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C. Day-Lewis (1904 – 72)

Cover of Birthday Song for a Royal child : a loyal greeting for February 19th 1960, RCIN 1047141 Royal Collection Trust/All Rights Reserved

Born in Ireland and brought up in England, Cecil Day-Lewis began to dedicate himself to poetry when at Oxford in the 1920s. During the 1930s he became closely associated with W.H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Louis MacNeice, poets whose espousal of left-wing causes was reflected in their writing. By 1935 he was a full-time writer and he also published his first detective novel under the name Nicholas Blake. C. Day-Lewis continued to write poetry and in 1951 he was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford. He was appointed Poet Laureate in 1968 and began to modernise the role. He died in 1972 and is buried in Stinford churchyard, near Thomas Hardy, whose poetry he greatly admired.