In this series, a contemporary poet selects and introduces a poet of the past. By their choice of poems and by the personal and critical reactions they express in their prefaces, the editors offer insights into their own work as well as providing an accessible and passionate introduction to the most important poets in our literature.
Hugo Williams was born in 1942 and grew up in Sussex. He worked on the London Magazine from 1961 to 1970, since when he has earned his living as a journalist and travel writer. Billy's Rain won the T.S Eliot Prize in 1999. His Collected Poems was published by Faber in 2002. He lives in London.
Sir John Betjeman (1906-84) was born in Highgate, the son of a manufacturer of Dutch descent. After university he joined the staff of the Architectural Review, therafter working as a journalist and, during the second World war, for various government departments. His first book of poems was Mount Zion (1931), followed by numerous collections, notably A Few Late Chrysanthemums (1954). His poetry enjoyed immense popularity, as did his personality, and his knighthood in 1969 and appointment as Poet Laureate in 1972 were almost universally welcomed.