John Keats' 200th Anniversary

23rd February 2021 marks the 200th anniversary of John Keats' death.

Lockdown has given me the opportunity to read Keats' poetry, as well as dip into the plethora of books that have been published this year about Keats' life and poetry.

I've never been a huge fan of Keats. Of course, I've read all the Odes and I do have a soft spot for St Agnes Eve, but I've never loved Keats like I love Coleridge and Wordsworth. Maybe this year, all that has changed.

So, I have spent many happy hours recently reading some of the poetry I've not previously read. I'm loving La Belle Dame Sans Merci and Isabella, or the Pot of Basil.

I've also been reading some of the recent publications about Keats' poetry, his life and his enduring influence. I've particularly enjoyed Lucasta Miller's Keats A Brief Life in Nine Poems, and One Epitaph which introduces the reader to Keats' remarkable talent in the context of nine of his best known works.

Suzie Grogan's John Keats Poetry, Life and Landscape takes the reader on a journey of discovery into the life of Keats the person and the places he visited during his short life. The places and landscapes are many in the book, and they are not set out in strict chronological order. We travel from Keats’s early beginnings in Moorgate, Enfield and Edmonton to the leafy suburbs of Hampstead; from the stench of the dissecting room at Guys Hospital to the touristy Isle of Wight; the incessant rain of Teignmouth to the mists of Ben Nevis, plus many more notable Keats places.

There are many more interesting publications including Jonathan Bate's Bright Star, Green Star and Richaed Marggraf Turley's Keats' Places. These are on my To Be Read pile and I'm looking forward to reading them very soon. Hopefully, these books will give me a greater insight into Keats, the man and the poet.