The Walking Poets: Wordsworth and Bashō

Colin Fox 2011Colin Fox has been part of the Japan Forum for almost as long as he has been the Group Marketing Manager at English Lakes. Japan has been our number one international market and this strong relationship is set to continue for many years to come. Japanese guests visit the Lake District for its rich cultural history and timeless landscape. Colin writes below about a new exhibition which combines both English and Japanese culture across the centuries.

At the end of June I was invited to go along to the official opening of the newest exhibition, Wordsworth and Bashō: Walking Poets, at Dove Cottage in Grasmere. I suspect that I was invited in my capacity as Chairman of the Japan Forum or as a self-confessed Japanophile. I was certainly interested to see this collection of cross cultural works of visual and written word. The opening ceremony speeches included David Warren, current Chair of the Japan Society and ex British ambassador in Tokyo, who talked about the importance of a great relationship between Britain and Japan and the synergies between the two countries.

The Walking Poets: Wordsworth and Bashō
The Walking Poets : Wordsworth and Bashō

Continue reading “The Walking Poets: Wordsworth and Bashō”

Holiday Book Review: Dances with the Daffodils

465131195-X2Amidst the plethora of writings about William Wordsworth’s life, both historical and fictional, this book, I believe, would please the great man himself – perhaps most of all in belated gratitude for the sister who offered up much of her life in loyal service and sacrifice. Even Dorothy’s celebrated journal was written with the declared motivation, ’to give William pleasure’.

Dances with the Daffodils, by Matthew Connolly, is a beautiful fictional recreation of Dorothy’s life, her inspirational love of nature and her complicated emotions surrounding the fierce loyalty felt towards her brother. Connolly introduces Dorothy to a fictive suitor and a strange fusion of lives – aspirations, yearnings, frustration and innocence – occurs at the moment their lives touch on that memorable day on the shores of Ullswater, in the reflection of the immortalised ‘host of daffodils’. Continue reading “Holiday Book Review: Dances with the Daffodils”

Waterhead creates room to inspire poets

Poets Room with a view from Waterhead
Poets Room with a view from Waterhead

Waterhead is creating a special room to provide inspiration for modern-day Wordsworths.  We have put together some of the ingredients which we hope will help aspiring writers get their creative juices flowing and encourage a new generation of poets to write beautiful verse about the area.

The Lake District’s spectacular landscape has provided inspiration for a wealth of famous poets, such as William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge and Robert Southey as well as writers such as Beatrix Potter, Arthur Ransome, Thomas de Quincey and John Ruskin. Wordsworth lived just a few miles away from Waterhead at Dove Cottage and then Rydal Mount.

The Poets’ Room contains a writers’ desk from which wordsmiths can enjoy spectacular vistas over the waters of Windermere and the fells beyond.

The views include Loughrigg Fell where Wordsworth often walked in search of inspiration. He described the tarn that can be found part way up the fell as ‘round clear and bright as heaven’ and nicknamed it ‘Diana’s Looking-glass’.

An ink pen and paper is on hand to help people get into the writing mood, or they can make use of a traditional typewriter, as well as having the option to plug in a laptop to the high speed internet access.

An iPod docking station will be available so people can bring along their perfect mood music.

The room will also contain valuable reference material such as books of famous poetry, a dictionary and thesaurus as well as the guidebook to the area which Wordsworth himself wrote so the writer can visit some of the region’s many picturesque locations to provide food for thought. The books include the journals of William Wordsworth’s sister Dorothy, recounting many of the walks that inspired her brother’s famous poetry.

We would love to see the kind of work people are able to produce in the room and it would be fantastic if someone was able to create a modern poem about the Lake District to rival Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’.

Guests who stay in the Poetry Room will get free entry to Dove Cottage as well as getting access to the Jerwood Centre Reading Room which contains the Wordsworth Trust’s collection of manuscripts and first editions . The Reading Room is usually only open to researchers by prior appointment.

Anyone who stays in the Poetry Room can submit their best poem for Waterhead’s Lake District Poetry Competition. The winning poem will be framed and hung in the hotel and the winner will also get a free weekend’s stay at any of the English Lakes hotels.

The Poet’s Room will be available from 5th March 2012 and the competition will run until 31st October 2012.