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 some of the greatest poets of our literature.
A painter, poet and engraver William Blake (1757-1827) was born in London. Poetical Sketches, his first volume of poetry, was published in 1783 and was followed by several of his best known works: Songs of Innocence (1789), The Book of Thel (1789), The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790-93), Songs of Experience (1794) and Jerusalem (1804-20).
James Fenton was born in Lincoln in 1949 and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he won the Newdigate Prize for poetry. He has worked as political journalist, drama critic, book reviewer, war correspondent, foreign correspondent and columnist. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and was Oxford Professor of Poetry for the period 1994-99. His Selected Poems was published in 2006.