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W. H. Davies (1871-1940), poet and author
A collection of items relating to W. H. Davies (1871-1940), the poet and author from Newport, Monmouthshire.
William Henry Davies (1871-1940), poet and author, was born in Pillgwenlly, Newport, Monmouthshire. After leaving school he trained as a carver and gilder, but remained dissatisfied with his life. He left his work and spent a period working and begging his way across the United States of America and Canada, but in March 1899 he lost his foot while jumping from a train. He returned to Britain and resolved to make his mark as a poet. After experiencing many setbacks he eventually published his first book, 'The Soul's Destroyer and Other Poems' in March 1905. Subsequent volumes included 'New Poems' (1907), 'Nature Poems' (1908), 'Farwell to Poesy' (1910), 'Songs of Joy' (1911), 'Foliage' (1913), and 'The Bird of Paradise' (1914). He also wrote prose and his 'Autobiography of a Super-Tramp' (1908) was based on his experiences of living hand-to-mouth in England and north America. In 1923 he married Helen Payne, a prostitute who was thirty years his junior. They settled in Sussex and later Gloucestershire. He was awarded an Honorary Degree by the University of Wales in 1929 and a plaque in his honour was unveiled at the Church House Inn, Newport, in 1938.
This Theme includes a number of poems and letters by W. H. Davies (hand-written and typed), as well as a drawing of the poet by William Rothenstein and a sculpture by Jacob Epstein.