Pushkin’s death and caused Lermontov to be arrested and exiled to the Caucasus for two years.

Demon (1839) is a Romantic masterpiece set in the Caucasus Mountains.

For other works by this author see: Novels - World

Edward Lear is best known for his nonsense poetry and limericks.

The Book of Nonsense (1846) is a collection of limericks, jokes and rhymes.

The Owl and the Pussy-Cat was first published during 1871 as part of the book Nonsense Songs, Stories, Botany, and Alphabets. Lear wrote the poem for a three-year-old girl, Janet Symonds.

The Jumblies – First line: “They went to sea in a Sieve, they did”.

The Pobble Who Has No Toes – the pobble fails to keep his nose warm and loses his toes, which is what his mother told him would happen.

Christopher Logue - War Music (1981) is a modernist poem based on Homer's Iliad.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine in 1807. He was one of the fireside poets.

The Village Blacksmith (1840) describes a local blacksmith and his daily life. First lines: “Under a spreading chestnut tree The village smithy stands”.

The Wreck of the Hesperus (1842) tells the story of a skipper who ties his daughter to the mast of a boat to prevent her from being swept overboard in a storm, but the ship sinks and everyone onboard dies.

The Rainy Day (1842) includes the line: “Into each life some rain must fall”.

Evangeline (1847) follows an Acadian girl named Evangeline and her search for her lost love Gabriel. Includes the lines: “Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven, Blossomed the lovely stars, the “forget-me-nots” of the angels”.

The Song of Hiawatha (1855) is an epic poem that relates the fictional adventures of an Ojibwe warrior named Hiawatha and the tragedy of his love for Minnehaha, a Dakota woman.

Paul Revere’s Ride (1860) is spoken by the landlord of the Wayside Inn and tells a partly fictionalized story of Paul Revere’s midnight ride in 1775.

Federico García Lorca was a Spanish poet and dramatist, also remembered as a painter, pianist, and composer. An emblematic member of the Generation of '27, he was killed by Nationalist partisans at the age of 38 at the start of the Spanish Civil War.

Romancero Gitano (Gypsy Ballads, 1928) is part of his Cancion series and is Lorca’s best-known book of poetry.

For other works by this author see: Plays

Audre Lorde was an American writer and civil rights activist who dedicated her life to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia.

From a Land Where Other People Live was nominated for the National Book Award for poetry in 1973.

Richard Lovelace was a cavalier poet who fought on behalf of the king during the English Civil War.

To Althea, From Prison (1642) was written when Lovelace was imprisoned in Gatehouse Prison adjoining Westminster Abbey. Includes the line: “Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage”.

Amy Lowell was an American poet of the Imagist school from Brookline, Massachusetts who posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926. She was the sister of astronomer Percival Lowell. Her partner Ada Dwyer Russell was the subject of many of Lowell's romantic poems.

Robert Lowell won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1947 and 1974. His poems were frequently set in Boston and the New England region.

Life Studies is a collection of poems. Won the National Book Award for Poetry in 1960.

John McCrae was a Canadian poet, physician, author, artist and soldier during World War I

In Flanders Fields was written on 3 May 1915, after McCrae presided over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. Opening lines: “In Flanders Fields, the poppies blow. Between the crosses, row on row”.

William Topaz McGonagall was a Scottish poet who won notoriety as a bad poet.

The Tay Bridge Disaster (1880) recounts the events of the evening of 28 December 1879, when, during a severe gale, the Tay Rail Bridge at Dundee collapsed as a train was passing over it with the loss of all on board.

The Famous Tay Whale (1890) is a poem about a humpback whale hunted and killed in 1883 in the Firth of Tay.

Roger McGough was one of the leading members of the Liverpool poets. He formed the group Scaffold with John Gorman and Mike McGear (Mike McCartney, younger brother of ‘Beatle’ Paul) and had a UK number 1 single with Lily the Pink in 1968.

The Mersey Sound is an anthology of poetry by three Liverpool poets: McGough, Brian Patten and Adrian Henri.

Louis MacNeice was an Irish poet.

Prayer Before Birth (1944) was first published in the collection Springboard. The speaker, an unborn child, prays for future guidance and protection from the horrors of the modern world, and possesses great foresight about humankind's capacity for self-destruction and violence.

