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Ralph Hodgson (Ralph Edwin Hodgson) Biography

(1871–1962), (Ralph Edwin Hodgson), The Last Blackbird, Georgian Poetry series, Poems, The Skylark and Other Poems

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: John Hersey Biography to Honest Man's Revenge

British poet, born in Darlington, County Durham. His life is not well documented due to the reclusiveness of his later years; he is known to have worked as a scene-painter in New York and as an illustrator in London prior to the appearance of The Last Blackbird (1907), his first collection of verse. Under the imprint of ‘The Sign of the Flying Fame’ he became a publisher in 1913, producing editions noted for their typographical individuality. He was acquainted with numerous leading literary figures of the period and contributed to the Georgian Poetry series. Poems (1917) gained him a firm reputation for his ability to combine precise natural description with a visionary element reminiscent of Blake in its luminous simplicity. He became friendly with T. S. Eliot, who addressed the fourth of his ‘Five Finger Exercises’ (1933) to him. In 1924 he began lecturing at Sendai University in Japan and settled on a farm near Minerva, Ohio, in 1938. No further substantial collection of his verse appeared until The Skylark and Other Poems (1958), which contained ‘To Deck a Woman’, the most powerful of his numerous statements against man's savage exploitation of animals. Collected Poems was published in 1961.

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