Clare records that it was 'a very old custom among villagers in summer time to stick a piece of greensward full of field flowers and place it as an ornament in their cottages which ornaments are called Midsummer Cushions.' This 'cottage custom'suggested the title to him for this collection. The texts of the poems are those which Clare himself wanted to publish in 1832, but for which he could not find a sufficient number of subscribers. Almost a third of the book's 391 poems were published for the first time when this collection first appeared in 1978. These poems, edited by Anne Tibble, a Yorkshire-born scholar and biographer of John Clare, finally cement the poet's long-deserved reputation as our foremost naturalist poet of the English countryside.
The Midsummer Cushion
Carcanet Press, Limited