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Honouring John Keats (31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

Dear Poetry Lover,

On the twenty-third day of February, I will be honouring the memory of one of my favourite Romantic poets, John Keats. I will be making time to read many of his poems and letters; revisit illustrations of his works and reflect on what others have said about his writing. I would be delighted if you would join me in honouring his memory by also reading at least one of his poems or letters during this anniversary of his death. I invite you to write to me with your thoughts on Keats. Please tell me what you love about Keats (and/or other Romantic poets), what is personal to you in his work as well as any recommendations you may have for what I could read or attempt to commit to memory. If you would like to participate, but would rather concentrate your letter on another Romantic poet that is fine too. Thank you!

Portrait of John Keats by his friend Charles Armitage Brown (1786–1842).

Pencil on paper, 1819, National Portrait Gallery, London.


I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the truth of imagination — what the imagination seizes as beauty must be truth — whether it existed before or not.

John Keats, letter to Benjamin Bailey, 22 November 1817

While many later poets acknowledged a debt to his poetic themes and form, and his reflections on the relationship between the real and ideal, his narrative poems – akin to Tennyson's later medieval poems – fuelled the imagination of a whole generation of artists.

From ‘John Keats and the Pre-Raphaelites’ article in Art UK



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