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Selected Poems (Everyman Poetry)

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EVERYMAN'S POETRY LIBRARY: This new series of the world's greatest poetry features the hallmarks of Everyman Classics: top-quality production and reader-friendly design along with helpful notes and critiques. Each edition is also a great value, especially for those readers beginning to explore the work of this remarkable poet.


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EVERYMAN'S POETRY LIBRARY: This new series of the world's greatest poetry features the hallmarks of Everyman Classics: top-quality production and reader-friendly design along with helpful notes and critiques. Each edition is also a great value, especially for those readers beginning to explore the work of this remarkable poet.

30 review for Selected Poems (Everyman Poetry)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    John Clare wrote some wonderful poems, but he also wrote some terribly basic ones. If you compare him to the other canonical poets of British Romanticism, then he can easily be criticised. He didn’t have the flair of Byron or such control over sensuous imagery like Wordsworth and Shelley; he didn’t have the imagination of Coleridge or the stylistic qualities of Keats. He didn’t even have the lyricism of Blake. But what he did have was persistence, and a real awareness of himself and his surround John Clare wrote some wonderful poems, but he also wrote some terribly basic ones. If you compare him to the other canonical poets of British Romanticism, then he can easily be criticised. He didn’t have the flair of Byron or such control over sensuous imagery like Wordsworth and Shelley; he didn’t have the imagination of Coleridge or the stylistic qualities of Keats. He didn’t even have the lyricism of Blake. But what he did have was persistence, and a real awareness of himself and his surroundings. For me he stands in the shadows of his more developed brothers. Does that make his poetry any better? No it doesn’t. But it does mean that he can be appreciated more. Clare taught himself to read; he wasn’t educated like the rest of the Romantics. He had a massive disadvantage. He learnt to write poetry by copying the style of his peers; he adapted it and made it his own, and eventually he developed his own poetic voice. Is this not something to admire? Clare was a shepherd, not a scholar or a literary critic or a pompous Lord. The early Romantics advocated oneness with nature; surely, out of the crowd Clare is the one with the most experience. He lived the rural life from the beginning, and his poetry reflects it so blatantly. I have a great deal of respect for John Clare. To pull his poetry almost up to the exalted heights of such names I mentioned is a massive achievement for one who started like he did. I’ve seen his actual handwriting, and some of his early manuscripts. His penmanship is terrible and full of misspelt words and local colloquialisms. To be able change something like that into the final forms that were published is rather astonishing. I suppose if anything it shows what persistence can achieve, that and a good editor. Now I’ve spoken a lot about Clare’s hindrances but, don’t mistake me, I think some of his poetry is really powerful. My favourite is “I am”. I’ve copied it full here: I am—yet what I am none cares or knows; My friends forsake me like a memory lost: I am the self-consumer of my woes— They rise and vanish in oblivious host, Like shadows in love’s frenzied stifled throes And yet I am, and live—like vapours tossed Into the nothingness of scorn and noise, Into the living sea of waking dreams, Where there is neither sense of life or joys, But the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems; Even the dearest that I loved the best Are strange—nay, rather, stranger than the rest. I long for scenes where man hath never trod A place where woman never smiled or wept There to abide with my Creator, God, And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept, Untroubling and untroubled where I lie The grass below—above the vaulted sky. This is a great reading of it, even though it misses the second stanza; it is very much worth hearing. It’s very touching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDgEq... Isn't Penny Dreadful just great? One thing Clare did do better than the other Romantics was really explore the animal kingdom. He didn’t just write about Nightingales; he used so many birds and woodland life. He was a real advocate of nature. Had he been alive today he would have been an activist or an animal rights campaigner. In this, he was ahead of his time; yes, many in the early nineteenth century shared these views, Robert Burns included, but Clare really explored them in real depth in his poetry. Some of his other poems that I thought were worthy of note are “What is life?” “The Wren” and “Remembrances.” Reembraces has some of my favourite Clare lines in it. It really shows the effects of big laws on the little man: By Langley bush I roam but the bush hath left its hill On cowper green I stray tis a desert strange and chill And spreading lea close oak ere decay had penned its will To the axe of the spoiler and self interest fell a prey And cross berry way and old round oaks narrow lane With its hollow trees like pulpits I shall never see again Enclosure like a Buonaparte let not a thing remain It levelled every bush and tree and levelled every hill And hung the moles for traitors - though the brook is running still It runs a naked brook cold and chill Such wonderful stuff. I may have preferred the poetry of the other Romantics, but I enjoyed studying Clare the most. He has a real human story, one that’s reflected in his poetry. For me, he was the most relatable of the literary figures of his age. Maybe it’s because I come from the same part of England or perhaps it’s because “I am” is a poem I feel a great affinity with. Either way, Clare is a man I admire. I respect people who aren’t naturally intelligent, or haven’t had the opportunities afforded to others, but yet they still succeed through their own willpower. I hope you enjoyed my review, and the poems I picked out. I enjoyed writing this more than most of the things I post. I’ve decided that I simply must write reviews for the works of the other Romantics, and perhaps more poetry in general. Personally, I don’t think there’s enough reviews of poetry on goodreads.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Leila