John Gillespie Magee was a World War II Anglo-American Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot and poet. He was killed in an accidental mid-air collision in 1941 at the age of 19.

High Flight was written in 1941. He wrote this poem after flying to a height of 33,000 feet in a Spitfire. First line: “Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth”. Last line – “Put out my hand, and touched the face of God”. It is the official poem of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force.

Christopher Marlowe was a playwright and poet.

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love (c. 1587) is a poem in which a shepherd entreats the woman he loves to come live with him. First line: "Come live with me and be my love"

Hero and Leander (c. 1593) is a poem completed by George Chapman after Marlowe’s death.

For other works by this author see: Plays

Jose Marti was a Cuban poet who became a symbol of Cuba's bid for independence against Spain in the 19th century.

Andrew Marvell was a metaphysical poet and a friend of John Milton.

To His Coy Mistress is a carpe diem love poem. First line: “Had we but World enough, and Time.” It was published posthumously in 1681.

The Garden portrays the garden as a space of sacred plants, removed from society and its rude demands. Published posthumously in 1681.

An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell's Return from Ireland (c. 1650) praises the policies of Oliver Cromwell.

Upon Appleton House (1651) describes Thomas Fairfax’s estate at Nun Appleton.

John Masefield was Poet Laureate from 1930 to 1967. According to his wishes, he was cremated and his ashes placed in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.

Sea-Fever first appeared in Salt-Water Ballads – Masefield's first volume of poetry published in 1902. First line: “I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky”.

Cargoes first appeared in Ballads – Masefield's second volume of poetry, published in 1903. First line “Quinquereme of Nineveh from distant Ophir”.

The Everlasting Mercy (1911) is styled as the confession of a man who has turned from sin to Christianity.

For other works by this author see: Literature - Childrens

Vladimir Mayakovsky was a Russian and Soviet poet and playwright, among the foremost representatives of early 20th century Russian Futurism.

A Cloud in Trousers (1915) was Mayakovsky's first major poem.

George Meredith - The Lark Ascending (1881) is a poem about the song of the skylark. The poem inspired Ralph Vaughan Williams to write a musical work of the same name.

John Milton was a poet and intellectual who advocated the abolition of the Church of England and the execution of Charles I.

Lycidas (1637) is a pastoral elegy. Dedicated to the memory of Edward King, a friend of Milton at Cambridge.

When I Consider How My Light is Spent (also known as On His Blindness, 1652) is a sonnet. Last line: “They also serve who only stand and wait”.

Paradise Lost (1667) is a blank verse epic poem composed by Milton after he became blind. The first version consists of ten books with over ten thousand lines of verse. The poem concerns the biblical story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Includes the line: “Wherefore with thee came not all hell broke loose?”.

Paradise Regained (1671) is a sequel to Paradise Lost. It deals primarily with the temptation of Christ by Satan as recounted in the Gospel of Luke.

Samson Agonistes (1671) is a tragedy that was published alongside Paradise Regained. It is a dramatization of the story of Samson from the Book of Judges in the Old Testament. Last line: “And calm of mind, all passion spent”.

Comus (A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634) includes the phrase “silver lining”.

For other works by this author see: Literature - Non-Fiction

Andrew Motion was Poet Laureate from 1999 to 2009. He founded the Poetry Archive, an online resource of poems and audio recordings of poets reading their own work.

On the Record (2003) is a poem written for Prince William’s 21st birthday.

Ogden Nash was a writer of humorous poetry who used unconventional rhyming schemes and puns.

The Cow is a two-line poem – “The cow is of the bovine ilk; One end is moo, the other, milk”

Pablo Neruda was the pen name of the Chilean writer and politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. Neruda was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971. He died in 1973 at the time of the coup d'état in Chile led by Augusto Pinochet. He always wrote in green ink.

Twenty Poems of Love and a Song of Despair (1924) is a collection of romantic poems written by Neruda when he was aged 19. It remains the bestselling poetry book in the Spanish language ever.

Henry Newbolt

Vitaï Lampada (1892) means "the torch of life". The poem refers to how a schoolboy, a future soldier, learns selfless commitment to duty in cricket matches in the Close at Clifton College. Last line: “Play up! Play up! And play the game!”.

Drake’s Drum (1897) concerns the legend that when Francis Drake was on his death bed he ordered the drum returned to England, where in times of trouble it should be beaten to recall him from heaven to rescue the country.

