Noa wins Wordsworth poetry prize

The winner of this year’s Wordsworth Poetry Prize for young people is 11 year old Noa Calman.

Noa, a pupil at Grasmere primary school, wrote her poem on the theme of New Beginnings following the death of her uncle in New Zealand.

The award is organised by the descendants of William Wordsworth and the presentation ceremony took place at Rydal Mount near Ambleside, the house where Wordsworth lived.

More than 100 entries were received from pupils in junior and secondary schools across Cumbria.

Noa’s father comes from New Zealand, and she loves writing and reading stories that link to Kiwi culture.

She also has a passion for baking and has applied to take part in the junior version of TV’s Great British Bake-off. She has old twin brothers Dylan and Luca, a younger sister Isla, and a baby brother Sonny.

Noa was presented with a trophy and a £50 cash prize. Her name is now on a plaque at Rydal Mount and her winning poem will be framed and displayed in Wordsworth’s sitting room at the house.

Teacher Mrs Eleanor Knowles said that the poem was Noa’s response after her uncle’s death. “It was her way of dealing with difficult emotions. She poured it out one morning at playtime, the whole poem.”

IMG_1479
The poems were judged by Susan Wordsworth Andrew , the great great great grand-daughter of the poet, and her son, Christopher, who both attended the award ceremony organised by the curators, Emily and Matthew Heath.

The winner in the junior school section was Ambleside’s Tom Ashworth and the secondary school winner was Anna Bray from Keswick School.

Christopher said: “The standard of entries was very high once again. We are delighted to see that schools and parents are encouraging their children to read and write poetry.”

Noa’s poem:

The coffin

a coffin

lying still

while

across the world

a letter is flown

friends and family

weep

while I stare

stare into the sky

whispering

whispering my last goodbye

and as if in answer

to my call

a voice I knew

a voice I knew well

spoke

while people want

to be your sun

that burns

burns through

your day

I will

be your moon

that shines

shines through

your darkest

hours

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New curators at Rydal Mount

The new curators at Rydal Mount have opened the house, gardens and tea room to the public.

Emily and Matthew Heath and have taken up their posts at the home of William Wordsworth outside Ambleside.

matt and emily

They took over from Peter and Marian Elkington who retired at the end of last year after 25 years at Rydal.

Emily, who has a degree in religious studies from Edinburgh University, worked at the London Atelier of Representational Art (LARA).

Matthew, who studied Japanese at Oxford University, previously ran a food start-up in London and served for 12 years in The Household Cavalry.

They were appointed by the descendants of the poet, who still own the house which is one of the Lake District’s leading visitor attractions.

Peter and Marian Elkington came from South Africa to take up the post and became popular members of the local community, making many friends among artists, poets and patrons of the arts, as well as transforming Rydal Mount into a significant tourist destination.

Peter recites to Marian

During their time at Rydal Mount they hosted weddings, poetry readings, dinners for Japanese visitors, and musical soirees including a night when two grand pianos were carried out onto the lawn.

There were special events in the tea-room, which became famous for Marian’s home-baked cakes, and they hosted many art exhibitions, most notably the launch of a new portrait of William Wordsworth by Hideyuki Sobue to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of the poem Daffodils. And they launched a poetry competition for Cumbrian schoolchildren which has become an annual event, attracting poems from youngsters across the county.

“We have a very hard act to follow,” said Emily. “Peter and Marian devoted their lives to Rydal Mount, but we are very excited to take on the challenge and continue their work.

“We have a lot of ideas and plans, but we want to take things slowly and learn day by day about this very special place.”

Christopher Wordsworth Andrew, the poet’s great great great great grandson, said: “This is a very exciting time in the history of our family home, and we are delighted that Emily and Matthew have so much energy and enthusiasm for William Wordsworth, his home and his work.”

Emily and Matthew will continue the poetry competition tradition, and young people in Cumbrian schools are invited to submit entries for this year’s contest on the theme of New Beginnings. https://rydalmount.wordpress.com/2019/01/14/entries-now-open-for-the-wordsworth-young-poets-contest/

Entries now open for the Wordsworth young poets contest

Dear Teachers

The descendants of William Wordsworth invite entries from your pupils for the annual Rydal Mount Wordsworth prize for young poets.