    I really loved John Clare's poems about nature.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jonfaith

    This was a pleasant surprise. I only became aware of Clare through Iain Sinclair. Discovering that Clare was a naturalist gave me a certain pause. Then Tuesday saw me heading to a somewhat irrelevant workshop just outside of Indianapolis and I tossed it into my bag. Winter still has a hold on that area and the location of my meeting was adjacent to a lake. How fitting then the rolling descriptions of birds and plants, even there under the brittle grip of a February frost. I have come to realize This was a pleasant surprise. I only became aware of Clare through Iain Sinclair. Discovering that Clare was a naturalist gave me a certain pause. Then Tuesday saw me heading to a somewhat irrelevant workshop just outside of Indianapolis and I tossed it into my bag. Winter still has a hold on that area and the location of my meeting was adjacent to a lake. How fitting then the rolling descriptions of birds and plants, even there under the brittle grip of a February frost. I have come to realize how Wendell Berry while embodying so many of my values and aspirations is still a very average poet. Clare is likewise remarkable; his descriptions of country folk at the holidays are amazing, human and touching.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jude Brigley

    Have been reading Clare's poems throughout the year and reminding myself how much I like them. 'The girning winds bit sharp and thin And made the early riser blow his nails, and crizzling frost shot needles in the dyke and crumpt beneath the feet down grassy vales.' I love 'crizzling', 'crumpt' and 'girning'.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brandon

    I read this almost straight through as soon as I purchased it. This is the true country voice of the English Romantics...Wordsworth wished he could draw on the enormous rural knowledge that John Clare possessed. I can return to this time and time again.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Toria

    Perhaps not the right book I've read as the one I read on my book app is just titled "Clare's poems". I was going through a real though reading time today, after trying to change my reading habits and speed and I just got to a point where I struggled a lot with reading. I was in terrible mood but then I saw a wonderful review on my feed about John Clare's works and I decided to give him a try. But I never usually read poems. But to my delight I was mesmerized by his poems, they where so lyrical a Perhaps not the right book I've read as the one I read on my book app is just titled "Clare's poems". I was going through a real though reading time today, after trying to change my reading habits and speed and I just got to a point where I struggled a lot with reading. I was in terrible mood but then I saw a wonderful review on my feed about John Clare's works and I decided to give him a try. But I never usually read poems. But to my delight I was mesmerized by his poems, they where so lyrical and such a great read. It really bring my mood up. Sadly there was only that one work on the app and I have to look elsewhere

