"A neat comic sense, an unfeigned comfort with 19th-century manners and forms, and a good eye for English milieus made Betjeman (1906–1984) both a great craftsman of light verse and the most popular British poet of his day. His first U.K. Collected Poems, in 1958, sold millions of copies. Newly available in the United States alongside A. N. Wilson's new biography, this big book can show Americans what so many Britons cherish: ballads and love poems devoted to strapping, tennis-playing young women; a fondness for Cornwall's seaside; devotion to traditional England, along with an amused contempt for the middle-class ways that might destroy it (the ways in which he, and his readers, actually live). Betjeman and his sympathetic characters, from King Edward VIII to a 'husband down at the depot with car in car-park,' hike along 'stony lanes and back at six to tea,' celebrate Christmas, admire South London's churches and denounce the 'Inexpensive Progress' which plans to 'Leave no village standing./ Which could provide a landing/ For aeroplanes to roar.'"—Publishers Weekly
Sir John Betjeman (1906-1984) was one of Britain's most recognized, beloved, and bestselling poets of the last century. He was knighted in 1969 and named Poet Laureate in 1972.