Collected Poems was first published in 1958 and has sold over two million copies. It has been reprinted numerous times and has absorbed, one by one, the volumes of additional poems that continued to appear regularly until Sir John Betjeman's death. Here for the first time is the audio edition of the Collected Poems.
In the famous tones of Sir John himself this magnificent autobiography in verse poignantly describes the pains and pleasures of growing up. "Summoned by Bells can hardly help being a landmark....one seems to be living his childhood and boyhood with him." -Stephen Spender
John Betjeman first fell in love with Cornwall during his childhood holidays and continued to return to it yearly until his death. It inspired some of his best poems and most evocative prose. The Cornish cliffs and beaches, modest churches and formidable sea have the power to stir him which only first love possesses. Opening with two long passages from his verse autobiography, Summoned by Bells, this collection then alternates between poems and prose.
Betjeman's England is a place of patriotic poets and seaside coves, provincial cathedrals and eccentric dons. For 50 years, Betjeman celebrated the glories of Englishness and what it meant to be English. Against a tide of rapid change, he unearthed forgotten heroes, bygone haunts, and old-fashioned modes of thought. But as this original collection reveals, his appeal goes far beyond simple nostalgia. It lies in his passionate convictions, his humour and his humanity.
Sir John Betejman was one of the best-known and best-loved Poet Laureates. Even after his death, his popularity continues to garner acclaim and new admirers. Fortunately, he left behind a legacy of poetry readings and performances in the BBC archives that can be enjoyed in this comprehensive collection.
Sir John Betjeman, poet, broadcaster, journalist, prose writer and critic, was one of the best-loved figures of the 20th century. Betjeman was a prolific writer and his poems still resonate today. This release celebrates the centenary of Betjeman's birth.