John Clare was an uneducated farm laborer, a contemporary of Keats, who became very briefly a very famous poet in the 1820's in the wake of the great years of Burns, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Shelley. He published three books, continued to live a rural village life, went mad at about forty, and was confined to an asylum where he kept writing poems for another twenty-five years. Much of his later work went unpublished until the 1980's. He is possibly the greatest nature poet of the Romantic era and a good deal of his work is completely unknown but now available to be read. This class will locate Clare among the English poets of his time, in relation to the deep upheavals of rural life in England in his years wrought by the industrial revolution and the enclosing of what had been common lands, in relation to the intellectual revolution going on in the study of natural history, and mostly will read Clare's poems to see what's there.