William Ernest Henley

1849–1903
William Ernest Henley

Born in Gloucester, England, poet, editor, and critic William Ernest Henley was educated at Crypt Grammar School, where he studied with the poet T.E. Brown, and the University of St. Andrews. At age 12 Henley was diagnosed with tubercular arthritis that necessitated the amputation of one of his legs just below the knee; the other foot was saved only through a radical surgery performed by Joseph Lister. As he healed in the infirmary, Henley began to write poems, including "Invictus." Henley was a close friend of Robert Louis Stevenson, who reportedly based his Long John Silver character in Treasure Island in part on Henley.

Poems

What People are Saying

"In the beginning of my Poetry Out Loud experience, I didn't expect to become so attached to my three competition poems. Five months later, they have become a part of me."
Gabrielle Cooper
2017 ME POL Champion