Alfred Noyes - The Highwayman (1906) is a romantic ballad. The poem is about a true love between a robber and the daughter of a landlord who runs an inn on a highway.

Ossian is the narrator and supposed author of a cycle of poems, which the Scottish poet James Macpherson claimed to have translated from ancient sources in the Scots Gaelic. Ossian is based on Oisín, son of Finn McCool. The poems were published as Fingal (1761) and Temora (1763).

Wilfred Owen was one of the leading poets of the First World War. His war poetry on the horrors of trenches and gas warfare was much influenced by his mentor Siegfried Sassoon, whom he met at Craiglockhart War Hospital in 1917. He was killed in action in France one week before the signing of the Armistice in 1918.

Anthem for Doomed Youth (1917) was written at Craiglockhart. First line: “What passing-bells for these who die as cattle”.

Dulce et Decorum Est was published posthumously in 1920. The last line is a quotation from the Roman poet Horace, “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” or “it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country”, which Owen calls ‘the Old lie’.

Futility (1918) details an event where a group of soldiers attempt to revive an unconscious soldier by moving him into the warm sunlight on a snowy meadow.

Strange Meeting (1918) is narrated by a soldier who dies in battle and finds himself in Hell. There he meets a man whom he identifies as a ‘strange friend’.

The Send-Off (1918) concerns troops that have just come from a sending-off ceremony.

Octavio Paz was a Mexican poet and diplomat. He was awarded the 1990 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Sunstone (1957) is one of Paz’s best-known poems. It is based on the circular Aztec calendar and consists of a single cyclical sentence reflecting the synodic period of the planet Venus.

For other works by this author see: Literature - Non-Fiction

Fernando Pessoa was born in Lisbon and was one of the greatest poets in the Portuguese language. He used the concept of the heteronym to refer to at least 70 imaginary characters to write in different styles, including Alberto Caeiro, Álvaro de Campos, and Ricardo Reis.

Mensagem (Message, 1934) was Pessoa’s only book written in Portuguese to be published during his lifetime.

Petrarch was a poet of early Renaissance Italy, and one of the earliest humanists.

Il Canzoniere (Song Book), also known as the Rime Sparse (Scattered Rhymes), but originally titled Rerum vulgarium fragmenta (Fragments of Vernacular Matters) is a collection of 366 poems, of which 317 are sonnets. Its central theme is the poet's love for Laura, a woman Petrarch allegedly met in Avignon in 1327.

Triumphs is a series of poems written in the Tuscan language. The poem evokes the Roman ceremony of triumph.

Sylvia Plath married fellow poet Ted Hughes in 1956. She killed herself in 1963. Awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry posthumously in 1982.

The Colossus and Other Poems (1960) was Plath’s first collection of poems.

Ariel (1965) is a collection of poems on which Plath's reputation essentially rests. Includes the poems –

Ariel describes the terror of a wild horseback ride and the mental and emotional transformation that the rider, and speaker, goes through as she faces death.

Lady Lazarus provides a dark insight into the suicidal mind, as well as a critique of society's twisted fascination with suffering. The poem makes several references to the Holocaust.

Daddy is commonly understood to be about Plath's complicated relationship with her deceased father, Otto Plath.

Tulips describes in detail the mental and physical sufferings of a woman lying in a hospital bed.

The Collected Poems (1981) was edited by Ted Hughes.

For other works by this author see: Novels - USA

Edgar Allen Poe

Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827) was Poe’s first published work.

The Raven (1845) is a narrative poem that tells of a talking raven's mysterious visit to a distraught lover who dearly misses his love, Lenore, tracing the man's slow descent into madness. The raven constantly repeats the word “Nevermore”.

The Bells (1848) reflects the sounds that bells can make, and the emotions evoked from that sound. The speaker takes the reader through four different states that a set of large iron bells inhabits. The first two are pleasurable, but as the poem progresses the bells start to speak of something darker and far less pleasant.

Annabel Lee (1850) is Poe’s last complete poem. The narrator retains his love for her even after her death.

For other works by this author see: Novels - USA / Horror Fiction / Crime Fiction

Alexander Pope was an English poet known for his use of the heroic couplet, as well as for his translation of Homer.