  7. 4 out of 5

    John Anthony

    I savoured reading this – I can never read poetry quickly. Geoffrey Summerfield's selection and notes and faithful reproduction of the poems enhanced the experience. The selection covers all poetically active periods of Clare's life, including his long incarceration in the asylum at Northampton where he died. His “mad” period included a number of poems where he assumed the Byronic persona. Some are very graphic in content and must have done wonders for Victorian sensibilities! Many poems are devo I savoured reading this – I can never read poetry quickly. Geoffrey Summerfield's selection and notes and faithful reproduction of the poems enhanced the experience. The selection covers all poetically active periods of Clare's life, including his long incarceration in the asylum at Northampton where he died. His “mad” period included a number of poems where he assumed the Byronic persona. Some are very graphic in content and must have done wonders for Victorian sensibilities! Many poems are devoted to his early love, Mary, to whom he believed he was married (he wasn't) Some of these are very powerful. His observations of nature and the seasons when working as a farm labourer and shepherd in rural Northants form some of my favourite poems. There are many words local to Northamptonshire and the dialect of Clare's particular area which he uses in his poems which enrich and interest. I suspect that many have now disappeared from everyday use.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I cant wait for this book, I am in love with John Clare and his deep relationship with nature, Ive knew him by coincidence from reading some poems in a classic poetry book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Aneece

    It’s troubling that his poetry improved as he went mad.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    (This is my first review, so pardon me if it's utter crap) I read this for my English literature coursework and I have to say that I was quite impressed by it. The biography by Summerfield is succinct but eloquently informative, offering a perfectly summarised background of John Clare and a detailed analysis of his work. Following this brief but helpful biography is a selection of poetry that resonates very deeply for me. Known as "The Peasant Poet", Clare is nothing but a visionary as he imbues (This is my first review, so pardon me if it's utter crap) I read this for my English literature coursework and I have to say that I was quite impressed by it. The biography by Summerfield is succinct but eloquently informative, offering a perfectly summarised background of John Clare and a detailed analysis of his work. Following this brief but helpful biography is a selection of poetry that resonates very deeply for me. Known as "The Peasant Poet", Clare is nothing but a visionary as he imbues a sharp catharsis - a silver-tongued poignancy - into his perceptions of a harsh, brutal and near-apocalyptic world. This is perhaps realised best in his most famous poem "I AM", a poem lamenting the limitations and circumscriptions of physical existence (and in my opinion, though it's unfortunately not in this selection, "An Invite to Eternity"). "The Vanities of Life" and "Death" are also poems which resonate for me - though, to be honest, most of Clare's poems (bar one or two exceptions - I was quite impartial to "Don Juan", for example) bear a semblance of the red-hot eloquent poignancy of "I Am". Clare is certainly one of the most interesting poets I've come across, and I can't help but share in some of his supposed -for want of a better word - 'unconventional' views on life. That's all I'm going to say for the moment as I don't want to spoil his poetry for any of you. I highly recommend him as a romantic poet - even though his poetry may project the crisis of "a mind in conflict in itself", it's easy to see how Clare yet endeavoured to effect change in his materialistic late-Edwardian/early-Victorian society with his idyllic celebration of the natural world and all its blessings (pardon the sappiness). A word of advice: do not read his poetry if you're in a bad mood or if you lack the means to read/watch something happy and uplifting afterwards. Trust me, you'll regret it. Otherwise, 4.5 stars for both the biography and Clare's work.

  11. 4 out of 5

    T.E. Shepherd

    It's been a perrennial ambition of mine to read more poetry. Unlike last year when I fulfilled an aim to read Tolstoy's War & Peace, poetry is much more of a struggle for me, and that pains me. I wonder whether that my aspergers and the way I 'read' things literally causes me an added problem with poetry where it is is, 'all' metaphor? So why this volume of John Clare? And why now? I've been reading some nature writing recently, principally Melissa Harrison's Autumn and found myself exposed to h It's been a perrennial ambition of mine to read more poetry. Unlike last year when I fulfilled an aim to read Tolstoy's War & Peace, poetry is much more of a struggle for me, and that pains me. I wonder whether that my aspergers and the way I 'read' things literally causes me an added problem with poetry where it is is, 'all' metaphor? So why this volume of John Clare? And why now? I've been reading some nature writing recently, principally Melissa Harrison's Autumn and found myself exposed to his work. I also work with Simon Kövesi - one of the leading experts on John Clare - an instigator in the biopic, By Ourselves and I have found myself drawn to find out more about the man and his poetry. This volume, edited by Jonathan Bate, is an excellent primer to one of our finest working class, romantic poets. Obstensivly it's just a collection of his poetry, but I found it to be so much more than that. In the way that it's collected together it reads like an autobiography - an autobiography of verse and song. Starting with the innocence of the countryside and the village traditions, it moves through a period of 'fame' and into a more political phase, and then, a wayward abandom of directly critiquing society and the ruling classes, to a quiet reflection and introspection. This is a volume of poetry that makes you realise how much we have lost of our heritage and our ways of doing things. Farming back then, was hard, backbreaking work but we were so more connected with nature and the natural rhythms of the seasons that we have lost by now. This makes me sad. At the same time, some of the most poignant of John Clare's poetry succeeds in giving optomism for the future.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nimue Brown

