The Postman Poet and The Poems of Edward Capern


The Postman Poet

As a young boy, Edward Capern is desperate to read and write, but has to work an eighty-hour week in Barnstaple’s lace factory. As a man, he dreams of writing poetry and building a fairer society, but these aspirations cannot put food on the table. He fears he will never be able to marry Jane, the woman he loves, and it is her skill as a milliner that eventually provides enough for them to set up a simple home together in Bideford.
Edward’s fortunes change when he finds employment as a postman. As he walks the Devon lanes, he begins to write poems and songs that express his delight in the countryside and the people he meets, but neither he nor Jane can foresee the profound impact his poetry will have on their lives.
Liz Shakespeare’s novel draws on historical research and Capern’s own writing to tell the story of Bideford’s Postman Poet from obscurity to national renown, capturing the opportunities and inequalities of the Victorian age.
Available now.
Free UK postage. For overseas orders, please do not use the ‘Add to Cart’ button but get in touch via the ‘Contact’ tab for postage costs.

336 pages
Publication date 27/03/2017
ISBN 978-0951687949
Cover design by Ben Shakespeare
Cover image: Rural Courtship, detail
By Daniel Ridgway Knight (1839-1924)
Oil on Canvas, G.M. 0126.2352
Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, Oklahoma

The Poems of Edward Capern

Poems by Edward Capern, the Bideford Postman Poet, selected by Liz Shakespeare.
In 1857, just a year after his first book of poems was published to national acclaim, Edward Capern was awarded a civil list pension for his services to literature. He went on to write three more volumes of poetry and a collection of songs which have long been out of print.
This new selection, published alongside The Postman Poetgives readers the opportunity to discover the passionate verses written by this self-educated Devon man, poems that celebrate the lanes, resplendent with flowers and birdsong, through which he walked on his postman’s round, and poems demanding a fairer society for the impoverished labourers he met.
In recognition of Edward Capern’s commitment to social justice, £1 from each copy sold will be donated to the Northern Devon Food Bank.
Available now.
Free UK postage. For overseas orders, please do not use the ‘Add to Cart’ button but get in touch via the ‘Contact’ tab for postage costs.

96 pages
Publication date 27/03/2017
ISBN 978-0951687956
Cover design by Ben Shakespeare
Cover image: Edward Capern by William Widgery
© Burton Art Gallery and Museum


The Songs of Edward Capern

A selection of poetry from the 19th Century Rural Postman Poet, set to music by North Devon musicians Nick Wyke & Becki Driscoll. Inspired by the local folk music of the time, Wyke & Driscoll have carefully crafted their melodies and arrangements to enhance the character of the poems, and have included two of Edward Capern’s own tunes, originally published in “The Devonshire Melodist” in the early 1860s.

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