'The passionate intimacy and grace of Clare's poetry are
beautifully described, and so is Clare's extraordinary and fascinating
life' -- 'Book of the Year', The Tablet
What distinguished Clare is an unspectacular joy and a love for the inexorable one-thing-after-anotherness of the world Seamus Heaney John Clare (1793-1864) was a great Romantic poet, with a name to rival that of Blake, Byron, Wordsworth or Shelley and a life to match. The poets poet, he has a place in the national pantheon and, more tangibly, a plaque in Westminster Abbeys Poets Corner, unveiled in 1989. Here at last is Clares full story, from his birth in poverty and employment as an agricultural labourer, via his burgeoning promise as a writer cultivated under the gaze of rival patrons and moment of fame, in the company of John Keats, as the toast of literary London, to his final decline into mental illness and the last years of his life, confined in asylums. Clares ringing voice quick-witted, passionate, vulnerable, courageous emerges through extracts from his letters, journals, autobiographical writings and poems, as Jonathan Bate brings this complex man, his revered work and his ribald world, vividly to life.