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Christina Rossetti’s poetry was largely ignored in the early part of the twentieth century, during the Modernist movement’s backlash against much Victorian writing. However, by the 1970s Rossetti was rescued from obscurity and her poetry gained in popularity.
Rossetti’s imagination is profoundly religious and Christian themes dominate her writing. Her most famous poem, ‘Goblin Market’, is at first reading is a tale of two sisters and their misadventures with goblins, yet the work is multi-faceted, sexual and complex. Many see elements of early feminism in her work; Rossetti worked as a volunteer at a women’s refuge for former prostitutes.
Rossetti was plagued by illness and depression, yet by the time of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s death in 1861, she was hailed as the next ‘female laureate’, and viewed as a natural successor. This selection contains her best known poems and includes some fine examples from her devotional writing.
Selected by Chris Emery and published to coincide with National Poetry Month, April 2009.