Next year, celebrations are planned to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Wordsworth (1770-1850). Wordsworth is widely hailed as one of history’s greatest and most influential poets. He was a pioneering early environmentalist famed for completely revolutionising English poetry, and his writing celebrates the importance of our connection to the natural world.
In anticipation of such a significant anniversary, The Wordsworth Trust has invested £6.2 million into Reimagining Wordsworth, an educational project which aims to bring Wordsworth’s story into the 21st century. The project will both highlight his relevance today, and provide a greater intellectual, emotional and spiritual appreciation of his work. Wordsworth’s manuscripts will be reinterpreted using contemporary methods, making the experience more interactive and engaging. Along with this, contemporary voices will promote his work’s relevance; visitors will be provided with a closer insight into his poetry, ideas and process of composition.
A dedicated learning space at Wordsworth’s famous Dove Cottage (shown in painting above) in the Lake District village of Grasmere, will welcome a new programme of year-round events for visitors of all ages and abilities. It will bring poetry to a new and wider audience, through pop-up events, exhibitions and workshops, and engaging community group. For schools and colleges, there will be daily events during term-time. There will also be evening events for adults, and family activities at the weekends and through holiday times.
In 2015, The Department for Education resolved to make poetry a bigger part of the GCSE syllabus, to ensure children became more familiar with the art. As well as celebrating William Wordsworth’s ‘The Prelude’, among other works, more key Romantic poets were added to the syllabus. These included the likes of William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats. 2020’s year-long celebration of Wordsworth, with all its accompanying events, should only help bring more attention to these fellow writers.
Michael McGregor, Director of the Wordsworth Trust, says: ‘Wordsworth the poet was a revolutionary whose work and ideas are still relevant to our lives today. By taking a fresh new look at his work, the project will bring his story up to date, welcome old and new audiences – both locally and globally – and transform Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum into a dynamic destination for creativity, inspiration and enjoyment.’
For more information about the project please visit:
Jade Cuttle graduated from the University of Cambridge with First-Class Honours in Literature, going on to undertake an MA in Poetry at the University of East Anglia. Selected by Ledbury Poetry Festival as an Emerging Critic and winning Best Reviewer (Editor's Choice) in the 2018 Saboteur Awards, Jade has written for the Guardian, The Times Literary Supplement, The Spectator, The Times & The Sunday Times, the Observer, BBC Radio 3, BBC Proms, The Poetry Review and elsewhere. She is Deputy Poetry Editor at Ambit and judging the Costa Book Awards 2019.