In this series, a contemporary poet selects and introduces a poet of the past. By their choice of poems and by the personal and critical reactions they express in their prefaces, the editors offer insights into their own work as well as providing an accessible and passionate introduction to the most important poets in our literature.
Sir John Betjeman (1906-1984) was born in Highgate, the son of a manufacturer of Dutch descent. After university he joined the staff of the Architectural Review, thereafter working as a journalist and, during the Second World War, for various government departments. His first book of poems was Mount Zion (1931), followed by numerous collections, notably A Few Late Chrysanthemeumns (1954). His poetry enjoyed immense popularity, as did his personality, and his knighthood in 1969 and appointment as Poet Laureate in 1972 were almost universally welcomed.