Sunday, November 04, 2007

Poet of the Month

November's Featured Poet
William Wordsworth (1770-1850), a poet of the English Lake District, said at 31 that his life had been “unusually barren of events.” He was a walking poet, like Wallace Stevens, and also like him he sought to wrest meaning out of life through creativity as a function of the imagination. The London of his time was awash with disorder, as reflected in this poem addressed to John Milton:

London, 1802
Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up, return to us again;
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.
Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart:
Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
So didst thou travel on life's common way,
In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart
The lowliest duties on herself did lay.

Further Reading: Negrotti, Rosanna, William Wordsworth : a biography with selected poems; Mahoney, John L., William Wordsworth, a poetic life; Sisman, Adam, The friendship : Wordsworth and Coleridge.

Coming in December: Walt Whitman

Content developed by local resident and poet Leland Jamieson