    A broad selection of poems, some prose writing, a brief biography and a very good and useful introduction. As a place to start reading Clare, it's worked well for me, I can certainly recommend it. I'm not in the habit of reading entire poetry books beginning to end, but the presence of longer works, and the overall flow of the collection coupled with the very readable nature of the poetry made it possible to read this much as I would a prose text. Clare is a fascinating poet in terms of his rela A broad selection of poems, some prose writing, a brief biography and a very good and useful introduction. As a place to start reading Clare, it's worked well for me, I can certainly recommend it. I'm not in the habit of reading entire poetry books beginning to end, but the presence of longer works, and the overall flow of the collection coupled with the very readable nature of the poetry made it possible to read this much as I would a prose text. Clare is a fascinating poet in terms of his relationship with landscape, I found his troubled emotional life resonant, and he occupies a key moment in British landscape history - namely the coming of enclosures. The sense of loss in his work I found almost unbearable at times, and it makes for an uneasy parallel with our modern abuse of the land for fracking and the ongoing industrialisation of the landscape.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    As a complete townie, I have very little in common with John Clare, who sought the "quiet joys" of rural life and took his inspiration from nature - "I found the poems in the fields, and only wrote them down." However, I really enjoyed his work and found much of it quite moving. His life was touched by some form of depression and his work is often melancholy, but his delight in the landscape, flora and fauna is touching.

  14. 5 out of 5

    matilda

    I am a huge fan of poetry and John Clare is by far one of my favourite poets. This book contains most of his best sonnets and poems and includes a small timeline of his life. My only criticism is that it does not contain all of his poems however it was perfect for when I had a little spare time to pick up a poetry book and enjoying a poem or two.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Suzammah

    There are only so many sonnets about different British birds I can appreciate. He had a great poem about a badger getting revenge on some nasty country folk though, that was fun. Of course, when he's being a thoroughly miserable bastard and writing about inner turmoil rather than a lesser spotted sparrow, he's one of the best.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    Collection of poems I studied for my AS English Lit, some poems are truly brilliant (I Am, To John Clare, some of the nature ones) however some are just plain boring. He needed an editor, for example 'The Parish' could be three pages shorter and much better.

  17. 4 out of 5

    John

    What can you say if you like poetry you just have to love John Clare I particularly like the poems to Mary ( Romantic In me I guess ) When i first read this copy, the words I sleep with you I wake with you and yet you are not there, just kept going through my mind over and over.

  18. 5 out of 5

    James Bruce

    A true romantic poet, based on the ideals of Coleridge and Wordsworth.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jenni

    The most ignored of the romantics and ten times better than Wordsworth (gag).

