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(28 February 1909 – 16 July 1995 / England)

Stephen Spender
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Sir Stephen Harold Spender was an English poet, novelist and essayist who concentrated on themes of social injustice and the class struggle in his work. He was appointed the seventeenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the United States Library of Congress in 1965.

Biography

Early Years

Spender was born in Kensington, London, to journalist, Edward Harold Spender and Violet Hilda Schuster, a painter and poet. He went first to Hall School in Hampstead and then at thirteen to Gresham's School, Holt and later Charlecote School in Worthing, but was unhappy there. On the death of his mother he was transferred to University College School ... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''Far far from gusty waves, these children's faces.
    Like rootless weeds the torn hair round their paleness.''
    Stephen Spender (1909-1995), British poet. An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum (l. 1-2). . . Modern British Poetry. Louis Untermeyer, ed. (7t...
  • ''Unless, governor, teacher inspector, visitor,
    This map becomes their window and these windows
    That open on their lives like crouching tombs
    Break, O break open,''
    Stephen Spender (1909-1995), British poet. An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum (l. 25-28). . . Modern British Poetry. Louis Untermeyer, ed. (...
  • ''Surely Shakespeare is wicked, the map a bad example
    With ships and sun and love tempting them to steal—''
    Stephen Spender (1909-1995), British poet. An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum (l. 17-18). . . Modern British Poetry. Louis Untermeyer, ed. (...
  • ''On their slag heap, these children
    Wear skins peeped through by bones and spectacles of steel
    With mended glass, like bottle bits in slag.''
    Stephen Spender (1909-1995), British poet. An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum (l. 20-22). . . Modern British Poetry. Louis Untermeyer, ed. (...
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