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John Masefield (1878 - 1967)

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  •  John Masefield was born in Ledbury, Herefordshire, in 1878. He was orphaned at an early age and, after a brief period at the King's School, Warwick, was educated aboard the Liverpool school-ship Conway. As an apprentice, Masefield sailed round Cape Horn in 1894; as a result of sickness, he was classified a Distressed British Sailor upon arrival in Chile. After convalescence in England he secured a new position in New York. Although he crossed the Atlantic, he never reported for duty. He later noted, "I was going to be a writer, come what might." After a period of homelessness and vagrancy, bar and factory work in America, Masefield returned to England in 1897. His first published poem appeared in a periodical in 1899. The friendship of W.B. Yeats provided encouragement, and in 1902 Salt-Water Ballads was published. A distinguished literary career followed, with work across a broad range of genres. Masefield was appointed poet laureate in 1930, and awarded the Order of Merit in 1935. He died in 1967; his ashes are buried in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey.
       
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