Skipsey, Joseph

(1832-1903)
   "The Collier Poet," he was born at Percy, Tynemouth, Northumberland, and when he was an infant, his father was shot and killed in a disturbance between pitmen and special constables. Working in the mines from the age of seven, he had no schooling, but taught himself to read and write. Until the age of 15 the Bible was his only book, but he went on to read translations from Greek, Latin and German. He was secretary of the Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Soceity from 1837 to 1842. He was granted a pension from the civil list in 1880, and in 1889-on the recommendation of several poets, including Robert Browning and Alfred Lord Tennyson-he and his wife were appointed custodians of Shakespeare's birthplace at Stratford-on-Avon. Wearied by the drudgery, he returned to the north and died at Gateshead, where he was buried, his wife having died the previous year. Some of his publica364 tions: Poems, Songs, and Ballads, 1862. The Collier Lad, and Other Lyrics, 1864. Poems, 1871. A Book of Miscellaneous Lyrics, 1878. Carols from the Coalfields, 1886. Some of his poems: "Alas!" "Annie Lee," "Bereaved," "The Fatal Errand," "Thistle and Nettle," "Uncle Bob," "Young Fanny."
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Joseph Skipsey: Songs and Lyrics (http://www.gerald-massey.org.uk/cop_skipsey_index.htm). Selected Poems of Joseph Skipsey. Ceolfrith Press, 1976. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Soceity, Joseph Skipsey and Some Other Men of Note (http://www.litandphil.org.uk/skipsey.htm). The Poorhouse Fugitives: SelfTaught Poets and Poetry in Victorian Britain. Brian Maidment, ed. Carcanet, 1987.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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