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Harold Monro (Harold Edward Monro) Biography

(1879–1932), (Harold Edward Monro), Proposals for a Voluntary Nobility, The Chronicle of a Pilgrimage, Poetry Review

British poetand publisher, born in Brussels; he moved to Somerset in 1886, and was educated at Caius College, Cambridge. After a period of poultry farming in Ireland, he established the Samurai Press in Haslemere, Surrey; its publications include his prose treatise Proposals for a Voluntary Nobility (1907) and verse by John Drinkwater and Wilfrid Gibson. His subsequent travels in Europe resulted in The Chronicle of a Pilgrimage (1909), an account of a journey from Paris to Milan on foot. In 1911 he settled in London and founded Poetry Review in 1912. He opened The Poetry Bookshop in Bloomsbury in 1913 to serve as a publishing house, a retail outlet, and a venue for readings; the best-known of its many publications is the Georgian Poetry series. Monro came to be regarded as a spokesman for poetry and was much in demand as a public speaker. Much of his poetry is classifiable as Georgian in its descriptive celebrations of the countryside as a liberating antidote to the dispiriting effects of London. Numerous poems are, however, based on unsentimental social observations of the city. His collections include Poems (1906), Before Dawn (1911), The Earth for Sale (1928), and Elm Angel (1930). Collected Poems (1933) carried an introduction by T. S. Eliot, who wrote of Monro's ‘sincere and tormented introspection’, a quality most apparent in the harrowingly phantasmagoric late poem ‘Bitter Sanctuary’. Joy Grant's Harold Monro and the Poetry Bookshop (1967) is a biographical and critical study.

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