All students at Cumbrian schools are eligible to take part. The theme this year is “New Beginnings”, which can be interpreted as the writer wishes. The winning poem will be framed and displayed alongside the work of the great poet in his former home, for thousands of visitors to see.

There is also a cash prize, and certificates for all who take part.

Entries should be typed in 12 or 14 point font, double spaced, and no longer than one side of A4 paper. Each entry should carry at the top of the page the name and age of the writer, and the school they attend. Entries which do not have these details cannot be put forward for judging.

They should be saved as individual Word documents, with no illustrations or artwork, please, and emailed as attachments to:

rydalpoetry@gmail.com

The closing date is Friday March 22. All who enter will be invited with parents and/or teachers to the award ceremony at Rydal Mount on Thursday May 9.

Wordsworth curators say farewell to Rydal Mount

The curators of William Wordsworth’s house at Rydal Mount are retiring after 25 years in the Lake District.

Peter and Marian Elkington came from South Africa to take up the post and were employed by the descendants of the poet, who still own the house today.

marian and peter

They became popular members of the local community, making many friends among artists, poets and patrons of the arts, as well as transforming the House into a significant tourist attraction.

During their time at Rydal Mount they hosted weddings, poetry readings, dinners for Japanese visitors, and musical soirees including a night when two grand pianos were carried out onto the lawn.

gorgeous view of house

There were special events in the tea-room, which became famous for Marian’s home-baked cakes, and they entertained many notable visitors who loved Wordsworth including the late Terry Wogan and, more recently, the actresses Petra and Kika Markham (the widow of Corin Redgrave).

Film nights were organised in association with Zeffirellis in Ambleside, including a special screening of The Carer, starring Brian Cox, and they staged drama performances in the gardens in the summer with the touring theatre company Three Inch Fools.

Peter and Marian hosted many art exhibitions, most notably the launch of a new portrait of William Wordsworth by Hideyuki Sobue to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of the poem Daffodils. And they launched a poetry competition for Cumbrian schoolchildren which has become an annual event, attracting poems from youngsters across the county.

P, M and Chris

Peter and Marion with Christopher Wordsworth at the opening of a Rydal Mount exhibition

Peter and Marian have added to the collections in the house with items they find at auctions and sales. But perhaps their most important legacy has been the development of the extensive gardens, using plans drawn up by William Wordsworth, to return the grounds to the naturalistic landscape that the poet had envisaged. It was a labour of love for Peter, and head gardener Helen Green, and they won awards year after year.

“Wordsworth wrote that if he had not made a success of poetry, he would have liked to have been a landscape gardener,” said Peter.

After coming to live at Rydal, Marian discovered that her great grandfather, Henry Poultney, had been an editor of the Westmorland Gazette in the 1880s, a post once held by Wordsworth himself. Poultney went on to edit the Birmingham Daily Post.

“We came planning to stay for five years, and stayed 25,” said Peter, who is more than just an admirer of the poet and his work. “You can’t help but be inspired by his spirit. Living here one feels the atmosphere. It’s been a very different experience from just studying his work.”

Their place will be taken by Matthew and Emily Heath who will start work in the new year.

Christopher Wordsworth Andrew, the poet’s great great great greatgrandson, said:  “The last 25 years seems to have gone by so fast. But over this period Peter and Marian have developed and improved Rydal Mount beyond recognition. We now have a fantastic tea-room and a garden that is regularly winning awards. The whole welcoming feel of the house and the reason visitors return year after year is entirely down to the hard work and love that they have both put into the house.

“Our whole family is going to miss Peter and Marian terribly. Over 25 years they have become close friends and we are sad to see them go. We wish them all the very best and hope they will come back to visit regularly.”

Peter recites to Marian

 

 

A new dimension to Dorothy’s room…

An exhibition at Rydal Mount gives a new insight into the life of Dorothy Wordsworth – in her own bedroom.

Dorothy’s Room is a new installation created for Rydal Mount which uses film, sound and objects brought in from the outside landscape.  Dorothy, the sister of William Wordsworth, lived at Rydal Mount with the poet and his wife, Mary. She was an author, poet and diarist herself.

Dorothy's Room

The exhibition, created by Louise Ann Wilson, is part of a project called Women’s Walks to Remember.  “With memory I was there” is a new participatory walking-art project that celebrates the walking-lives of Lake District women and collects maps, drawings, objects, photos, films and sounds relating to a significant route that they can no longer walk.

