Stephens, James

(1880-1950)
   Irish poet, born in Dublin and largely selfeducated, he became one of the leading figures of the Irish literary renaissance. His family roots are obscure, but he was raised in a Protestant orphanage from which he ran away and lived the life of a vagrant. He became a solicitor's clerk and later registrar of the National Gallery of Ireland. Among his many literary friends was James Joyce, and the Irish poet Æ (George William Russell) (see entry) encouraged him and helped him publish Insurrections, his first book of poetry, in 1909. His novel The Crock of Gold (1912), with its rich Celtic theme, established his fame. Stephens was active in the Irish nationalist movement. By 1940 he was living in London, where he was a frequent radio broadcaster of verse and stories. He was a founder-member of the Irish Academy of Letters and in 1942 he was awarded a civil list pension. He died in London. Some of his poems: "And It Was Windy Weather," "At the Edge of the Sea," "The Ancient Elf," "The Centaurs," "The Crown of Thorns," "The King of the Fairy Men," "Women Shapes."
   Sources: Amazing Monsters: Verses to Thrill and Chill. Robert Fisher, ed. Faber and Faber, 1982. Biography of James Stephens (http://www.irishwriters-online.com/jamesstephens.html). Collected Poems of James Stephens. Macmillan, 1928. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite DVD, 2006. Microsoft Encarta 2006 (DVD). Microsoft Corporation, 2006. Songs from the Clay by James Stephens. The Macmillan Company, 1915. 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 Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. The Poems of James Stephens. Shirley Mulligan, ed. Colin Smythe Ltd., 2005.

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

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