A Cumbrian student at the Cambridge college attended by William Wordsworth is organising a special event to mark the poet’s 250th anniversary.
Will Crisp, a former pupil at Windermere’s Lakes School, is leading a poetry reading next month in the college chapel. He has chosen Wordsworth poems on the themes of nature, religion and revolution, and they will be read by members of the college and chapel, and students studying English.
Will, who is in his final year of a degree in languages, has always been inspired by his namesake. He was the first winner of the now-annual Rydal Mount Wordsworth Prize for young poets.
“Wordsworth was always our local poet, not just one of the world’s greatest Romantic poets,” said Will. “I studied his work for A level, and I’ve always felt his strong influence as a Cumbrian.”
The college has a room named after Wordsworth, and there are other memorials around the university. Further celebrations are planned there this year.
Susan Andrew, the poet’s great great great grand-daughter recalls judging young Will’s poem seven years ago.
“My family have got together annually to judge the Poetry Competition and it has seldom been easy,” she said. “In most years there has been considerable argument about the relative merits of different entries.
“But this was not the case in the first year. Will Crisp’s Scrap of Iron really stood out. The poem was very well-structured, balancing the crowd scene with the solitude, and Will’s use of language – particularly adjectives – was remarkable.
“His ability to create contrasting moods from the excitement of ‘the mass, swelling and apprehensive’ to the calm of ‘ alone in perpetuity, oaken and peaceful’ was most impressive.”
She added: “I remember asking Will what subjects he would continue to study and he mentioned science. While conceding that this was a most admirable aim, I could not help feeling that it was, potentially, a loss to literature. It is now apparent that Will has not lost his love of poetry and our family send him all our best wishes for his final year at St. John’s – and beyond.”
Her son Christopher Wordsworth Andrew said: “We are thrilled that Will has taken this initiative to arrange what promises to be a truly memorable occasion at the college. We’re hoping that a member of our family will be able to join him.”