At the end of the nineteenth century, a homeless runaway teenager in New York found a job in a bar and discovered Malory. So began the lifelong interest of the future Poet Laureate, John Masefield (1878-1967), in the story of King Arthur. After becoming a popular, successful narrative poet and playwright, Masefield turned to the Arthurian material in earnest, producing the verse drama Tristan and Isolt in 1927 and Midsummer Night a year later with its Arthurian cycle.
All29 of Masefield's previously published Arthurian poems from the Ballad of Sir Bors (1903) to Caer Ocvran (1966) are collected here in addition to the full-length tragi-comedy When Good King Arthur. Also included are nine poems never before published which, together with prose notes, reveal Masefield undertaking an ambitious retelling of the Arthurian myth.