Celebrate the poems of Elizabeth Siddal this World Poetry Day

Posted by Bethan Hirst - Thursday, 18 Mar 2021


Elizabeth Siddal, an influential artist and poet was the darling of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Her often dark poetry focuses on themes of lost love or the impossibility of true love.

“Her verses were as simple and moving as ancient ballads; her drawings were as genuine in their medieval spirit as much more highly finished and competent works of Pre-Raphaelite art,” wrote critic William Gaunt.

In a ground breaking new book, out this month, Anne Woolley considers all Siddal poems with reference to female and primarily male counterparts, adding substantially to knowledge of her work as a writer, and their shared contemporary concerns. Dante Rossetti, Swinburne, Tennyson, Ruskin and Keats were either known to her or a source of influence on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood with which she was associated, and certain of their texts are compared with hers to discuss interplay between erotic and spiritual love, the ballad tradition, nineteenth-century feminism, and the Romantic concept of the conjoined physical and spectral body.

The book brings to life the work of Elizabeth Siddal. Her beautiful artwork introduces each chapter, while other Pre-Raphaelite paintings illuminate the texts and further the inter-disciplinary philosophy of the Brotherhood.

Poetry readings

To celebrate the launch of her new book, and to coincide with World Poetry day, Anne Woolley brings to life the poignant poems of Elizabeth Siddal in four remarkable poetry readings,

Chapter One,  The Lust of the Eyes

Chapter Two, Dead Love

Chapter Three, At Last

Chapter Four, Worn Out

Find out more about The poems of Elizabeth Siddal in context in Anne Woolley’s author video

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