The project is inspired by Dorothy Wordsworth’s Rydal Journals in which she describes “rural sights and sounds” in vivid detail and recollects the landscape and walks she was no longer able to do.

“In older age Dorothy gradually became house, bedroom and terrace bound, relying on memory to transport herself into the landscape she had once walked,” says Louise Ann.

“It was really radical at that time for a woman to walk in the landscape.”

Dorothy also brought “treasures” into her “quiet” room. The walls were hung with paintings, pots of flowers lined her window ledge, plants grew around her window, which framed the fells she once walked, sunshine and the “sweet sound” of a robin singing entered from the garden. William acknowledged the importance of her influence in some of his poems.

The exhibition has a display of objects and artefacts on the bed, on whose pillows are copied scripts from the journals. There are knitting needles and thimbles, birds’ eggs, feathers, dried flowers and herbs. A repeating film of Dorothy’s landscape is projected onto the bedroom wall.

Dorothy's pillow

Louise Ann Wilson has a Ph.D. in Theatre Studies from Lancaster Institute of the Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University, where she is a visiting lecturer.  The title of her thesis is: ‘Emplacing, Re-Imaging and Transforming ‘Missing’ Life-Events: A Feminine Sublime Approach to the Creation of Socially Engaged Scenography in Site-Specific Walking-Performance in Rural Landscapes’.

Rydal Mount curator Peter Elkington said: “This adds an extra dimension because it brings people to see Dorothy in a new light, in the very room where she spent a lot of her time.”

The exhibition runs until August 28 and then moves to the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere.

Dorothy Wordsworth: 25 December 1771 – 25 January 1855

https://louiseannwilson.com/work/dorothys-room

A visit from eminent actors

It was something of a pilgrimage for sisters Kika and Petra Markham when they came to visit Rydal Mount.

Kika was even clutching a biography of Dorothy Wordsworth, and both were enchanted to see the house and the gardens.

Kika Markham is the widow of Corin Redgrave, and last visited the Lakes before he died eight years ago. An actor herself, in a family of famous actors, Kika had just finished a run at London’s Arcola Theatre in the play, Not Talking.

She has appeared in many TV series including Holby City, Doctors, Mr Selfridge and Call the Midwife. She starred in the Ken Russell film Clouds of Glory , about the lives and loves of Coleridge and Wordsworth, which was filmed in the Lakes.

Her sister Petra Markham appeared in films including Get Carter and also in many TV series including Eastenders, Dr Who, The Bill and Bergerac. She was also in the very first episode of Z Cars.

They went on to visit Wordsworth’s grave in Grasmere. Kika said: “This is a wonderful experience for us. We both love Wordsworth and his poetry, and have never been to Rydal Mount before. His spirit is so clearly all around us here.”

the markham sisters at Rydal Mount

Wordsworth is still among us

It’s always a delight when we learn of the impact that Wordsworth and his beautiful home here can have on our visitors.

One in particular took the time to write to us after a recent visit..and to send a photo of himself enjoying the garden and the view.

french professor

He is Michel Barrucand,  an admirer of Wordsworth and a retired professor of English literature at a French University.

He wrote to tell us how much he enjoyed visiting the place and musing in the garden: “It was a gorgeous time for me to sit on the bench and read some poems with the lake in view.”

He told us that he was currently reading from Wordsworth’s many letters, and highlighted a few sentences from a letter sent to Wordsworth by William Boxall, August 29 1836: “… You have here a knot of true & sincere worshippers … I verily believe there is no book but the Bible that is to them so full of inspiration. You would be delighted to see the beautiful appreciation with which they read you & I believe nothing short of a pilgrimage to Rydal Mount will suffice them that they may themselves tell you how much gratitude they feel towards you – I envy you, my dear Sir; & yet with what pleasure I tell you that your words & thoughts live so cherished in their “heart of hearts” – Can any poet wish for more than to feel that he has thus created happiness –“

“As a modest reader and scholar of romantic poetry, I exactly felt what is said in the letter when I visited this beautiful place,” Michel wrote to us. “And I walked out of Rydal Mount full of happiness and gratitude.”

He also thanked our gardeners, Helen and Pauline, and urged them: “Please, keep the place as enjoyable as I discovered it. It’s one way to say to the world that Wordsworth is still among us.”