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Lives of the Poets - Short Biographical Summaries

It's often an interesting exercise to learn a little more about the poet whose words you are reading. Some idea of what things shaped their lives, when and where they lived, and the people and events that influenced them -- these things can add layers of meaning to a poem, and provide a better context for understanding and appreciating their works.

The opposite also holds true. Many a well known public figure whose lives you may think you know, produced poems that give a better appreciation of their viewpoint. They become more human and less of an textbook icon.

These summaries are intentionally brief, but packed with information nonetheless. If someone, such as a Lord Byron, a Matthew Arnold, a Helen Hunt Jackson, or a Laurence Hope strikes an interest, delve deeper and see what you can find out about them elsewhere. Thanks to Nelson Miller for initiating this biographical index, which we will add to as time permits. By the way, if you ever wanted to be a biographer but get bored with your subject after 2-3 paragraphs - have I got a job for you...

Along with Lives of the Poets, there is a companion page, Faces of the Poets, to give you a more corporeal view. I always like to read the biography first, then look at the portrait and see whether it surprises me, or not.

And yes, my apologies to Plutarch.


New Format Biographies:

  1. Paul Laurence Dunbar
  2. Nora May French
  3. Evelyn Underhill
  4. Jean Untermeyer

Old Format Biographies:


  1. Lascelles Abercrombie
  2. Franklin Pierce Adams
  3. Henry Brooks Adams
  4. John Quincy Adams
  5. Sarah Flower Adams
  6. Joseph Addison
  7. AE (George William Russel)
  8. Conrad Potter Aiken
  9. Mark Akenside
  10. Zoe Akins
  11. Louisa May Alcott
  12. Edward Godfree "Richard" Aldington
  13. Thomas Bailey Aldrich
  14. Cecil Frances Alexander
  15. William Allingham
  16. Washington Allston
  17. 'Alqamah ibn 'Abadah
  18. Anacreon
  19. Sir Edwin Arnold
  20. Matthew Arnold
  21. Kenneth Herbert Ashley
  22. Alfred Austin
  23. Sir Robert Aytoun
  24. William Edmondstoune Aytoun


  25. Francis Cornford
  26. Charles Cotton


  27. William Davis Gallagher
  28. Richard Garnett


  29. Thomas Wentworth Higginson


  30. Fitz-James O'Brien


  31. Lizette Woodworth Reese

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