The son of a Northamptonshire laborer, John Clare lived in poverty most of his life; he received some early education and began writing poems after reading a copy of Thomson's Seasons (1808). Clare was "discovered" and enjoyed modest success as a laboring poet. He was the friend of Henry Francis Cary and an acquaintance of Charles Lamb, Allan Cunningham, and other writers at the London Magazine. Clare was committed to the High Beech Asylum for the insane in 1837 and died in the Northampton general lunatic asylum in 1864.
Proposals for publishing a collection of trifles in verse. 1817.
Poems descriptive of rural life and scenery. 1820.
The village minstrel. 2 vols, 1821.
The shepherd's calendar. 1827.
Prospectus: The midsummer cushion. 1832.
The rural muse. 1835.
Life and remains, ed. J. L. Cherry. 1873.
Poems, ed. Arthur Symons. 1908.
John Clare: poems chiefly from manuscript, ed. Edmund Blunden and Alan Porter. 1920.
Madrigals and chronicles, ed. E. Blunden. 1924.
Sketches of the life of John Clare, written by himself, ed. E. Blunden. 1931.
Poems of John Clare's madness, ed. Geoffrey Grigson. 1949.
The prose of John Clare, ed. J. W. and Anne Tibble. 1951.
The letters of John Clare, ed. J. W. and Anne Tibble. 1951.
The journals, essays, and the Journey from Essex. 1980.
Autobiographical writings, ed. Eric Robinson. 1983.
Natural history prose writings, ed. M. Grainger. 1983.
Later poems, ed. E. Robinson and D. Powell. 2 vols, 1984.
Letters, ed. M. Storey. 1985.
Early poems, ed. E. Robinson and D. Powell. 2 vols, 1989.