b. 3 July 1871 at Pillgwenlly, Newport, Mon.; son of Mary Ann and Francis Boase Davies, iron-moulder. He received an elementary education and, at school, became interested in poetry. On completing his apprenticeship as a carver and gilder, he tramped in U.S.A. and Canada, but lost his foot in a train-jumping accident in March 1899. He returned to England, determined to succeed as a poet. After many difficulties and setbacks, he published his first book, The Soul's Destroyer and Other Poems, in March 1905. Other books followed and, by 1911, he was an established poet and author, with eight books to his credit, and was the recipient of a Civil List pension. In 1923 he m. Helen Payne. In 1929, for his services to literature, he was awarded the honorary degree of D.Litt. by the University of Wales. When he d., at Nailsworth, Glos., 26 Sept. 1940, he was the author of about fifty books. His prose works are chiefly autobiographical, written in a simple natural style, after the manner of Defoe. In poetry, he ranks as a master of the English lyric, his main themes being nature and love; and, at his best, his poems compare favourably with the finest lyrics of the English language. His chief works are: The Complete Poems of W. H. Davies, 1944, and later, in prose, Autobiography of a Super-Tramp, Beggars, and Later Days.
Published date: 1959
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