  20. 5 out of 5

    Grady Ormsby

    John Clare: Poems Selected by Paul Farley is a volume from the series of books from Faber and Faber featuring poems of notable poets selected by contemporary poets. John Clare, known by many as the “peasant poet,” was born into a peasant family in Helpston, England in 1793. He was the son of a farm laborer, and became known for his celebrations of the English countryside and his despair over its disruption. Characteristically his poems have rural settings that describe the bio-diverse nature of John Clare: Poems Selected by Paul Farley is a volume from the series of books from Faber and Faber featuring poems of notable poets selected by contemporary poets. John Clare, known by many as the “peasant poet,” was born into a peasant family in Helpston, England in 1793. He was the son of a farm laborer, and became known for his celebrations of the English countryside and his despair over its disruption. Characteristically his poems have rural settings that describe the bio-diverse nature of the Northamptonshire countryside. There is a general use of the English country vernacular. There is even a glossary at the back of the volume to define the many colloquial terms and expressions. The poems are written in an assortment of styles, rhythms and rhyme patterns. There are quatrains, couplets and many sonnets often with rhymed iambic pentameter octaves and sextets. Though his poems are usually written following a formal pattern of some sort, there are always elements that are surprising and unorthodox. The mood of most of the poems is nostalgic and romantic. Clare was a keen observer with a sharp eye for detail. There is frequent use of personification as Clare directly addresses the animals, birds, flowers, weather, water, crops, animals, insects, seasons and even locations. He often uses a narrative form with natural elements as characters. He was perhaps the first environmental poet. He descried the damage and degradation of the Enclosure Movement of the early Nineteenth Century which allowed rich farmers to buy up land, enclose the fields, heaths and woods with fences, deforest the woodlands, drain the lowlands, canalize the rivers and streams, displace the peasants and alter the environment in order to maximize agricultural profit. (Imagine that! We didn’t invent environmental savagery. We just seem to be perfecting it.) As he witnessed this degradation, his personal life and mental health began to suffer parallel erosion. Though very popular at first, his poetry began to lose favor with the public and there was a consequent loss of revenue. He suffered bouts of depression and alcoholism. He spent the final 23 years of his life at St. Andrew’s Asylum in Northampton writing, ironically enough, some of his best poetry. He died penniless in 1864. His “rediscovery” in the 20th Century brought about re-evaluation of his work and often he is now considered to be among the most important 19th-century poets. His biographer Jonathan Bate states that Clare was "the greatest labouring-class poet that England has ever produced. No one has ever written more powerfully of nature, of a rural childhood, and of the alienated and unstable self." All you tree huggers will like this one.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Keith Taylor

    I have felt I've "known" Clare for decades, but really only knew a few poems ("The Badger," and the bird poems, for instance). I knew he was the "peasant poet" and I knew he went mad. But I had never seen the brilliance. Yes, he was a laborer and he had the poetic education of a brilliant autodidact. But now I see he had an almost twentieth century attention to detail. He didn't need to put his observations or enthusiasms of the natural world into a classical context, even though he clearly coul I have felt I've "known" Clare for decades, but really only knew a few poems ("The Badger," and the bird poems, for instance). I knew he was the "peasant poet" and I knew he went mad. But I had never seen the brilliance. Yes, he was a laborer and he had the poetic education of a brilliant autodidact. But now I see he had an almost twentieth century attention to detail. He didn't need to put his observations or enthusiasms of the natural world into a classical context, even though he clearly could have. He knew enough about the things themselves that he could have the poem centered on exact observation. It really is a modern way of dealing with the world, the "thisness" of it. He was much more involved in the world than the better known Romantics, who always felt they had to contextualize what "is" in terms of what "has been." But in addition to writing prolifically, Clare must have been a deep reader of whatever came his way. He internalized forms, both the "folk" forms like the ballads, but also the more complex stanzaic forms of the English tradition. Those forms clearly helped him write poems as he walked and as he worked in the fields. I also think that a reading of Clare, both of this big selected and of the gigantic Bate biography that I read at the same time, has led me to finally understand the force, the brutality of the Enclosure Act. I glibly summarized it as the movement from Commons, shared pastures, to fields that were owned. But in Clare I see the implications of it. The move from "poor" although sufficient, to "poverty." And Clare lived through it all. Here are some lines from his poem "Enclosure": Now this sweet vision of my boyish hours, Free as spring clouds and wild as forest flowers, Is faded all--a hope that blossomed free, And hath been once as it no more shall be. Enclosure came, and trampled on the grave of labour's rights, and left the poor a slave. Also getting more of a sense of Clare's madness. It might be centered in the all-absorbing presence of his talent with words, something that he clearly recognized was unique, and the conditions of his place in the world. His "class," with all of the weight of that in preVictorian England. It must have heightened his sense of exclusion from both worlds. On his grave is written the English of that old Latin phrase -- "A poet is born, not made." That's too easy to summarize all that goes on with Clare, but there is some truth in it for this amazing writer.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Gurteen