An Essay on Criticism (1711) is the source of the famous quotations "To err is human; to forgive, divine", "A little learning is a dang'rous thing" (frequently misquoted as "A little knowledge is a dang'rous thing"), and "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread".

The Rape of the Lock is a mock-heroic poem first published anonymously in Lintot's Miscellany in 1712 in two cantos. It concerns Lord Petre (referred to in the poem as "Baron"), who cuts off a lock of Arabella Fermor’s hair without her permission.

Eloisa to Abelard (1717) is based on the story of medieval French scholastic philosopher Peter Abelard, and his lover, Heloise. Includes the line: “Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!”.

The Dunciad was first published in 1728. It is a mock-heroic satire in which Alexander Pope attacks various figures in the literary world of his time.

The Essay on Man (c. 1732) attempts to "vindicate the ways of God to Man". It was dedicated to Lord Bolingbroke.

Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot (1735) is a satire in poetic form that is the source of the quotation “Damn with faint praise”.

Ezra Pound was an American poet and critic, and was the driving force behind several Modernist movements, notably Imagism and Vorticism. He was also a fascist collaborator in Italy during World War II.

The Cantos is a long, incomplete poem in 116 sections. Most of it was written between 1915 and 1962. Pound himself called The Cantos "a poem containing history." The section he wrote at the end of World War II has become known as The Pisan Cantos.

Alexander Pushkin

Ruslan and Ludmilla (1820) is taken from a Russian folktale. It tells the story of the abduction of Ludmila, the daughter of Prince Vladimir of the Kievan Rus', by an evil wizard and the attempt by the brave knight Ruslan to find and rescue her. Adapted into an opera by Glinka.

Eugene Onegin was published in serial form between 1825 and 1832. It is a verse novel that concerns the fortune of two couples doomed to unhappiness. Eugene Onegin, a dandy from St. Petersburg, and Tatyana Larina are one of the couples. Adapted into an 1879 opera by Tchaikovsky.

The Tale of Tsar Saltan (1831) is a fairy tale in verse. The youngest of three sisters is chosen by Tsar Saltan to be his wife, and the other two sisters become jealous. Adapted into an opera by Rimsky-Korsakov.

The Bronze Horseman (1833) is about the equestrian statue of Peter the Great in St. Petersburg and the great flood of 1824.

For other works by this author see: Novels - World / Historical Fiction / Plays

Salvatore Quasimodo was an Italian poet who the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1959. Quasimodo used a hermetical, "closed" language to sketch recurring motifs like Sicily, religion and death.

Arthur Rimbaud was a French poet known for his surreal themes. He was involved in a stormy relationship with fellow poet Paul Verlaine.

A Season in Hell (1873) is a long prose poem separated out into nine complex sections.

Illuminations is an incomplete collection of prose poems published in 1886.

Isaac Rosenberg was an English poet and artist. His Poems from the Trenches are recognized as some of the most outstanding poetry written during the First World War.

Christina Rossetti was the sister of artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Best known as a poet, she also wrote the words of the carol In the Beak Midwinter. (1872).

Goblin Market (1862) tells the story of sisters Laura and Lizzie who are tempted with fruit by goblin merchants.

Remember (1862) is a poem about grief, told not from the perspective of a mourner but rather the person who's to be mourned.

Rumi was a 13th century Persian poet and Sufi mystic.

Masnavi is one of the most influential works of Sufism, commonly called "the Quran in Persian". It has been viewed by many commentators as the greatest mystical poem in world literature.

Divan-i Kebir, also known as Divan i Shams, is a compilation of lyric poems written in the Persian language and contains more than 40,000 verses.

Siegfried Sassoon was a World War I poet and a friend of Wilfred Owen. He was awarded the Military Cross in 1916. Sassoon became a focal point for dissent within the armed forces when he made a lone protest against the continuation of the war in his Soldier's Declaration of 1917, which led to his admission to Craiglockhart War Hospital to be treated for shell shock.

Counter-Attack and Other Poems (1918) is a collection of war poems.

Everyone Sang (1919) is one of Sassoon’s most popular poems. The jubilant singing that features in the poem has been interpreted as a reference to the Armistice.

For other works by this author see: Novels - British Isles

Friedrich Schiller Ode to Joy (1785) is best known for its use by Beethoven in his Ninth Symphony.

