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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 editors offer insights into their own work as well as providing an accessible and passionate introduction to the most important poets in our literature.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (17721834) was born in Ottery St Mary, Devon, the youngest son of a clergyman. He first met Dorothy and William Wordsworth in 1797 and a close association developed between them, issuing in their groundbreaking joint-publication, Lyrical Ballads, in 1799. Coleridge subsequently settled in the Lake District, and thereafter in London. He died in 1834, having overseen a final edition of his Poetical Works. As poet, philosopher and critic, Coleridge stands as one of the seminal figures of his time.
James Fenton was born in 1949 and graduated from Magdalen College, Oxford in 1970. His poems were collected in Terminal Moraine (1972), The Memory of War (1982), Children in Exile (1983) and Out of Danger (1994). His Selected Poems have been published this year (that is, 2006). His lectures, delivered as Oxford Professor of Poetry, were collected in The Strength of Poetry (2001). An Introduction to English Poetry appeared in 2002. His essays art history were collected in Leonardo's Nephew (1998). This year he has also published a history of the Royal Academy.