11 PM | 29 Oct

Three Kings Of English Poetry

I’m pretty well-read and if you’re here I assume you are as well, or you’d like to be. I know I’ve always got some brushing up to do on my reading and reacquaint myself with some of my favorite writers. I can never be too well-read that much I can say with absolute certainty. Some of my favorites have been (at least the English translations anyway) the likes of Paulo Coelho from Brazil, Chinua Achebe from Africa, Sun Tsu from China, Dante Alighieri from Italy, and a wide range of American (including John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda Fitzgerald to name a few!) and English poets and authors. For this post, I’ll be focusing on a short list of some of the most famous English authors I’ve enjoyed reading: William Wordsworth, John Keats, and last but certainly not the least, none other than the immortal bard himself William Shakespeare. I have a pretty universal interest in travelling and reading, and I’ve always worn the title of ‘nerd’ with pride.


If you’ve never seen a portrait of Shakespeare before then enjoy! No one has ever made a receding hairline look quite as majestic as he has, right? © Tonynetone.

He’s called the immortal bard for a reason. While he may be most famous for his playwright skills with works such as “Romeo and Juliet”, “Hamlet”, “King Lear” and “Macbeth”, he has written many poems (sonnets in particular) and has been the inspiration for thousands of authors and playwrights in the centuries since his passing. As one of my English professors back in my college years has said, “in terms of fame around the world, Shakespeare is second only to Jesus Christ himself.” As you can imagine, that statement is only made more humorous because of the truth behind it. I suppose many writers since then can feel daunted with the knowledge that they can never be quite as famous or recognized for their talent as Shakespeare but the truest writers won’t be pursuing their passion for fame or wealth, so to my fellow struggling authors I say write on!


I think this quote and photo of flowers encompasses the tone of Wordsworth’s poem “I wandered lonely as a cloud” in a visual sense quite well. © Tejvan Pettinger.

William Wordsworth was one of the most prominent members in the Romantic period for good reason. As you can guess from this opening stanza to one of his most famous poems, his poetry often alluded to emotionally moving concepts of nature and abstract concepts, which was completely in line with the ideals of Romanticism. I can’t say with absolute certainty but if I’m not mistaken Wordsworth is often considered the first of the Romantics. He seems to defy the usual notion that “only the good die young” though as he did get to live to an elderly age, which offered him (and the rest of us) the advantage of offering the world more of his fine work.


This photo is of a rare portrait of John Keats, and I’d say it captures the sad brilliance of the golden child of Romanticism exceptionally. © Books18.

Keats has been compared to Shakespeare (lofty high praise indeed) because of how prolific his writing was by the time of his death at his sadly young age. He was still in his mid-twenties at the time and had written about as much if not more than Shakespeare had at that time, and many literature experts believe he may have surpassed Shakespeare if he had not died so young. In the case of Keats, the old adage that “only the good die young” is one that definitely seems to hold water.