"Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" [William Wordsworth]

When he wrote the above words in his introduction to Lyrical Ballads, William Wordsworth neatly captured the essence of poetry. At its best, it is an expression of raw emotion, and for this reason, it resonates strongly with people. When we talk of poetry the image that springs to mind is of verses on a page, but the word applies equally to the lyrics of songs, so it is far more pervasive in modern society than is generally credited.

C.J. Carter-Stephenson has been writing poetry since he was a child and in this part of the website, you can explore the lives and work of a few of his influences. Ideally, we would have liked to include material from a few modern writers and lyricists to give a more rounded overview (e.g. Jim Morrison or Patti Smith), but because of copyright restrictions, this is not possible. Still, there is plenty here to enjoy.


Lord George Gordon Byron (1788 - 1824) was the archetypal romantic poet and lover. He wrote about magnificent heroes who overcame varying types of hardship. One reason he was so interested in this particular theme was that he was constantly at war with clubfoot, a form of lameness. Byron inherited a title and property at a very early age, but quickly found himself heavily in debt. He became notorious for his numerous bisexual love affairs, even before he became famous for his writing...

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Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 - 1834) was the son of a headmaster. As a boy, he was far more interested in reading than in sport. He quickly proved himself to be prodigiously intelligent and went on to study at Cambridge for a year, before leaving to join the 15th Light Dragoons under an assumed name. His family soon put a stop to any military ambitions Coleridge might have had, however, and shortly afterwards he found himself married to Sara Fricker. For a variety of reasons, this marriage was not a successful one...

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Edgar Allan Poe (1772 - 1834) was the second son of English born actress Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe and actor David Poe Junior, and was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He was orphaned at an early age and taken in by John Allan, a wealthy tobacco importer, and his wife Frances. He was never formally adopted, though the Allan surname was added to his own. Poe was schooled in England, before going onto study ancient and modern languages at the University of Virginia. Sadly, he incurred sizeable gambling debts while at university and was forced to leave after only a year....

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Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830 - 1894) was the daughter of an Italian patriot and sister to the renowned Pre-Raphaelite painters Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Michael Rossetti. Raised in an atmosphere of dynamic cultural and political activity, she shared many of her brother's intellectual passions and became a voracious reader. She dictated her first story to her mother before she could write and turned her hand to poetry when she was just 12. In her late teens, she became engaged to James Collinson, another Pre-Raphaelite painter, but their relationship was to be short-lived...

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