For other works by this author see: Plays

Walter Scott

Marmion (1808) is a historical romance in verse that concludes with the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Includes the lines "Oh, what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!".

The Lady of the Lake (1810) is a narrative poem. Set in the Trossachs region of Scotland, it is composed of six cantos, each of which concerns the action of a single day. It retells a legend about the graceful feudal heroine Ellen Douglas.

For other works by this author see: Novels - British Isles / Historical Fiction

Robert W(illiam) Service was a British-Canadian poet, born in Lancashire. Working as a bank clerk, he was sent to the Yukon, where he wrote several poems inspired by the Klondike Gold Rush.

Songs of a Sourdough (1907) was published under the title The Spell of the Yukon and Other Verses. The book is well known for its verse about the Klondike Gold Rush including The Shooting of Dan McGrew with its opening stanza: “A bunch of the boys were whooping it up in the Malamute saloon; The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune; Back of the bar, in a solo game, sat Dangerous Dan McGrew, And watching his luck was his light-o'-love, the lady that's known as Lou”.

Percy Bysshe Shelley was a Romantic poet born in Sussex in 1792. Shelley married Harriet Westbrook, who committed suicide. His second wife was novelist Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin. Aged 29, Shelley drowned in a sudden storm in the Gulf of Spezia while sailing in his schooner, Don Juan. His ashes were placed in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome, where Keats was also buried.

The Revolt of Islam (1818) centres on two characters named Laon and Cythna, inhabitants of Argolis under Ottoman rule who initiate a revolution against its despotic ruler.

Ozymandias (1818) is a sonnet that describes a traveller’s reaction to the half-buried, worn-out statue of the great pharaoh, Ramesses II. First line: “I met a traveller from an antique land”.

Ode to the West Wind (1819) is an ode that allegorises the role of the poet as the voice of change and revolution. Last line: “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”.

The Masque of Anarchy (1819) was Shelley’s response to the Peterloo Massacre. Shelley uses the grotesque to parallel his depth of anger and feeling about the events at Peterloo.

Prometheus Unbound (1820) is a four-act lyrical drama, concerned with the torments of the Greek mythological figure Prometheus.

To a Skylark (1820) describes the appearance and song of a skylark that Shelley and his wife Mary come upon. First line: “Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!”.

Adonais (1821) is an elegy for John Keats.

Philip Sidney was an English poet and courtier and was the son-in-law of Francis Walsingham. He was killed at the Battle of Zutphen in 1586 fighting for the Protestant cause against the Spanish.

Astrophil and Stella (1591) is a group of 108 sonnets. Astrophil is the star lover, and Stella is his star.

The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia (1593) is a long prose pastoral romance. The original version of the text is sometimes referred to as the Old Arcadia, and a revised version is known as the New Arcadia. Arcadia is a peaceful and quiet province of Greece and it is ruled by Duke Basilius.

For other works by this author see: Literature - Non-Fiction

Edith Sitwell was the eldest of the three literary Sitwells.

Facade (1922) is a series of abstract poems set to music by William Walton.

Elizabeth Smart - By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept (1945) is a novel in prose poetry inspired by Smart's passionate affair with the British poet George Barker.

Stevie Smith - Not Waving but Drowning (1957) gives an account of a drowned man whose distressed thrashing in the water had been mistaken for waving.

Robert Southey was a Romantic poet and a member of the Lake Poets group. He was Poet Laureate from 1813 until his death in 1843.

After Blenheim (1796) is an anti-war poem set at the site of the Battle of Blenheim, with the questions of two small children about a skull one of them has found.

The Inchcape Rock (1802) tells the story of a 14th century attempt by the Abbot of Aberbrothok to install a warning bell on Inchcape.

Cataract of Lodore (1820) describes the Lodore Falls in the Lake District.

The Story of the Three Bears, the original Goldilocks story, was first published in Southey's prose collection The Doctor (1837).

Edmund Spenser was a 16th century poet best known for The Faerie Queene.

The Shepherdes Calendar (1579) is Spenser's first major work. It emulates Virgil's Eclogues.

The Faerie Queene is an epic poem celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. The first half was published in 1590, and a second installment was published in 1596. It is one of the longest poems in the English language. Spencer invented the fixed verse form known as a Spenserian stanza for the poem.

