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 editor, Charles Simic, offers insight into their own work as well as providing an accessible and passionate introduction to the most important poets in our literature.
Thomas Campion (1567 - 1620) was born in London and educated at Cambridge. He studied law at Gray's Inn, and was both a poet and composer - a contemporary not only of Shakespeare, Drayton, Marlowe and Jonson, but also of Byrd, Morley, Gibbons and Dowland. In 1591 five of his songs appeared in the unauthorised version of Sidney's Astrophel and Stella. In 1595 he published a collection of Latin epigrams, Poemata, but he is best known for his lyric poems and settings. Campion wrote over one hundred lute songs, published between 1601 and 1617 in four Books of Ayres, as well as a treatise on The Art of English Poesie, and a number of masques. His work was not rediscovered until the nineteenth century; since then, whoever dreams of a poem where language begins to resemble music thinks of Campion.
Charles Simic was born in 1938 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia and emigrated to the United States in 1954. His first collection was published in 1971, and in the three decades that have followed he has received numerous awards and honours for his work, including the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN International Award for translation. Since 1973, Simic has taught English at the University of New Hampshire.