"I Am" : The Selected Poetry of John Clare
Author(s): John Clare
Hail, humble Helpstone ...
Where dawning genius never met the day,
Where useless ignorance slumbers life away
Unknown nor heeded, where low genius tries
Above the vulgar and the vain to rise.
"I Am": The Selected Poetry of John Clare is the first anthology of the great "peasant poet"'s remarkable verse that makes available the full range of his accomplishments. Here are the different Clares that have beguiled readers for two centuries: the tender chronicler of nature and childhood; the champion of folkways in the face of oppression; the passionate, sweet-tongued love-poet; and the lonely visionary confined, in old age and senility, to asylums.
“What distinguishes Clare is an unspectacular joy and a love for the inexorable one-thing-after-anotherness of the world.” —Seamus Heaney
“Clare grabs hold of you--no, he doesn't grab hold of you, he is already there, talking to you before you've arrived on the scene, telling you about himself, about the things that are closest and dearest to him, and it would no more occur to him to do otherwise than it would occur to Whitman to stop singing you his song of himself.” —John Ashbery