    More poetry like this, please! This was an excellent overview of John Clare's work from his unpublished first poems to his last works written within the walls of an asylum. You can clearly see his progress in multiple aspects, as he becomes a more competent writer, as he becomes an adult, as he loses his optimism. I don't think I've ever felt as connected to an author through poetry as I have in this book. Clare's voice shone through. My only complaint is that I did find it a little bit repetiti More poetry like this, please! This was an excellent overview of John Clare's work from his unpublished first poems to his last works written within the walls of an asylum. You can clearly see his progress in multiple aspects, as he becomes a more competent writer, as he becomes an adult, as he loses his optimism. I don't think I've ever felt as connected to an author through poetry as I have in this book. Clare's voice shone through. My only complaint is that I did find it a little bit repetitive, particularly in the first half, and preferred the second half for the reasons mentioned above. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone who is into poetry or nature.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Harry Tidby

    An interesting little collection from a poet I must admit I had previously never encountered. I read this for one of my upcoming university modules and I’m really glad it was part of the syllabus, otherwise I don’t think I would have ever delved into Clare’s work. Particular highlights for me are ‘The Lament of Swordy Well’, ‘The Moors’, ‘Emmonsales Heath’ and ‘The Eternity of Nature’.

  24. 5 out of 5

    William

    Fantastic Romantic poetry to be appreciated most fully in large doses. Feel a little sappy? This is for you. Very beautiful images with little to dig into other than what it means to appreciate life.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Such calming reading during the pandemic. I especially loved his poems about birds.

  26. 5 out of 5

    EF

    This was a very good selection of John Clare's poetry by Paul Farley - very enjoyable. I'm beginning to appreciate it's often better to read selected poems over wading through collected ...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Warren

    "I am: yet what I am none cares or knows, My friends forsake me like a memory lost; I am the self-consumer of my woes, They rise and vanish in oblivious host, Like shades in love and death's oblivion lost; And yet I am! and live with shadows tost Into the nothingness of scorn and noise, Into the living sea of waking dreams, Where there is neither sense of life nor joys, But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems; And e'en the dearest--that I loved the best-- Are strange--nay, rather stranger than the rest "I am: yet what I am none cares or knows, My friends forsake me like a memory lost; I am the self-consumer of my woes, They rise and vanish in oblivious host, Like shades in love and death's oblivion lost; And yet I am! and live with shadows tost Into the nothingness of scorn and noise, Into the living sea of waking dreams, Where there is neither sense of life nor joys, But the vast shipwreck of my life's esteems; And e'en the dearest--that I loved the best-- Are strange--nay, rather stranger than the rest. I long for scenes where man has never trod; A place where woman never smil'd or wept; There to abide with my creator, God, And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept: Untroubling and untroubled where I lie; The grass below--above the vaulted sky. "

  28. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Boring, inane and insipid. Couldn't wait to be done with this.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robby Hunter

    King poet, poet of poets.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    Listening to a fascinating edition of BBC Radio 4's In Our Time about John Clare inspired me to search out more of his poems. This excellent Faber selection by Paul Farley is as good an introduction to the work of the 'peasant poet' as you could wish for. Farley's introduction does a great job of putting Clare in the context of his times and also in outlining the main problems in producing anything like a definitive text for his work. Clare was a prolific poet, but this selection provides a comp Listening to a fascinating edition of BBC Radio 4's In Our Time about John Clare inspired me to search out more of his poems. This excellent Faber selection by Paul Farley is as good an introduction to the work of the 'peasant poet' as you could wish for. Farley's introduction does a great job of putting Clare in the context of his times and also in outlining the main problems in producing anything like a definitive text for his work. Clare was a prolific poet, but this selection provides a comprehensive overview of his work. He wasn't as technically proficient as contemporaries like Keats and Wordsworth (not surprising given his poverty-stricken childhood and minimal education), but he did have a very clear eye for the natural world in which he lived, and his poems about birds in particular are remarkably observant and moving. His sense of loss at the impact of enclosure and the restrictions that placed on his ability to wander through a landscape that had always been owned in common is palpable in poems like The Lamentations of Round-Oak Waters, The Fallen Elm, Trespass and others. Clare could write truly great poems too: his lament for his lost childhood and sanity, I Am, is one of the greatest poems in the language.

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