Gertrude Stein

Tender Buttons (1912) is a book separated into three sections – Food, Objects, and Rooms. It consists of multiple poems covering the everyday mundane.

"Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose" is a quote from the 1913 poem Sacred Emily, which appeared in the 1922 book Geography and Plays.

For other works by this author see: Novels - USA

Robert Louis Stevenson - A Child's Garden of Verses (1885) is a volume of 64 poems for children.

For other works by this author see: Novels - British Isles / Historical Fiction / Literature - Childrens / Literature - Non-Fiction

John Suckling was a Cavalier poet who also invented the card game cribbage. He is best known for his poem Ballade upon a Wedding.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson was Poet Laureate from 1850 until his death in 1892. He was the first individual to be raised to a British peerage for his writing.

Ulysses (1833) is a poem about the legendary Greek king. Last line: “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”.

The Lady of Shalott tells the tragic story of Elaine of Astolat, a young noblewoman stranded in a tower up the river from Camelot. Tennyson wrote two versions of the poem, one published in 1833, the other in 1842. First line: “On either side the river lie”. Includes the line: “The Mirror crack’d from side to side”.

Locksley Hall (1835) narrates the emotions of a rejected suitor upon coming to his childhood home. Includes the line: “In spring, a young man’s fancy likely turns to thoughts of love”.

In Memoriam A. A. H. (1850) is an elegy written in honour of Arthur Henry Hallam, Tennyson's closest friend and fiancé to Tennyson's sister. It is made up of 133 poems, all written over a 17-year period. Includes the lines: “’Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all”

The Charge of the Light Brigade (1854) is a poem about the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. First lines: “Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred”.

Idylls of the King was published between 1859 and 1885. It is a cycle of twelve narrative poems which retells the legend of King Arthur, his knights, his love for Guinevere and her tragic betrayal of him. Dedicated to Prince Albert.

Maud and other poems (1855) was Tennyson's first published collection after becoming Poet Laureate.

The Charge of the Heavy Brigade at Balaclava (1885) First line: “The charge of the gallant three hundred, the Heavy Brigade!”.

Dylan Thomas was born in Swansea. He died in New York aged 39.

And death shall have no dominion was written in 1933. The title comes from St. Paul's epistle to the Romans.

Do not gentle into that good night (1952) is a villanelle to Thomas’s dying father that has no title other than its first line, "Do not go gentle into that good night", a line that appears as a refrain throughout the poem along with its other refrain, "Rage, rage against the dying of the light".

Fern Hill (1945) concerns Thomas’s childhood experiences at his aunt's farm in Wales.

For other works by this author see: Plays

Edward Thomas was an Anglo-Welsh war poet who enlisted in the army in 1915 and was killed in action during the Battle of Arras in 1917. The American poet Robert Frost encouraged Thomas to write poetry.

Adlestrop is based on a railway journey Thomas took in 1914, during which his train stopped at the now-closed station in the Gloucestershire village of Adlestrop.

Early One Morning (1917) includes the line: “The past is the only dead thing that smells sweet”.

Paul Verlaine was a French Symbolist poet and a co-founder of the Decadent movement. In Brussels in 1873, in a drunken, jealous rage, he fired two shots with a pistol at Paul Rimbaud, wounding his wrist.

Chanson d’Automne (Autumn song) is one of the best known poems in the French language. It is included in Verlaine's first collection, Poèmes saturniens, published in 1866.

Francois Villon was a 15th century French poet who was frequently in trouble with the law.

Le Testament (1461) is a collection of 20 poems. Villon bitterly reviews his life and expresses his horror of prison, sickness, and old age with its attendant misery and his fear of death.

Ballade des Pendus (Ballad of the Hanged, 1462) was written while under the sentence of death. Villon imagines himself hanging on the scaffold, his body rotting, and he makes a plea to God against the “justice” of men.


Henriade (1723) – is an epic poem written in honour of Henry IV of France.

The Maid of Orleans (1730) – is an unfinished satirical poem concerning Joan of Arc. The poem was outlawed, burned and banned throughout much of Europe.

For other works by this author see: Novels - World / Literature - Non-Fiction

Derek Walcott was born in St. Lucia. He was awarded the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Omeros (1990) is an epic poem, a reworking of Homeric story and tradition into a journey around the Caribbean and beyond to the American West and London.

