Biography of Ralph Hodgson
Order of the Rising Sun (Japanese 旭日章),was an English poet, very popular in his lifetime on the strength of a small number of anthology pieces, such as The Bull. He was one of the more 'pastoral' of the Georgian poets. In 1954, he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.
He seems to have covered his tracks in relation to much of his life; he was averse to publicity. This has led to claims that he was reticent. Far from that being the case, his friend Walter De La Mare found him an almost exhausting talker; but he made a point of personal privacy. He kept up a copious correspondence with other poets and literary figures, including those he met in his time in Japan such as Takeshi Saito.
Ralph Hodgson was a reclusive figure, who disliked publicity about either his work or his private life. As a result, details on his early life are few and far between. From 1890 until 1912, he worked as an artist for various newspapers and magazines. From 1913, his private press, "At the Sign of the Flying Fame," played host to several of his poems as chapbooks and broadsides. These included "The Song of Honour , " and "The Bull, " for which he received the Polignac Prize in 1914. In 1924, he moved to Japan and took a post as English lecturer at Sendai's University.
His reputation as a poet rests upon a small number of publications. "The Bull, " " Eve ," " The Bells of Heaven ," and " The Song of Honour ," are regularly included in poetry anthologies.
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The book was dull, its pictures
As leaden as its lore,
But one glad, happy picture
Made up for all and more:
'Twas that of you, sweet peasant,
Beside your grannie's door --
I never stopped so startled
Inside a book before.