Four contemporary poets respond to Wordsworth in BBC Radio 4 programme

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BBC Radio 4 marked the 250th anniversary of William Wordsworth’s birthday with poems from four contemporary poets – Helen Mort, Kim Moore, Jacob Polley and Zaffar Kunial – in a programme called The New Lyrical Ballads. Each poet has links to Cumbria and the Lake District.

Helen Mort, who is also a trail runner and climber, read a poem called ‘Shepherds’, about the changing Lakes landscape. Kim Moore, who lives in Cumbria, read two poems – ‘The Stranger’, in response to Wordsworth’s ‘Lines left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree’; and ‘The Man Who Ran with the Hounds’, in response to Wordsworth’s ‘Simon Lee, the Old Huntsman’. Jacob Polley read ‘The Turf Book’, set in the marshes of the Solway Firth estuary. Zaffar Kunial read ‘Ings’, about a small Lake District village where he was caught by a speed camera.

The original Lyrical Ballads, a collection of poems by Wordsworth and Coleridge, was published in 1798, is generally considered to have changed the course of English poetry. Wordsworth and Coleridge aimed to make poetry accessible to the average person with common, everyday language, and used rural life and country people as their subjects -  a marked shift from what had come before.

You can hear the BBC Radio 4 programme here


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