The Making of Poetry: Coleridge, the Wordsworths and Their Year of Marvels (Hardback)Adam Nicolson (author)
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A sublime exploration of the genesis of the Romantic movement, Nicholson’s book focuses on the period between June 1797 and Autumn 1798; a time when Coleridge and Wordsworth penned some of the most lauded verse in English poetry. An eloquent interrogation of literary genius and the importance of place to the creative process, The Making of Poetry is an illuminating – and stunningly illustrated - account of poetry’s Annus Mirabilis.
Wordsworth and Coleridge as you've never seen them before in this new book by Adam Nicolson, brimming with poetry, art and nature writing. Proof that poetry can change the world.
It is the most famous year in English poetry. Out of it came The Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan, as well as Coleridge's unmatched hymns to friendship and fatherhood, Wordsworth's revolutionary verses in Lyrical Ballads and the greatness of Tintern Abbey, his paean to the unity of soul and cosmos, love and understanding.
Bestselling and award-winning writer Adam Nicolson tells the story, almost day by day, of the year in the late 1790s that Coleridge, Wordsworth, his sister Dorothy and an ever-shifting cast of friends, dependants and acolytes spent together in the Quantock Hills in Somerset.
To a degree never shown before, The Making of Poetry explores the idea that these poems came from this place, and that only by experiencing the physical circumstances of the year, in all weathers and all seasons, at night and at dawn, in sunlit reverie and moonlit walks, can the genesis of the poetry start to be understood.
What emerges is a portrait of these great figures as young people, troubled, ambitious, dreaming of a vision of wholeness, knowing they had greatness in them but still in urgent search of the paths towards it.
The poetry they made was not from settled conclusions but from the adventure on which they were all embarked, seeing what they wrote as a way of stripping away all the dead matter, exfoliating consciousness, penetrating its depths. Poetry for them was not an ornament for civilisation but a challenge to it, a means of remaking the world.
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 710 g
Dimensions: 240 x 159 x 40 mm
'A witness to the rewards of immersion in a particular place: to the realisation that our identity and wellbeing are bound up with the rhythms of nature' - The Guardian
'Superb… a book of wonders. Nicolson's prose swoops and sings all over the landscape' - The Sunday Times
'Dazzling ... Before I read this book I was something of a Wordswortho-sceptic. But Nicolson is one of the most persuasive advocates of his genius I have read. The Making of Poetry brings the poetry to life, but also the countryside ... It has paid off brilliantly. He is helped along by Tom Hammick's beautiful illustrations.' - The Times
'The perfect marriage of poetry and place ... Nicolson, in the footsteps of Wordsworth, comes with his own Coleridge, the prodigiously gifted and colourful artist Tom Hammick, whose dreamy woodcuts and paintings are scattered through the narrative .... A memorable triptych of the two poets and their Dolly in nonstop discussion about nature, art and life itself ... Poetry and place are perfectly braided together in prose whose biographical mood pays tribute to Richard Holmes and whose topographical fervour evokes Robert Macfarlane.' - The Observer
'A fabulous book! Passionate, original, intensely personal, and thrillingly observant. Adam Nicolson has achieved a total immersion in the Romantic poets' world of the Quantock Hills, and I can't think of any other study quite like it. It will have terrific impact. The combination of Nicolson's fine nature writing through all the seasons, with his revealing use of local sources, and his own exquisite/patient close reading of the poets' notebooks is completely captivating. It is also truly moving. Above all, he is fascinating on the central relationship between Coleridge and Wordsworth, the dark depths and emerging complications of that friendship: the rivalries and creative tensions it always contained, and the final sense of Wordsworth striding on alone into the Wye Valley.' - Richard Holmes