Clare's highly personal evocations of landscape and place are some of the most poignant lyrics in English poetry. His celebration of all forms of natural life and his laments for the death of rural England grew directly out of his intimate knowledge of the labourer's life, the wheatfields and hedgerows of his village in Northamptonshire.This authoritative and engaging selection includes poems from every stage of Clare's poetic career, organised by theme, from 'Birds and Beasts' to 'Madhouses, Prisons and Whorehouses'.
John Clare (1793 - 1864), the son of a Northamptonshire labourer, worked variously as a ploughboy, reaper, and thresher. He began writing verse at the age of 13 and had his first book of poems published in 1820. His suffered from severe bouts of melancholy and died in Northamptonshire Lunatic Asylum. Geoffrey Summerfield teaches English at New York University. He has spent many years working on the texts of Clare's poetry and is a leading authority on the poet.