Underrated for so long as a result of the same English academic snobishness that leads intelligent people to deny that a homely man of Stratford-upon-avon could have written Hamlet, its good to see that John Clare is finally being recognised as the great poet that he was. Its often said that this man of humble origins was a consistantly good poet, without composing any real classic. Yet read the title poem 'I Am' a few times, learn of its context in the final admission of Clare into a lunatic asylum, and I defy you to remain unmoved by lines such as
'I long for scenes, where man has never trod,
A place where women never smiled or wept'.
This collection is usefully divided into themes (ie.love, politics of nature) and comes with a brief biographical sketch and glossary.