His love lyrics were first published in 1633 as Songs and Sonnets while his religious poetry- Divine Poems- which include the Holy Sonnets, began to appear in 1609.
His love and religious lyrics are often in the form of a dialogue with his wife of with God.
In the last seventeen years of his life Donne devoted all his energies to his weekly sermons. Sermons formed the largest category of printed books in that period. Their prose is imaginative and intellectually complex.
Donne's originality lies in his rejection of standard poetic forms and language and the attitudes of the courtly world. His tone is not tender but often cynical and self- confident.
Donne was not widely appreciated in the 18th and 19th centuries but returned to favour in the present century thanks to the critical appreciation of T.S. Eliot.