John Clare (1793-1864), Poet
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Promoted as 'the Northamptonshire Peasant Poet', Clare spent much of his life as a poor agricultural labourer before mental illness condemned him to an asylum in 1837. His intensely detailed poetry reflects his love of his native countryside. It also movingly describes the hardship suffered by the rural poor living in a landscape being destroyed by enclosure. Clare enjoyed a brief London vogue with his Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery (1820) and The Village Minstrel (1821). In 1827, he published The Shepherd's Calendar a more political verse in which man shapes the landscape and is defined by it.