Shortlisted for The Costa Biography Award 2019
Wordsworth and Coleridge as you’ve never seen them before in this new audiobook 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.
Best-selling 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, dependents 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 and so changing the world. Poetry for them was not an ornament for civilisation but a challenge to it, a means of remaking the world.
"An exquisitely written paean to ten ocean-going birds...make no mistake, this is a clever book...a call to arms against the loss of this crucial part of our rich natural heritage." (Books of the Year, The Times)
"An extraordinary book, nothing less than a masterpiece." (Financial Times)
"Gorgeous book, a poetic soaring exploration of 10 species of seabirds.... Generous and beautifully composed." (Observer)