Thomas Traherne

1637–1674
Little is known about British clergyman Thomas Traherne’s life. He was born in 1637 and may have grown up near the border of Wales. He studied at Oxford University and published one book, Roman Forgeries (1673). However, much of his poetry was never printed during his lifetime. More than 200 years after his death, some of his manuscripts were discovered in a bookseller’s stall and publishedin 1903 as Poetical Works. Another manuscript was discovered in the British Museum and published in 1910. In 1967, more poems were found, this time in a dump by a man looking for used auto parts, and published as Commentaries of Heaven: The Poems (1989). Considered a metaphysical poet in the tradition of John Donne and George Herbert, Traherne often addressed faith, divinity, and the innocence of childhood, using peculiar syntax and repetition to achieve incantatory effects. He died in 1674.

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"I do Poetry Out Loud because the everyday me is very shy and easily stumbles over words, mangling meaning and botching simple conversations. Yet, when I recite poetry it is an opportunity for me to become someone else––an embodiment of the poem. Slowly, step by step, I think Poetry Out Loud is helping me to become a braver, more confident person, even if I still tremble when I get on stage."
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