Stephen Spender

Stephen Spender was an English poet and essayist. Much of his work, written prior to his death in 1995, was about class differences and injustice. He served as Poet Laureate Consult in Poetry to the United States Library of Congress beginning in 1965.

A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map

‘A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map’ by Stephen Spender explores the Spanish Civil War through the lyrical depiction of one man’s death. It is marked by a stopwatch, the olive trees, and the continued conflict around him. 

A Stopwatch and an Ordnance Map

Darkness and Light

‘Darkness and Light’ by Stephen Spender is a complex, abstract poem in which a speaker battles with two sides of himself. 

Darkness and Light

My Parents

‘My Parents’ by Stephen Spender is a poem based on bullying and the desire to make friends.

That girl who laughed and had black eyes

‘That girl who laughed and had black eyes’ by Stephen Spender is all about a girl the speaker admires and loves. She still lives in the speaker’s thoughts even after her death.

That girl who laughed and had black eyes

The Truly Great

In Stephen Spender’s Poem ‘The Truly Great’, he discusses the traits of heroes who have passed away before us.

Ultima Ratio Regum

‘Ultima Ratio Regum’ translates to English as “the last (ultimate) argument of kings,” which is an insinuation of war. In this poem, Spender portrays the effect of war on innocent, insignificant lives.

Ultima Ratio Regum

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