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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars John Clare: Eco- Poet., 1 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Early Poems of John Clare 1804-1822: Volume I: Vol 1 (Oxford English Texts) (Hardcover)
It might be difficult for the modern reader to appreciate the quality of a poet who tends to get trampled on in the bookshop clamour for more mainstream poets from the era he lived and wrote in. Born in 1793, and dying in 1864, Clare wrote poetry that expressed a real concern for the changes that occurred in rural England as result of enclosure. He lived and worked in a small local area, but don't let this put you off his poetry. If you are concerned for the environment, Clare is a good poet to read. He shows how the process of enclosure effected the land, how it was valued by the wealthy landowners only as a source of profit. Unfortunately, this profit was not reflected in the level of Clare's, and other rural labourers, wages. Clare experienced the fat cat long before Gerald Corbett was a loathsome twinkle in his mothers eye. His ecological concerns- the detail in which he writes about the bio-diversity of his local landscape, the destrucion of natural habitats, and the inevitable decline of the species' which once thrived in this landscape, are issues still incredibly relevant today. Think of our increasingly silent songbirds, victims of chemical agriculture. Enclosure and modern agricultural methods both originate in the strive for progress. But that progress is always in the name of money. Reading Clare's poetry is a timely reminder of the perils of using greed as the only motivating factor behind almost everything that human beings do. But a word of caution. Clare was a small-c conservative, not a marxist. What he wanted was a return to life on the land before enclosure, before he, and others like him, were stripped of their customary rights by rich landowners. And this is pure common sense, to Clare. This book deserves 5 stars, and deserves more than just a cursory glance by anyone curious enough to read some of John Clare's poetry. This edition has been painstakingly edited, in an attempt to get closer to how Clare himself wanted these poems published, not how his editor and rich patrons wanted.If you read Clare, you will need patience, and effort, but will be rewarded with some truly excellent poetry whose themes eerily echo many of our modern dilemmas.
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The Early Poems of John Clare 1804-1822: Volume I: Vol 1 (Oxford English Texts)
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