Samuel Taylor Coleridge

A picture of the author Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 - 1834) was a poet and philosopher best known for his long poems, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798) and Kubla Khan (1816). The well-known metaphor: having "an albatross around one's neck" and the oft-quoted: "water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink" [often misquoted "but not a drop to drink"] are derived from Coleridge's mariner poem, though many who use them have never read it.

In addition to his lengthy, well-known poems, Coleridge wrote a lovely collection of what came to be called "conversation poems," a group of eight poems including The Nightingale: A Conversation Poem (1798) and Frost at Midnight (1798). Described as "blank verse," critics regarded this collection as some of his finest verses, being taken as "merely talk," as natural as prose, yet as artful as a sonnet.

American Literature is pleased to feature Coleridge's poem in our collection, so first-time readers will know where they got those saying about an "albatross" and "water, water everywhere"!

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It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.