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Today is the birthday of John
Clare, born in Northamptonshire in 1793. He was
the son of a farm labourer, who went on to became one
of the most important poets of the 19th century.
Clare had a foundation of schooling until he was about
twelve years old but then was expected to work, first
as an agricultural labourer, later as a pot-boy in a
public house. His early life was dogged by
poverty and bouts of malnutrition. Clare married
and fathered seven children but his
alcoholism and general dissatisfaction resulted in
erratic behaviour and his wife was eventually forced
to have him committed to an asylum. In 1864 he
died while at Northampton General Lunatic Asylum where
he had written some of his most famous poems.
Clare’s poetry belies his lack of education, his
mental instability and the hardship he suffered
throughout his life. Much of it shows his
delight in nature and the beauty that surrounded him
even as he felt in conflict with the land and those
who loved and supported him.
Camus, Art, Cold-blooded Murder
A very diverse selection for Raven Readers to take us through the summer and into autumn... read on
And I Quote...
The writer in Western civilization has become not a voice of his tribe, but of his individuality. This is a very narrow-minded situation.
Aharon Appelfeld (1932-)
Listen back to our Summer Reads recommendations on The Green Room with Orla Barry on Newstalk.
Alice Gregory and Pankaj Mishra discuss whether moral preoccupations have a place in good fiction.
The Guardian children's fiction award 2015 longlist highlights eight very different tales.
The wild duck startles like a sudden thought,
And heron slow as if it might be caught.
The flopping crows on weary wings go by
And grey beard jackdaws noising as they fly.
The crowds of starnels whizz and hurry by,
And darken like a clod the evening sky.
The larks like thunder rise and suthy round,
Then drop and nestle in the stubble ground.
The wild swan hurries hight and noises loud
With white neck peering to the evening clowd.
The weary rooks to distant woods are gone.
With lengths of tail the magpie winnows on
To neighbouring tree, and leaves the distant crow
While small birds nestle in the edge below.