Persons from Porlock: Smith, MacNeice, Thomas

It was not right of Coleridge in fact it was wrong
(But often we all do wrong)
As the truth is I think he was already stuck
With Kubla Khan.

He was weeping and wailing: I am finished, finished,
I shall never write another word of it,
When along comes the Person from Porlock
And takes the blame for it.

Illustration to Stevie Smith's 'Thoughts About the Person from Porlock'
Illustration of Stevie Smith’s ‘Thoughts About the Person from Porlock’ (1962)

Coleridge’s Person from Porlock had a good few outings in the mid-twentieth-century.

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Stevie Smith and Robert Southey: An Open Question

Robert Southey (1774-1843) isn’t well-known these days. A minor Romantic poet, he was friends with William Wordsworth and S. T. Coleridge, who have gone on to enjoy much more fame than he did. But as well as poetry, Southey wrote essays, letters and biographies- and, incidentally, the classic children’s story of the Three Bears.

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