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The Pocket Book of Poems and Songs for the Open Air

Edward Thomas
Date Published
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This remarkable anthology is meant, in the words of its editor, for all those ‘who like a book that can always lighten some of their burdens or give wings to their delight, whether in the open air by day, or under the roof at evening; for I have gathered into it much of the finest English poetry’. Already established as the leading young critic of contemporary verse, Edward Thomas used this volume to further a longstanding aim – to present English literature to a new audience.

First published in 1907, the collection draws among others on Thomas’s contemporaries Yeats, de la Mare, T. Sturge Moore, Masefield, Noyes, Davies and Housman. The volume remained in print until 1950 in Jonathan Cape’s Travellers’ Library series, and, in the words of his biographer R. George Thomas, ‘remains an expression of one side of Thomas – boon companion and ready singer of songs among friends – that has often been overlooked’.


Edward Thomas was born in Lambeth, London, in 1878, and educated at St Paul’s College and Lincoln College, Oxford. Though his reputation is built on his poetry – which he took up at the suggestion of his friend Robert Frost – he was also a prolific writer of prose, much of it dedicated to capturing his love of the English…

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