Collected Poems


Sara Coleridge; Peter Swaab

A volume of poems by Sara Coleridge, daughter of Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

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Although she is best known as the daughter of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Sara Coleridge was herself a writer of rare intelligence and great versatility, and a very notable poet. Her poetry has never been published as a collection, so it has never had the readership it deserves. Some of the poems appeared in various fugitive sources, but about half have never been published until now. But even on this basis she has had discerning advocates. In 1950, for instance, Edmund Blunden wrote an admiring essay proposing that ‘it would be delightful if her centenary …might result in an edition of her poems, of which I understand some were never published; and I know that others in her Phantasmion are uncommonly good’. She was a remarkably versatile poet. She wrote children’s verses, album verses, translations from Aeschylus and Lucretius, love poetry, religious poetry, and a long incomplete ballad on a chivalric theme. The poems are ambitious, accomplished, and far from amateurish: she is among the best women poets writing between the end of Charlotte Smith’s career and the start of Elizabeth Barrett’s. Her poetic voice deserves to be heard as an important one – alongside Hemans and LEL, for instance – in our recent reassessments of women’s poetry in the early to mid-nineteenth-century.

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