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About Twentieth-Century English Poetry

Twentieth-Century English Poetry contains the poetry of over 280 poets from 1900 to the present day, including W.B. Yeats, Rudyard Kipling, Wilfred Owen, Robert Graves, A.E. Housman, John Betjeman, Fleur Adcock, Tony Harrison, Benjamin Zephaniah, Isaac Rosenberg, D.H. Lawrence and Carol Ann Duffy and many others from the lists of Carcanet, Enitharmon, Anvil Press, Bloodaxe Books and other poetry publishers. It also incorporates works by poets such as Sylvia Plath, T.S. Eliot, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes, Louis MacNeice and Siegfried Sassoon from The Faber Poetry Library.

The collection reflects the multiple concerns and techniques of a century's writing. From modernist experiment to post-modern playfulness, from Georgian convention to free-verse confession, and from Edwardian poetry of empire to post-imperial diversity, the collection embraces vital contrasts and continuities. The extraordinary diversity of the century's early decades are given full representation: Edwardian and Georgian writers such Robert Bridges, A.E. Housman, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling, Charlotte Mew and John Masefield can be searched alongside the revolutionary modernist writings of W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Ford Madox Ford, John Rodker, D.H. Lawrence, Hugh MacDiarmid and Basil Bunting and the war poetry of Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg, David Jones, Robert Graves and Laurence Binyon.

Major writers of the 1930s such as Louis MacNeice, Stephen Spender, Stevie Smith and C. Day-Lewis, and 'Movement' poets like D.J. Enright, Kingsley Amis and John Wain, feature alongside their less well-known contemporaries, such as Ruth Pitter, Anne Ridler and Phoebe Hesketh, or the Surrealists Charles Madge and David Gascoyne. In addition, the collection includes a major body of contemporary writing, from established figures such as Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Les Murray, Carol Ann Duffy, Fred D'Aguiar and Fleur Adcock to a younger generation of emerging writers. There is a particularly strong strand of Irish writing, from Yeats, James Joyce and Padraic Colum to P.J. Kavanagh, Derek Mahon, Eavan Boland, Medbh McGuckian and Sinéad Morrissey.

Editorial Policy

Twentieth-Century English Poetry aims to include as full a collection of the published works of each poet as possible. When available, a poet's collected edition has been keyed. Exceptions are for poets whose collected editions are not yet in print or complete. In general, only a single version of each poem has been included, and when available, the most recent and complete version of each poem has been keyed.

In the main, Twentieth-Century English Poetry only includes authors who originate from, or have been based in the British Isles; this may include authors born elsewhere, such as T.S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath, Ruth Fainlight, Fleur Adcock or Moniza Alvi. However, the collection also includes poetry in English by selected major Commonwealth authors who are based outside the British Isles, such as Les Murray (Australia), Nissim Ezekiel (India), and Allen Curnow (New Zealand). Translations of non-English-language poetry are included for major figures from countries within the scope of the collection, such as India's Rabindranath Tagore, or the Welsh writer Waldo Williams, and also where the published works of an author in the collection includes translations (such as Elaine Feinstein's translations of Marina Tsvetaeva).

The selection of poetry follows recommendations by our Advisory Board:

Richard Caddel
Richard Caddel is the Co-Director of the Basil Bunting Poetry Centre for Durham University Library. The author of several collections of poetry, he is the editor of Pig Press, and on the Editorial Board of the journal Sagetrieb. Together with Peter Quartermain, he is the editor of the anthology Other: British and Irish Poetry since 1970. He was the founding listowner of the Mailbase list for British and Irish Poets. He retired from full-time work in the University Library at Easter 2000.

Dr Mark Ford
Dr Mark Ford is Senior Lecturer in the English Department at University College, London. He has particular research interests in Modern Poetry and American Literature.

Dr Ian Patterson
Dr Ian Patterson is a critic, poet, translator and Fellow of Queens' College, Cambridge, where he is Director of Studies in English. He edited and translated Fourier's Theory of the Four Movements (C.U.P.), and has recently completed an edition of Wyndham Lewis's The Writer and the Absolute. His translation of Proust's Le temps retrouvé was published by Penguin in 2002. He is currently writing a book about the modernist writer and publisher John Rodker, and his book British Modernist Poetry, 1912–1999 was published by Blackwell in 2003. A selection of his poetry, Time to Get Here: Selected Poems 1969–2002 (Salt Publishing), also appeared in 2003.

Peter Riley
Peter Riley is a writer, editor, publisher and poetry bookseller. Among other things he advises libraries on holdings in their modern poetry collections.

The Editions

The date of first publication indicates the date of first volume publication, or first date of poem publication for volumes published by Faber and Faber and all of W.B. Yeats's poetry.

The Texts

The entire text of each poem has been included. Indexes of titles and first lines, prefatory material and some notes have been excluded. In the case of Faber and Faber editions, front and back matter have also been excluded.

Integral images are scanned.

Twentieth-Century English Poetry enjoys the active support of the poets involved, their estates, literary agents, and publishers. Chadwyck-Healey protects the rights and integrity of the poets and their work on the Internet.