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John Keats has come to be regarded as one of the most significant poets of the Romantic movement. His work has had a lasting impact on all those who came after him, especially the Victorians. Yet during his lifetime his work was derided and his books sold poorly. Mocked by Byron, yet supported by Shelley, his importance only became clear as the Victorians began to read him, and as they came to characterise him as a sensual, dreamy poet of the imagination, capable of vivid depictions of passionate, physical engagement with the world.
It took the critics ot the twentieth century to extend our understanding of Keats’s critical abilities and his complex grasp of human conflict and aesthetic issues, and to see a politically engaged and sexually charged writer.
This selection of Keats’s poetry presents all his major lyrics, espcially the great odes, along with poems selected from all parts of the writer’s brief traumatic life.
Selected by Chris Emery and published to coincide with National Poetry Month, April 2009.