The status of John Donne (1572-1631) as one of the greatest poets in the English language is firmly established. He strongly influenced writers of the 17th century, and modern poets such as T.S. Eliot have praised and imitated Donne's work. His poetry is characterized by dramatic, witty, and bold language; by strikingly original imagery; and rhythms based on everyday speech. Like Shakespeare, Donne was a genius at making common words yield up rich, poetic meaning. His thought is complex, but his poems unfold in a logical way.
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