William Cowper

1731–1800
William Cowper

The life of William Cowper was defined by extended periods of depression and spiritual agony. At age twenty-three, after leaving school, Cowper began to study law, but stopped because of severe depression. He recovered, but soon relapsed, and was hospitalized; while in the asylum he converted to Evangelicalism. Once released, he lived with a reverend and his wife. After the reverend's death, Cowper became engaged to the wife, with whom he lived for twenty-three years, until her death. In "Light Shining Out of Darkness," Cowper explores the relationship between God and the world and how to react to God's unfathomable power.

What People are Saying

"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."
Rose Horowitz
2016 ME POL Champion