Phyllis Wheatley was born in West Africa, sold into slavery, and transported to North America, where she was bought by the Wheatley family of Boston.

Poems On Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773) is a collection of 39 poems. This was the first book to be published by an African-American.

Walt Whitman was an American poet, often called “the father of free verse”. During the American Civil War, he went to Washington, D.C. and worked in hospitals caring for the wounded. His poetry often focused on both loss and healing.

Leaves of Grass was first published in 1855. There have been several editions – the first edition being a small book of twelve poems, and the last, a compilation of over 400. The book was highly controversial during its time for its explicit sexual imagery.

I Sing the Body Electric is included in Leaves of Grass. The poem is divided into nine sections, each celebrating a different aspect of human physicality.

Song of Myself is included in Leaves of Grass. The poem is a sprawling combination of biography, sermon, and poetic meditation.

O Captain! My Captain! (1865) was inspired by the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd (1865) is a long poem in the form of an elegy. It was written during a period of national mourning in the aftermath of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Drum-Taps (1865) is a collection of poetry written during the American Civil War.

Oscar Wilde

The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898) was the last work written by Wilde. It is a long poem commemorating the harsh rhythms of prison life. First line: “He did not wear the scarlet coat for blood and wine are red”.

For other works by this author see: Novels - British Isles / Plays / Literature - Childrens

Alfred Williams – was known as the ‘Hammerman Poet’ because he worked in the Swindon Railway Works. Songs in Wiltshire (1909) was his first collection of poems.

William Wordsworth visited Revolutionary France in 1791 and became enthralled with the Republican movement. He fell in love with a French woman, Annette Vallon, who in 1792 gave birth to their child, Caroline. He later married Mary Hutchinson. Lived at Dove Cottage in Grasmere with his sister Dorothy. Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850.

Lyrical Ballads is a collection of poems by Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, first published in 1798 and generally considered to have marked the beginning of the English Romantic movement.

Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey was included in Lyrical Ballads. The description of his encounters with the countryside on the banks of the River Wye grows into an outline of his general philosophy.

Lucy poems were written while Wordsworth lived in Germany. Four of the five poems were first published during 1800 in the second edition of Lyrical Ballads. The poems are: Strange fits of passion have I known, She dwelt among the untrodden ways, I travelled among unknown men, Three years she grew in sun and shower, and A slumber did my spirit seal.

The Prelude is an autobiographical poem in blank verse. Wordsworth began The Prelude in 1798 and continued to work on it throughout his life. The poem was intended as the prologue to a long three-part epic and philosophical poem, The Recluse.

The Excursion was intended as the introduction to The Recluse.

Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 is a sonnet describing London and the River Thames. First line: “Earth hath not anything to show more fair”.

Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood (1804) is a complex poem in which the speaker discusses emotions associated with time and aging.

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud (also known as Daffodils, 1807) was inspired by a walk Wordsworth took with his sister Dorothy around Ullswater. First lines: “I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o'er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils;”.

W(illiam) B(utler) Yeats was an Irish poet. He was a Protestant and member of the Anglo-Irish community and was fascinated by Irish legends and the occult. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree (1890) depicts the speaker’s longing to leave the city and spend time on the isle, that lies within Lough Gill, in Ireland.

When You Are Old (1893) asks someone to think ahead to old age, strongly suggesting that the addressee will eventually regret being unwilling to return the speaker's love.

The Song of Wandering Aengus (1897) is a love poet based on Celtic mythology. Aengus is a Celtic god.

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven (1899) is a poem Yeats wrote for Maud Gonne, a woman he loved for most of his life although she did not return his feelings.

Easter, 1916 commemorates the Easter Rising in 1916. The poem balances critique of the rebellion and its political extremism with admiration for the rebels' dedication and bravery.

Sailing to Byzantium (1928) uses a journey to Byzantium as a metaphor for a spiritual journey. First line: “That is no country for old men”.

Under Ben Bulben (1938) was one of the last poems that Yeats wrote. The final lines: “Cast a cold eye On life, on death. Horseman, pass by!” became Yeats’s epitaph, and can be found on his tomb. Ben Bulben is a large flat-topped rock formation in County Sligo.

Benjamin Zephaniah is a dub poet, born in Birmingham.

The Dread Affair: Collected Poems (1985), contains several poems attacking the British legal system.